Essays on Scientific Attitude In English
Everybody is aware of the achievements of science. The inventions of science - the radio, the television, the motor-car, the telephone and so forth - have become so much a part of our daily life that we easily realise their importance.
But all of us do not realise the importance and implications of the scientific spirit or attitude that lies behind the achievements of science. The scientific spirit essentially consists in doubting and questioning everything.
A scientist does not accept anything as true, unless it stands the test of investigation, experiment and verification. In his search for truth he is not influenced by the weight of Authority, Religion or Tradition.
Nor is he carried away by emotion, prejudice, or his own personal wishes. He seeks truth in an impartial and detached manner, without caring for where it might lead him. The scientific attitude goes beyond science itself. It can be brought to bear on our daily life and, above all, on our social and political life.
There is no doubt that in this twentieth century men are more scientific in their ways of thinking and living than they ever were. Yet we are not so scientific or rational in our ideas and behaviour as to be largely free from superstition, passions and prejudice.
Let us consider our personal lives. How many of us, particularly in India, are still the slaves of superstition, outmoded social customs and religious beliefs? Many Indians in villages still regulate their lives by constantly referring to the almanac.
Despite the sweeping social reforms that have revolutionised Indian society, many old superstitions and relics of the past still persist. However, it is in the social and political sphere that there is more scope for the practice of the scientific spirit.
Even men who are rational individually often behave like maniacs when they function as members of a group. Think of the insensate violence and bloodshed let loose by racial hatred in America and South Africa.
When we think of the enormous destruction caused by the two World Wars and of the continual state of cold war which might any day explode into a nuclear war with its indescribable horrors, it would be difficult to call man a rational animal.
It is evident that in political affairs men are swayed more by patriotism and selfish interests than by reason. If men cultivate and develop the scientific spirit in the real sense, they would surely settle international disputes by arbitration and peaceful discussion rather than by war.
If we turn to the Indian political scene, we find that many issues are approached from the religious, linguistic or provincial points of view. The passion or violence let loose by so-called loyalty to a particular language, province or caste indicates that the scientific spirit has made little headway in such matters.
It should not be supposed that scientific approach is the right approach in all matters of life. Man has not only reasons but feelings and emotions. He has a sense of beauty. His feelings and sense of beauty are developed by art and literature.
The scientific approach is of little use in the sphere of art and literature. Man again needs religion in the true sense of the term. The ultimate mystery of life, after all, cannot be solved by science. Science, therefore, should not meddle in spiritual and religious matters, so long as they are confined to the relations between the individual and God.
But except in these and such matters, it is desirable to adopt the scientific approach. People should be taught, through schools, newspapers, and broadcasting, not to accept anything unless it is proved to be so. They should be taught to think calmly about burning questions, without being swayed by passion or narrow loyalties.
The spread of the spirit of science would go a long way in ridding the world of violence, war and injustice and making it a happier place to live in.
Difficult Words: Detached - objective. rational - governed by reason. maniacs - mad men, insensate-unfeeling-, foolish. headway - advance.