Politicians are most unscientific, say Indian scientistsJune 17th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by IANS
By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) They may be taking decisions that affect millions, but politicians are a most unscientific lot in India, says a new study based on the opinions of 1,100 Indian scientists. The study, “Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists in India”, carried out by Trinity College of the US with the help of the Centre for Inquiry (CFI) India, a non-profit organisation, has found that politicians have a very low level of scientific literacy.
On a scale of one to seven, the 1,100 scientists surveyed said the scientific literacy of politicians in the country is “very low” at 1.9. Interestingly, they believe schoolteachers are scientifically the most literate.
“They rank schoolteachers as having the highest rate of scientific literacy while ranking politicians the lowest,” the study found.
“Interestingly, the media scored the third highest, just below young men and above young women.”
Media people scored 3.1 points as against 3.6 points by schoolteachers. While young men got 3.4 points, scientists gave 2.3 points to the Indian population as a whole.
Government officials and business people too were better aware of scientific principles than politicians, according to the scientists.
“Many of our politicians, both at the state and central levels, are not well educated. They come to power riding on money and muscle power, and here you cannot expect these people to be scientifically literate,” said a leading scientist of the country.
“It is unfortunate that our policymakers are unscientific. It’s bad for the growth of science in a country,” the scientist told IANS requesting anonymity.
Santosh Patra, a research scholar in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said: “I think scientists, by giving the lowest score to politicians, have displayed their talent. It’s a matter of sorrow for all Indians that the majority of our politicians are not well educated. You can still find some politicians who have never gone beyond school level.”
The study also found that 75 percent of Indian scientists believe that under representation of women in the scientific community is due to cultural influences and learning rather than any biological or genetic reasons.
Governed by faith, social values and ethics, 64 percent of the scientists said they would refuse to design biological weapons and 29 percent said they would not go for human cloning.
The study that sampled participants from 130 universities and research institutes in India between July 2007 and January 2008 found that Indian scientists are very secular but are firm believers in god.
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