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In God Indian scientists believe!
June 15, 2008 15:49 IST
Indian scientists are making rapid advances in their respective fields but when it comes to God, one in four are firm believers and many more accept existence of a 'higher power'.
A survey of 1,100 scientists across 130 universities and research institutes across the country threw up interesting results as 29 per cent believed in the philosophy of 'karma', 26 per cent accepted the principle of life after death and seven per cent researchers gave credence to existence of ghosts.
A survey, by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut and Hyderabad-based Centre for Inquiry, found that religion and faith had deep roots in the minds of Indian scientists.
An amazing 64 per cent scientists said they would refuse to design biological weapons because of their moral and religious beliefs, while 54 per cent said they will not work on nuclear weapons for the same reasons.
As many as 93 per cent researchers defined secularism as tolerance for various religions and philosophies, while only a minority of scientists said it meant atheism.
Forty one per cent scientists approved in some form or the other religious endorsement of a space project by space scientists. In 2005, space scientists had travelled to Tirupati to seek blessing of Lord Venkateswara before launching the rocket and satellite.
However, the level of disapproval of the act was more intense with as many as 33 per cent scientists disapproving it strongly. Only 14 per cent strongly approved of the action.
A plurality of scientists (44 per cent) was willing to criticise and confront religions where they think they contradict accepted scientific theories but a sizeable minority (23 per cent) is opposed to it.
One fourth of the total scientists surveyed were firm believers while another fourth took an atheist or agnostic position about belief in the divine.
Twenty six per cent scientists said they knew God really exists and they had no doubts about it, while 30 per cent did not believe in personal God but believed in a higher power.
Twelve per cent scientists said they did not believe in God while another 13 per cent said they neither knew about the existence of God nor did they believed there was any way to find it out.
A majority of scientists thought of themselves as being spiritual, which according to two thirds of them is either 'commitment to higher human ideals, such as peace, harmony or well being' (34 per cent), or 'a higher level of human consciousness or awareness' (31 per cent).
A majority of the Indian scientists were Hindus (66 per cent) and 10 per cent identified themselves as atheists or having no religion.
Muslims and Christians formed three per cent each of the scientists surveyed, four per cent were Sikhs, Buddhists and other religions while 14 per cent did not report their religion.