Can science solve all the problems in the world?

can science solve all problems_granddebate

In the 21st century, the word ‘science’ means ‘solutions’. Given that today is the World Science Day for Peace and Development, this platform offers us a chance share our ideas for a better world and reiterate, once more, that science is solutions for all the world’s material problems. Over the centuries, science has transmuted from being a sacred discipline accessible only to a select few to become a way of life. Every single day, individuals, consciously or unconsciously, rely on established scientific principles to make individual, family, community, national, and global decisions. The world would never have achieved the current state of technological advancement without scientific thought. Science is the furnace where ideas are smelt, purified, and modelled into useful tools.

This is not a vacuous praise of science. Name any major problem confronting the world today. Ignorance, disease, illiteracy, climate change and global warming … name them. All these problems will only be solved by science. If there is any problem in the world that is worth solving and which affects the entire population irrespective of race, creed, religion or gender – you can be sure that scientific solutions are what should be exploited. Ignorance far from being a question of choice is a consequence of poor dissemination of knowledge. A reconfiguration of such a system to enhance information flow is a partial solution. Diseases have been afflicting humanity since the dawn of time. Science has been the reason behind increasing life expectancy, reducing child mortality rates, reducing malaria or HIV/AIDS prevalence etc.

Let us talk about some of these solutions in depth. Let us begin with climate change and global warming. Far from the controversy about its causes – anthropogenic or otherwise, the reality of climate change is with us in Africa. Over the past few years we have lived through changes in climatic patterns and not all these changes have been pleasant. We need to generate scientific solutions that range from reducing the use of fossil fuels to adapting to changing climatic systems. You can be sure that engineers are at the forefront in developing fuel efficient transport systems as well as how we can transform our offices to conserve energy. There are currently hundreds, if not thousands, of green technologies in the market. We need to be informed and adopt these tools and practices to reduce our carbon footprint. Mother earth sobs for our attention.

Our education systems are stale and have stopped doing what they were created to do. It is not strange to converse with graduates with annoyingly little information between their ears. Students are pursuing Masters Degrees not for the content that such a course offers but for the certificate so that they are well placed for the next promotion. You have PhD students who cannot conceptualize and create solutions for their own communities. This sleepy-head attitude towards intellectual advancement is a boil that has festered for far too long. It has begun seeping into our systems and before long all educated Africans will be unable to offer any solutions to the continent. Education reforms will have to align its objectives with the demands of a re-emerging Africa.

Let us talk about diseases. Look at cancer which is currently one of the living causes of mortality today in the world. With increasing diagnosis of cancer cases, multimodal therapy remains the only reliable option in cancer treatment in addition to other treatments following surgical removal of cancerous cells. Owing to the limitations of the current cancer drugs, scientists are working on hundreds of other solutions including how biodegradable polymers can be used to enhance drug delivery. Adult stem cells have shown significant success in treating juvenile diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Hemopoietic stem cells hold promises in the treatments of autoimmune diseases, directing cancer therapy as well as generating tolerance physiological conditions for solid organ transplants. The current advancements in proteomics and gene therapy may eventually widen the scope of the clinical application of hematopoietic adult stem cell studies.

What about stem cell research? Just a few years ago, Mr. Steve Rigazio was a normal, happy young man operating his business with the enthusiasm and ambition so common among young successful entrepreneurs. Now he forms the statistics of people diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease; a devastating disease that affects the spinal cord nerve cells, causing muscles to wither and die off quickly. Just like everybody else diagnosed with this condition, the doctors gave him 18 months of life. Two years after diagnosis Steve is still alive and his doctors are baffled. No need to mention he quit his job and even though the disease is ravaging his body, his mind is contact. His vibrancy is a stark contrast to his gradual deterioration unto death.

Just in the same neighbourhood in which Steve lives are two beautiful girls; twelve years of age struggling with juvenile diabetes since they were barely four years old. With thousands of pricks on their skins, life is completely unbearable. Miles away is Anne; a twenty three year old young woman buoyed down with Alzheimer’s. Steve, Anne, the twins and millions more are suffering from these genetic degenerative diseases have been forced to watch their approaching deaths with utter hopelessness. Yet hidden in this hopelessness is the understanding that despite the moral, ethical and political undertones, stem cell research may offer these individuals the only remaining hope for a meaningful life. It is only through an appreciation of the scientific technique that diagnosis, treatment, and management of millions of diseases has recently improved. The consequence is that currently there are millions of pharmacologic agents under development and which will offer reprieve to millions.

Because of poor investments in scientific development in Africa, we have become importers of solutions than creators of them. African systems of thought are intellectually dominated. While the importation of ideas is not wrong, our little or non-participation in the generation of global knowledge makes it very difficult to efficiently integrate new technologies in our systems. We lag behind in the adoption of scientifically proven solutions to common problems in agriculture, industry, and health.

Is there a solution? Are there ways in which Africans can increase the adoption of these techniques? Yes. There are many situations where technology has been used in disaster management and conflict resolution. Here in Kenya, Ushahidi developed disaster management Apps – a Ping app that works in both smartphones and feature phones and can be used to locate and respond to disasters. ICT adoption is changing fortunes in the continent. For example, Kenya has been touted as one of the leading countries in the world as far as the adoption of mobile commerce solutions, with a recent TNS Mobile Life survey showing that 73% of the 30 million mobile subscribers currently use their handsets to pay for products and services compared to just 15% worldwide. This is due to a large number of M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Orange Money and yuCash subscribers using their mobile phones in money transfer and banking services. These ICT developments are not only in Kenya but other countries as well, particularly South Africa and Nigeria where there are new developments and announcements happening on a daily basis.

Last month Lee Mwiti wrote an incisive article in the African Review. He asked: Is Africa’s breakneck growth all smoke and mirrors? This was in response to the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative that seems to suggest that double-digit economic growth is commonplace around the continent, with six of the ten fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The truth is that Africa is poised for take-off. This is not a pipe dream. I’m an African and I believe there are millions of young Africans like me who not only have great hopes for the continent but will be willing to exert themselves in realizing the African dream.

While part-dreaming, part-working towards achieving these dreams, it would be insincere to avoid touching on the role of politics development in Africa. Post-independent Africa has been a desert for traveller looking for successful political stories. The independence leaders squandered the chance to position the continent on a sustainable growth trajectory. There have been pockets of promising leadership that is rich in vision and commitment, but there are a few, if any, countries that have maintained a healthy platform for a long time. Political successions in Africa have not been savoury events. From coups, juntas, to stolen elections and broken promises for change have lived with African countries since they were hurriedly sculpted and injected with Westphalian attitudes. The political history of post-independence Africa is a weary wave with uneven troughs and crests.

One wishes that science could solve the world’s political problems; that politicians would rely on accurate analyses to make public policy decisions. But science plays second fiddle to politics because politicians are gods. The era when politicians could make personal sacrifices for the good of the society is gone; neither are they willing to defer current benefits for the longer term. Public policy is not being pursued for the long term welfare of the country. Kenyan and Nigerian Members of Parliament are examples of what happens when the pursuit of excesses and bulging bellies become a personal achievement, a national asset.

While politicians, even from the world’s greatest hegemony – the United States of America, routinely ignore scientific evidence when making policy decisions on such important issues such as healthcare, energy policy, climate change and global warming; we cannot resist the temptation to prod them. We need politicians to pass laws that increase funding to public research institutes. Whether it is HIV/AIDS, malaria, conflict resolution mechanisms, peace dialogue or democratization efforts – the lack of literacy of many politicians on these key challenges negatively influences their ability to debate intelligently and prioritize allocations of resources. Universities and other public research institutions continue to suffer from inadequate funding because they are placed at the bottom of the priority ladder.

In essence, there has never been a time in modern African history that the issue of leaders and the quality of leadership has been more important. The need for African leaders that have the competence to comprehend threats, the challenges, and opportunities of globalization, the imperatives of democratization and good governance, and the vision of a preferred future and capacity to realize it, is urgent. The African society at the present time awaits the emergence of a new generation of leaders who embody good governance as a cardinal value in every sphere of the society. Africa demands new leaders and a style of leadership that is competent, honest, visionary, and committed. Such a crop of leadership will appreciate the fact that science lies at the very core of growth and development.
In the same way, scientists also need to be flexible when conceptualizing solutions to global problems. Luckily, there is a new field of study around the block. It is called development engineering – a new interdisciplinary field of research that encompasses theoretical subjects as well as applied science. One of the objectives of this new strand of thinking is to tackle challenges that often block the delivery of more equitable development in a dynamic and interconnected world.

Most of the complex challenges currently affecting Africa could be solved if researchers develop culturally sensitive models that not only re-emphasize established scientific techniques but create powerful combinations of skillsets that can engender the rise of new solutions to old problems. Having accessed a wide range of research studies across many disciplines, I can state with a high level of certainty that our main weakness lies in translating research data into practice. But this is not an African problem. Bridging the theory-practice gap is a global problem. However, interdisciplinary thinking, as an approach, is more likely to democratize science and align research with market needs and the real needs of the millions of populations in Africa that continue to suffer afflictions that have been eradicated in the developed world.

Richard Oduor

Richard is a Biomedical Science & Technology graduate from Egerton University Kenya. He works and lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Richard aspires to be a multidisciplinary thinker and pursues threads from different disciplines in a bid to link them into one huge overarching framework of everything. He is also a poet and a budding short story writer/novelist. Richard also runs a blog called The Grand Debate.

