Indian Scientists and Belief in God
#1
In 2007 - 2008 the CFI and the Institute for Study of Secularism, in the US, funded a survey of scientists. They asked them various questions on their beliefs, including on god and religion. The report of the study is attached.


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#2
Interesting to see around 50% Indian scientists believing that prayer and homoepathy are efficacious. Also, the 90% approval of degree courses in Ayurvedic medicine is also quite disturbing, as is the 44% approval of degree courses in Vedic astrology! Approval for the Tirupati blessing for the rocket launch is spread evenly. Just 10% are atheist, 43% are vegetarian and 3/4ths believe in God! This is an interesting study which calls for bringing about Indian scientists to a more materialist worldview. This kind of thinking is pretty much nowhere to be seen in any Western country. The fact that that Indian scientists continue to hold on to their superstitions reflects the backward and superstitious state of Indian society than anything else.
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#3
Indian scientist have very deep roots in religion and they know where the science ends, the journey towards God, Just starts.
(29-May-2011, 10:18 AM)madhav Wrote: Interesting to see around 50% Indian scientists believing that prayer and homoepathy are efficacious. Also, the 90% approval of degree courses in Ayurvedic medicine is also quite disturbing, as is the 44% approval of degree courses in Vedic astrology! Approval for the Tirupati blessing for the rocket launch is spread evenly. Just 10% are atheist, 43% are vegetarian and 3/4ths believe in God! This is an interesting study which calls for bringing about Indian scientists to a more materialist worldview. This kind of thinking is pretty much nowhere to be seen in any Western country. The fact that that Indian scientists continue to hold on to their superstitions reflects the backward and superstitious state of Indian society than anything else.

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#4
(23-Jul-2011, 02:11 AM)mathygold Wrote: Indian scientist have very deep roots in religion and they know where the science ends, the journey towards God, Just starts.

Where Science is ignored and ceases to be a societal and budgetary priority, an often imperceptible but sometimes precipitous decline begins towards technological dependency, medievalistic mindsets in the workplace and an overall decline in civic virtue as well.. That so many scientists stand blissfully unaware of these threats at the edge of the precipice to make their leaps of faith, it is cause for alarm rather than a smug reassurance about their 'roots'.

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#5
(23-Jul-2011, 02:11 AM)mathygold Wrote: Indian scientist have very deep roots in religion and they know where the science ends, the journey towards God, Just starts.

You meant to say God of the Gaps.

1) We don't understand how the universe got here.
2) Therefore, God exists.

In the ancient past it was:

1) We don't understand rain and thunder.
2) Therefore, Gods of rain and thunder exists.
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#6
It would appear that the Indian scientists are deists as they don't believe in a personal god (who I define as one that intercedes in daily activities mediated via prayer and takes a personal interest in you). But whether or not this "higher power" refers to Nature or to the Universe (as in an Einsteinian sense) is unclear. Also I find that a large percent believing in human miracles somewhat amusing. After all the myth busting and exposes by leading rationalists this trend amongst scientists seems disconcerting.
The traditional beliefs column is also disturbing as these rational people believe in reincarnation, karma and the like, which are all introduced and preached by texts like the Bhagavad Gita. All in all this seems to be an open and shut case of Non-overlapping Magisteria or cognitive dissonance.

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#7
I wonder if such surveys have been done in the past. If there is a such a chronology, a comparison of similar data would determine whether changes indicate advancement of rational thought rather than otherwise..
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#8
Quote:"higher power" (as) Nature or the Universe

Here is a quote from one of Steven Weinberg's books:

"Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for Him. One hears it said that "God is the ultimate" or "God is our better nature" or "god is the universe". Of course, like any other word, the word "God" can be given any meaning we like. If you want to say that "God is energy", then you can find God in a lump of coal. But if words are to have any value to us, we ought to respect the way that they have been used historically, and we ought especially to preserve distinctions that prevent the meanings of words from merging with the meanings of other words.

In this spirit, it seems to me that if the word "God" is to be of any use, it should be taken to mean an * interested* God, a creator and lawgiver who has established not only the laws of nature and the universe but also the standards of good and evil, some personality that is concerned with our actions, something in short that it is appropriate for us to worship. This is the God that has mattered to men and women throughout history. Einstein once said that he believed in 'Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.' But what possible difference does it make to anyone if we use the word "God" in place of "order" or "harmony", **except perhaps to avoid the accusation of having no God?**
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#9
According to me, In similar way scientist does not believe in God but its about Indian Scientist so my answer is in yes not each but some Indian scientists are definitely believe in God. Because Indian people are very suspicious and from their childhood our parenst learn to us believe in God. So according to me some Indian Scientist are believes in God.
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#10
(13-Jun-2012, 02:09 PM)rajsharma Wrote: According to me, In similar way scientist does not believe in God but its about Indian Scientist so my answer is in yes not each but some Indian scientists are definitely believe in God. Because Indian people are very suspicious and from their childhood our parenst learn to us believe in God. So according to me some Indian Scientist are believes in God.

That was quite unreadable; please consider rephrasing your statements to improve legibility.
A scientist is one who questions the way things work. To be a scientist (anyone can be a scientist- you don't need to be a lab-coat wearing one as in those toothpaste advertisements), one has to think rationally.
In science, you cannot publish results based on belief, fear, superstition or suspended reality. However religion requires you to supplicate with fear and admiration before an unknowable (and unprovable) entity.
What truly worries and disappoints me are that people flip switches easily: in the lab, they are scientists, in church or temples they flip a mental switch and throw out these principles of cognition and inquiry. The cognitive dissonance is truly disturbing.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#11
I for one am not surprised one bit that 90 % of scientists claimed to be part of some form of religion. The survey may be slightly faulted (correct me if I am wrong) in that they scientists were not asked if they were religious literalists. i.e. In a multiethnic society such as India most people regardless of whether they actually believe that the events of the ramayana are factually true tend to identify themselves by their religion. A western analogue is when non-religious/agnostic westerners identify themselves as christians because they associate christianity with the value system they were brought up in.

This may be a gross generalization but I think this really shows how backward we are in terms of proper innovative,scientific thinking. Having worked with both european and Indian scientific communities I am willing to assert that many scientists in India arent really up to the grade internationally when it comes to applying the scientific method and innovating. Below are a few reasons why this may be the case:

1. The shortcomings of a 'by rote' education system.
2. A strongly religious upbringing.
3. Cultural taboos against questioning traditional thought or authority
4. Post-colonial aversion to the scientific method (perceiving the mindset that best suits scientific research as 'un-Indian' or 'aggressively western' )
5. Economic reasons. Indian universities typically used to operate on budgets that are a fraction of what their international counterparts have. I imagine this situation had improved for several universities post the 1990's economic boom.
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