This post is written by Jessica Reynolds, a writer who strives to offer information and resources, including data about scientific posters to students and those interested in the sciences.
Scientific research is a field full of discovery, innovation, and scrutiny. By definition it has to be all of those things, or no advancements would be made. And because scientists are supposed to scrutinize data with an objective eye, they are subject to the same treatment by the outside world. When spirituality comes into play, it is even more important than usual for scientists to remain objective, for they will be under the harsh eyes of the watching world.
There is a lot to be said about the importance of ethics and values when it comes to scientific research. No matter what field is being discussed, it is always important to consider the privacy of subjects and people involved with experiments. If personal information is used, an informed consent form must be signed. Information must be shared according to the facts. Scientists do not have the luxury of letting their personal beliefs shape the results of their work.
This is not to say that spirituality has no place in science. Contrarily, spirituality can often shape how people approach their work. Though the data and findings need to be objective and based on facts, the motivation for research is often based on interests, curiosity, and spiritual beliefs and questions. The way we approach things is also often affected by our spiritual beliefs.
This last point is the very reason that when spirituality is involved, objectivity becomes even more important. If research is related to a spiritual topic, it will come under a heavy amount of scrutiny. Therefore it is important that any personal investment is put aside, and the researcher works that much harder to objectively find the truth. They must explore every explanation and argument and present possibilities and possibilities and facts as facts. If there are inconsistencies, a controversial topic is more likely to be disregarded than explored for its potential.
Some people view science and spirituality as enemies, while others see them as different approaches to the same end; answering the mysteries of the universe. Spirituality can be seen in many ways, but most often deals with a belief in something larger than oneself. Science seeks to explain both the large and small intricacies of the world, by relying on undeniable facts. Science is constantly evolving as we dig deeper and learn more. Many once held theories are now dismissed as ridiculous. Some spiritual beliefs have undergone the same changes in how they are viewed.
Some argue that it is impossible for humanity to be completely objective. After all, the scientific community is slow to accept new theories, often because of a paradigm related bias. When new explanations and theories disprove what we have accepted to be true, we are slow to accept that. This criticism is not bad; rather it ensures that new innovations are explored thoroughly.
The fact that both science and spirituality are under intense scrutiny encourages objectivity and values in scientific research. There will always be dishonesty in any field, but scientists are keenly aware that there will be a sharp eye on their discoveries. By continuing to reward innovative and ethical research, perhaps science, including the spiritual aspect of the human mind, can continue to expand our knowledge.