BOOK REVIEW “THE GRAND DESIGN “BY STEPHEN HAWKING
AN ARTICLE OR BROAD OUTLOOK FROM HINDUISM
It’s good to see articles on foreign books at least now. However a book review must speak what it contains, as the writings of SOMERSET MAUGHM. He wrote as the character and not as an author. In Tamil I could see only Kalki Krishnamurthy, in that style and no one else. All writers inserted their thoughts and views, even great writers in Tamil as acclaimed by you.
Now this THEME OF THE book is pretty old for the world outside India (its seen in INDIA, LANDMARK RECENTLY) and regarding the books on great design- atheism 100s have come, including Mr. Dawkins, Ms Wendy etc. It’s said that even without reading the book people criticize on quotes basis, which would go for you also. There was/are word-wars even from Vedic period and the 18th century and thereafter, brought another twist, viz a war between the SCIENCE and the RELIGION. Writers who wanted to make fast money, wrote on GOD, EXISTENCE, CREATION AND DESIGN, in order to support, as well as to get support of the Darwinian Theory, Big Bang etc, but miserably failed to create a strong edifice or good infra structure like our Indian Economy.
These books written in the western world were never based on Indian Vedas and scriptures mainly but wanted the Christian Religion concepts to be criticized. Even People like Ms Wendy who read Sanskrit and headed the foreign university Sanskrit departments, made fun of Indian Religion on the basis of the GUDIMALLAN archeology. Rest never understood the Indian scriptures and strayed in the half way; in this aspect neither MAXMULLER nor Dr Radhakrishnan are exceptional. In spite of all these things there were few western authors, who really found remarkable themes behind The Hindu Religion. Yet our great exponents, who were writing cinema scriptures, never felt ever, that they owe to this country something, to explain and expose our great scriptures and the biased writings of the western world. Hence from that point of view your book review is laudable, since it would expose to readers what is THE ASSET WE OWN AND HOW WESTERNERS and INDIANS MAKE MOCKERY OF IT.
However, books on “design of God” ,including this one ,were written on the basis of the inconclusive, ever-definition-changing and variable facts based -science, intending to vindicate the stand of the truth, viz real religion. Hence the hue and cry made by such authors are/were blank calls but contained quixotic questions which were /are not rebutted at all, by any Religious-lead. Such authors always took a stand that” the science is REAL and had proved so for and would continue to believe one day( or some day) in future, it will prove everything .”
The life of the science is hardly 200 years, whereas earth existence is minimum 14 billion years. CORBON DATING AND DNA is recent concepts. The relevance of science is based on few samples, documents and surface-excavated materials, apart from the FOSSILS; and all of them are distant apart on” locations and time” and therefore, facts found were mixed with the hunches for deriving at the conclusions. DARWIN himself did not even accept that he found the NATURAL EVOLUTION (he had his own doubts), totally and completely. It did help for the creation of the bio-science to learn, but did not fully established the theory of natural evolution. But those who were /are around created a veil of semblance of absolute evolution. Design authors took refuge under it. Or else there won’t be multiple books written on where Darwin went wrong. Even while making a tall claim on natural designs under evolution, the force to (evolute) evolve the first big bang, are still unknown as admitted by such authors and they hide under the earlier statements made elsewhere viz “one day science will prove”.
A lot can be said against this kind of book on design, however, the basis being Darwin theory, it’s good to see the opposite also, why Darwin is incomplete. (Extract from “where Darwin went wrong):
“ “ What is your brief with natural selection?
The main thing Darwin had in mind with natural selection was to come up with a theory that answers the question, "Why are certain traits there?" Why do people have hair on their heads? Why do both eyes have the same color? Why does dark hair go with dark eyes? You can make up a story that explains why it was good to have those properties in the original environment of selection. Do we have any reason to think that story is true? No.
According to Darwin, traits of creatures are selected for their contribution to fitness [likelihood to survive]. But how do you distinguish a trait that is selected for from one that comes along with it? There are a lot of interesting structures in creatures that have nothing to do with fitness.
Some variants in selection are clearly environmental. If you can’t store water you’ll do worse in a dry environment than if you can. But suppose that having a high ability to carry a lot of water is correlated for genetic reasons with skin color. How do you decide which trait is selected for by environmental factors and which one is just attached to it? There isn’t anything in the Darwinist picture that allows you to answer that question.
