An excerpt from Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, talks between Srila Prabhupada and Brahmatirtha dasa (Bob Cohen) in Mayapur, India, during 1972.
Bob: What is a scientist?
Srila Prabhupada: One who knows things as they are.
Bob: He thinks he knows things as they are.
Srila Prabhupada: What?
Bob: He hopes he knows things as they are.
Srila Prabhupada: No, he is supposed to know. We approach the scientist because he is supposed to know things correctly. A scientist means one who knows things as they are. Krsna is the greatest scientist.
Syamasundara: How is Krsna the greatest scientist?
Srila Prabhupada: Because He knows everything. A scientist is one who knows a subject matter thoroughly. He is a scientist. Krsna He knows everything.
Bob: I am presently a science teacher.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, teaching. But unless you have perfect knowledge I how can you teach? That is our question.
Bob: Without perfect knowledge, though, you can teach
Srila Prabhupada: That is cheating; that is not teaching. That is cheating. Just like the scientists say, "There was a chunk . . . and the creation took place. Perhaps. Maybe . . . " What is this? Simply cheating! It is not teaching; it is cheating.
Bob: Without perfect knowledge, can I not teach some things? For example, I may
Srila Prabhupada: You can teach up to the point you know.
Bob: Yes, but I should not claim to teach more than I know.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, that is cheating.
Syamasundara: In other words, he can't teach the truth if he has only partial knowledge.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is not possible for any human being. A human being has imperfect senses. So how can he teach perfect knowledge? Suppose you see the sun as a disc. You have no means to approach the sun. If you say that we can see the sun by telescope and this and that, they are also made by you, and you are imperfect. So how can your machine be perfect? Therefore, your knowledge of the sun is imperfect. So don't teach about the sun unless you have perfect knowledge. That is cheating.
Bob: But what about teaching that it is supposed that the sun is 93,000,000 miles away?
Srila Prabhupada: As soon as you say "it is supposed," it is not scientific.
Bob: But I think that almost all science, then, is not scientific.
Srila Prabhupada: That is the point!
Bob: All science is based on, you know, suppositions of this or that.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. They are teaching imperfectly. Just like they are advertising so much about the moon. Do you think their knowledge is perfect?
Srila Prabhupada: Then?
Bob: What is the proper duty of the teacher in society? Let us say a science teacher. What should he be doing in the classroom?
Srila Prabhupada: You should simply teach about Krsna.
Bob: He should not teach about
Srila Prabhupada: No. That will include everything. His aim should be to know Krsna.
Bob: Can a scientist teach the science of combining acid and alkaline, and this kind of science, with Krsna as its object?
Srila Prabhupada: How can it be?
Bob: If you when one studies science, one finds general tendencies of nature, and these general tendencies of nature point to a controlling force . . .
Srila Prabhupada: That I was explaining the other day. I asked one chemist whether, according to chemical formulas, hydrogen and oxygen linked together become water. Do they not?
Bob: It's true.
Srila Prabhupada: Now, there is a vast amount of water in the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. What quantity of chemicals was required?
Bob: How much?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. How many tons?
Srila Prabhupada: So who supplied it?
Bob: . . . I see.
Srila Prabhupada: So that is science. You can teach like that.