Hindu Creationism, Just Like Our Own

THERE IS MORE to creationism than the anti-science sermons of an exuberant preacher in a mega church, or the public relations blizzard emitted by the closeted creationists in the Discovery Institute.

Vedic creationists

Vedic creationists

We’ve previously mentioned creationist Muslims. See: Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, By Mustafa Akyol. There are also the Raelians, a sect based entirely on Intelligent Design (“ID”). Another group promoting creationism is the Unification Church, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. One of Moon’s followers, Jonathan Wells, is a leading intellectual in the ID movement and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute.

Here is an article about Hindu creationism from Frontline, which describes itself as India’s National Magazine. They are the publishers of The Hindu, a major newspaper in India: Vedic creationism in America. The article is from January of 2006, but other than mentioning some then-current court cases in the US, it’s not outdated.

We offer a few excerpts, which may encourage you to read the whole article:

The intellectual force driving Vedic creationism is a pair of American Hindus, Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson, both resident “scientists” of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, the research wing of ISKCON. Cremo recently published a huge book, Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory, which ties together his (and Thompson’s) previous and even larger book, The Forbidden Archeology, with literature on paranormal phenomena to argue for creationism from a spirit-centred, Vedic-Hindu perspective. While Cremo insists he is offering a “scientific” alternative to Darwin, almost all of his evidence comes from paranormal phenomena, including studies of extra-sensory perception, faith-healing, reincarnation and past-birth memories, UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and alien abductions. (He needs the paranormal to make a case that purely spiritual causes can modify the DNA and create new life forms.)

This is very exotic stuff. Here’s a website for Cremo and Thompson, discussing their book: Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race. Is this stuff for real? Who can tell? When one abandons the objectively verifiable evidence of reality, there are no guideposts.

More from the article:

What are the Vedic creationists saying? They deny that different species of living beings, including humans, have evolved, or risen up, from simpler organisms, as Darwin claims. Instead, they claim that all species, including humans, have “devolved”, or come down, from a highly evolved, super-intelligent being, which is pure consciousness itself.

That sounds rather odd, but how would one decide if it’s a better “theory” than the “theory” of Intelligent Design? Neither seems to be testable. Another excerpt:

Like all fundamentalists, Vedic creationists take the Bhagvat Purana, along with the Bhagvad Gita, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, to be literally true. They then proceed to use the “facts” described in these sacred texts to condemn Darwin and all of materialist science.

That’s a very familiar methodology. Indeed, it’s identical to that of our own creationists. Well, the scripture is different, but aside from that, the “science” is the same. The article makes exactly this point:

Proponents of I.D. bring in a Designer God to explain the existence of “irreducible complexity” of life, which they think cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Proponents of Vedic creationism likewise, bring in Atman because they think that the existence of consciousness cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Just like the ID-ers completely ignore the mass of studies showing how complex structures such as eyes can arise out of natural causes, Vedic creationists completely ignore the mass of studies showing that the phenomenon of consciousness can be explained by purely natural causes. In both cases, there is the same wilful neglect of scientific method and scientific evidence in order to defend a religious conception of natural order.

As you may have been suspecting, the article, written for a Hindu readership in India, isn’t terribly enthusiastic about the situation. It concludes:

If we are troubled and tickled by the creationist challenge to the scientific understanding of evolution in America, it is time, perhaps, to look at the anti-scientific creation stories that we ourselves subscribe to. Can we, in all honesty, believe in Vedic creationism and still think of ourselves as modern, scientific and enlightened?

There are apparently some sensible people in India. We need a few more like them here in the West.

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8 responses to “Hindu Creationism, Just Like Our Own

  1. The celebrated “Wedge” wielded by the Discovery Institute might better be characterised as “a two-edged sword.” For once one abandons empirical data for scriptural revelation, there is no basis for choosing between mutually-exclusive scriptures. And far too much of our sorrowful human history is a catalogue of slaughter between adherents of different scriptures. When reason is abandoned, the means of persuasion too easily degenerates into a contest of force in which everyone loses.

  2. Agreed. The Discoveroids — being intellectual throwbacks to the Dark Ages — have no comprehension of the benefits that the Enlightenment has brought to the West. If they succeed in their anti-science campaign, they will learn that their Wedge has pried open the lid of Pandora’s Box.

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