So we have no way of knowing whether a trait serves an evolutionary purpose?
Some traits are presumably selected for by the environment, and some of them are not. If somebody says Trait A affects fitness and Trait B does not, but Trait B comes with Trait A so you’ve got both traits in the organism, it’s very natural for somebody in the Darwinian tradition to think that Trait B has been selected for by the environment. But the answer is, it’s not there for anything.
Look, everybody has toenails, so you might ask yourself, why is it such a good thing we have toenails? It may be a case that in the environment there was some factor that favored toenails but there also may not.
As you explain in the book, it turns out many genes are far more tied together -- and gene expression is much more complicated -- than many people originally thought.
What the genetics has come to show is that traits are not independent, but complexly interconnected, and a lot of the effect that the environment has on an organism’s evolution depends on what organism it is.
There’s a famous fox-into-dog experiment, in which many generations of foxes were selected for being domestically trainable. As you would expect, when you select for domesticability, you get animals that behave less and less like their feral counterparts -- but you also get curly ears and kinked tails and changes in their reproductive system. Nobody had that in mind, but the structure of the organism groups all of these traits together. Why do these animals have kinky tails? They just happen to be structural correlates. Now the question is, how much of the evolutionary variance is determined by factors of the environment and how much is controlled by the organization of the organism, and the answer is nobody knows.
Do you think people are defending Darwinism because they think any attack on Darwinism gives power to creationists, and they don't want creationists to get the upper hand?
I think there’s the sense that if you think that there’s something wrong with the theory you’re giving aid and comfort to intelligent design people. And people do feel very strongly about whether you want to do that.
When you do science, you try to find the truth. The problem with creationism, even if you’re not a hardcore atheist, as I am, is that anything is compatible with creationism. If God created the world, he could have created it any way he liked. So creationists, when faced with evidence of evolution, are happy to say that that’s the way God created the world. If it turns out that there is no process of evolution, they’d say OK, that’s fine too. Whatever turns out to be the case it’s compatible with God having created the world, so you can’t argue with their position or you throw your shoulders out.
If you're right, what do you think your argument means for the study of evolution?
If this is true, then we need to rethink the implications of Darwinism. Maybe the right question to ask is not what environmental variables are doing selection, but what kinds of complexes are they selecting on. One sees, even without God, how this Darwinian story could turn out to be radically wrong. You could see a massive failure of the evolutionary project, because wrong assumptions were made. (March 7, 2010))””
Hence finally to conclude it can be said that 200 years of effort cannot conclude that its finding is absolute truth, since it’s not even the tip of the ice-berg ; and this book is said to have created a revolution is untruth and may not even be considered as facts since Darwin has not become final. Then what it is? Go back to Rig-Veda, since long long ago creation and the design are well dealt, unlike statement in Bible. As we write about a western book, we fail to appreciate our ancient, intelligent scriptures.