The Commentary was first published in Write Paragraphs for the World Science Day for Peace and Development Commemoration.

The Clash between Darwinism and Creationism: 1859 to present

In this posting, I’ll talk about the American response to Darwinism and the continuing clash between Darwinism and Creationism in North American schools; 1859-1900 and later developments. Such an examination will show how the same arguments have been adopted by scholars, theologians, and churches the world over.

Fundamentalist religious groups have never accepted the uneasy relationship that exists between religious institutions and the theories of evolution and natural selection in the Western world. In America, those who believe in the Judeo-Christian accounts of the creation of the world as outlined in the book of Genesis have for centuries acted as political pressure groups to eliminate the teaching of Darwinism in schools by imposing their beliefs on public education (Strickberger 2005).

Origin of Species.Because Charles Darwin published “The Origin of the Species” in 1859 when America was on the eve of the civil war, serious opposition to the work began in the 1870s in the post war period. Initial rumblings began to emanate that science was becoming a threat to religion. However, due to the presence of an imminent threat of biblical criticism, the Protestants failed to perceive the details of Charles Darwin’s study hence causing delay in their response. In 1873, during the international meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, the question of evolution was finally voiced. Charles Hodge; a Presbyterian theologian from Princeton took the challenge and allayed fears of the impact of evolution and natural selection by saying that these were not new concepts, the only new concept was Darwin’s own version of the two concepts.

By proposing a design that nature was controlled by chance, he concluded that Darwinism was atheism. After this initial declaration by Hodge, Borden P Browne who was a professor of philosophy in Boston University characteristically interpreted Darwinism as being expressive of; “Life without meaning; death without meaning; and the universe without meaning. A race tortured to no purpose, and no hope but annihilation. The dead only blesses; living standing like beasts at bay, and shrieking half in defiance and half in fright” (Pyne 1996, p.12)

For Americans, the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man only intensified the allegation that science continued to attack faith. By disregarding the underlying belief that humanity was a semi divine creation and that the universe was expressly designed for the benefit of mankind, the evolution theory and the schemes of natural selection posited that just like all the other animals, man too was involved in the struggle of existence. Theologians and religious institutions were expressly against the fact that the natural selection debased man to the level of other animals by denying human beings the unique qualities of the mind, intelligence and the soul.

Darwinism created doubts on three fundamental components that had maintained belief in religion for centuries. It shattered the belief in the presence of any design and purpose, the belief that there existed a Creator or a Designer of the universe, and lastly in the belief on the presence of the human soul. The shaking of the later belief consequently created pertinent questions on the existence of life after death-a belief that had been held belief in religion for centuries.

Not even the educated public could afford to be less attuned to the ramifications of the evolutionary theory and natural selection that had created confusion and controversy among philosophers, theologians and scientists. Some were driven to suicidal thoughts. A case in point is the wife of Historian Henry Adams; Marion Hooper Adams who after the loss of her father was engulfed in depression leading to her committing suicide due to depression and doubts on the existence of immortality after death (Pyne1996. p. 13). Her death was attributed to the controversy of the evolution theory as her husband; Henry Adams had uncannily predicted her religious crisis. Marion could not succeed in reconciling her beliefs in religion and the scientific evidences of natural selection.

The 19th century also saw the rise of American geology but its development was affected by serious controversies that were both theological and scientific. Just towards the end of the 18th century clashes over the origins of the earth had began to be felt in the intellectual circles. Catastrophists perceived Creationism as outlined in the book of Genesis as the only logical explanation to the perfection of nature. The “uniformitarians” were against this explanation as literally presented in the Bible. Instead they postulated that the formation of the earth resulted from uniform and continuous courses working over long periods of time. These debates were transported to the periods after the beginning of Darwinism in the 19th century (Mandelker 1984).

When the ramifications of the Darwinian Theory eventually reached the majority of Americans, their reactions reached dimensions of hysteria. Everybody sensed that with his study, Darwin had deliberately and effectively destroyed the fundamentals of religion. Earlier on through the works of Paley and other historians of his kind, the world had been made to believe that though miraculous and mysterious natural processes, God had directly created new species. From the geological records, these geologists and naturalists had almost completely convinced humanity that the earth as it existed was the product of a grand cosmic design implying that nature was reflective of the Divine Mind and Purpose (Pyne1996).

However, as the years trudged on to the lure of positivist science, new converts were being acquired to be practitioners of this novel empiricism. In essence, a new divide of belief was created. People had to either choose the orthodox view of creationism if it suited their understanding of existence or alternatively chose the novel scientific positivism as expressed in Darwinism. The overlap between these two facets characterized the notable hostility of Darwinism in America.

While creationism was held foundationally on the presence of a purpose of nature that satisfied the belief that the world and humanity moved towards a predetermined end, the theories of evolution and natural selection described the movement of nature to be marked with random and purposeless variations. Even though Darwin himself was persuaded that nature was governed by natural law as opposed to miracle, catastrophe, or the caprice of a Creator, he maintained that through these chance variations and adaptations in nature evolution proceeded along a probable evolutionary chain. In his journey to study the species in South America (1831-1836) on the Beagle, he had observed and recorded several mismatches between species and the environments they inhabited. This led to the postulation that as opposed to the creationist theory, to exist in the changing environments organisms had to espouse a wide range of adaptive mechanisms to ensure their survival.

The liberal Protestants in America were especially more loathsome of Darwinism, as Darwin insisted on delineating the evolutionary process which implied that nature and the existence of humanity was laid waste in the brutal struggle for existence. They could not fathom that the postulations of the superfecundity and plenitude of nature, miscegenation, mutation, ugliness and randomness were the basis upon which natural laws operated. The mere fact that natural selection as Darwin had explained led to the extinctions of some species created a religious and philosophical ferment of great magnitude.

Ten years after the publication of the “Origin of Species,” and the rise of the anti-Darwinism movement which is attributed to Protestantism, Herbert Spencer developed a philosophy of science with the intention of allaying the controversies between religion and science that Darwinism had created. In his publication, the “System of Synthetic Philosophy”, Spencer expounded on the theories of evolution which had specifically been limited to biology, linguistics, fossil life, education, political history, architecture, psychological phenomena, child rearing, and rights of women, manners, morals, fine arts and in any other discipline in which the theory of evolution could be applied. Even though Charles Darwin publicly praised Spencer as “the great expounder of the principle of Evolution”, the two works not only differed in methodology but were also derived from different schools of thought (Pyne 1996; Numbers & Stenhouse 2001).

The “System of Synthetic Philosophy” was especially instrumental in accommodating Darwinism in religion because he attempted to explain that religious coherence as it existed in those ages was buttressed by the authority of truth derived from science. His intention can be said to have been the creation of a new form of science that incorporated both the scientific truths and religious beliefs into a form of natural religion that would replace the orthodox Christianity. If such an intention is understood to be one driven by arrogance, then it best describes the evangelical zeal he set in the interpretation of the evolutionary theory and its subsequent incorporation into the perfectibility of human life in his book, the “System of Synthetic Philosophy”. However, even though his work was instrumental it never vanquished the hostilities between science and religion.

As the ramifications of Darwinism continued to create an upheaval in religious circles, the Old Protestantism order which had its basis on the interrelationship of science, faith, the Bible, civilization and morality began to crumble. In 1869, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. offered a prediction of the catastrophe that was impending. He predicted that the collapse of the interrelationship would not be dramatic. He also intoned that the many vested interests of churches were rooted in evangelical idolatry and bibliolatry. For these reasons churches could not be expected to accept the implications of the novel views and explanations of the existence of man and the universe as the Bible could not challenge the scientific standards (Marsden 2006). The truth of the matter was that the creation evidence as detailed in the Hebrew books could not just be taken at face value as factual evidence of the creation of the world by a Supernatural deity.

By the 1970s so many evangelicals believed in the seriousness of the threat of Darwinism to religion but they did not share the analytic conclusions that Holmes had so aptly predicted. W.A Stearns attributed the current threats to Christianity as being no more than a continuation of the assaults that Christianity has been enduring (Mardsen 2006, 17). Other leaders reiterated that just as the skepticism, deism and atheism had been defeated in the Enlightenment, Christianity will be victorious again. While positing that never since Christianity has been strong as it was then, Stearns added that they will work together under the Evangelical Alliance to lift all people to achieve victory with the afflictions of modern rationalism, skepticism, the Papacy or any other false system.

These were the opinions that characterized fundamentalism. As an organized movement, it had two major forms. One front operated within the denominations where seminarians and ministers purged modernists and liberals with the sole intention of saving the orthodoxy. This form of fundamentalism cantered mainly in North America. The second form of fundamentalism was more of a popular crusade that was directed not only towards modernist and liberal heresies but also against Darwinism and the deteriorating moral trends in the society. While former mainly involved seminarians and conservative ministers, the latter was advanced by less scholarly or less academic preachers. These two forms of fundamentalism were joined into a form of loose coalition as they were working against a common enemy: Darwinism.

At the end of the 19th century it seemed that religious leaders had started becoming in terms with the evolutionary theories, but still approximately half of the population in the United States still denied the scientific truths postulated by the Darwin theories. This proportion which rejects Darwinism in its entirety believes that human beings are a product of a Supernatural creation that happened at some time in the history of the universe.

With regard to the uniqueness of the political and constitutional history of the United States, and the long history of a religious culture the creationism movement became more popular hence characterizing the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It should be understood that the majority of the European settlers who came to North America during the 17th and the 18th centuries were settlers who were fleeing from religious prosecution from their mother countries (Dixon 2009).

