Dear Hanumat Presaka Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! I have recently listened to your lectures on scientific preaching. I am interested in learning more about this subject because I feel that it is related to my dharma. Maybe it is something that I can do for Krishna in the future.
I am currently living at the Krishna House in Gainesville, and I am enrolled in a Master of Education program at the University of Florida. I have a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of North Florida, and my current program is designed specifically for secondary science teachers.
When I first met the devotees, about 1 ½ years ago, I was taking a course in Advanced Evolution. I was thoroughly convinced that this was the mechanism by which species were created. It took some time for me to open up to the possibility that there is another explanation. I saw a presentation by Drutakarma prabhu on Forbidden Archaeology, and purchased his book Human Devolution. Unfortunately, I have not devoted much time to reading it yet.
For some time, I have left my questions about evolution behind, because I wanted to focus on strengthening my devotional life. Now I am faced with these questions once again, because I am expected to teach the theory of evolution, and no other theory of the origins of life, in the secondary classroom.
I am planning to talk to one professor, who I believe is Christian, to find out what is permissible and what is not. I feel that I should be allowed to bring up some of the holes in the theory, the “loose ends” that don’t line up perfectly. I should be able to encourage critical thinking. But many people in my field are adamant that nothing other than evolution should be taught because it is the only truly “scientific” theory for life’s origins.
I find it a bit paradoxical, because I am also learning that we should be sensitive to the various cultural backgrounds of our students. We should present information in a way that relates to their experiences and prior knowledge. Yet while many of my students will have been raised with a belief in God, I am only allowed to teach an atheistic theory that promotes the idea that we are nothing more than matter, a fantastic accident.
Forgive me for taking up so much of your time, but after listening to your lectures I felt that you are very qualified to answer some of my questions. I have spoken to several different people about these issues, and I have received several different responses. Someone suggested that I should focus only on reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, because they are the most valuable and because there are so many. Another devotee, who works as a cellular biologist, said that he believes evolution is the best explanation we have, but he is willing to let go of his attachment to scientific evidence when it comes into conflict with spiritual knowledge. He also made the point that in order to fully understand the arguments for and against evolution, he would need to become an evolutionary biologist, and even then he would not know everything.
So I guess my main question is this: Is it a worthwhile endeavor to try and learn about the scientific arguments for and against evolution? Can I use this in Krishna’s service? Also, if you feel that it is worthwhile, I would like to know which arguments against evolution do you think are the strongest?
In addition to Human Devolution I have Rethinking Darwin and Life comes from Life. What other resources do you recommend? Can I find more information on the conferences you mentioned in your lecture on scientific preaching? Are there any conferences coming up in the near future?
I greatly appreciate your taking the time to consider my questions. I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps I will even get to meet you at the Nashville Ratha Yatra! Hare Krishna!
HpS - ASA - Jaya! AGTSP. Paoho. You have many questions. Is it relevant to your service? I would say that it is a little bit relevant at this point. Like looking outside to see if it is raining before you leave for school in the morning. Now just try to focus on getting the standard for first initiation, 16-enthusiastic rounds, 4-principles strictly, a regular morning and evening program, experimenting with different service, sankirtan, association.
Of course, along with this you have to go on living, eating, working, and looking to see if it is raining, but only by the time you are ready for second initiation will you really know if detailed investigation into evolution is your service.
It's a big topic.
I don't know too much about Druta. and Sadaputa. books. Also there is Nature's IQ which was nice.
In general, and I think first point is that there are FUNDAMENTAL flaws in the evolutionary theory the way it is presented, and second we have a SCIENTIFIC explanation from the Bhagavata.
1. We accept natural selection, that pressure from the environment eliminates or favors different offspring. Krsna learned in Guru-kula how to do selective breeding. It has been know in Vedic culture for 5,000 years, comes with the Vedas.