1. RIG VEDA, CH10-HYMN 129,130 ON CREATION
RIG VEDA LONG AGO, BEFORE BIG BANG, YET WE ARE DUMB
Nasadiya The Creation Hymn of Rig Veda
नासदासीन नो सदासीत तदानीं नासीद रजो नो वयोमापरो यत |
किमावरीवः कुह कस्य शर्मन्नम्भः किमासीद गहनं गभीरम ||
न मर्त्युरासीदम्र्तं न तर्हि न रात्र्या अह्न आसीत्प्रकेतः |
आनीदवातं सवधया तदेकं तस्माद्धान्यन न परः किं चनास ||
तम आसीत तमसा गूळमग्रे.अप्रकेतं सलिलं सर्वमािदम |
तुछ्येनाभ्वपिहितं यदासीत तपसस्तन्महिनाजायतैकम ||
कामस्तदग्रे समवर्तताधि मनसो रेतः परथमं यदासीत |
सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन हर्दि परतीष्याकवयो मनीषा ||
तिरश्चीनो विततो रश्मिरेषामधः सविदासी.अ.अ.अत |
रेतोधाासन महिमान आसन सवधा अवस्तात परयतिः परस्तात ||
को अद्धा वेद क इह पर वोचत कुत आजाता कुत इयंविस्र्ष्टिः |
अर्वाग देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यताबभूव ||
इयं विस्र्ष्टिर्यत आबभूव यदि वा दधे यदि वा न |
यो अस्याध्यक्षः परमे वयोमन सो अङग वेद यदि वा नवेद ||
nāsadāsīn no sadāsīt tadānīṃ nāsīd rajo no vyomāparo yat |
kimāvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmannambhaḥ kimāsīd ghahanaṃ ghabhīram ||
na mṛtyurāsīdamṛtaṃ na tarhi na rātryā ahna āsītpraketaḥ |
ānīdavātaṃ svadhayā tadekaṃ tasmāddhānyan na paraḥ kiṃ canāsa ||
tama āsīt tamasā ghūḷamaghre.apraketaṃ salilaṃ sarvamāidam |
tuchyenābhvapihitaṃ yadāsīt tapasastanmahinājāyataikam ||
kāmastadaghre samavartatādhi manaso retaḥ prathamaṃ yadāsīt |
sato bandhumasati niravindan hṛdi pratīṣyākavayo manīṣā ||
tiraścīno vitato raśmireṣāmadhaḥ svidāsī.a.a.at |
retodhāāsan mahimāna āsan svadhā avastāt prayatiḥ parastāt ||
ko addhā veda ka iha pra vocat kuta ājātā kuta iyaṃvisṛṣṭiḥ |
arvāgh devā asya visarjanenāthā ko veda yataābabhūva ||
iyaṃ visṛṣṭiryata ābabhūva yadi vā dadhe yadi vā na |
yo asyādhyakṣaḥ parame vyoman so aṅgha veda yadi vā naveda ||
यो यज्ञो विश्वतस्तन्तुभिस्तत एकशतं देवकर्मेभिरायतः |
इमे वयन्ति पितरो य आययुः पर वयाप वयेत्यासते तते ||
पुमानेनं तनुत उत कर्णत्ति पुमान वि तत्ने अधि नाकेस्मिन |
इमे मयूखा उप सेदुरू सदः सामानि चक्रुस्तसराण्योतवे ||
कासीत परमा परतिमा किं निदानमाज्यं किमासीत्परिधिः क आसीत |
छन्दः किमासीत परौगं किमुक्थंयद देवा देवमयजन्त विश्वे ||
अग्नेर्गायत्र्यभवत सयुग्वोष्णिहया सविता सं बभूव |
अनुष्टुभा सोम उक्थैर्महस्वान बर्हस्पतेर्ब्र्हती वाचमावत ||
विराण मित्रावरुणयोरभिश्रीरिन्द्रस्य तरिष्टुब इहभागो अह्नः |
विश्वान देवाञ जगत्या विवेश तेनचाक्ळिप्र रषयो मनुष्याः ||
चाक्ळिप्रे तेन रषयो मनुष्या यज्ञे जाते पितरो नःपुराणे |
पश्यन मन्ये मनसा चक्षसा तान य इमंयज्ञमयजन्त पूर्वे ||
सहस्तोमाः सहछन्दस आव्र्तः सहप्रमा रषयः सप्तदैव्याः |
पूर्वेषां पन्थामनुद्र्श्य धीरा अन्वालेभिरेरथ्यो न रश्मीन ||
yo yajño viśvatastantubhistata ekaśataṃ devakarmebhirāyataḥ |
ime vayanti pitaro ya āyayuḥ pra vayāpa vayetyāsate tate ||
pumānenaṃ tanuta ut kṛṇatti pumān vi tatne adhi nākeasmin |
ime mayūkhā upa sedurū sadaḥ sāmāni cakrustasarāṇyotave ||
kāsīt pramā pratimā kiṃ nidānamājyaṃ kimāsītparidhiḥ ka āsīt |
chandaḥ kimāsīt praughaṃ kimukthaṃyad devā devamayajanta viśve ||
aghnerghāyatryabhavat sayughvoṣṇihayā savitā saṃ babhūva |
anuṣṭubhā soma ukthairmahasvān bṛhaspaterbṛhatī vācamāvat ||
virāṇ mitrāvaruṇayorabhiśrīrindrasya triṣṭub ihabhāgho ahnaḥ |
viśvān devāñ jaghatyā viveśa tenacākḷipra ṛṣayo manuṣyāḥ ||
cākḷipre tena ṛṣayo manuṣyā yajñe jāte pitaro naḥpurāṇe |
paśyan manye manasā cakṣasā tān ya imaṃyajñamayajanta pūrve ||
sahastomāḥ sahachandasa āvṛtaḥ sahapramā ṛṣayaḥ saptadaivyāḥ |
pūrveṣāṃ panthāmanudṛśya dhīrā anvālebhirerathyo na raśmīn ||
Viewing the path of those of old, the sages have taken up the reins like chariot-drivers.
