Are You a Scientist?

Are you a scientist? In this broad sense of meaning, any reasonable man can be called a scientist. You too can be called a scientist if you have the scientific spirit, that is, can use the scientific method of thinking and reasoning in facing a problem. You are a scientist in this sense if you can always be objective in judging a fact, not mixing the facts you are trying to find with your personal wishes or prejudices.

          IF WE ASK you whether you are a scientist, perhaps you will reply, “No, I’m not a scientist.” Your answer may be true, in the sense that you are not a person whose job or career has to do with a scientific activity.

          In one sense, a science means an orderly system of facts that have been learned from careful study of the world around us. These facts have been divided into several separate sciences,  each dealing with a different part of learning, the study of plants, the study of heavenly bodies, and so on.

         But science is more than this orderly system of facts learned from a careful study of the world. It is also a method of thinking and reasoning, a way of seeking the truth. When we speak of the scientific spirit, we mean the love of learning and the desire to use this learning to help all men.

         When a person uses the scientific method he does not judge people and form ideas about them because they are of a certain race or religion or from a certain country. He is not againts people with ideas or beliefs that are different from his own. Using the scientific method, he would form a judgement only after very careful study. He would try to explain a fact, condition or happening only after he had watched it carefully and asked many questions about it and was certain that the answers were correct.

         In this broad sense of meaning, any reasonable man can be called a scientist. You too can be called a scientist if you have the scientific spirit, that is, can use the scientific method of thinking and reasoning in facing a problem. You are a scientist in this sense if you can always be objective in judging a fact, not mixing the facts you are trying to find with your personal wishes or prejudices.

         A scientist must follow the facts obtained through his observations and experiments whether or not they prove his opinion to be true. Science aims to find objective truth, not to seek for excuses to satisfy one’s wishful thinking.

        Not all people use the scientific method to form judgements. Some find it easier to agree with the opinions of a few well-known people rather than a question these opinions or think for themselves.

        A true scientist always tries to explain a condition or happening only after he has watched it carefully, learned all the facts that have to do with it, and asked many questions about these facts. Then, to be certain that his ideas are correct, the scientist must prove them by further study. He should have an open mind and is always ready to let other scientists test his ideas or discovery.

        So, even though in the functional sense of meaning you may be not a scientist, you can have the scientific spirit and follow the scientific method of thinking. It is always good to do so.

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