Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Eclipses, superstitions etc.,

I was reading Dennis Marcus Mathew's lament that superstitions eclipsed the solar eclipse in India, and I could not agree with him more. It is a pity that such wonders of nature are feared rather than enjoyed by a great majority. But the problem, as is often quoted, is not with the common people. A culture that has survived many centuries will have flips and flops. As a society, we are cleansing one superstition at a time. My real disappointment is with the phony scientists who base their arguments on 'Faith' or 'Belief' in science rather than logical and rational progression of thoughts that lead to the result (or hypothesis or theories).

When Ganesh drank milk in 1996, there were hues and cries from the scientific community but not one scientist considered it was worth his/her time to demonstrate how physics made this work in a sandbox environment. Television was even then a popular media for people and it is a matter of convincing the powers that be to get a slot. But the scientists would rather write arm-chair commentaries on why this superstitious society was irredeemable than get out of the arm chairs and do something about it.

Even in economically advanced countries such as the United States, science is not such a popular hobby. Illustrious scientists such as Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking publish lecture notes and popular books - apart from doing research, to get science to the masses. Richard Feynman mentioned, "If we cannot explain a topic to a high school grade student, then we have not understood the subject properly". He did not complain that the listener was incapable of understanding. These scientists took their time away from their busy schedules to do the service of getting science to reach and enrich common people. An outsider would be surprised if he/she comes to know that the biggest argument going on in the US now is 'Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design'. How are the scientists - who want only Evolution not Intelligent design, handling this situation? Are they cribing that the society is going to dogs and sit in their arm chairs? May be a few. But mostly they are trying to hand out materials about evolution thereby reaching people who wants to understand evolution.

How many Scientists in India have attempted such endeavours? Either they do not grasp the fundamentals strongly or they are incapable of communicating any useful thoughts lucidly. Even worse, they are elititsts who think it doesn’t behoove them to communicate with the masses. In any case, they don’t have a reason to lament at the banes of the society. It is them they should be ashamed of - for failing so miserably.

Peace out


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