Indian scientists believe in god and karma

via PTI published on June 16, 2008

NEW DELHI: Indian scientists are making rapid advances in their respective fields but when it comes to god, one in four is a firm believer and many more accept the existence of a “higher power.”

A survey of 1,100 scientists across 130 universities and research institutes across the country threw up interesting results as 29 per cent believed in the philosophy of ‘karma’, 26 per cent accepted the principle of life after death and seven per cent researchers gave credence to the existence of ghosts.

A survey, by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut and the Hyderabad based Centre for Inquiry, found that religion and faith had deep roots in the minds of Indian scientists.

An amazing 64 per cent scientists said they would refuse to design biological weapons because of their moral and religious beliefs, while 54 per cent said they will not work on nuclear weapons for the same reasons.

As many as 93 per cent researchers defined secularism as tolerance for various religions and philosophies, while only a minority of scientists said it meant atheism.

In 2005, space scientists had travelled to Tirupati to seek the blessings of Lord Venkateswara before launching the rocket and satellite. Forty one per cent of scientists surveyed approved this religious endorsement of a space project.

However, the level of disapproval of religious intervention in such scientific activity was also high: as many as 33 per cent scientists disapproved of it strongly. Only 14 per cent approved. The scientists are most likely to regard their personal outlook as “secular” or “somewhat secular”.

One fourth of the total scientists surveyed were firm believers while another fourth described themselves as either atheists or agnostics

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