scientists secular, but firm believers in god: survey
Prashant K. Nanda
Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Indian scientists are very much secular
but that doesn't go against their belief in god. A survey
has found that many of them seek divine blessings before embarking
on major scientific missions.
study, "Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists in India",
carried out by the Trinity College of the US with help from
Centre for Inquiry (CFI) India, a non-profit organisation,
has found that 49 percent of scientists believe prayer is
"efficacious as therapy".
most of the 1,100 Indian scientists surveyed described themselves
as "secular", they refused to be called irreligious.
The survey came out last week.
2005, space scientists went to Tirupati to seek the blessings
of Lord Venkateswara before launching the rocket and satellite,"
the study reveals.
also found that only eight percent of the scientists said
they would refuse to work on stem cell research because of
moral or religious beliefs.
83 percent of respondents described secularism as the "separation
of religion from state and government" and 93 percent
termed it as "tolerance for religions and philosophies."
Only 20 percent considered that secularism means atheism.
are by nature god believing people. They don't put spirituality
versus science. Our ethos is broad - while we are rooted to
our belief we are also open to new ideas, knowledge and innovations,"
renowned scientist Y.S. Rajan told IANS.
is broadly no conflict as we are for religious plurality.
Let me be clear, there is no basic dichotomy between science
and god," he added.
study found that a majority of scientists believe in the existence
of god or "some higher power". Some even said that
they don't know whether there is god or not.
majority of scientists think they are spiritual," the
Rodriguez, former director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic
Research, said religion or belief in god is a part of the
Indian value system. "It's a part of our family value
and social need."
as a Christian have broken coconuts at the beginning of some
programme (though it's a Hindu practice). God or religion
is an inbuilt belief," Rodriguez, who is currently a
Raja Raman Fellow and distinguished professor at IIT Madras,
told IANS over phone from Chennai.
study found nearly 75 percent of these top scientists - whom
the survey termed as "elite" - said they believe
in the Hindu cycle of life. At least 29 percent believe in
karma, 26 percent in life after birth and 20 percent in reincarnation.
Similarly, 38 percent said god performs miracles.
don't think, we can call the karma and rebirth theory unscientific.
The belief helps us do good work and leads us towards ultimate
equality. It's a beautiful imagination to improve yourself,"
study sampled participants from 130 universities and research
institutes in India between July 2007 and January 2008.
A. Kosmin, the lead researcher of the study, said: India was
chosen because of its increasing scientific and economic importance
on the global scene."