Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Science and Superstition

Many scientists in India don’t comment on irrationality and superstition that is widely prevalent in this country. There are various reasons for this. It is not uncommon for scientists to hold superstitious beliefs themselves. Many belong to very “religious” families, with a parent or spouse deeply committed to such beliefs. Being critical of superstition conflicts with domestic harmony in such cases! Others do not wish to offend friends, colleagues or acquaintances with any criticism of beliefs they may hold. So, it is refreshing to hear Dr V Ramakrishnan speak his mind on superstition. Visit http://www.firstpost.com/india/indian-science-congress-is-a-circus-wont-attend-it-nobel-laureate-v-ramakrishnan-2572268.html
Dr Ramakrishnan, your bold comments on this topic is a great contribution to the advancement of India!
The real value of science is that it usually makes its practitioners develop a robust world view – one in which all ideas are open to critical analysis, verification and discussion. This would have been a tragic world if a few men of science had not questioned the belief and faith in the idea of the earth being the center of the universe. It may be the center in a metaphorical sense unless we discover thinking beings elsewhere, but it is certainly not the center around which the Sun revolves! The acceptance of the idea that earth is a planet that goes around the Sun contributed a lot to the advance of mankind. Comparable was the discovery that the heart’s primary function is to pump blood. These revolutionary ideas did not merely make the western world rich; it made its citizens immensely wiser!

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