Kerala

‘Freethinkers’ gets support of U.S. physicist

‘‘Freethinkers,’’ a Facebook group that promotes debates on various topics, including religion, has secured unexpected support from renowned theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss as the group is facing repeated removal of its page apparently in response to mass reporting.

‘‘This Malayalam Freethinkers Facebook page keeps getting shut down by each week. Support it,’’ Prof. Krauss wrote on his Facebook page on January 15 with the screenshot of the Freethinkers page. After the post drew nearly 200 comments, he posted another message: ‘‘was very happy to support this group, and am pleasantly surprised it is being noticed. Brave individuals.’’

Prof. Krauss is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, and Director of its Origin Projects. Author of many best-selling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe From Nothing , he is described by Scientific American, a popular science magazine in the United States, as a ‘‘public intellectual.’’

His support for the group followed a private message on his Facebook page sent by Khaleel Ebrahim, an engineer from Kerala now working in Bangalore.

‘‘In his response, Prof. Krauss said that though he normally does not support Facebook groups, he will try to do something.’’ It was a pleasant surprise when he saw Prof. Krauss extending his support to the group on his own page, said Mr. Ebrahim, who is a member of the group.

The group, started five years ago to promote freethinking, rationalism, scientific temper, humanism, and spirit of inquiry, has got its Facebook page taken down seven times since then. When it was shut down in August 2014, the group’s account had over one-lakh members. The group’s latest page has over 11,000 members.

No response

‘‘Though we tried to draw the attention of the Facebook authorities to the repeated closure of the group’s page, we have not yet received any response,’’ said Farmis Hashim, who served as one of the administrators of the group. It does not make any sense that the Facebook should shut down the page in response to any mass reporting against any post or comment, he said.

The group’s page clearly says that it is meant for debates on topics, including religion, politics, science, rationalism, art, and literature, among others. It also calls upon its members to discuss on issues in decent language with mutual respect.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:58:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/freethinkers-gets-support-of-us-physicist/article6798510.ece

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