The attitude of the new scientist

        What does a modern scientist think of the world?

        A scientist's world view is utterly different from yours. He doesn't think the same way you do, doesn't look at things the same way you do.

        If you are not a scientist, your world view might be that of the ancient cave man. No, really. Only you don't worship the Fire god to prevent him from destroying your possessions. You know that there are natural laws which fire will obey, no matter what. But still, many things remain a wonder to you. If you think about it, you (probably) don't even know how you are standing on earth. If earth wants to pull you down towards its center, why does it leave you 6300 km above its center? When you have so many mysteries around you, you don't go about wondering whether living things are somehow different from the non-living. You accept that a stone is 'obviously' different from you.

        But when someone starts learning science, they see that more and more of the world is very easily explained by physical laws. Unless the person is a philosopher, (s)he is pretty confident that (s)he can explain everything in terms of those laws (for an example, read this quote from Richard.P.Feynman).

        If you can explain everything around you by laws, what do you do next? Try to explain yourself! That exactly was what most people did in the 1800s. That was the age when Darwin had started a revolution with his evolution theory - the theory that all life started from a primitive organism no more complex than an arrangement of organic molecules. Now, move onward from there. The 'organism' (which we know to be simply an arrangement of some molecules) adds new molecules to itself, and grows in size and capabilities. After many millions of years, the organism has added so many molecules to itself that it can now walk, talk, type on a thing called 'keyboard' and read things from the internet. But still, it is only an arrangement of molecules, and there is nothing so special about it. There is not much difference between this and the stone lying next to you, except that those molecules aren't interconnected so well. As a result, if you hit one part of the stone, the molecules in another part of the stone do not get elecrical signals to react back. So you are a special structure only in that the molecules of different parts act together to keep all of themselves in a stable pattern.

        That, more or less, is the world view of an average modern scientist. This view isn't without faults, as this page points out...


"God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. "*

(Quoted from Superstrings : A Theory of Everything )