Agha Waqar is back on the telly!
National television has become a source of endless frustration. Constantly giving airtime to quacks like Agha Waqar is unthinkably dangerous, for it is not only children who have impressionable minds.
Quite annoyingly, he was once again invited to spread his ‘pearls of wisdom’ during the peak prime time hours of Geo TV on Hamid Mir’s programme “Capital Talk” on Thursday night.
The last time Agha Waqar was invited to the show, it was decided that Professor Ataur Rahman, along with some notable scientists will be testing his water-kit so as to come up with proof regarding his veracity. However, no experiments have been carried out on the water-kit thus far.
It seriously flabbergasts one to understand why he was invited again, along with Dr Pervez Hoodboy and Dr Shaukat Hameed Khan, both of whom were understandably impatient with him throughout the show. This recklessness on part of the show’s production team lead to a whole hour of an inane ‘thinking aloud’ session which was enough to damage billions of brain cells.
Straight to the magic kit now.
A true scientist will always embrace the fallibility of science. He/she will understand that there are many ‘black sheep’ observations in the universe which upgrade current scientific principles. For instance, it was concluded that certain physical phenomena (such as the photoelectric effect and black body radiation) cannot be explained through principles of classical physics. Thus, quantum physics came in to offer new explanations. However, old paradigms of physics continue to serve as accurate explanations for a large set of physical observation.
Quite unfortunately for Agha Waqar, the level of mass that he is dealing with has been exhaustively explained by current physical and chemical laws. Combustion, electrolysis and resonance are processes that have been dealt with by engineers and scientists for years at a stretch. His claims of electrolysing pure water by passing an electric current are inaccurate because pure water does not conduct electricity. Either Agha Waqar has been working with a type of water that conducts electricity (another ‘black sheep’ scientific breakthrough) or he is lying.
The holes in Agha Waqar’s arguments on energy conservation and the huge questions pertaining to his device’s efficiency can hardly be explained in this space. A greater worry is that if Agha Waqar is proven wrong, the doctrine of fallibilism will suffer. Hence, any new person claiming to have made a genuine breakthrough which defies current scientific laws, will not be taken seriously owing to Agha Waqar’s disappointing precedent.
Is it likely that he will be proven wrong? Yes. And it’s not because he is challenging scientific principles which have been accepted for centuries. Not because he comes from a small place like Khairpur. Not because he speaks in a Sindhi accent and certainly not because he doesn’t ‘look’ educated. It is because his discourse reveals that his scientific knowledge is extremely limited, and it is difficult for a man who is unfamiliar with basic concepts of physics—such as resonance and electrolysis and who cannot explain or properly define concepts of energy—to come up with a paradigm-shifting invention.
One can only hope that our talk-show hosts realise this without thoughtlessly giving airtime to discussions which lack research and depth.
Read more by Faiza here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.