Many of these settlers were non conformist Protestants who had adopted the belief in a personal relationship with God and the study of the Bible. They were Puritans, Quakers, Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists. Since the settlers constituted a majority of the United States population at that time, these distinct religious groupings became the characteristics of the religious culture in the United States of America. Thus, due to the multiplicity of churches, there arose a need to separate the church from the state so as to prevent any favouritism of the any of the church groupings by the state. This spirit was aptly expressed when the First Amendment explicitly prevented the Congress from ever establishing any form of national religion. Despite this constitutional provision, other states still maintained contact with established churches but these were to soon die off leading to the full separation of the church and the state (Dixon 2009).

To exercise the same spirit of the separation of the church and the state, statutes were enacted to prevent other established religions from imposing their own version of Christianity on others. This led to the abolition of religious instruction in public schools. The passing of religious beliefs onto the younger generation was left to be done at home or in the Sunday school. This provision that completely eliminated religion in schools was what ushered in the clash between Creationism and Darwinism as the 20th century drew to a close.

The first instance of the clash with regard to the education occurred in 1925, when Dayton; a small town in Tennessee banned the teaching of Darwin’s evolution theories in public schools within their locality (Dixon 2009). The end of the sensational debates led to the elimination of the evolution theories from the science curriculum of most schools throughout the United States and for the duration between 1925 to the 1960s, the clash between Darwinism and Creationism subsided as they had both been eliminated from instruction curricula of public schools.

The elimination of such important scientific principles in the education curricula did not present any serious threats to the scientific development of the United States until the surprise success of Sputnik mission; a Russian space program which was launched in 1957. For fear that America was lagging behind in scientific development, a national panic arose that the scientific standards in American schools were low. The abolition of Darwinism in schools could no longer be tolerated. Acting against the wishes of many American parents who viewed Darwinism as the causative agent for the social ills in the society, the courts re-introduced the learning of the evolutionary theories in American public schools.

The 1960s to the 1970s led to the rise of the theories of the Intelligent Design. However, the religious fundamentalists especially those in North America were also determined to establish a way by which they could also be enshrined in the curricula. These developments led to the concepts of Intelligent Design and Scientific Creationism. There were those who advocated for the teaching of both evolution science, the creation science in addition to another alternative such as catastrophism so as to create a balance between the violently conflicting theories of Creationism and Darwinism.

Through the idea of an Intelligent Design, postulated by a biochemist Michael Behe and a lawyer Phillip Johnson, a new way through which the concept of God could be taken back to the classrooms. However, the teaching of the Intelligent Design in American classrooms did not see the day as judges ruled that it had been religiously motivated and therefore a breach of the First Amendment in 2005(Dixon 2009; Numbers 2006).

The clash between Darwinism and Creationism in America was watched with amused detachment or in some instances notions of superiority by the British as they could not understand that there still existed some culturally backward communities in America that prevented children from garnering knowledge on the theories of Darwinism. Given that their era of controversy had long ended, they could not understand that unlike in Britain, the United States had far different historical differences among its population. The presence of interdenominational rivalry that existed in the United States did not exist in England during the time of the evolutionary controversy. The supremacy of the Church of England and the existence of a Parliament with a long tradition helped settle down the controversies that raged after the publication of the “Origin of the Species” and the “Descent of Man”. Moreover the Fundamentalist Christian movement that took off in the United States in the World War I period did not take off in Britain (Dixon 2009).

In his analysis of the developments of the clash between Darwinism and Creationism or rather the Intelligent Design, Yeats observes that just like any other American he does not understand why naturalism should exercise monopoly in North American classrooms. He reiterates that individuals who espouse Darwinism are using the courts to sustain the principles of evolution and natural selection in public schools. He could not understand why an issue about the origin of existence could only be explained by Darwinism when there were a multitude of other options that could be taught in the public schools. However, given the motivations behind the intelligent design, a bad case was presented to the judicial system and from that bad case emanated a bad decision. By trying to use scientific data to prove that the theory of Intelligent Design was at par with Darwinism hence losing the case before a court under modern jurisprudence with judges who underwent secular training.

Therefore, while religious fundamentalists may attempt to negotiate for a dualistic approach in the education system, they have to understand that the attorneys as well as the system of training existing in North America is steeped in Naturalistic philosophy. Thus, unless the religious fundamentalists propagate the understanding that Darwinism is a religious tenet as in secular naturalism and that the education system as well as the public school’s science educators is nothing but the missionaries of the religion, any attempt to introduce any other theoretical understanding of the origin of man and the universe will be viewed as being religiously motivated. However, some argue that much as Darwinism can escape the reference of being classified as a religion, what matters is the element of faith. So long as students are taught to have faith in Darwinism as being the conclusive explanation of the origin of man, then it is religion and it should not be taught in public schools in North America.

