What about the Indian (Hindu) doctor?


As you know, Dan Kahan has been reflecting on the ‘Pakistani Dr.’ paradox: people who ‘disbelieve’ in evolution but use it in their daily lives. Leaving aside the question of whether doctors actually ‘use’ evolution (I’m skeptical), I think we can apply the same sort of logic to Indian doctors who believe in astrology. There are *many* Indian doctors who ‘use’ modern physics in their practice but still believe in Hindu astrology. Could make an interesting research project. How about it Dr. K?


  1. The Pakistani Dr leaves nonacceptance “at home”; that is, he *uses* knowledge of evolutionary science to achieve the ends that are most effectively promoted by that knowledge, and uses nonacceptance for the ends that are part of his religious identity and that in fact are not practically in conflict w/ anything he does as a professional.

    If Indian Drs believe in astrology at home, that’s fine (although they might end missing out on a great used-car deal, no?).

    But if there are Indian Drs who make medical decisions based on astrology, that would not be analogous to what the Pakinstani Dr (and Kentucky Farmer) are up to.

    Is that what Smith has in mind when she says “it could also be maintained that … [scholars and scientists] are obliged to act in accord with the knowledge they have of the positive value of religious ideas and practices…”? I’m guessing not. But if so, then not only is it very different from cognitive dualism”; it is also something that is very much more open to moral criticism.


    1. Thanks so much for the response. This is very helpful. I would (slightly!!) quibble with what it means to use a particular knowledge, whether it is evolution or Newtonian mechanics. But I appreciate your point nonetheless.

      As for your point about a great used car deal…in my family at least, you’d find a diversity of responses. My aunt (a college lecturer in economics) and my grandmother (2nd in her state in a national physics exam) probably would not consider a major purchase without consulting a Hindu astrologer.

      Thanks again!

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