Letters

For a spirit of enquiry

While rubbishing the March for Science by scientists to demand higher allocation of funds for research and curbs on pseudoscience, the author equates scientists with religious fundamentalists without providing concrete examples (“The march from yesterday”, August 10). Similarly, he seems to stretch his point too far in saying that we cannot teach art, music, literature and languages as they are “not based on scientific evidence”. However, it cannot be disputed that there is a dire need to promote scientific temper and a spirit of inquiry in the country. Recently, we heard from none other than a High Court judge that peacocks are celibate and peahens get impregnated by drinking the tears of peacocks, and from a Minister that cows inhale and exhale oxygen! The sway of astrology among people despite the fact that it is based on blind faith can’t be missed. Heinous practices like human sacrifices and witchcraft that are often reported in the media require a strong movement like this to ensure that people move away from the lure of superstitious beliefs.

K. Natarajan,

Madurai

The fact that a country like India still grapples with problems like irrationality and superstition is unfortunate. There is no doubt that we have had some great achievements in the scientific field, but we cannot ignore the fact that this legacy is not being taken forward the way it should be. Science and research form the basis of a country’s advancement and it becomes the sole responsibility of the government to promote it and ensure that it is inculcated in the very roots of society. Rational thinking based on facts can help us come out of the quagmire of false beliefs that people are falling prey to. India’s March for Science is an opportunity for the government to pay heed to Article 51A (h).

Aparajita Singh,

Lucknow

What we understand as science is evidence-based and peer-reviewed conclusions. There is nothing called the “naïve ideas of science”. The word “naïve” refers more to cultural- and religious-based opinion. And studying science does not mean objecting to the study of the arts and literature. This march is against superstition and other such obscurantist notions which are, at best, populist. Policies have to be based on evidence and not public discourse as is happening on the GM food front.

V. Rajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

The core of scientific temper is freedom for open logical criticism of all ideas, however sacrosanct they may be. There has never been any attempt to present scientific findings as eternal truths. People accept a well-examined finding until a better observation or argument comes along. This, I believe, is the essence of the scientific method. Today all sorts of obscurantist ideas are gaining traction. We are not against myths, but presenting myths as reality is the problem.

D. Krishna Warrier,

Thiruvananthapuram

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 1:46:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/for-a-spirit-of-enquiry/article19467406.ece

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