This book reminds its readers of one of the fundamental duties of the citizen enshrined in the Constitution: to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform. Its author, C. Ravichandran, debunks irrationality and pseudo-scientific thinking that sway those practising different systems of divinations foretelling future events and their customers.

‘Pakita 13: Jyothisha Bheekarathayude Marupuram’ (published by DC Books), is Mr. Ravichandran’s latest book after ‘Nasthikanaaya Deivam,’ a book based on Richard Dawkins’ bestseller ‘The God Delusion,’ and ‘Bhoomiyile Ettavum Mahathaaya Drishya Vismayam,’ translation of Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’

‘Pakita 13’ scientifically unravels a host of systems of divinations such as astrology, numerology, palm-reading, betel leaf astrology and ‘nadi jyothisham,’ among others.

“No other pseudo-science has such a universal appeal, which is rather due to a failing in the human psyche than any rationalist basis,” argues Mr. Ravichandran, English teacher at University College, Thiruvanathapuram, who is one of the visible faces of the newly rejuvenated rationalist and freethinker movement in the State.

The 510-page book explains that superstition is a mental condition which has little to do with sense of reality.

“When we fight against superstitions, we fight against some of our brain’s default settings,” says Mr. Ravichandran. Often humans tend to see what they want to see, he observes.

When asked whether his public presentations and writings as well as debates in the social media, exposing superstitious beliefs, were creating any impact, he says that his and others interventions to debunk irrational beliefs and superstitions were slowly but steadily getting noticed.

“It is, in fact, an evolutionary process to bring back a fast retrogressing society to the track of commonsense and scientific outlook,” says Mr. Ravichandran.

Referring to belief in astrology which claims that there is a relation between celestial phenomena and terrestrial events, he notes that even if the Milky Way disappeared from the universe, astrologers would continue to do their business wherever there were humans around.