In North America, the continuing conflicts between supporters of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection on one hand and the supporters of the creationist theories on the other are just the 21st century’s skirmishes that have characterized the struggles between science and religion. Creationism as a theory and its pseudo-scientific offspring; the theory of Intelligent Design are products of the historical, cultural and religious characteristics of the population in North America.

So long as these underlying characteristics of the population persist, there is limited evidence that a time may come in the near future where the supremacy of Darwinism in the public school system will be challenged with creationist theories like the Intelligent design or any other theory, so long as such a theory is deemed to have originated from religious motivation. Currently, with the observable lack of interest in the theories of Creationism by current President of the United States of America; President Barack Obama coupled to the support of Darwinism in schools by the Supreme Court as well as the overriding interpretation of the First Amendment, it is no surprise that religiously motivated anti-Darwinism in North America will continue to be kept out of American classrooms.

There is very little, when one judges the history of these developments, to suggest that Darwinism will not continue to be part of the science syllabus in countries with secular systems of governance. Creationism, held afloat by nothing but belief, will also be taught in many countries but it will never strangle Darwinism as far as understanding natural biological phenomena is concerned. There are mountains of evidence to that end, mountains that cannot simply be washed away.


Richard M. Oduor/Richie Maccs, Nairobi

Mr. Oduor is a writer, poet and critic. He did Biomedical Science and Technology (Bsc. Hons) and in line to pursue a Masters in Strategic Management. He is a founding Partner of a young company; Expert Research & Management Consultants and Founding Member at the Center for Intervention Against Alcohol (CIAADA). His prose and poetry have appeared in print and online journals and anthologies and the first poetry collection is due for publication. He has freelanced and copywrited for various local and international private research entities.




Darwinism, Religion and the Idea of God

The Greatest of all naturalists

Charles Darwin: The Greatest of all naturalists

When the “Origin of Species” appeared on November 24, 1859, a new intellectual impulse was generated and just as a novel generative idea defines a philosophical epoch, an intellectual movement that would define and engulf a whole generation began. While it can be generally posited that Darwinism in itself was but a terminus of the linkages in intellectual development in that century, it is much more preferable if we posit that Darwin inaugurated the reflex of the universal spirit of natural science.

While the “Descent of Man” included the species Homo sapiens as a natural consequence of the evolution theory, thus explaining its existence as nothing but a natural development from lower animal life forms; which was a rather natural progression of Darwin’s doctrines of the origins of species, the turbulence that the sole assertion would create was beyond his comprehension at the release of these works. Far beyond the bounds of natural philosophy, scientific theorism, religious and ethical depths, the reactions ranged from acknowledgement and admiration, from aversion and repugnance while a select minority maintained a sober and unprejudiced judgement.

To some, Darwinism represented the flambeau that would light mankind to perceive and discover new paths of truth and attain moral and spiritual perfection. On the side, Darwinism was also viewed as an unproven hypothesis that threatened to radically transform the noblest and grandest achievements of the past centuries and thrust them into a heap of ashes. Alternatively, Darwinism was also representative of the highest level of scientific, moral and religious height that humanity had ever ascended (Schmid 2008). Thus, under these overriding circumstances it was virtually impossible for guardians of religion and moral interest as well as those respectable individuals with sacred acquisitions that man had ever been endowed with, to assume the roles of idle spectators.

It would have been better if these groups of people delayed their onslaught on Darwinism until they had attained a significant level of evidence to judge or at least waited until the controversies subsided to levels that could warrant an unprejudiced analysis. However since, Darwinism was seen as being hostile to Christianity as well as the theistic view of the universe, these agents voiced their controversy. On the other hand, extreme materialists and the sublime monists, who are nonetheless hostile to Christianity, decided to use Darwinism as a reference point for shattering all belief of the existence of a Creator and Master of the world (Schmid 2008).

Cumulatively, taken as threats to God and religion, individuals with ethical and religious acquisitions could not afford to accept a reserved position on the matter. In essence, silence would have been understood to be an inglorious retreat. Therefore, it is important to understand the position that religion took with regard to the Darwinian theories.

Charles Darwin, Darwinism and Religion: 1859-1900

To pose a highly reliable discourse on the interactions of Darwinism and religion, it is only prudent that we take a look at the scientific problem in itself before digressing to the views of Darwinism as propagated by religion. At basic, this attempt desires that we first and foremost discuss the purely scientific theories that Darwin postulated. Generally, these theories attempt to give an answer to the question: “How did the different species of organic beings on the earth originate”(Schmid 2008).

