SCIENCE AND GOD

Introduction THE discussion between Professor Huxley and Dr. Mascall should not remain just a duel between Science and Christianity as in 1860, but should include the many more points of view than were available at that time. Actually, the use of the word "duel" is wrong. All of UE are in search of truth, Professor Huxley as much as Dr.Mascall, and this fundamental unity of approach should not be forgotten under the term "duel". I suggest that this discussion be treated as a scientific symposium, where people having faith in their points of view discuss them before others, to enrich and deepen their own knowledge of truth. The chief difficulty of limiting this discussion to the Christians and the scientists would be that neither would understand the other. This is very clearly shown by the two articles published. They leave the position completely unchanged except for the restatement of the standpoints involved. It is, however, not very profitable for the disputants to argue on skew lines. *The Observer July, 1960

The Nature of Homan Consciousness Human consciousness is composed of the power to know, to feel and to will. Man has the power to know the past, to feel the present and to will for the future. Human consciousness can display itself in various partial forms; for example, the scholar with his knowledge, the artist with his feelings and the ruler with his will. Results and achievements of all these partial human consciousnesses are ephemeral. Philosophies and scientific theories, art forms and empires, ultimately find their resting place on the scrapheap of history. There is another type of consciousness, comprising all the three. It is called Prophetic Consciousness, and, by very definition, its achievements have to endure through time and history. The Qur'an has made it very clear, by repeated emphasis on the fate of people who disappear from history and those who endure in it. The Jews are a pertinent example; they persist, and have made material contribution to the content of human history through the work of Einstein, Shroedinger and others, while the cultures of their one-time masters, the Babylonians and the Romans, are now just show-pieces in museums. Similar has been the fate of the persecutors of Christians and Muslims. The partial consciousnesses have different ideals or gods. Knowledge has, as its ideal, the God of Truth, Feeling has the God of Love, while Will bows to God the Omnipotent One. Science, too, has, as its ideal, Truth. The scientists will be the first to accept a mistake; but, by the very nature of their partial consciousness, they will build on knowledge, which is another name for past experience, and of correlations therein. Knowledge cannot, by definition, take into account future experience and new experience may drastically change the entire view of knowledge. This will continue to happen until man has a complete knowledge of every factor influencing space and time. Christians, on the other hand, have always felt a rift between knowledge and faith; Science and Christianity do not understand one another. They rarely agree but seem to be talking two languages, pursuing two skew lines, never meeting, but each conscious always of the existence of the other. The Special Position of Islam Islam requires total submission to God, which must also mean submission on the plane of knowledge. To be honest with himself, a Muslim has to solve this problem of science and religion. Fortunately for him, the original of God's word has been handed down and preserved by so many people that there is no intellectual doubt about its authenticity. On the other hand, many Christians may doubt the truth of the 4th century Bible, where no original exists, portions of the earlier Christian literature

having been burnt as heretical. (For the burning of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, see James's "Apocryphal New Testament", p.8.) It was due to this necessity that the Muslims faced the challenge of Greek philosophy, and made it serve as a tool for religion and for the correlation of human qualities. The theology of almost all Christian sects is ultimately borrowed from the Muslims through Arabic-educated men such as Thomas Aquinas. If any problem arises, the Muslim can always look up the original references. The difficulty with the scientists is that they are overawed by authorities in matters of religion. Professor Huxley may not believe in .what Dr. Mascall has to say, but he never doubts that what Dr. Mascall says is .what Christ meant. The holy scriptures are so few in number that I would advise every scientist to read them and then interpret them in the light of his knowledge. He should not accept the verdict of a former commentator about a question which he himself never asked. The common ground between Science and Religion Geocentric theory may be wrong, but every man, particularly modem man, supposes himself to be the centre of the universe. He seems to think that induction was never used before Bacon wrote about it, and that deduction was unknown before Aristotle. Unfortunately for his pride, every man knows the use of both and uses them throughout his life. It was true also of earlier people; the only difference is in the questions asked. In the earlier age, that of the prophets, the question asked was about God; in the days of the mystics it was the nature of man and in our own time it is the nature of matter. So let 'Us not belittle the experience of earlier people in a field where we have not performed a single experiment. If one looks at the methods and presuppositions of the two, then it will immediately be clear that the questions are being asked by the same consciousness; both scientists and religious people have the same aim, Truth. Both have faith in the method of enquiry and that they are bound to arrive at an answer. Both believe in the unseen, otherwise there could be no research. Both have to unify their personality, with reference to the question ash-d, by being knowledgeable, interested and active in the 'solution of the problem. Both may shut themselves away, in laboratories or monasteries; both doubt their own experiences, the religious man much more than the scientist. Both bring experience before their superiors or equals for acceptance, both place little faith in an experience which cannot be checked or transmitted, both have the experience of hunches or inspirations and both have their moments of clarity or revelation. The attempt of both is to bring unity into diversity, whether of data on ideas. Defects of the Scientific Method The chief defect lies with the scientists. They do not realize that their method of blindfolded consciousness in trying to find the answer to a certain problem, by employing thousands of scientists and technicians in fruitless quests might seem a very wasteful one. The employment of large numbers of people in obtaining new data

