Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                                    Interactive science series

On scientists...

Q: What if all the people in this world are scientists?

Krishna: That is the world I dream of!

If everybody can understand this universe in a truly scientific way, there will be harmony all around, everybody experiences the sublime beauty only the mind can see, get to see the whole picture - not a partial one people outside of science see now, people can do neutral and rational analysis of every thing - not biased ones, scientifically inclined persons can have extremely strong minds, great courage to accept things of reality, and a very peaceful inner life!

There will be no race, caste, gender or other discriminations. Egos disappear. There won’t be anything called ‘personal’, everything will be ‘universal’.

Oh, that would be a perfect world!

But let me assure you, not all scientists can see things in this way because of faulty training they get! Only a few scientists are true followers of strict scientific method and methodology both inside and outside of their work environment. And only such people can fit the picture I painted.

Being a scientist is a state of mind, not a profession!

Q: Are scientists broken people?

Krishna: Curiosity, hard work, whole vision, perseverance, keen observation, sharp eye, rational mind, critical thinking, creativity, intelligence, resilience, thirst for knowledge, genius.

Are any of these words synonymous with ‘broken’?

Q:Why do people become scientists? Especially when they get paid so low? What drives their passion? Can a real scientist speak up please?  

Krishna: Passion for research. Unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The thrill you get when you first find out a new thing.

No amount of money can get you the thrill Neil Armstrong felt when he first landed on the moon or Watson and Crick got when they discovered the structure of DNA.

Scientists are drunk on science. Science has them in its tight grip. There is no escape!

Q: Why do some scientists still believe in God despite no evidence?

Krishna: Scientists are human beings too. A part of the scientific community needs some outside emotional support to carry on with their lives as people with this tendency cannot resolve their problematic issues with critical thinking because of the faulty training they got. 

Some minds are conditioned by cultures, religions, emotions, politics and several other biases that screw up their thought process. If some people cannot come out the control of these things, they cannot absorb scientific method and methodology properly and therefore, behave like ordinary   human beings. 

Q: As a non-scientist, I often have absolutely no idea what to make of scientific positions or theories. So, should I just have faith in science and scientists?  

Krishna: Why don’t you get acquainted with science more? Why don’t you make an effort to understand scientific theories and positions more?

There is a thing called science communication. Scientists and other people of science are trying their best to educate the common man on the street. I am one such person. We are ready to help you. Do you have a will to learn and acquire knowledge in the right way??

Science doesn’t demand ‘faith’ or ‘blind belief’. On the contrary it is against scientific principles to have these things. You have to understand science fully to make use of it properly or to take a position. You have to do critical thinking yourself to come to a conclusion. You have to challenge science and scientists following the route of scientific methods and methodology to make it more factual.

Without thorough scientific knowledge how can you distinguish between science and pseudo-science, myth and a scientific fact to even trust real science in the first place? You would follow misconceptions, pseudo-science, myths and false propaganda and work published in dubious journals and fads propagated by celebrities, religious people and politicians!

Science is not religion. We don’t accept blind faith or subservience. No!

Q: What can be done to reduce the arrogance of scientists?

Krishna: Hmmm! Are scientists arrogant? That depends on your perception. 

I don't think scientists are arrogant. Now if you think I sais this because I am one belonging to this community, please read this article of mine ....

And briefly it says ...

We can speak for all of science because we are trained in scientific method and  methodology which is common for all the fields of science and is the backbone of science.

The problem why people treat scientists as arrogant is several of the characteristics of arrogant people are similar to the characteristics of 'learned' people.

Arrogant people believe that they know more than they do, and they will talk as if they are experts. Scientists will also talk like experts, often because they are experts! If you're not an expert yourself it may be tricky to tell them apart.

Arrogant people won't listen to others and don't like to take input or criticism. Scientists will also ignore 'nonsense' from other people, because they understand what they're doing is right and better than the people who are giving them an 'advise'.

Arrogant people may put others down by correcting them or try to make themselves feel good by making other people feel inferior. Scientists can make other people feel inferior simply by being smarter.

That is the reality! Many smart people cross the fine line between the two, either because they don't realise how they come over there or because they don't care. And in some sense they have a point - if you're right and you know you're right it can be tiresome to deal with someone who clearly doesn't understand something as well as you do, especially if they don't realise it. This is very unfortunate. It's a tough situation to be in.

Many scientists have to defend science against irrational opinions and beliefs. When a non-expert has an opinion different from an expert in the field, I think the expert has earned a right to be more authoritative. I don't think it is fair to call this arrogance.

Q: Are scientists kept private?

Krishna: No, majority of the scientists are very much in the public domain! Seek and you will find!

But some vested interests who want to keep their work secret, might hide their researchers. Scientists who agree to these terms and conditions suffer a lot.

Q: What are some things scientists love to get addicted to?

Krishna:  Scientific Knowledge, undoubtedly. And I am addicted to it. I cannot live even for a single day without learning about something published new in scientific research. It is my food, my oxygen, my love and my everything! :)

Q: Why Indian scientists lack in inventions and discoveries unlike the scientists of Western world?

Krishna: There are several reasons for this situation like inadequate funds, lack of proper atmosphere, peoples’ mind sets, inadequate infrastructure, lack of creativity, inadequate and improper training. Read the problems we face and their solutions in detail here: How to make scientific research in India a success story

Q: Are our present scientists more intelligent than the scientists of the past?  

Krishna: The present scientists have more knowledge at their disposal to creatively connect various things, they have technologically advanced equipment to test more of their theories, can have more collaborations to get and consider great ideas, more colleagues to criticize and correct them and more media outlets to share their work with the wider world outside.

So they look and sound more intelligent.

Q: Why can’t IITs make world famous scientists even when having a great infrastructure and research facility?  

Krishna: You have to have the mind set and qualities of a scientist to become one. If your goals are just working with a MNC and getting a great salary, how can you become one? 

Q: When I read your answers to the questions people pose, I feel this is an unfair world. 

Scientists do all the hard work, while rest of the world just sits and enjoys the comforts and luxuries brought forth by science!

Why do some people invent/discover nearly everything, and the rest of the world contribute nothing?

Krishna: :)But there is another way to look at it too. It is a tragedy for humankind that such a tiny percentage of our species has ever had access to our collective knowledge while the rest are some what ignorant due to various reasons!  

I am one such privileged person to have knowledge at my disposal and got the training to  comprehend it in the right way and I feel sad everyone around me don't have that luxury. That is why I am trying to educate people to make them reach the scientific knowledge summits.  

Contributions to the world, in my view, shouldn’t be measured based on inventions or discoveries. There have have been countless people throughout history that have done significant things that have influenced the society we are today.

Q: If we take the top scientists and lock them in a lab until they find a cure for cancer, how long would it take? It seems weird that we advance in every aspect of technology except medicine. Every year we have a newer and better computers and yet, we still don’t have a cure for horrible diseases. Does no one care?  

Krishna: What do you think scientists are doing? Sleeping?

They are working day and night to find cures for several diseases, man. But their work is limited by funds.

You spend more on sports and movies. Aren't politians and beaurocrats wasting more public money on their personal quests? Aren't the rich wasting so much money on celebrations and parties? Each and every project the Indian government under takes is wasting large sums of money because of corruption and mismanagement. I can give several other examples which waste lots of money like useless Diwali crackers which just go up in smoke.

You buy new phones, computers, watches and all the gadgets very frequently.

But ask people and Governments to provide funds for scientific research. You face dead silence. Then how do you expect to get results?

If you don’t provide the suitable atmosphere for scientists how can they work in the first place?

If you lock me up and ask me to find a cure for a disease without providing the infrastucture and funds and the right atmosphere to work, I will still work but it takes several decades for me to find a solution for the problems you are facing!

Get that right first. And go get funds for us if you really care about the humanity.

Q: Are scientists the real super stars?

Krishna: They are superb ... stars or not!

Q: Which scientists were against the presence of god?  

Krishna: I don’t think scientists are against the ‘presence of God’. But most of them are against the argument of presence of God without any evidence.

Q: Do scientists also get distracted by a desire to watch TY, read fiction, travel etc., like common people? 

Krishna: Most of them don’t! When the problem you are working on has you in its tight grip, when you cannot think anything else but how to solve it, you will find TV serials and fiction very silly and a waste of time! Scientists have better things to do than indulge in silly activities. We are serious! :)

I watch news for 30 minutes if I get time. That’s all.

I travel a bit to attend conferences, meetings and seminars and when I do that, I try to visit all culturally -rich places too as I am into art.

My work place is my everything. And I love it more than anything in the world!

Some people -especially the ‘special ones’ -belong to the whole universe, not to specific few people or entities. They are here for a purpose. I realized this long back and keep away from attachments as far as possible. I never regret what I am doing. I think this is my personal life and I love it!

"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." ~ Nikola Tesla

The state of mind and words of a real scientist, not a hobby one!

Being a scientist is a state of mind, not a profession!

Q: Can religious belief or any other irrational belief and scientific thinking coexist in a scientist's mind?

Krishna: When I embraced science and scientific method before entering my lab all the beliefs I had got a thorough analysis and those that didn’t follow the latter and couldn’t stand up to the scrutiny were tossed out of the window.

A true scientist cannot tolerate cognitive dissonance.

But, some people need some sort of external emotional support, especially when their minds are conditioned to follow certain things and when their scientific training is inadequate and therefore unable to overcome it, to surmount their problems in life. We understand this and therefore tolerate it as long as their beliefs don’t interfere with their work in the labs.

However, if you couldn’t overcome your beliefs and biases once, where is the guarantee that this will not happen again and again? How can you trust such people?

Some of these are creating pseudo-science by combining science they are doing with their beliefs. Although the scientific method keeps a check on this, these people are trying to hoodwink it by creating their own science journals, submitting their papers to only peers who have similar beliefs to theirs and by following all unscientific ways. We see this happening around us.


Q: Can scientists be always right? Should we listen to them all the time?

Krishna: Not necessarily!

Scientists can be right if they follow only evidence based facts by overcoming their conditioned minds. If they state their opinions and mention beliefs just ignore them. If they try to confirm peoples' beliefs using science without proving genuine evidence confront them. 

You yourself have to have lots of knowledge and be trained in critical thinking if you really want to know whether a scientist is stating facts or just expressing his opinions. This is not easy. 

So unless and until you yourself are sure about something and have genuine evidence to show, don't argue with scientists and waste their time. 

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