Can science lead us to God?

(The following article was posted in the "Meditations" column of the Hindustan Times, one of India's largest english language daily newspapers, on 3 February 2003.) SCIENCE HAS more monopoly on taste than McDonalds. Only knowledge burgeoning from the non-Vedic viewpoint satisfies. So the existence of God cannot be proven. Or can it? Many scientists say no, but others, like Patrick Glynn, say yes. Glynn, a Harvard Ph.D, former nuclear physicist who worked for the US Defense Department, is a scientist who feels that out-of-body events are indications that what we don't see may still exist. His popular book, "God the Evidence", purports to prove God exists. Many instances o? out-of-body experiences have been recorded by surgeons. Such doctors claim proof that unconscious, totally sedated patients, could, on awakening, recall exact readings of instruments. These dials were well outside each patient's angle of vision ? which usually constituted little more than the operation theatre's ceiling. Of course their eyes were closed hence they couldn't seen anything. They remember floating above their bodies and noticing all that went on. Doctors say these instances are "proof" that life is distinct from the body. Indirectly, this indicates the presence of the soul or atma (which, according to Random House Webster's and the OED, is now an English word ? hurrah!) Such notions aren't necessarily consistent with spiritual knowledge. We're informed that believers and non-believers will eternally exist (Bhagavad Gita, 16.6). In the year 1601, Sir Francis Bacon wrote nature had to be "hounded in her wanderings" and "made a slave". The aim of the scientist, thought Bacon, was "to torture nature's secrets from her." Some transcendentalists fear that science professes to be the exclusive and irrefutable path to truth, bound by the commandment "thou shalt think only materialistically." It has been construed by sages that the Gita is a combination of devotion and science. In other words, religion without philosophy is often blind fanaticism. We'd like to think that Adam and Isaac (Newton) both held the same apple, but few scientists would agree. However, some, including Albert Einstein, have felt that the unknown features of science constitute God. They believe that the yet-to-be-discovered aspects of nature and the "reason" for the shape and colour of certain crystals, fauna, flora, and other material constituents, are all God's handiwork. One hopes that by scrutinising study of the Gita that material scientists may come to know how we can communicate with the spiritual world of God. (The writer is emeritus member of the ISKCON governing body commission.)