is certainly necessary and useful, but the discovery of unity in the data should be achieved by everyone. Instead, only one or two people find the answer. The parallel with the random growth of trees, where millions of seeds may produce only a few mature specimens, and gardening, where almost every seed grows and bears fruit, is very close And what a pity it is th2t these conclusions, arrived at after such labour, die and decay after their allotted span, because they are result_ of part of human consciousness. The worst thing a bout scientific conclusions is their masquerade as permanent truths. These guesses lead many sincere people astray by being rated above their actual worth; I feel that most of our worthwhile conclusions had already been reached by earlier searchers of the mysteries of human consciousness although they were not technically employed. Present Problems and their Earlier Solutions It may sound strange or startling to Prof Huxley, but his pet theory of evolution was approached thousands of years earlier by Hindu mystics. In meditation, the time element is difficult to perceive and due to this well-known lack of correct perception of time in meditation, the mystics viewed it wrongly as a process of reincarnation. In this they were corrected by Muslim mystics, e.g. Rumi, who, in his famous passage on evolution, says that 'J have grown again and again in 270 different forms' by which he means that these evolutions take place within the womb during the 9 x 30 = 270 days of pregnancy. The moral is that the scientific search is giving the mechanism of evolution. The basic ideas were perceived long ago. God as a Hypothesis Professor Huxley seems startled when he says that God is a hypothesis, but a man of knowledge can have no better starting point. In fact, for the partial human consciousness of scientists, it is the only starting point. For a man of feeling God may be Love, or for a man of .action God may be one who answers prayers. These are all equally inadequate but equivalent starting points. The difficulty arises when the scientist refuses to test the hypothesis. An untested truth will always remain a hypothesis. A parallel can be drawn with the attitude of the Greek philosophers, who thought it below their dignity to perform experiments. Despite their fine intellects they always remained primitive creatures, whereas the scientists, with greater humility, asked the question and then acted in search of the truth. Their reward was far greater than that of the Greeks. Evolution to Higher Stages As pointed out previously, the idea of evolution was perceived in antiquity, as was also one of its important consequences, missed both by Professor Huxley and Dr. Mascall. If evolution has so far taken place unaided by human agency, it should be

possible, through conscious effort, to go to a higher form of existence. If man considers the march of evolution he will notice that the perception of reality increases, from the amoeba, through the various forms of animal life, up to man himself. If Nature is not merely four-dimensional, and we arc very much inclined, due to our own limitations, to regard it as such, it becomes possible to think of, and attain a higher form of consciousness. This has always been the religious attitude, and the higher form is called, in religious parlance, Heaven. Apart from our own consciousness, attainment to Heaven will also involve selection by, or grace from, the Power that has been responsible for evolution so far. All the efforts of man to achieve a mutation of genes, and thus evolve a new species; can produce only his own likeness, or, at the worst, oddities. If we do not know the higher dimension, we cannot choose the mutations required on a human body, to realise the additional dimension. Matter and Energy cannot explain Evolution Our consciousness can rarely by itself take us to levels which it does not know; we must make use of the agency so far responsible for evolution. Properties of matter and energy tending to greater and greater chaos Cannot explain the organizing and evolving character of life, which proceeds from the simpler to the more complex. They cannot explain the dominance of higher consciousness over lower and, according to physical laws, the more complex organism should be the less stable. Even the Communists accept it and postulate a "biological level" for explaining life, which reminds me of the attempt to explain why the tail of the comet is always turned away from the sun, by the remarkable law that "the tail of the comet must always be turned away from the sun". A factor in some form, different from matter and energy, has to be postulated. Here, I am not referring to Natural Selection which is an outside agency like a challenge for consciousness or life to overcome. I am referring to the innate and inherent will of life to exist, reproduce and evolve. The structures in which life exhibits itself are much more complicated and reactive than the form they could easily attain by combustion or decay. Why this will to keep this complex unstable body going? A boulder, unlike a man, never cares to break its fall. Reproduction and evolution are almost inexplicable on the basis of the properties of matter and chance. I will try to make it clearer. The direction of change for matter and energy in material systems is determined by the second law of thermodynamics which can be put in one of the equivalent ways 'Chaos tends to increase'. It can be illustrated by reference to a pack of cards. They can easily be arranged from aces to kings through the agency of consciousness; but every shuflle will tend to make the cards more and more disordered. If we want to depend upon chance for the same arrangement to recur then the probability is that, if we go on shuffling at the rate of 200 per minute throughout days and nights without rest we will

