creation of the human kind (and why some are so unhappy :)

Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Dec 23 19:16:15 UTC 1998

These simplistic theories are simply annoying.
I would again request you to study literature
hard before making up prolonged unsubstantial
comments.  Not knowing sanskrit is not an
enough excuse to start writing arbitrary

Kindly give us respite..

Bijoy Misra

On Wed, 23 Dec 1998, Partha Banerjee wrote:

> Please see my response at the bottom. Thanks. -pb-
> ________
> >Partha Banerjee wrote :
> >
> >
> >The theories of evolution have much fewer questions unanswered than the
> >"theories" of creation do. And unlike creationists, evolutionists do not
> >pretend that they have all the answers.
> >The creationist theory on the other hand is only a myth, but pro-creation
> >philosophers (mostly status quo politicians and the religious right) clothe
> >it in a quasi-scientific garb.
> >"Creationists for the most part are fundamentalist Christians (make it
> >fundamentalists - PB) whose central premise is a literal interpretation of
> >the Bible (make it Puranas or the Quran - PB) and a belief in its
> >inerrancy. In adopting a literal interpretation of the Bible, they differ
> >from nearly all other Christians and Jews (make it other Hindus or Muslims
> >- PB).  Scientists, many of whom are religious, have no wish to deny
> >fundamentalists their own beliefs, but the creationists are determined to
> >impose their views on others. In particular, they are lobbying to have
> >science classes teach the ideas of: a sudden creation from nothing by God;
> >a worldwide flood; a young Earth; and the separate ancestry of humans and
> >apes.[...] And because they depend on supernatural intervention, not
> >natural law, they are also unscientific. There is no scientific evidence,
> >or even an appeal from common sense or experience, to suport the
> >creatinists' claims." [From Tim M. Berra, Evolutoin and the Myth of
> >Creationism. Stanford University Press, 1990]
> >Creationists also take advantage of the reluctance of the scientific
> >community to get into raucous political fights. That's how Christian
> >Council has become so powerful in USA, a country that has thousands of
> >extremely intelligent scientists. The same logic could be applied to the
> >situation in India or say, Pakistan or Iran.
> >
> >___
> >
> >Dear Sri Banerjee,
> >
> >I suggest that you provide some proof in support of your statements that
> >Hinduism supports the creation theory or the so-called Hindu right supports
> >the creation theory. Hinduism (I mean all the religions in Hinduism)
> >support the belief that there is no creation. There is a projection and
> >then there is contraction (destruction) and this is a never ending process.
> >I suggest you might want to read the Nasadiya Sukta of RgVeda. Alternately,
> >you might read some works of Hindu philosophers (from any of the six
> >Darshanas) and their ideas about the Jagat (universe). Swami Vivekananda is
> >one. There are many.
> >
> >Without having any basis for saying whatever it is you have said, you
> >demonstrate a desire to drag the Hindu right into anything that is
> >controversial and, sometimes, abhorrent. Please try and be a little more
> >focused in your criticism. I have read nearly all your postings and never
> >have you desisted from criticizing the RSS and BJP whether or not they are
> >related to the topic or not. I don't think the fact that you spent 15 years
> >with the RSS holds much water in light of the theme of criticism that you
> >have chosen to adopt. It does not automatically make you an authority on
> >what RSS stands for and what it doesn't.
> >
> >Ashish
> _________
> I would like to quote a line or two that was posted recently in Indology.
> "strictly speaking, scientific models do not include God.
> They only deal with what can be studied systematically and explained in
> natural terms. God is beyond the reach of science, which can neither
> prove nor disprove his existence."
> I agree with the above. I have no problems with those who believe in God as
> long as they don't want to impose their God on us.
> Having said that, it is no surprise that pro-RSS pro-VHP/BJP scholars are
> so disturbed by our exposure of their much-beloved "respected religious"
> groups. In my above post, I have said *nothing* directly against the RSS
> (in fact most of it covers Christian fundamentalists' views on evolution
> and creation), but I have tried to point out some analogy amongst the
> various rightist groups across religions.
> I am no Sanskrit scholar (and we don't have to be one in order to fight
> fascism and politics of religion), but I was trained as an evolution
> biologist and systematist.  Manu, Parashar, the concepts of Kalpams or
> Kalpas, the concept of Dasavatars, the great flood, etc. are Hindu
> mythological stories that have allusion to the Hindu "theory" of creation
> (or can we say, a disjunct or discontinuous mode of birth of the human and
> other species). At least, they do not corroborate the theory of Darwinian
> evolution that is based on scientific evidence, origin of species, and
> natural selection.
> Of course, Hindu stories are not the same as, say, a Christian version of
> creation, however, we find analogous discourses. Creationists can also
> justify racial and other such inequalities via their theory of ununiform
> and/or disjunct modes of development of the human race. Here Hinduism is no
> different at all when we see notions such as Brahmins and "upper castes" to
> have been derived from the upper parts of God's body and the lowest parts
> giving birth to the shudras. Is this evolution? Not by any stretch of
> imagination.
> I am not really against the puranic or vedic stories when it comes to
> spiritualism. In fact, I like them a lot. But I have problems when they are
> imposed on us with a connotation of supremacism and as scientific evidence.
> Fundamentalist Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. are no
> exception to this rule. This is what I wanted to say in my above post where
> I quoted Tim Berra.
> My 15 years with RSS, etc. has nothing to do with our present discussion.
> -Partha

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