Indian newspapers recently carried stories of the police allegedly using mumbo-jumbo tantriks to talk to the dead to solve murder mysteries. Soon after came stories of a reputed media house publishing a book that claimed to unravel the journey of the soul and life after death. Later a well-known computer scientist supported the police’s attempts to talk to the dead. A few months prior to this was the Unnao gold dig where archeologists started digging for gold based on a seer’s dream. These are just a few of the countless cases of irrational behaviour that are so blatant and mainstream in India.
Article 51A(h) of the Indian constitution says: “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform“.
However the reality on the ground is that despite rising prosperity and literacy rates, there are no signs of Indians adopting a scientific temper. Orthodoxy, superstitions & pseudo sciences continue to be an integral part of an Indian’s life.
Science is mugged up during exams, and technology is used to earn a living and ease everyday living. However we are a long way from embracing science and adopting the scientific way of logic, reason, critical examination and evidence-based beliefs.
In this talk, I look at a) What is Scientific Temper b) The evolution of the idea of Scientific Temper c) How does one adopt a scientific temper? d) What is the scientific method of Observation, Hypothesis, Prediction and Experimentation e) How we can nurture young analytical minds and pull India out of the quagmire of superstitions and towards a scientific approach to life.
The talk “Scientific Temper : The Forgotten Duty” was delivered at the Takshashila Shala conference held on 29th May 2011 in Pune, India.
Our constitution says that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. However the fact on the ground is that even with rising literacy rates, there are no signs of Indians adopting scientific temperament as a way of life. India actually seems to be heading the other way, with orthodoxy, superstitions & psuedo sciences becoming an integral part of an Indian’s life.
In this talk, I will look at what scientific temper entails, what’s gone wrong & why there’s still hope that we can nurture analytical minds and pull India out of the quagmire of superstitions.