Other faiths (3) The Vedas

Geoff Bagley (gbagley@innotts.co.uk)
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 22:50:03 GMT

There has been some discussion recently as to whether people of other
faiths would come to the same conclusion regarding the history of the earth
as do YEC's do.

Thanks to my local library, I have been able to do some research on various
faiths which I will post in 4 parts (taking note of requests for smaller
mailings) finishing with a conclusion. I am not in a position to say
whether the references I quote from are authoritative and orthodox within
the religion concerned.

3) The Vedas

The Vedas are the main religious writings of the Aryan race that invaded
North India around 2000 BC. They would appear to be one of the streams of
thought that developed into Hinduism

My local library has two books published by the Bhaktivedanta Institute
founded in 1975 and is dedicated to the advance study of the nature and
origin of life and the universe in light of ancient India's Vedic
literature. (I suspect that this is a mden reworking of ancient ideas)

Book 1: Synthesis of Science and Religion: Critical Essays and Dialogues
ed. T.D. Singh 1987

This is a collection of papers and discussions from the First Worl Congress
on the Synthesis of Science and Reigion, Bombay, 1986

Among the delegates were several well-known Western scientist and
theologians: Harvey Cox, Richard Gregory, John Cobb, Jurgen Moltmann,
Fritjof Capra, George Wald, John searle. (It's possible that some only
submitted papers and were not actually present.) As well as papers on
evolution, there were others on cosmology, mind, brain and consciousness
and an attempt at synthesis of religion with religion and religion and

There was a paper by Ernan McMullin on the Impact of the Theory of
Evolution on Western Religious Thought which seems to be a straightforward
historical account ending with reference to the anthropic principle.

A response 'Vedantic Views on Evolution' is given by T.D Singh
Darwin's theory is described as 'atheistic in content and spirit'

However, Vedanta culminates in the understanding of life and God and
literally means 'the end of all knowledge'. There are two aspects, in one
God has a supreme individual personality and in the other the 'impersonal
energy of God' is studied

It is recognised that living organisms are made up of chemicals but the
real life - atma - interacts with the chemical elements to form temprorary
living bodies. Apparently an atheistic Indian in 500BC tried to propagate
neo-darwinian materialistic ideas on life but didn't have much success.
There are 8,400,000 seperate species of life (ref given to the Brahma-
vaivarta Purana.

In the vedantic view, evolution is defined being under the laws of karma
and consciousness transmigrates from one body of less conscious capacity to
another of higher consciousness capacity. Consciousness evolves not the

An argument is advanced that the earth's primitive atmosphere was not of a
reducing kind with no free oxygen and that data from geology, geophysics
and geochemistry suggest that it did not happen. reference is given to a
paper by P.H. Abelson, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S., 55 (1966) 1365

Quote on lack of evidence for reducing atmos.: 'Thus, from purely
scientific argumenst, there are sufficients reasons to doubt the neo-
Darwinian model of the evolution of life and its origin.'There follows a
quote from Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and then continues 'Although all modern
biology textbooks present with great enthusiasm Darwin's evolutionary
theory and the hypothetical chemical nature of life, it would be worthwhile
for serious students and scholars to reexamine the supposed chemical or
geologic basis of life in the light of the Vedantic paradigm." (p.96)

also according to the Vedantic view, thel ife universe is 311,040 billion
years and our present univers is over 150,000billion years. At the end of
life, the universe is annihaleted and creation will begin again (4.32
billion year cycle) The evidence for this is from the vedantic writing.

In the vedantic view, modern science which studies matter must compliment
true religion. there is no conflict

Book 2: Forbidden Archaeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race
Michael Cremo & Richard Thompson (San Diego 1993)

I have not read this (it is nearly 1000pages) but the dust cover gives some
idea of its contents:

"Over the past two centuries, researchers have found the bones and
artefacts showing that people like ourselves existed on earth millions of
years ago. But the scientific establishment has suppressed, ignored, or
forgotten these remarkable facts. Why? Because they contradict dominant
views of human origins and antiquity.

Evolutionary prejudices, deeply held by powerful groups of scientists have
acted as ... a 'knowledge filter.' And the filtering, intentional or not,
has left us with a radically incomplete set of facts for building our ideas
about human origins.

Deploying an unexpectedly great number of convincing facts, deeply
illuminated with critical analysis, Cremo and Thompson challenge us to
rethink our understanding of human origins and destiny."

They examine what seems to be all the findings of human fossils.

They openly admit to a vedantic world view, though they also claim to be
following philosophers of science like Paul Feyerabend nad historians of
science like J. S. Rudwick who has explored in dertail the nature of
scientific controversy.

There are also appendices on Radioactive Dating methods! including one
entitled 'Radiocarbon Dates vs. Stratigraphy: Which is More Reliable?'

Their conclusion:Combining these findings with those from the preceding
chapters, we conclude that the total evidence, including fossil bones and
artefacts, is most consistent with the view that anatomically modern humans
have coexisted with other primates for tens of millions of years."

One more thing. I know that dust cover quotes are selective and out of
context, but there is a quote from a leading proponent of YEC even though
it is obvious he is not in agreement with the conclusions. (As attempts are
being made to reduce the acerbity of this discussion list, I shall not name

Geoff Bagley