Quote:

Minds Are Like Parachutes, They Only Function When Open

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Discussion on Vedas and Science - Part1, 2 and 3



VJ Singh, is the moderator of the website www.vjsingh.com, and believes in One True Religion, The Vedic Religion in its pristine form. He claims he doesn't believe in Vedas but he knows the Vedic Religion is THE true religion. This is an extraordinary claim and an extraordinary claim needs extraordinary proofs. VJ Singh and his website has been influential in changing my views on religion a couple of years ago. I have utmost respect for this gentlemen and he has some very good logical explanations for various points he raises. Nevertheless, I do not agree fully with his views. I have published our discussion below, and I will update as we continue.


For clarity,VJ's response is in red font and mine in black.

Part One

Raj - Hi VJ, How are you?
Vj ~ Fantastic, my friend. I see you have made some progress - from dogma to atheism - very good!

Raj-We had a very brief discussion on Manu Dharma a couple of years ago when I was a staunch Hindu. Now the transition is fully complete and I am an athiest.
Vj ~ Way to go, man, it is better to be an atheist than a hypocrite.

Raj-I will go back to thiesm, should I find compelling evidence but it looks like that is highly unlikely at this point.
Vj ~ Evidence is what will eventually lead to the truth, but that evidence must be by your own effort (study and practice) and not from anyone else. I can only show you the way as Swami Dayanand did for us all.

Raj-Your site was very influential at that time when I had my doubts about Hinduism. I still have my doubts about the vedas, which you regard as primordial texts, for some reason, only revealed to ancient altrusitic sages of India.
Vj ~ I hope you still find it influential for it is the only way to the evidences you seek.

Raj -I would love to believe that Vedic texts are sacred and divine, and being an Indian, i would like to take great pride in it but i will set aside my judgement until proven so, and hence i thought of having a discussion with you on this subject.
Vj ~ "The less you know the more you believe." Bono. Belief belongs to dogmas like the one you just abandoned, so strive to know, instead.

Raj - I have other objections as well, the main one being your perpective on Evolution, which to me seems to be one of the most simplest yet the most powerful idea and you seem to disregard it.
Vj ~ Study evolution as discussed by me carefully and you will see that I have very good reasons for disregarding it.


Raj-I am not a biolgist and I am sure you are not either, but as this discussion progresses, i will try to come up with examples of why evolution makes sense(atleast to me).
Vj ~ It makes no sense at all to the wise, since it is a total breach to natural laws

Raj- Could you please throw some light on why you think the vedic religion is the true religion.
Vj ~ I don't "think" it is, I KNOW it is. I haven't found any yet who can contradict it. It is free of historical references and erroneous views.I

Raj- have written an article called - The god who failed consistently, please click the following link and most or some of the points I raised in the article holds good in the case of Vedas as well.

Vj ~ If the God or the Vedas failed anyone, it is one's own fault and not God or the Vedas.

Regards,


You can also read the above in VJSingh's forum:




Part Two


Vj ~ Fantastic, my friend. I see you have made some progress - from dogma to atheism - very good!

Raj: Thanks, VJ. But, I was never really dogmatic, although I am a Brahmin I never could come to terms with the superiority of Brahmins as laid out by Hindu texts.My school was an Arya Samaj School named after Sanskrit Grammarian Panini, and thanks to the Sanskrit subject, my moral principles were firmly based on sayings of Bhartruhari, Vidhura and other scholars of Nitishatakas but not really on scriptures(Vedas included). Being an Aryasamaj school, there used to be a yagna(havan), every week, with the same vedic verses repeated again and again, of them we hardly understood. We didn’t have a slightest of clue what that was about and was boring as hell. That was as dogmatic as any other ritual that we commonly see in all other religions.

Vj ~ Way to go, man, it is better to be an atheist than a hypocrite.
Raj- Can't agree more.

Vj ~ Evidence is what will eventually lead to the truth, but that evidence must be by your own effort (study and practice) and not from anyone else. I can only show you the way as Swami Dayanand did for us all.

Raj - Truth based on solid evidence is truth irrespective of where it comes from. There are some evidences that we can verify and understand that are within our domain knowledge e.g. as in the case of gravitation. There are evidences that we cannot possibly see and understand fully well because we cannot master every subject, e.g. atomic theory, which can only be accepted as truth, because it has been firmly established as sound theory by expert scientists, Neils Bohr etc. Now how do I believe atomic theory is sound, because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be able to generate nuclear power if the fundamental principles of atomic theory were flawed. The Large Hadron Collider, a £5 billion experiment, successfully fired protons at speed of light to simulate an environment seconds after a big bang. This takes us to my next point, the big bang theory, which if it was just a maverick scientist’s imaginary theory, we will not have been able to simulate in a controlled experiment. I have no problem accepting evidence if it comes from someone else, if the evidence sounds logical.

