The Scientific Point of View

The Scientific Point of View : Summary

The Scientific Point of View Summary in English

The Scientific Point of View : The impact of science on an ordinary man and woman is at present two fold. We are benefitted by scientific discoveries and inventions. Science gives us many convenient things like railway, motor car, aeroplane and electricity. It has made our lives comfortable. Secondly, science effects a common man’s opinions, too. Our ideas of universe, the beginning of life and man on earth are based more on scientific explanation than on anything else. Now science is believed more than religion. Thus science has given a new shape to our ideas and opinions.

According to the author, science can do us still greater service and benefit. At present scientific method is used only by the scientists in research and laboratories but scientific method can be used in our daily affairs too. It can solve our personal problems as well as social problems. It can provide a correct approach to life.

The main features of scientific point of view are truthfulness, impartiality and rationality. Scientific standpoint means search of truth. A scientist is impartial like a judge. He does not differentiate between man and the other but between man and worm. He does not bring into the studies his personal likes and dislikes.

Secondly, the scientific standpoint is based on reasons. It is not emotional. It is rational. It cares for facts and figures. It considers arguments and ideas and does not allow personal feelings to interfere with study or conclusions.

Further scientific point of view is also ethically neutral. A scientist does not read anything ethically. He is not like a judge to decide what is right and what is wrong. But, for a scientist, the important thing is what is true and what is not true. He has to give facts and arguments, not moral judgment.

The scientific point of view at present is very different from an average man’s point of view as an average man always puts his personal feelings, likes and dislikes into the study or discussion of any problem. He always calls it either good or bad. He does not care for facts and figures. To compare and contrast the scientific standpoint with popular kind of thinking the writer gives us a few examples. He takes up the question of American Negroes and the problem of disease among them.

Many white Americans argue that Negros inferior human beings as compared to white men. They are said to be the carrier of diseases. Therefore, they should be kept apart from the white population.

This is a belief of common Americans Scientific thinking is different from this. It does not take into account, personal likes and dislikes, interests and morality. A biologist would simply state that there are a few differences in the physical make up between a Negro and a White man. These do not prove the latter’s superiority. Further, he will point out that the problem of disease among Negroes is very much related to the climatic conditions and living habits. To live in the field or in south region suits the Negroes. They are diseased only in north or in factories. They die there more quickly. This conclusion is based on facts and arguments not on personal likes and interest.

Again the writer compares the two views-popular and scientific. Popular views regarding diseases are this that it is the punishment given by God or the result of committing sin but scientific view says that the diseases are due to disobedience of physical or natural laws.

At last the author says that the scientific inventions have no meaning for us unless we adopt scientific point of view or thinking.

The Scientific Point of View by J.B.S. Haldane About the Author

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (J.B.S. Haldane) (1892–1964) was a versatile genius. He studied Greek and Latin at Oxford and then went to London to do research in Zoology. He was interested in a variety of subjects and at different times held such posts as Reader in Biochemistry in Cambridge, Professor of Genetics in London University, Professor of Physiology at the Royal Institute and Professor of Statistics at the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta.

In an autobiographical sketch, he once said that he knew eleven languages. Haldane was a Marxist and used to contribute articles to the Marxist Daily worker and scientific topics, written in a style which even a person with average education could understand. His works include Deadalus or Science and the Future, Possible Worlds, Science and Ethics and The Inequality of Man from which the present essay is taken.

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