see that same arrangement for 1/200th of a minute in 1057 years' time. This is much more than the total life of the universe, 6 x 10 9 years, during the course of which infinitesimally small time such complicated structures as the eye and the nervous system, requiring the coordination of many molecules in a particular pattern, have been produced and duplicated. This last is such an improbable state that it can never occur for substances whose energy is not at the lowest possible. Add to this the property of evolution and you have a fairy tale which can never be made to sound plausible on the basis of the properties of matter and energy, which let me remind my readers tend towards chaos. Yes ! there is no force known to science which can produce new forms of life and repeat them, far less evolve them. The fact that life's complicated reactive apparatus, unstable from entropy considerations, incapable of reproduction from considerations of probability, and unable to evolve, can exist at all, can mean only one thing. It is that Nature has a vested interest in Consciousness. If consciousness can manifest itself only by the cooperation of many cells, then complicated organisms have to grow, reproduce and evolve. No outside agency need be at work, the weighing of Nature in favour of consciousness is enough. Random processes of gene mutations through radiation, chemical agents and natural selection, will perform the whole task. Theoretically, it is possible to build a machine and teach it to reproduce itself, but these instructions have to be fed into the machine. Such instructions are not to be found in matter and energy. Random processes may bring new variations, but the selection will remain with Nature, to be decided on the level of consciousness. And if the record of Nature for millions of years has been to help higher forms of consciousness to evolve, then the conclusion seems inescapable that Nature has a vested interest in consciousness. If this conclusion is conceded, then the question can be asked, "Why so?" What is the purpose of Nature' in producing greater consciousness and giving it dominion, despite its complicated, and, therefore, more unstable, material foundation? The answer can only be that Nature is interested, in some way, in its properties of knowing, feeling, and willing, as manifested in actions. To put it bluntly, God wants to be Known, Loved and Willingly Obeyed. As a psychologist says that life's main property is to manifest itself, so, in terms of the oldest religious parlance, God is manifesting Himself. It is obvious that every living thing has the instructions of life given to it on the level to which it belongs. The bacteria know how and when to form spores and the butterfly knows how to mimic the foliage in which it lives. It is also obvious that man, too, must be given. .guidance on the level of his own consciousness, and this guidance has been given by men who described themselves as Apostles and Prophets of Go_. The individual's being the vehicle of knowledge about God is not surprising. All truth, whether scientific, philosophical, economic or social, dawns on one man and from him spreads to the rest. Of course, Nature also plays its part, by providing the

necessary environment. The interminable debate about the Individual versus the Environment is meaningless, since both are simultaneous and spring from a common source--God's scheme, or Nature.

The Unity of Religions Much is said about the differences between religions, but little about their underlying unity in spirit. This unity of all searchers of truth, who were serious, sincere, truthful and intelligent men, is a great testimony of God. This is further strengthened by the phenomena of history, where only those nations that believe in God have actively endured. As regards differences between great religions, they arise from the tendency to emphasize one aspect of human consciousness, Knowledge in the case of Jews and Buddhists, or Love in that of Hindus and Christians. But the only real proof is for a seeker of truth to ask the question directly from God. If a man unifies his consciousnesses, i.e., Knowledge, Feeling and Will, he can achieve wisdom, power or wealth, because Nature favours unity. So, if he unifies himself in knowing the truth about God, then God will give him satisfaction on any level he chooses. He satisfies every truth seeker, because He knows best.

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