By Ravi Ladva – (http://raviladva.blogspot.com/2011/08/religion-proof.html)
On the 24th of August 2011, I received a tweet from the Hindu American Foundation (great people should follow them if you have twitter). The tweet was to a link in the Washington Post about an article that Dr Aseem Shukla the co founder of the Hindu American Foundation had written, [Link1] titled “Ancient Hinduism enlightens modern notions of evolution.”
Normally it is the Abrahamic faiths that venture forth into the world of science and nine times out of ten come back with there ideas, arguments and evidence torn to shreds. Unfortunately the Dharmic faiths are not exempt from this. I have lost count the amount of times i have to explain to Hindus, Buddhists Jains and Sikhs that there are things that Modern Science has that no religion can claim for themselves. The primary one is Evolution.
Granted that the Dharmic faiths have more affinity to evolution than the Abrahamic faiths, however it is not the same thing. I do not want to drag this out more than it needs to be so the two pieces of evidence that Dr Shukla gave one more controversial than the other i want to dismantle because simply it is just wrong. First In the sixth paragraph of his article he cites that Hindu Puranas [Link 2] in particular the ten avatars of Vishnu that they are an ancient insight into evolution before Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle.
Sadly it is not, the only common link between the two is the development from ocean to land and even that is flawed, because it misses out Birds an important evolutionary development stage. This leads to the ultimate flaw in the link between the ten avatars of Vishnu and Evolution is the fact he first avatar Matsya the fish avatar saves Manu a human being who in turn saves a number of other people to restart civilization.
It is therefore nothing like Evolution if human pre exist Fish. Evolution explains the complexity of life and the origins of life on this planet and the rest of the universe. The 10 avatars make no attempt to do anything of the sort and is fundamentally theological and soteriological therefore it can not be Science.
To dismantle the next point I’m going to borrow the logic and line of enquiry from Christopher Hitchens [Link 3] Dr Shukla points out very astute points made about Hindu cosmology and modern understanding about cosmology from Carl Sagan. It is great the Hindu cosmology has a unique grasp of time and space but it also shines light on the ignorance of Science.
Accepting Carl Sagan’s point that the universe started with the Big Bang 13 billion years ago and of that 8.64 billion are dedicated to the formation of Earth and all it’s life and diversity. Now of that 8.64 billion years 542 million years are given to the Dinosaurs from Precambian to the current Neogene. Still of that 100,000 years are needed to for human development. Taking into account that Hinduism is one of the oldest surviving religions in the world it still only comes in at 8,000 years old.
That is a lot of time unaccounted for.
Religion should just let it go and let Evolution be.
[Link 1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/ancient-hinduism-enlightens-modern-notions-of-evolution/2011/08/24/gIQA33A0bJ_blog.html
[Link 2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas