Fbae Logo
Home | | Support Us | Contact Us
Goals & Objectives Our Position False Propaganda Special Topics Important Publications Important Links Events news Biosafety
Fbae Header Home




Do Scientists Believe in God, Ghosts?
Subhra Priyadarshini11 June 2008

Despite their scientific pursuits, faith in god is significant for many Indian scientists.

Some of them believe in ghosts, many in god. Most of them have no ethical reservations about genetic engineering and stem cell research or any qualms over introduction of Ayurvedic medicine as a subject in universities.

A unique survey <http://www.trincoll.edu/secularisminstitute/>  that pulled out the deepest personal secrets of Indian scientists also concluded that nearly half of them believe in the power of prayers. The survey, a brainchild of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and Hyderabad-based Center for Inquiry pried into the minds of over 1,100 participants from 130 universities and research institutes in India. It found that religion and faith were deeply ingrained among Indian scientists.

Every third scientist surveyed believed in sins and deeds of a past life, in life after death, and one fourth of them believed 'holy people' can perform miracles. Before a space vehicle is launched, is it okay to take its replica to the temples to get the lord's blessings? 40% said yes.

This was the first in a series of sociological studies entitled 'Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists' to explore the opinions of science professionals in non-Western societies. India was the obvious
first choice, says principal investigator Ariela Keysar a demographer and Associate Director of the ISSSC. The web survey was carried out between August 2007 and January 2008.

"Secularism has a unique meaning in India," said Keysar. "A vast majority of scientists perceive secularism as tolerance for various religions and philosophies and this is reflect in their approach to
scientific issues," Keysar noted. Keysar's colleague Barry A. Kosmin, part of the team behind the survey, said India's increasing significance on the global scene and its special constitutional commitment to develop scientific temper made it the first stop for the survey.

 The report was released in New York City last week.

Subsequent studies will explore the opinions of science professionals in countries such as China, Japan, Russia and Turkey.

About 88 per cent of the scientists endorsed the theory of evolution, partially or wholly. Seven per cent thought ghosts and spirits exist, that there is a significant link between comets and human events, that the caste system prevalent in India should be given due importance.

The survey also quizzed the scientists on their reasons for taking to science, the status of women, scientific literacy in India and ethical constraints on science. The survey was designed in consultation with Meera Nanda, author of Prophets Facing Backwards, and conducted in cooperation with the Center for Inquiry-India, for which eminent scientist P.M. Bhargava serves as a chief adviser.

Related News Articles

Influence of Transgenosis on the Plant-Insect- Relationships, in Particular on Chemically       Mediated Interactions

Effect of Transgenes Conferring Enhanced Pathogen Resistance on the Interaction with Symbiotic        Fungi in Rice

Impact on the Soil Ecosystem through Natural and Genetically Engineered Organisms:
      Effects, Methods and Definition of Damage as Contribution to Risk Assessment

The Decomposition of Bt-Corn on the Fields and its Impact on Earthworms and on other        Macroorganisms in the Soil

Environmental Post-market Monitoring of Bt-maize:
       Approaches to Detect Potential Effects on Butterflies and Natural Enemies

Columns by Dan Gardner

Against the Grains: 'The Terminator Hoax '

Decisions taken in the 84th Meeting of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee

Brazilian Health Biotech: Fostering Crosstalk Between Public and Private Sectors

Biotechnology Related Article Appeared on 'Samyukta Karnataka' ( Regional Language )
June 12, 2008.

Nothing Left to the Imagination

The Politics of GM Food
Kirit S Javali

Hi-tech seed factories: Sowing Seeds of Success

"Indian Seed Industry is Well Placed to Serve Both Domestic and International Markets"
Dr MK Sharma,
Managing Director,
Mahyco Monsanto

"If we Facilitate Seed Industry, we Facilitate Growth in Agriculture"
Dr Govind Garg,
Krishidhan Seeds

Metagenomics: Window to the Microbial Universe

Few Checks to Prevent Entry of GM Food

Gene Campaign Criticises India’s ‘Silence’ at Global Bio-Safety Meet

An Enforceable International Compact for Infectious Diseases

"Indian Science in Genomics has been Able to Place Itself on the Global Map"

Indian Gene Decoded

The Development of RNAi as a Therapeutic Strategy

FAO E-Conference on Biotechnologies and Water Scarcity

Genetic Landscape

Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture

RH Nature Reviews Genetics 08- Opposition to Transgenic Technologies

Germany: Discussion Paper of German Ag-Industry about EU Biotech Policy Implications

Bt maize performance in Spain

Arsenic speciation varies with type of rice

Why I Am Bothered by Neo-Colonialist NGOs

China experts identify gene for yield, height in rice

The French government has called for a debate on the review of the EU
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has also repeatedly criticised the EU for "undue delays" in the authorisation of GMOs. See the latest WTO ruling:

The legal bans are in France, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Greece.

EU delays decision on approving more GM crops

UCR Geneticist Plays Scientific Advisor to Movie about “Love, Adventure and ... Genetically Modified Rice”

Gujrat worst-hit by illegal Bt cotton production

Farmers seek ban on GM crops

Call for policing
Ijaz Ahmed Rao discusses the virtues of a bio-safety framework for genetically modified crops, now that they have become farmers’ favourite

Stem cells: The 3-billion-dollar question

Genes as the solution

Food crisis spurs research spending

Global Food Crisis / UN / Bilingual Transcript of Statements by Secretary-General, Heads of Concerned Agencies, and Response to Questions at Press Conference on Global Food CrisisGM Crops, A World View

Mass Protests against GM Crops in IndiaInterference at the EPA

Open letter to Robert B. Zoellick, President, World BankNew BT variety may push short staple cotton output.

The future of agricultural biotechnology: Creative, destruction, adoption, or irrelevance? ICABR Conference 2008

Soaring food prices and global grain shortages are bringing new pressures on governments, food companies and consumers to relax their longstanding resistance to genetically engineered crops.

Prof. Kameswara Rao and Dr. T.M. Manjunath's Participation in 2008 Biotech Activities

Scrutinizing Industry-Funded Science: The Crusade Against Conflicts of Interest

LEADER: Nurturing nanotech

Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development

Scientists find potential schistosomiasis treatment

Islamic conference boosts S&T with new resolutions

Mexico publishes GM approval guidelines

Uganda 'close to stamping out Hib meningitis'

New method 'prevents spread of GM plants'

Social factors 'help women with post-tsunami stress'

Women scientists celebrated in new charter

Sub-Saharan Africa news in brief: 13–25 March

Brazil creates US$18 million fund for young scientists

Health weeks 'powerful tools' for deworming children

Rotavirus vaccine, not treatment, 'cheaper for Panama'