2 First, let's look at the actual words in English translation (The Creation hymn)WITH THE TRANSLATED MEANING
I believe this Poem is saying, "Some questions are too large to know any answer", and it also seems to
Encourage a value to uncertainties.
now the meaning:
There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottomless deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
The life force that was covered with emptiness,
that One arose through the power of heat.
Desire came upon that One in the beginning,
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom
found the bond of existence and non-existence.
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were powers.
There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterward, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
- perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not -
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
3 The Vedas are the very first compositions mankind produced dating back at least twenty thousand years. Most orthodox historians and anthropologists strongly dispute such a view. They confuse writing with civilization and deny meaningful history to any people who did not leave a written record. A rich culture does not necessarily depend on writing, as the Celtic civilization proves. The hymns are the most sophisticated, most profoundly beautiful, and most complete presentations of what Aldous Huxley termed the “perennial philosophy” that is at the core of all religions. In modern academia, of course, there is not supposed to be any “ancient wisdom”.
The Vedas go much further in outlining the nature of reality than any other religious texts still in use. Some Vedic hymns paint the exquisite glories of the natural world: the preternatural beauty of predawn light, its rosy fingers holding the iridescent steel-blue sky; some celebrate the welcome cool of evening the scented breeze of a calm and refreshing night, its basalt dome studded with shimmering pearls and diamonds. Beauty permeates them, a reflection of Truth. The Vedas hold within them enough information to rebuild human civilization from scratch, if necessary. I think someone did believe that might be necessary one day.
The Vedas are the quintessence of classical Hindu philosophy. Thinking with your heart; loving with your mind. All yoga and meditation aim to attain this goal. Anything else is delusion, or worse. And when the heart sees, it sees the unknowable, nameless, formless, limitless, supreme God. He is called the nonexistent because he is eternal, beyond existence. God manifest is the fabric of creation itself. They are one. The heart that learns to think realizes this truth and merges into the eternal oneness. As William Blake put it, “ If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is, infinite.”
4 “"Om Purnamadah purnamidam purnaat purnamudachyate,
purnasya purnamadaya purnamevaavashishyate"
"That (pure consciousness) is full (perfect); this (the manifest universe
Of matter; of names and forms being Maya) is full. This fullness
Has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges
In that fullness, all that remains is fullness."
- Isa Upanishad’
AND finally on Darwin
5 “The Target of Natural Selection
Evolutionists agree that natural selection usually acts on genes in organisms - individuals carrying genes that give them a reproductive or survival advantage over others will leave more descendants, gradually changing the genetic composition of a species. This is called "individual selection". But some evolutionists have proposed that selection can act at higher levels as well: on populations (group selection), or even on species themselves (species selection). The relative importance of individual versus these higher order forms of selection is a topic of lively debate.
Natural Selection Versus Genetic Drift
Natural selection is a process that leads to the replacement of one gene by another in a predictable way. But there is also a "random" evolutionary process called genetic drift, which is the genetic equivalent of coin-tossing. Genetic drift leads to unpredictable changes in the frequencies of genes that don't make much difference to the adaptation of their carriers, and can cause evolution by changing the genetic composition of populations. Many features of DNA are said to have evolved by genetic drift. Evolutionary geneticists disagree about the importance of selection versus drift in explaining features of organisms and their DNA. All evolutionists agree that genetic drift can't explain adaptive evolution. But not all evolution is adaptive. ( Copyright © 2002, the American Humanist Association)
Hence, it may be noted that it is not the first book written to create a stir. Criticism of the creation spoke in few scriptures may be true, but the whole concept presented based on the science, Darwin theory and Big bang etc are not virtual and had not become final except the creation of the controversy. It is not a question of Atheism or denial, but a mere projection of the segment of 5 million of the world, which is not even supported by contiguous facts. As Darwin voyaged in a small sector and exploded, because of the anger against the death of his daughter, in drawing inferences, so too these authors jump to conclusions, with varied arguments. So be it. Thank you.