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Re: Dealing with Darwin?

From: Anand Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Fri May 07 1999 - 14:50:54 PDT

SrI:
SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaNN-
SatakOpa SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

Dear devotees,
namO nArAyaNA.


Sri Mani wrote :
>
> Similarly, pratyaksha and anumAna (i.e., science) is meant
> to understand the world that we see and live in.  Whatever
> is posited by the Vedas and other scriptures has to agree
> with scientific observation. Sri Ramanuja makes the brilliant
> point that when one's understanding of the Veda disagrees
> with knoweldge obtained through scientific investigation, the
> scientific observation is preferred; the Veda
> must be reinterpreted to fit with the observation.
> Two ways of knowing simply cannot be in conflict.
> This principle, in my opinion, reflects a unique genius,
> and blends the scientific and religious outlooks.

  Thanks to Sri Mani for explaining the various role
  played by the three pramAnAs. While it is true that pratyaksha
  and anumAna has their individual role,  we can't make a blanket
 statement that the entire Science/All the theories of Scientists, falls

 under this category.

 As explained well by Sri Rajaram, there are various defects
 associated with the way Scientists analyses things. The
 inference (anumAna) a scientist makes needn't always be right.

 For instance, there are many existing theories regarding the creation
 of the Universe. Each scientist is inferring something from some
 data (direct observation , may be erroneous also) and makes his
 own inference. Obviously, all these inferences are not simultaneously
 right.

 vEdAs give a good account regarding the creation of the Universe,
 concentrating mainly on the way Brahman makes use of the primordial
 matter to end up with the full creation and simultaneously being the
 antaryAmi for them (ie. both material and instrumental cause). Various
 stages in this creation are also stated. This is the backbone
structure.
 Since Scientists will  come up with newer and newer theories about the
 creation of the universe,  there is no need to bother about them. If at
all
 any Scientist finds the way in which SrIman nArAyaNA actually
 manipulated the various material tattvAs etc, it is applaudable. But
again,
 all the laws of physics can't be proved ; they can only be verified,
that
 too with the assumptions !! So, if at all a scientisct claims that his
theory
 about the creation of universe is correct, adiyEn doesn't know whether
 there is any way to prove it to be a fact. Ofcourse, what a vEdAntin
 has to look towards such a Scientist is only in the various details in
the
 manipulation stage ( the actual backbone structure is already revealed
 in vEdAs and allied pramAnAs). Any theory proposed by a scientist
 that violates the backbone structure of creation presented in vEdAs,
 has to be rejected.

 Regarding the Darwin's theory of evolution, one SriVaishnava AchArya
 said that it is not supported by vEdAs. That AchAryA explained that
 nArAyaNA being the antaryAmi of chatur mukha Brahma created
 various species ( some order is also given .....snakes .......man, sth
like
 that ). This process involved the creation of various species in some
 intervals and not that some primary specie started evolving etc.
Ofcourse
 adiyEn has no knowledge about all these theories of scientists. But,
 one can't say for sure that Darwin's theory of evolution is a fact ; it

 is afterall a theory. But adiyEn also wonder as to whether this theory
 of evolution can be verified.

 If a vEdAntin  feels that Darwin's theory is perfectly right and it is
the
 thing PerumAL used in His creation, then its upto him to analyse
everything
 said in the vEdAs regarding creation and give the interpretation which
 doesn't violate Sabda pramAna, while satisfying the Darwin's theory. If

 someone manages do that, then we can consider the possibility that
Darwin's
 theory might be right.

 But, if one can find statements in vEdAs which directly contradicts the

 Darwin's theory, one has to reject that theory .

>
> For example, if the Veda says "the moon is made of
> green cheese", but our observations indicate that the
> moon is indeed not made of such a substance, the Veda
> must be reinterpreted to fit our observation.  Perhaps
> the Veda means something symbolically or metaphorically --
> whatever the case, our observation simply cannot be wrong.
>
  Yes. The language of vEdAs has to be understood properly.
 It has deeper meanings. Our AchAryAs have given brilliant
 interpretations and insights to various passages of vEdAs
 without landing up in any contradiction.

 At the same time, any theory proposed by Scientists can't be taken
 as valid anumAna (leave the pratyaksha apart). If the inferences
 made by Scientists are wrong (which is very much possible and
 history very much proves it), we can't take it as a fact.

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
 ananthapadmanAbha dAsan
 krishNArpaNam