Does bringing God into science stop progress as does attributing plague to evil spirits?

by Chaitanya CharanMay 17, 2014

Transcription by- Keshavgopal Das & Ambuj Gupta

Question- Is bringing God into science a progress stopper? Many scientists say that whenever science brings any paranormal phenomena, any paranormal explanation, then it stops progress. For example if medical researchers had believed that the plague is caused by some evil spirits then they would not have investigated and found germs and they would not have found the cure for the plague.  So same way if we talk, say that God has created everything, then we will not investigate into how things have happened and that way progress will stop. So how do we answer this question?

Answer- It is not at all that accepting God as the explanation of things has to stop progress.

It’s not necessarily like that because this is a false comparison. For example to say that diseases are caused by spirits, by some paranormal beings, and comparing that with God’s own creation, biases the debate against the point, so examples have to be always given in a proper context.

As far as diseases like plague are concerned, we have found adequate explanation for the disease in material terms. Ok, this disease is caused by this germ. And current main stream science has given an adequate explanation for this. So is there adequate explanation available for all of creation, for everything happens in creation without bringing God into the picture and is it that bringing God in the picture will stop progress? Will that mean that people will just simply petition God and not do anything practical?

Even if we look in the Vedic culture in which there was acceptance of God and there was acceptance of role of higher agencies, which did not stop people from developing medical science. So Ayurveda is in its own way a sophisticated branch of medicine and it does not simplistically say that for all medical problems you just pray to God or worship some invisible spirits. It actually has so many precise medicines. Ok, this disease, take this jadibuti, take this herb. And there is even surgery that is mentioned in Ayurveda. Let the historical evidence speak from within the Vedic tradition. The belief in God has not stopped medical research. And the two were not seen as contradictory.

In Ayurveda its understood that, if there are material diseases, physical measures have to be taken up for curing it and reasearching  for finding out the physical measures and exerting to apply those physical measures was not considered anti spiritual or anti devotional. One pray to God, as it is said that the doctor treats, the Supreme Doctor heals. So ultimately the healing depends on God, but that does not mean we don’t make endeavor.

So again the idea that belief in God, that belief in some paranormal explanation, will make us abandon normal explanations is wrong. It is just not substantiated by fact.

Another way to put it is that if we found that there is a car which works by a particular mechanism and say Henry Ford designed the first car. Now at the material level  there are certain mechanisms by which the car has been produced and learning about that mechanism is important if somebody wants to repair the car or to operate it properly and know more about the car. But if we just goes beyond the mechanism and recognize that ok, there is a person whose brain has produced the mechanism then that is not considered wrong. In fact that is a complete understanding. Yes, this car has a material mechanism but beyond that there is an intelligent person who has made the car and acknowledging that the person has made the car does not  mean that we stop investigating how the car has been made or how can we operate it. But when we also get the understanding that this particular car’smechanism is made by the brain of a particular person. So our appreciation for that person also increases. In fact, if we want to say there are natural causes and super natural causes. That’s how the atheists would like to portray the conflict. But the conflict is not between natural and super natural causes. The conflict is between natural and intelligent causes.

When investigators are doing research and they find that a knife has penetrated somebody’s stomach. By looking at the way the knife has penetrated the stomach they will investigate whether the knife has being intentionally put there, somebody stabbed the person or it just accidently went in. So now one cause would be natural. Ok, the person just fell and the knife was just standing upright and it went into the stomach. They will investigate that possibility. And they will say that somebody has intentionally put it in. So here the natural explanation is somebody has fell on the knife and other was not a paranormal or super natural explanation, natural cause is an intelligent cause. So  inferring an intelligent cause is not necessarily contrary to science.

In investigations if the investigators ruled out the intelligent cause then they would not progress in investigation. That means in advance ruling out an intelligent cause could well be a progress stopper. So it’s not that referring to an intelligent cause has to be a progress stopper, ruling out an intelligent cause can also be a progress stopper.

Same way there is nothing in the acceptance of God that necessitates the stopping of progress. If we look at the world around us, we see things  having complexity,  delicacy, intricacy, artistry,  and from that we observe and figure out what are material mechanisms by which it came out. But along with we also think that how did these material mechanisms come in place. If these are so carefully arranged, so intricately done, they point at an intelligent cause then that itself is an expansion of knowledge. And accepting that Ford is the brain behind a car does not stop our investigation of the mechanism of the car. It just simply gives a greater understanding of the car. So actually being open to wherever the evidence leads, which apart from natural explanation, that will also involves the intelligent explanation, apart from natural cause, involves intelligent cause also, then that is not restriction of knowledge, that is actually the expansion of knowledge. It will not be stopping, it will be spreading of knowledge for us. And in advance rejecting intelligent explanations is not open mindedness, it is narrow mindedness and that is what will stop progress. Thank you.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan