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

                                                                 Interactive science series

Q: 'Science to laymen is just a belief'! What is your take on this  statement?

Krishna: Oh, is that so? Are you using a cell phone? A car? A plane? A train? 

Is your mother using insulin for her health condition? A statin? An aspirin?

Is your wife using a microwave? A fridge? Or atleast  a gas stove to cook food?

Are your children watching a TV programme? Playing a game on their computers?

Or are you 'just believing in' you are pretending to use science and technology and not using them actually?

Or have these science and technology based gadgets and products come from nature just like that like fruits and vegetables growing naturally?

Who are you trying to fool?

Nobody asked you to 'just believe in science'. It is there for everyone to verify. Whenever they want and wherever they want. Go and verify, dude. Learn and understand it. Test it. Trust it only when you can find evidence. Don't just lazily ask silly questions. 

If you can't understand science or don't make an effort to learn it, at least learn to trust the scientific methods and methodology which has no parallel in establishing authenticated facts.

Science as an institution behaves differently. Science establishes conditions where rational argument is able to flourish, where ideas can be tested against the world, and where individuals can work together to surpass their individual limitations. Science is not just one “faith community” among many. It has earned its epistemological stripes. And when the stakes are high, as they are with burning controversies, we should appreciate its special status. 

Q: What is folk science?

 Krishna: Lay people's explanatory understandings that are remarkably coarse, full of gaps and often full of inconsistencies. Folk science describes ways of understanding and predicting the natural and social world, without the use of rigorous scientific methodologies. It is like the pseudo-science  we have here.

People here try to explain things using their 'primitive scientific knowledge' which has no evidence at all and try to think it is real science.

Q: Can we use pure salt on wounds?

Krishna: No! Pure salt damages and kills your cells along with the germs.

Osmosis is the movement of water across a membrane. Salt triggers osmosis by attracting the water and causing it to move toward it, across the membrane.

Water in cells moves toward the highest concentration of salt. ... The loss of water from this movement causes cells to shrink and wilt. This is why salt can kill. It leaches the water from the cells. The movement of water to leave an animal cell will also cause those cells to shrink and cause dehydration and eventually death. This is why a person could die from dehydration if he drinks enough sea water.

Q: When it comes to the science of things like GMOs, vaccines, and climate change, why are independent and mainstream scientists so divided on their conclusions?
Krishna : There are lobbies working for multinationals, activists, governments, fund providers, and several other vested interests. When so many things pull and push things, you can only find pieces like alternative facts, facts, half truths, manipulated data, interpreted facts, lopsided logic and what not.
We are living in a manipulated and confusing world. If you can make sense of any of it, you are a genius!

Q: Is the Earth actually flat?

Krishna: No. Watch this video that debunks flat earth theory…

Q: Why doesn't presenting data and evidence convince some people?

Krishna: Not many know the difference between an evidence and an opinion! It is my experience that people think presented evidence is the presenter's opinion and belief. And if it differs from their own view of the world, they completely reject it even without considering it.

There’s considerable evidence that more data isn’t better when it comes to science skeptics (1) . And being bombarded with facts can make people dig in even more. People who feel pressured to change their beliefs are adept at defending them. They also tend to seek out (dubious) evidence that supports their world view and ignore, devalue or challenge facts that don’t. Emotion trumps fact. And this is a fact!

Inertia is created when fear of solutions is far greater than fear of facts and problems and people tend to stay where they are unable to move even an inch.

Q: What is the scientific reason for wearing Janeu (जनेऊ)? 

There is no scientific reason behind this practice. Why do you try to link things that are culture based with science? You create pseudo-science by doing so.

Janew is a representation of 'barpan' [a process of purification of soul of only males (ha, science doesn’t endorse male superiority in the first place) by getting bald and getting the ears pierced in front of another brahman who chants some mantras(Science doesn’t even endorse superiority of castes and races)]. In the process, he gets a janew with him, he is considered to be an adult (not according to the law, though) but according to the dharma and is able to perform tasks of elders in the family by becoming the main member during any major pooja performed.

There is no evidence of soul according to science in the first place. Science doesn’t endorse any of these things. Just wearing a Janeu doesn’t give superiority to anyone according to science.

If you want to practice your culture and traditions, do so. But don’t try to authenticate it with science. You need to reach a different and higher level of mind matters to become a ‘superior human being’. Such levels can’t be achieved by just following a few superficial things.

Q: What did Stephen Hawking think of death?

Krishna : This is what Stephen Hawking, the famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist said about death and after life:

The belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a "fairy story" for people afraid of death. There 's nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.

'I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark', he added. Hawking completely rejects the notion of life beyond death and emphasise the need to fulfil our potential on Earth by making good use of our lives. In answer to a question on how we should live, he said, simply: "We should seek the greatest value of our action."

Further he argues that tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged. "Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in, he says!
Q: Why does our body odour change with age?
Krishna: Elderly people really do have a distinct scent, so recognizable in fact that people can identify them by body odour alone.

The researchers speculate that the human ability to discern age through scent might be an evolutionary skill related to the way other animals are able to sniff out young, virile mates and avoid those that are older or sick.

Both human and non-human animal body odours are rich with chemical components that can transmit useful social information, acording to scientists. And many animals, including mice, rabbits, owls and monkeys, are known to undergo changes to the chemical composition of their body odour as they age.

Similar to other animals, humans can extract signals from body odours that allow us to identify biological age, avoid sick individuals, pick a suitable partner and distinguish kin from non-kin.

Human body odours “originate from a complex interaction between skin gland secretions and bacterial activity, and skin gland composition and secretion change in an age-dependent manner throughout development."

In the non-human animal literature, the ‘good genes’ model has been put forth as an explanation for why female animals are attracted to the odors of older males or why female insects prefer the sex pheromone from older male insects. Signals indicating old age, supposedly regulated by the immune system, are favored due to the likelihood that individuals who reach old age possess a strong and adaptive immune system, as well as other adaptive advantages that have allowed them to grow older than their peers. Indeed, older male insects have a higher reproductive success than their younger competitors.

Of course, unlike insects, humans use many other better ways to choose among potential partners. Still, our ability to sniff out old folks appears to remain intact.

Q: After Stephen Hawking's death, now who's the person to fill his intellectual place in world physics?
Krishna : People come and go but science stays. Scientific understanding of this universe is not limited to a single person.
There are several scientists that are as good as Hawking. Only thing is they stay out of limelight. But laymen think people like Hawking are irreplaceable. This is not true.
As long as human mind exists, the abilities to analyse and understand this universe in the right way exist, you need not worry.
Q: Stephen Hawking says in this article that he owes his unexpectedly long life to free public health care. Can anyone calculate how many paradigm changing geniuses around the world are lost due to unaffordable or inaccessible health care?

Krishna : I would also say, in developing countries like India, a person with a condition like Hawking's wouldn’t have become a ‘Hawking’ in the first place. He would have died at an early age, even if he had survived it, he would have been confined to a dark room, spending all his life in bed with no hope of seeing the light, leave alone becoming a world famous scientist.
Hawking had become what he ‘s because he was born in the UK.

Q: If you were able to communicate with an intelligence far way superior than any other human being in history, what would you ask him first?
Krishna : How to reach his level of ‘intelligence’?! What more knowledge he has than me and what type of analytical mind he has so that he became ‘more intelligent’ than I am.
( Richard Cattermoul: Ah Krishna, you don’t seem to recognise that you are that super intelligence.)

Q: Why it is difficult for most people to realize or understand that differences in perceptions of the same situation, are often due to inherent division in consciousness?
Krishna: I was asked to answer this Q from a scientific view point.

“Inherent division in consciousness?”

I would say it is because of lack of critical thinking abilities people differ in their perceptions. When emotions rule your world, not facts, data and rationality, it screws up your thought process and makes you go in strange ways.

In a world where people clutch at all kinds of straws to make some sense of the madness around them, truth can never be found. Instead of analyzing, examining and understanding why something happens and how it should be handled realistically, they try shortcuts by bringing unknown and untested factors to interpret things! These beliefs divide people because each person has a different set of experiences and those in turn influence their explanations and the resultant beliefs based on their mental makeup and situations and not on one truth.

To avoid such pitfalls science asks us not to get attached to emotions and beliefs. It tells us to have an unattached reasoning power so that your mind can seek truth in a neutral manner. Anybody can develop critical thinking abilities to get at the bottom of truth and realize reality. Your ‘Inherent division of consciousness’ can be overcome by training in critical thinking like we have in science.

According to science, there will be only one fact given that the conditions in which it is searched, observed and perceived are the same. Science is in pursuit of these facts and the conditions in which these facts evolve so that we can give a meaningful definition to our existence.

Why do you think science is universal? Why do scientists follow scientific methods and find facts about this universe in an unanimous way? Why don’t different scientists have different perceptions on the working of this universe?

We, the people of science, think and arrive at conclusions that become established facts by following scientific methods as time goes by. There are no divisions when facts get established in science. Each scientist knows living systems work only in certain scientific ways. This universe works in a certain scientific way.

Where is the division in our scientific world?

Science and Spirituality

Q: Is it supernatural or coincidence that Stephen Hawking was born exactly 300 years after Galileo's' death and died on Einstein's death anniversary?
Krishna: Hawking, as a scientist, would have said it is a co-incidence!
What we think of as extremely unlikely events actually happen around us all the time. The mathematical law of truly large numbers as well as the law of combinations help to explain why.
With only 23 people in a room, the probability that two of them share the same birthday is 0.51—greater than 50 percent.
If your birthday is any day except February 29, you share your birthday with approximately 1/365 of any population (0.274%). Therefore, since the world population till now is estimated at 7 billion you share your birthday with over 19 million people around the world (19,178,082). That is no miracle or magic!
Critical thinkers are more likely to see the event as a statistical fluke, while intuitive thinkers feel it is magic!
Q: Are we close to running out of significant scientific discoveries?
Krishna : No! We haven’t even touched 10% of what this universe holds as secrets. There is a lot to discover and at least a part of it would be very interesting and highly significant.
Q: Many scientists make breakthroughs by being "daring". Cardiac catheter was found because someone had the guts to do it. Why are so many breakthrough cancer treatment dismissed by the medical establishment while people continue dying with no hope? 

If a treatment makes a patient more sick than give some relief, why would anyone adopt it? If it costs a lot that most of the people in the world cannot afford the treatment, why would anybody go for it?

Testing in a lab under controlled conditions is different from actually using the drugs in a human body where several factors influence the outcome. Ideas that work brilliantly in a lab need not work that good in a living system. Several of them will be lost in practice. Research reveals much about the limited dissemination of discovery to practice.

In a content analysis (2) of 1,210 articles from 12 prominent public health journals, 89% of published studies were classified as basic research and development. The authors classified another 5% of studies as innovation development, less than 1% as diffusion, and 5% as institutionalization.

Another content analysis of four journals and found 2% to 20% of articles fell in a phase defined as “translate research to practice” (3).

Systematic application of clinical research findings to improve patient care and treatment remains limited. We, in the scientific world, know our limits. And we ask people outside of our world not to get so much excited about papers published and unusual and exaggerated claims in the media.

Q: What has been the biggest discovery of mankind to date?

Krishna: I have answered a similar Q earlier. You can’t pinpoint one like that. All discoveries that add something to human knowledge are great. Science progresses by building up on earlier knowledge without which you cannot move forward.
But, the ones that save lives, give relief to human suffering stand a bit above others.  

Q: Have you ever changed your opinion based on a conversation?
Krishna: No, never!
This is because most of my opinions are based on scientific facts, data, rationality and thorough critical thinking. People will have to provide ‘more accurate’ facts, data and more knowledge for my rational and realistic thinking if they try to change my mind.
Till now none has done this. Not even my colleagues, my supervisor and group leader! Not even reviewers of my research papers.
I started wondering whether I can really meet a person in my life who can have a real effect on my mind. This is really disappointing.
If there is such a person or entity in this universe, please come forward and meet me.

Q: Are there any  awards to encourage women in science?

Krishna: Yes, there are.,_medals,_and_awards_fo...

Q: What do you call a statement that is taken as true without scientific evidence?

Religion! It thrives where evidence is in its lowest form i.e., anecdotal.

Misconception! It originates where evidence is distorted.

Opinion! It thrives where evidence is disobeyed.




3. Sallis JF, Owen N, Fotheringham MJ. Behavioral epidemiology: a systematic framework to classify phases of research on health promotion and disease prevention. Ann Behav Med. 2000;22:294–8.[PubMed]

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