Vj ~ I hope you still find it influential for it is the only way to the evidences you seek.
Raj – Your site is logical when debunking other religions. . Paradoxically, you claim your religion is in concordance with science, but it looks like you cherry pick scientific principles that supports the vedic religion and disregard other which clashes with yours.

Vj ~ "The less you know the more you believe." Bono. Belief belongs to dogmas like the one you just abandoned, so strive to know, instead.

Raj- Absolutely, and the more you believe, you believe even more. I have absolutely no qualms in accepting that the religion I left was dogmatic. It was a painful experience drifting away from the religion I was born in, but Truth is bitter, and I have the guts to swallow the bitter pill.

Vj ~ Study evolution as discussed by me carefully and you will see that I have very good reasons for disregarding it.

Raj – I did.This is what separates us and I have very good reasons not to disregard evolution. This makes the discussion more interesting, but if I can find truth, I do not mind losing the argument. Because, what matters is the Truth. Let us look at your claims of breach of natural laws.

VJ ~First breach of natural laws:If man had really evolved from a lower creature, then it was, as it were, a fact - a law which according to evolutionists, was unceasing in its operations under any conditions whatsoever. If the law was of a constant and permanent nature, ever working itself out, how was it that for thousands of years past, no lower creature had evolved into a human being.


There are two aspects in your argument that I see as flawed.
First, there is no law in evolution, which says every species out there on earth, eventually evolves and evolves, until it reaches its culmination point – ‘The Human Being’. I mean, there are no evolutionists out there, who propose a linear theory, Rat turns into Cat, Cat into a Dog, Dog into Donkey, Donkey into a Chimpanzee, and chimpanzee into a Human Being. As a matter of fact such an asinine theory is possible according to metaphysical laws of oriental philosophies(law of karma), where past and present deeds may dictate what one will be in next life but it holds no place in evolutionary biology.

**


Evolution produces a pattern of relationships A B C D among lineages that is tree-like, not ladder-like.

Secondly, The variables in the equation called evolution are Time , the Environment and the Random mutations. The environment itself is constantly changing. For example, at point in time called T1, let us say the environment is E1. But the environment is a complex equation in itself , made up of further randomly changing variables( Let us say atmospheric conditions -Rain, Sunlight, Wind, Snow, Magnetic field, the ecological parameters such as population of other species and number of different species etc.). At a different point in time say T2, Environment E2 is no way same as that of E1. Hence, any minor change, or a random mutation R1 in the characteristic of a species that helped that species to dominate in the environment E1, could actually be so pernicious in environment E2, that it could make that species extinct. That could give a great competitive advantage to other species and they start to dominate. Moreover, it is highly improbable, the same random mutation R1 will happen at time T2 in an environment E2. Hence, you cannot expect the mutations to proceed along the same line every time in every environment, ultimately trying to push every species towards mankind.
But, given enough time(which we had about 4 billion years), in right conditions, mutations in radically different sets of environments have produced almost the same kind of species. This is called convergent evolution.
**For example, birds and bats both have wings, while mice and crocodiles do not. Does that mean that birds and bats are more closely related to one another than to mice and crocodiles? No. When we examine bird wings and bat wings closely, we see that there are some major differences.



Bat wings consist of flaps of skin stretched between the bones of the fingers and arm. Bird wings consist of feathers extending all along the arm. These structural dissimilarities suggest that bird wings and bat wings were not inherited from a common ancestor with wings. This idea is illustrated by the phylogeny below, which is based on a large number of other characters.



Bird and bat wings are
analogous—that is, they have separate evolutionary origins, but are superficially similar because they evolved to serve the same function**. Hence, there is a chance, very highly improbable it may be, that given enough time and provided environmental pressures allow for it, one or some of the species out there may at some point in time can evolve into species similar to that of human. But, as we dominate the earth and with deforestation and animal extinction at its highest rates, the chances of such a convergence is near impossible. Finally, even in the unlikely event of such a convergence say in 10 billion years time, our lifespan will not permit us to witness it.

VJ -Second breach of natural laws:The theory of natural selection is indicative of nature's imperfections. According to it Nature is still improving. This theory points out the absence in Nature at present of the best forms that it will produce in the future. Progression is always downward, a law.


