I did my schooling from a public school in Nainital, which is now in Uttarakhand. Our school syllabus was quite advanced and modern mathematics teaching used to begin quite early. I was just eleven years of age at that time. The problem of proving that root of two is an irrational entity was being taught to us. The solution begins with the statement, “let’s assume that the root of two is a rational entity”. I asked the teacher, “Sir! Why we first assume the reverse to do such a proof”. The reply from the teacher still knocks me quite often.
“O my child! Science begins with doubt and lands up finding the truth.”
I always remembered this line all along my studies of science and technology. Later when I started debating with people on the subject of religion versus science, I added the corollary that;
“Religion begins with faith and lands up doubting what the truth is”.
Now-a-days, I struggle very often to justify these two statements to myself. Is it necessary for people with scientific temperament to doubt the things to know about the truth? Is this doubt another name for ‘curiosity’? Why is it so, that most religious preachers are not able to explain the things, the way science explains things. Why do we still talk about ancient books only when we talk about religion? Why don’t we add up or modify the knowledge that has been acquired by the society after those ancient books were written.
The answers I tried to come up with after churning my mind gave me some temporary relief. I write down my feelings as follows. Hardcore doubt and blind faith both are two extremes and are not justified. In science also, we have faith that we will find the result, and only then we are able to move further. In religion too, we are able to gain faith only when our doubts are successfully removed. Let both these assets of human society, science and religion, go hand in hand to grow eternally.