Rational and emotional people can stereotypically be called as two extreme opposites – the rational as being objective and disciplined, the emotional as being subjective and impulsive. This is merely a saying which is tempted by the indeterminable desire of human to classify things. At this point, if there is something worth mentioning, it is that most of the time, rational thought works in cooperation with emotions; but it’s again a fact that more often than not, emotions do get in the way of rational thought. Therefore the phenomenon about these two has two extensions – one concerning scientific observations and the other concerning daily-life decisions.
It is claimed that science had to be objective. However, it is usually not. It is obvious that experiments are performed after making a prediction about the result. This is also written in the “Scientific Method” section of most of the science books being studied in high schools and universities. Therefore, with no doubt, most of the time the scientist tries to proove that his prediction is true. As a result, the chooses the materials and the method of the experiment in order to show that he predicted correctly. Here comes the question: How can we say that all of the scientific observations were independent of any subjectivity? Eventually emotions prevent the scientist from being completely objective, because he has an innate desire to succeed in making others think and believe in the way he does – which is caused by the interpretations in the emotional part of the brain. Yet it is not certain if the proven (so called) theorems really reflect the truth or not.
Another concept about emotions being related to science is probably the emotions being a “reason” for science. Science is there because people wonder. If people were not curious about anything, would science ever exist? At this point, it is worth mentioning what Albert Einstein once said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.
For the other extension, emotions do not avoid thinking rationally, but the two work together when daily-life decisions are taken into account. If one of the ways of getting rational knowledge is experiencing, then it can not be denied that experiences create a scene in one’s emotional part of mind. For instance, one has to make a decision about wearing a seat-belt or not.
His rational knowledge warns him about the risk of dying in the case of an accidental crash if he doesn’t wear it. Now, do you think that he could be able to decide to wear the seat-belt if he didn’t see, hear or read it somewhere – just by using his rational knowledge about the risk of dying? Certainly not. Besides, would he wear it if he didn’t fear of death, which is a very strong emotion? To look at the point from another perspective, would seat-belts ever be invented if people didn’t fear death? Here comes the effect of emotions. Directly or indirectly, they help one make inventions.
Religion, an open-to-discussion subject, is cerainly not independent of emotions. What make one believe in God are most probably his fear of being unprotected or being punished for his bad behaviour, his tendency to find a reason for him and other things about having been created and his need of being relieved by putting the blame on fate (so on God) about things not going in the right way. Almost all natural sciences find the “fire exit” on the walls of religion. However, biology is probably the most obvious one which has the prints of religion.
After a few “why” questions, comes “God’s creation”. “Why is each individual living thing different from the others, even from the other members of its specie?” “Because their structure of DNA are different.” “Why is that?” “That’s the creation.” Can you answer why a normal single hydrogen atom has only one electron in monoatomic form? “That’s how God created it.” Can you ever find a further, rational reason? No. Albert Einstein again has a saying about this aspect: “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” Since religion, this way or that, depends on emotions, it can be concluded that Einstein once more showed that he accepted that science and emotions were not opposite concepts.
Emotions may sometimes get in the way of rational thought while making scientific observations. Nevertheless, science without emotions would be meaningless and incomplete. Firstly, emotions in a way “give birth” to scientific inventions – like a mother giving birth to her baby. Secondly, emotions, in the form of religion, helps science escape from struggling to find an aswer to the endless “why” questions. Finally they help one interprete the rational knowledge such as experience and so to make this knowledge strong enough to make one decide. Therefore we may call emotions as a companion of rational thought.
As a final question, how can you be sure about the objectivity of what I have been telling throughout this essay? Maybe I was just trying to make you see things from my perspective and therefore didn’t tell you about any opposite ideas to what I believe just because emotionally I needed to satisfy my ego.