Science was born long ago. The period of the extra-ordinary progress in the past few centuries is quite small compared to the ancient world history. Achievements of the recent past can be compared to the development of a child. Children make mistakes and get corrected almost every day. The same has been going on in the fields of modern scientific research also. A principle is propounded today and gets accepted. Tomorrow a doubt crops up. The day after dissections of the principle begins; and in the end, it gets rejected as unacceptable in view of a more advanced theory or experimental finding. There is no surety that what has earned ‘universal’ acceptance today shall continue to be accepted in the very same form tomorrow also. No doubt, in the search for truth, dedicated efforts should be made, but at the same time it is necessary to have humility and patience. There is a need to be especially careful before making statements that can make a profound impact on human values, morality, faith and social setups. Ethical teachings or religion is one such subject. It has a direct relation with man’s trust in good character and in his responsibilities as a civilized member of the human-society. If these ideals have to be kept alive, then those foundational pillars should not be shaken on which the edifice of stability, peace and progress is standing today.
Inappropriate trespasses made by science
Modern science has not been able to establish a separate and independent existence of consciousness in its laboratories. Just because of that it was improper on its part to state that consciousness does not exist, or that inner-self is imaginary and hence the notion of religion attached with it has no rational basis. The pseudo-scientific proclamations like “Soul, God and religion are imaginary creations of crazy minds” made by some so-called rationalists in the past had resulted in the spread of negation of faith in human values and higher consciousness. This damaged the ideals that laid the foundation on which ascent of human civilization and culture was initiated and has progressed so far.
God, soul, religion, law of karma (Nature’s law that destiny is shaped by one’s own deeds), selflessness, self-restraint and all such beliefs are integral with theism. With the negation of God and hence of spirituality, ethics and the associated principles of religion how can there be any control on the blind selfishness and beastly tendencies in the society? In absence of such control human beings would neither be able to have and transact mutual love and cooperation, nor would they be able to think or act in any way for self-development.
If science denies religion, then even if this victory is accepted from a logical point of view, a new difficulty will arise in which we shall have to completely lose all the great human qualities which have contributed so much to the creation and enhancement of human dignity. Then there shall be no place for social norms, friendship, harmony, and mutual trust, among human begins. That means regression would overtake progress and human civilization would relapse to the primitive stage from where it might have actually begun. In the process of ascent and civilization man has had to grapple with other living beings and reign over them. During regress towards deterioration and destruction, we will have to assault our own species.
According to the modern scientific theory of evolution, viz., survival of the fittest, the strong ones will oppress the weak. All other living beings own nothing but flesh, and may be milk and physical might, but man’s possession today surpasses all this. So man would destroy the other species. And, then, in the society devoid of all ethics, the weak one among the human species will fall prey to the strong ones, the strong ones will become food for the stronger. Then in the end even the strongest, adopting the same Darwin’s law of evolution, shall fight each other till all die and perish. This situation shall be worse than the primeval era. Primeval man, as portrayed by modern scholars, was foolish. Even his wickedness could cause limited harm in a limited domain. But today’s intelligent and resourceful man on the path of retreat shall definitely destroy not only all civilization and development, but also the very existence of life on this beautiful planet. Several such tragedies can be clearly visualized as aftereffects of the proposition initiated by some pseudo scientists and philosophers like Descartes and Nitsche in the form of negation of the existence of religion.
By encroaching beyond its limits, science shall lose all the praise and respect it has earned in providing human society with the unlimited means of conveniences and comforts. Inappropriate transgressions have always played havoc. Science has established its credibility in its efforts to search for the truth. This unwarranted transgression would not only damage its fame and reputation, but would also place a question mark on its utility.
Science must know that it is still in its infancy and should express its opinions on profound issues like religion only after a very careful consideration. The progress made by science during the past few centuries deserves praise, but it should not be presumed that it is the ultimate repository of truth. There is no justified reason or scientific theory on the basis of which the existence of consciousness and religion – which infuses excellence in thoughts and actions of human beings – could be branded imaginary and unnecessary.
While admiring the contributions of modern science, the damages that have occurred in the name of progress should also be kept in mind. Creation of equipments for machineries is one thing, but a lot more care needs to be taken in regard to the experiments which initially appear to be of great benefit but prove harmful after detailed testing. Excessive impatience in such experiments does not yield desired benefits; instead, it results in untold damages. It would have been better if science had exhibited patience before commenting upon religion also. Experiments could have been conducted on a small scale and after carefully examining the benefits and costs, large-scale experiments could have been taken up. The harm that has been caused in several fields like nuclear explosions and radioactive waste treatment, antibiotics, biological warfare, etc, as a result of excessive enthusiasm should always be kept in mind. Offending attacks by science on religion on the basis of incomplete information and overlooking its own immature state even in dealing with the material component of Nature can only be termed improper.
Indefiniteness of science in its own field
Science is still in its nascent stage in several respects. Several of its fundamental concepts, laws and principles have undergone a lot of change as it has evolved. There still is a lot of indefiniteness about several of its theories pertaining to physical domain of Nature itself. It is worthwhile to look at some of the concepts about which science has still not claimed absolute conclusion.
1. The theory of universe:-
In the year 200 BC, Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer of Nicaea, Bithynia stated that the earth is the centre of universe, and other planets and satellites move around it in eccentric and epicyclic orbits. Ptolemius (short name Ptolemy), the famous scientist of Greece by accepting this very principle, explored the solar system in detail and positioned 1028 planets and stars starting from Earth in such a way that Earth became the centre, Moon revolved in the second orbit, Mercury in the third, Venus in the fourth, Sun in fifth, Mars in sixth, Jupiter in seventh, Saturn in eighth, conglomerate of shiny bodies and stars in ninth, and finally primum-movens in the tenth orbit. On this basis the famous treatise of astronomy –
Almagest was prepared.
For 1400 years this principle was regarded as the absolute truth. Not only this, most of the forecasts based on this principle would turn out to be true. People worshipped Almagest and regarded it as a well-established scientific treatise. In this very book Ptolemy on dividing a circle in 360 graduations fixed 3.1428 as the value of p (pie, a Roman letter which denotes the ratio of circumference to radius of a circle). The present value of pie is 3.1415926… Though the difference of 0.0012 between the two numbers seems almost negligible, when this difference is applied to distances in millions of miles, then the predicted position of an
object that is 1000 million miles away could be incorrect by millions of miles!
At that time also if people believed in science with the same confidence as they would do today then they must be questioned why did their science turn out to be untrue? Though forecasts of bodies in orbits close to the earth turned out to be correct, but the overall principles in many cases turned out to be incorrect. These are the limitations of science. Whatever we had regarded as the absolute truth till yesterday turned out to be false today. Who will call such a science to be complete? How can we claim that science is true and not religion? Science is nothing but limited conclusions derived from limited knowledge of man; regarding them as absolute truth cannot be beneficial to man.
The rules that are really time-tested and perennial, are in fact that of the religion which nurtures human values and aims at awakening divine qualities hidden in the inner self. Who would lose anything in consenting to the belief that there is only one Law-Maker of the whole world? That our conduct should be based on mutual love, justice and honesty and that we are all like children of that Almighty? Who could ever get harmed in adopting these principles? Religion is the undeniable principle to attain peace and happiness; any principle that goes against these is not religion. On the other hand, any truth discovered by the material-based science cannot be termed as the ultimate truth.
If Copernicus had not expressed disagreement with Almagest, the present improved form of astronomical calculations could not have been created. Copernicus for the first time ever stated that scientific beliefs should never be regarded as the ultimate truth. He called the sun to be the centre of universe. This concept also was accepted as the truth for many years. Now in the 20th century, cosmos has become such a puzzle that it is impossible to tell where the nucleus of this grand universe is. The sun is the centre of solar planetary system but not of the universe. In our single galaxy itself there are innumerable suns emitting light, and their respective solar planetary systems. Then there are millions and millions of such galaxies; within these how many billions of solar systems exist is beyond anyone’s imagination! Today’s scientists, who have estimated the existence of 100 million galaxies and at least 500 million light years of expanse of the cosmos, still consider this information as part truth and not the absolute truth. Can such a science be relied upon as ultimate truth?
2. The theory of gravitation:-
Just like concepts mentioned above about the universe, the principle of gravitation evolved by Isaac Newton, which has worked for hundreds of years, is now hanging in the air. The apocryphal or anecdotic incidence (of an apple falling down from a tree…) associated with his discovery is quite well known. After this incident Newton propounded the principle of gravitation. He concluded – all particles attract other particles in the proportion of their masses and this force of attraction diminishes as the distance between the particles increases. Many machines have been built on Newton’s principles of gravity and they are working very well too. However, in 1916 Einstein proclaimed that all particles of the universe travel in a straight line in space and time, and the same is true about planets and stars too. They also travel straight, but due to the presence of mass, the shape of space and time gets modified and it is felt that particles or planets and stars are traveling along a curved path. Einstein called this new principle ‘Theory of Relativity’ and said that instead of being a quality of mass, gravity is a quality of space and time.
Einstein is one of those scientists whose principles are so difficult and complex that it is not possible for an ordinary man to comprehend them. No one could imagine that one day even his principle could be proved wrong, but it happened. In 1964 renowned Indian scientist Dr. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar and Professor Fred Hoyle gave another principle of gravity and stated that gravity is neither the property of space and time, nor of particles; it is a property of the universe. To proclaim this stand, Hoyle published ‘The Principle of Balanced State’ and said that old stars in the sky die and the new ones continue to get created. Universe is continuously expanding and as a result energy keeps getting converted into mass. The location where such activities occur was termed as ‘Creation Field’ by Hoyle.
With these facts the present beliefs and understanding of universe and the principles of gravity get completely negated; then were the stands taken by Isaac Newton, Thomas Gold, Albert Einstein and Hermann Bondi true? If we think about it, it seems that all the corresponding theories of these intelligent scientists were like flashes of limited wisdom in search of truth!
The same is true of other ‘trend-setting’ discoveries and theories and related technological developments ranging from Atomic Theory to Quantum Computing, from Theory of Evolution to Human Clones, from Space-colonies to Time-Machine.