Raj – No, VJ. Nature is constantly changing not improving. Theory of natural selection is a mindless machine, and it has no purpose.

Let us take this example of, peppered moths. Moths in England usually come in two colours, dark and light, and during the industrial revolution , because of the pollutants released into the atmosphere, the barks of the trees were covered in black soot. This gave the advantage to the dark moths, as the darker moths are harder to see by the predators on the dark backgrounds and lighter moths are conspicuous to the predators. Hence, the number of lighter moths started to decrease. In the later years, due to stricter climate control measures and advent of alternative power generation techniques, the cleaner environment gave the advantage to the lighter coloured moths, as the darker moths are easily vulnerable on relatively lighter backgrounds.

In this example, nature didn’t have a grand plan or a direction, it is not biased against any one moth, it just gave an competitive edge to the darker moths because of the man made industrial revolution, and gave an edge to the lighter moth when the green revolution started. Theory of natural selection gives the advantage to those species that can adapt well in a particular environment. As I pointed out earlier, as this environment always changes, sometimes drastically, even the powerful species become extinct in one shot. Take another hypothetical example, all it takes is one drug resistant mutation of the flu into a powerful ones, and you and I could be discussing this on our deathbeds. Nature just favours that virus over us, and there could be some people who are resistant to that virus. All the others will perish, and rest will pass on their resistance to their generation , and nature hands back the advantage to us. The progression is neither downwards nor upwards. In the case of computer industry, progression is always upwards, memory devices are getting better and better. A 1GB hard disk in a computer used to be man made wonder 15 years ago, and now I have a 32 GB external hard drive in my car keys. Our knowledge is getting better and better contrary to what you claim.

Vj ~ It makes no sense at all to the wise, since it is a total breach to natural laws
Raj – Just because one is wise doesn’t mean one has an open mind. Minds are like Parachutes, they only function when open. It needs guts and wisdom just not to know, but digest the truth. Evolution is a natural law in itself, let alone, breaching the other laws.


Vj ~ I don't "think" it is, I KNOW it is. I haven't found any yet who can contradict it. It is free of historical references and erroneous views.

Raj – That is your subjective experience. What historical references, VJ? I have no evidence to believe man existed in the Jurassic age, let alone, Vedas.


Vj ~ If the God or the Vedas failed anyone, it is one's own fault and not God or the Vedas.

Raj – Sorry VJ, but you could use this same argument to prove any scripture and any God. Let us say there was religious book called Jedi’s commandments, whose God was Darth Vader, the above argument looks like this.
If Darth Vader or Jedi’s commandments failed anyone, it is one's own fault and not Darth Vader’s or the Jedi’s.


**
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIC1Homologies.shtml
Part 3
VJ ~ I have read your blog and the arguments are no different from those who have engaged me already. Replying to you will be like doing it all over again.As long as we are considered intelligent beings, it is progress from a stupor state (lower specy).If it is truly your desire in seeking the truth, I suggest you take the time to first study the books on Swami Dayanand that is available on my site and then make rebuttals. Reading is essential but study of the correct knowledge and practice lead to superior reasoning.

Raj ~ The rebuttal I wrote in my is site is on the grounds on which you discredit Evolution.
You wrote:"If it is truly your desire in seeking the truth, I suggest you take the time to first study the books on Swami Dayanand that is available on my site and then make rebuttals."
You must have done the same, my erudite friend, you should have read Evolution prperly, if not master it, before you discredit it. I married my wife in Arya Samaj, and i bought Swamiji's Satyardha Prakash. It was that book that lead me to your site and my path to athiesm.
Vj~I discredited it on the grounds of natural laws, what do Darwinians know of the functions of these laws? What idiot would writie of the evolution of any kind of life before knowing the origin of the soul and its purpose and the material cause of the universe?
Raj~I have many unanswered questions in that book, and i will raise as i go along.
Vj ~ I can honestly say, you are not looking for answers but to show off the ego, like all evolutionists do.Pandit Vishal was an Aryasamajee also, he claimed to have read all of Swami Dayanand's work, but on reading the Vishnu Puran he immediately returned to the fold of Hinduism. Wow! This shows that, the most abtruse science of the Divine is called WISDOM, it cannot be taught in any educational institution, nor can it be found in a science lab or a book, but can only be acquired through the practice of yoga (self-study by stenuous effort and practice).
Part 4
Watch this space for my rebuttal.

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