The religious angle to evolutionary theory

(This article was posted in the ?Meditations? column of the Hindustan Times on 1 October 2002.) SHOULD CHARLES Darwin?s evolutionary theory still be the reigning philosophy of biological science and the general understanding of our origin? Many think not. From a secular point of view, thoughtful students of anthropology and palaeontology have serious doubts about Darwin?s 1859 writings on evolution. Further, 80 per cent of Americans today think that Darwin?s theory is not the only explanation of our beginnings and that creationism should be taught in that country?s public schools. These findings were the result of a year-2000 US poll. There are scientists who remind us that the ?missing link? has never been discovered, and that after nearly a century and a half of ?natural selection?, no one has produced hard evidence of one species transforming into another. Moreover, in his classic 700-page book, Forbidden Archeology, Michael Cremo catalogues discoveries of hundreds of tools, arti- facts and human remains. These findings were situated in strata dated with current scientific methods at over a million years old, indirectly corroborating truths in the Puranas. The Padnia Purana lists the numbers of aquatics, plants, insects, birds, beasts, and humans at 8.4 million. Today?s ?jury? of anthropologists believe that two million species have been named to date, and that there are up to 30,000,000 more to be discovered and categorised. If God is accepted as omnipresent, omniscient, all loving and omnipotent, it follows that God can and does intervene in human affairs, hears prayers, has a relationship with us, and creates universes in all their diversity of life forms. Moreover, a series of moral principles such as cleanliness, kindness, courage, compassion, austerity and truth, accompanies any full knowledge of God. Conversely, and significantly, many influential thinkers embraced Darwinism because it made no moral judgments, leaving all developments to chance and random occurrences. Scriptures in most religions confirms that every species was created by God and has existed since time immemorial. Theories based on Darwin, which embrace survival of the fittest and amorality, are intellectually and spiritually restrictive, and cannot co-exist rationally with full knowledge of God. How did we get here, and why do we exist? Darwinian theory cannot retain such a monolithic and quasi-religious status in the scientific market place. The Puranic and Vedic writings detail, our origins and purpose. and deserve at least as much attention from scientists worldwide. The writer is emeritus member of the ISKCON governing body of commission.