Monday, 16 June 2008
Indian Scientists Believe In God
June 16, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 15: Science opens up the frontiers of knowledge and inquiry but a majority of Indian scientists believe that it leads them more to the path of Almighty God.
One in four scientists in India believe in the existence of a "supernatural" power or Almighty God and follow the religious ethics, codes and traditions to derive academic, professional, materialistic and spiritual satisfaction. A considerable number of them also believe in the theory of Karma, predestination, life after death while others believe even in the existence of ghosts and evil spirits.
A joint survey by the city-based Centre for Inquiry and the US-based Institute for the Study of Secularism, Society and Culture of trinity College, revealed nteresting aspects on the beliefs and religious practices of Indian scientists. As many as 1,100 scientists from 130 research institutions and universities participated in the survey, the first of its kind exercise on the psychological and sociological beliefs and practices of Indian scientists or people connected with research.
According to N Innaiah of the Centre for Inquiry, 29 per cent of scientists surveyed believed in the philosophy of Karma while 26 per cent agreed that there will be life after death. A small number (seven per cent) believe in the existence of evil spirits that haunt people.
The study was released earlier this week in New York. The survey took about six months. According to the findings of the survey, eight per cent of scientists in the country have ethical reservations about genetic engineering and research on stem cells.
The survey report also made a mention of ISRO scientists offering prayers to Lord Balaji in Tirumala to seek his blessings for the successful launch of space projects and programmes.
Barry Kosmin of Institute for the Study of Secularism in society and Culture expressed surprise that scientists in India do not differentiate much between
doing research on cows and pigs. A whopping 50 per cent of the scientists believe in the efficacy of prayers, as against just 10 per cent of scientists in the USA.
A little more than 60 per cent of scientists covered under the study made it clear that they would refuse to design biological weapons thanks to their religious beliefs.
God And Science
The question "whether God exists?" is as old as the human civilisation
Intellectual people have always been divided over the answer. Scientists and
researchers as well as theologians have debated for centuries over the existence or otherwise of a supernatural power, called God the Almighty, but without a conclusive answer.
The results of a recent survey that a majority of Indian scientists believe in God is not surprising, given the deep-rooted religious traditions and culture in which they live. For Indian scientists, who are exploring newer horizons of science and conquering unexplored frontiers technology, belief in God is part of their life.
The survey had also proved the common misconception that science and scientists are alien to God and religion. Several leading scientists, discoverers and researchers have argued that a deep study of science only strengthens their firm belief in God and takes closes to Him.
Albert Einstein, though not a firm believer in "personal God" observed that science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. While Sir Isaac Newton in his Principia stated "the most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being."
Not long ago Dr A Cressy Morrison, former president of the New York Academy of Sciences, came out with his "seven reasons why a scientist believes in God," concluding that "the fact that man can conceive the idea of God is in itself a unique proof". He says the conception of God rises from a divine faculty of man, unshared with the rest of our world - the faculty we call imagination. By its power, man and man alone can find the evidence of things unseen.
Indian scientists, however, unlike their counterparts in the West, openly display their faith when it comes to launch of some major scientific or research programme. It's no wonder then that our ISRO scientists have offered prayers at the Tirumala shrine to seek the blessings of the presiding deity for the success of India's space mission.
And then there's the argument that scientists are after all human beings and human beings are influenced by the environment around them. Indian ethos and traditions have never separated religion from science and man from God. And this is reflected in the belief of Indian scientists and researchers.
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