Living in the midst of an endless variety of plants, animals and human beings, man has continually striven to understand the nature of all these by observation and design of laws that are in congruence to the natural world as it existed in a given century. With the facts of reproduction partially understood and after designing explanations for the existence of the species in immeasurable epochs of the history of the earth, we are finally faced with the task of developing a believable explanation of the origin of the first species, be it a plant, an organic being or an animal.

Since no man ever had the opportunity of witnessing the origination of other species as there are enough evidential proofs asserting that when Homo sapiens finally appeared, all other organisms were in existence. In the natural history of the progression of science, there reached a time when scientists desisted from attempting to solve the question as it was deemed unprofitable and utterly insolvable. Any attempt in solving it would require the use of unjustifiable hypotheses which in themselves could not provide an appropriate answer to the whole phenomena. Having faith in religion simply rendered these investigations useless because the question had aptly and fully resolved in religion.

In religion, all species had their origins from the creative act of God. This solution for the question of the origin in species sufficed for religion because as a believer, all things including the universe itself, was the work of God. Since religion is grounded on belief and as such cannot be taken as being indifferent or antagonistic to the scientific impulse behind investigations into the origin of the species, Darwinian evolution theories had a profound impact on religious belief. Traditionally, religion was grounded on the belief that both social and biological systems were designed by an intelligent supernatural deity.

Evolutionary theories denied that there existed a god who with a supreme purpose designed biological creatures. Since religion lies in human driven attempts to appeal to or control natural forces, which had long been incomprehensible to man but thought to be humanlike but supernatural, the concepts of God and soul arose. Both these concepts are supposedly eternal in nature and immaterial. Owing to the general insecurity of humanity and the instability of nature, religion provided the understanding that there had to be in existence a supernatural being who had the capacity to manage and control these components of the universe. It is such a propitiation that maintained deep beliefs in religions and cults. Through offerings and sacrifices, human beings sought to restore order, ameliorate guilt and provide benefits by appealing to the divine creator (Strickberger 2005).

Before Darwin, Galileo and Copernicus had challenged the notion of a powerful deity as the controlling force behind the whole universe. In their view, the idea of God only served as an explanation of the initial creation but not of the incessant manipulation of the solar system. However, their explanations could not cause such religious turbulence as Darwinism would cause. Darwinism posed that biological relationships; inclusive of the origin of man as well as that of all other species in the universe could only be explained through natural selection in the complete absence of a controlling or managing God.

At the onset of Darwinism a majority felt that the randomness and uncertainty of the evolutionary theories had almost completely replaced the existence of a deity with conscious, purposeful and human like characteristics. The postulation that evolution was a historical process and that species were not created spontaneously but rather formed via a succession of selective events in the past was a direct contradiction to the religious beliefs which maintained the understanding that there could not exist any form of biological design or otherwise without the existence of  Grand Designer.

With regard to evolution, interactions between different species and their environment results in the selection of successful traits that are further enhanced by selective events. Therefore, environmental adaptation has the capacity to continuously modify structures and organs over long periods of time, and complexities that had initially been unlikely singular spontaneous events progress to become evolutionary probable events. Even though the variability on which selection is dependent on may at times be random, adaptations are not because natural selection only chooses and perfects that which is adaptive (Strickberger 2005). With natural selection, the designs and purpose of a supernatural deity are not necessary.

Everybody who is acquainted with the hostility of the reviews, treatises and sermons just after the works, “The Origin of the Species” and the “Descent of Man” were released will understand that at the time Charles Darwin was perceived as a wicked infidel who had completely abandoned God as the Creator of the universe, a man who had completely undermined the authority of the Scriptures, a man who degraded human beings to the same levels as beasts and lastly as a man who had abandoned the universe under the control of chance. For centuries and centuries men had comfortably adopted the belief that God was the creator and that Nature as it existed was but an evidence of God’s purpose and design.

These men could not understand nor even tolerate that things could just grow without being products of the divine craftsman nor that the exquisite adaptations of organs to the environment was not a divine design but due to natural selection of variabilities that simply chanced to be favourable to the organism at a specific time. More serious was the disbelief that man, animals, vegetable or any form of inorganic nature had the same pithecoid ancestry.

Darwin’s Reaction to the Upheaval

These upheavals were strange to Darwin who could not simply understand what the fuss was all about. In fact, he regarded these hostilities with mild irritation and innocent surprise. In response Darwin wrote to Asa Gray in May 22, 1860 that, “With respect to the theological view of the question, this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically” (Banton 11). To a Dutch correspondent, Darwin wrote in 1873, that since it is the impossibility of conceiving the universe with the help of our conscious selves that drives man to believe in the existence of God, he concludes that it is safe to surmise that the whole subject of the existence is beyond the scope of the intellect of man, but man has to do his duty. All through these attacks Charles Darwin maintained that he had a belief in a God.