But evolution is another thing. Evolution says that a random mutation fits into the envirionment, nature, better than exisiting forms. But this means, and I have seen from the very beginning of Darwin's presentation this flaw was recognized and Darwin and Huxley were try to dance around it, that if we are going to call it "better" the environment already is supplying a higher standard. Where does that come from? "Nature" already knows the highest standard and favors those random mutations that fit better into "her" goal?
For example, we know the example of green moths and grey moths related to the industrialization of the English countryside. Today gray moths survive but then when the soot is cleaned up we are back to green moths. Which is "higher" on the evolutionary scale?
Do you see the BASIC flaw?
We accept natural selection but not that things are getting better by chance.
Nature itself may be changing. Then some thing will fit in better today and not tomorrow.
Second, Bertram Russell said that the most important idea in the 20th century in the idea of chance, because no one has the slightest idea what it means.
Push a mathematicion, statistician, biologist on this point, "What is a random event, chance mutation?". If you look in a basic book on statistics it will tell you that a random event is an event the outcome of which can not be detemined, "We are absolutely sure we don't know".
In Vedic philosophy this is called "neti, neti", not this not this. It is an approach or a retreat toward knowloedge.
Evolution is based upon random mutations, but why can we say they are random? Maybe there is a cause why all the mutations occur that we just don't know yet. It is another big area, but from basic to advanced study we find it is full of faults, a random event.
Nature must already have a goal, where do "random" events come from?
Such a coffee and cigarette and Colonel Sander's chicken headed philosophy of the origin of the cosmos?
Hitler, Goebels, "If you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one, because nobody would ever expect you to say such a big one".
Third and last major flaw that we see.
If the chunk or singularity had no competition, was all there was, then why did it change? Was is improving? Was there a random event from some other source?
Then the alternative from the Bhagavatam. This is described briefly in the Gita more in the Second Canto etc. It is Sankhya. It is not understandeable to most Western intellectuals because they are conditioned to lower modes of mental activity. Their minds are absorbed in matter. We graduated 1st place in psychology for U. of California with minor studies in biology and electrical engineering. Then invited on on full fellowship to UCLA and Northwestern. Our mentor, Donald Campbell at NW pushed us with out own intelligence to look for wider perspectives. that lead okinawan karate, improvisational theater and YOGA.... SB... Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and Jiva Goswami.
Sankhya requires a change in perspective. We have to go from doing science (karma) to logical understanding of science (jnana) to contemplation, meditation in science (dhyana), to loving science (bhakti) to understand the deepest aspects of the source and operation of reality.
Meditation is only roughly taught in modern universities in the drama department in theater training as far as I know. Following the grand tradition of Stanislavskii and Viloa Spolin, "My LIfe in Art" and "Improvisation for the Theater" they offer practical methods of meditation for Western modern people. We use them in our ISKCON yoga.
What is the knowledge?
That Krsna expands as the Minister of Prisons, Maha-visnu. He sends the glass, cement, steel, wood, pnut-butter and BLUE PRINTS and PRISON RULES. Garbodaksayi visnu enters each prison as its Warden. Ksirodakasayi Visnu enters as the individual Guards.
Brahms in the Trustee who creates the individual cells etc.
The criminals, lunatics move in.
It starts from subtle to gross, from steam to water to ice.
The creation stories in the beginning are taking place when there are like maybe 100 gods and goddesses in the universe. It is a subtle level. More permament and substantial than gross matter. The blue print level. In a dream a women may have erotic connection with a snake and give birth to snake babies. This is the dream world. It is more "real" than the gross world. Read Carl Jung's Auto biography.
Then the subtle bodies from the demigod level start to produce more gross bodies at the semi-demigod level like Gandharvas (fairies), Dwarfs etc. They are magical powers to disappear etc. Then from them it evolves to ice, gross level, our level. Blue print becomes house.
This is a summary.
The details and the explantion of how to scientifically experience it are there in the SB.
We will submit this essay to the Spirit of Carl G. Jung with whom we are now having a dialog. Thank you!!!! We hope this was useful.
First thing is to get fixed deep in you heart in getting up early and getting your rounds done!!