While answering an earnest student who sought to know his opinions on religion, Darwin reiterated that he considered the theory of Evolution to be in compatibility with the belief in a God. In the same note to the German student, Darwin added that it should always be understood that different individuals had different opinions on what is generally referred to as God. On the insistence of the student who was like many other not convinced with his answers, he wrote that Science had nothing, absolutely to do with Christ (in reference to attacks from Christianity)(p, 12). In the same year while writing to J. Fordyce, he exhibited the typical Victorian individualism by saying that, “What my own views may be is a question of no consequence to anyone but myself”.

Such was the passion of Darwin for natural history that he could not fully understand that he had shattered the simple faith of belief in a Creator; a belief that had been held by thousands and thousands over the centuries. Having grown old and not the best of health, and at the same time possessed by his own pursuits he could not spare time for irresolvable questions. To shatter accusations that he was an atheist, he said that even in the most extreme circumstances he had never been an atheist as to deny the existence of God. In fact what could appropriately describe his state of mind was being as agnostic.

To get a more in depth understanding on what drove Darwin’s views on religion, lets take a look at Christianity as and its influence on his growth and development an a very tender age. Religion, science and Charles Darwin interacted strongly during the early years of the naturalist’s life. Before, Darwin released his works, science and religion, especially Christianity had maintained a form of a harmonious relationship. During the early 19th century and even before that, many naturalists of repute were clergymen who studied nature as an exposition and appreciation of the designs of the Creator. Students of the day depended on theological works by William Paley (1743-1806) that attributed the natural exquisite designs to the existence of the Grand Designer: God.

These naturalists also explained the perfect adaptation to the environment to the same grand designing. Based on these early exhibitions of intellectual development, it was therefore not a surprise that Dr Robert Waring Darwin(1766-1848) contemplated the clergy as being the most appropriate career for his son even though the young Charles Darwin had found medicine while at the University of Edinburgh to be distinctly uncongenial (Dupree 1986). During Charles years on the Beagle, he shared a cabin with Captain Robert Fitzroy; an intensely Orthodox man. Together they wrote an article defending the British missionaries in New Zealand and Tahiti (Dupree 1986).

Thus, Darwin as a person and Darwinism as a set of scientific theories both originated from the Christian culture. In fact the scientific community of that time profoundly depended on Christianity as a direct economic support and as a rationale for the social usefulness of science. It is also important to remind ourselves that when Charles Darwin went to Cambridge it was for the idea of being ordained as he had deeply studied and admired Paley. On board the Beagle, Darwin quoted the Bible as an authority on morality, a belief that was laughed by many officers on board the Beagle. In fact some German phrenologists once described him as possessing a “bump of reverence developed enough for ten priests” (Banton 13). On the basis of these facts it is impossible to accept the belief that his views expressed in the Origin of the Species had any intention of assaulting religion.

In the next posting I will talk about the American response to Darwinism and 1859-1900, and later developments in the 21st century, especially with regard to the war between Darwinism and Creationism in American Schools because these perspectives define strands of thought the world over.


Richard M. Oduor/Richie Maccs, Nairobi

Mr. Oduor is a writer, poet and critic. He did Biomedical Science and Technology (Bsc. Hons) and in line to pursue a Masters in Strategic Management. He is a founding Partner of a young company; Expert Research & Management Consultants and Founding Member at the Center for Intervention Against Alcohol (CIAADA). His prose and poetry have appeared in print and online journals and anthologies and the first poetry collection is due for publication. He has freelanced and copywrited for various local and international private research entities.


Banton, M. Darwinism and the Study of Society: a centenary symposium. Routledge Press: New York.

Dixon, T. (2009). America’s Difficulty with Darwin. History Today. February 2009. Volume: 59 Issue: 2, p. 22-28.

Dupree, A. H. (1986). Christianity and the Scientific Community in the Age of the Darwin. In, God and nature: historical essays on the encounter between Christianity and science; David C. Lindberg, Ronald L. Numbers. University of California Press.

Mandelker, I. L (1984). Religion, Society, and Utopia in Nineteenth-century America.  University of Massachusetts Press, 90

Marsden, G. M. (2002). Fundamentalism and American culture. Oxford University Press US, 10-22

Numbers L. (2006). The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition. Harvard University Press.

Numbers, R. I., & Stenhouse, J. (2001). Disseminating Darwinism: The Role of Place, Race,  Religion, and Gender. Cambridge University Press.

Pyne, K. (2006). “The American Response to Darwinism”. In, Art and the Higher Life: Painting and Evolutionary Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century America. University of Texas Press.

Schmid, R. (2008). The Theories of Darwin and Their Relation to Philosophy Religion and Morality. BiblioBazaar, LLC.

Strickberger, M. W. (2005).  Evolution. 3rd Edition. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, p.  63-71

Yeats, J. L. (Dec 22, 2005). First-Person: Call Darwinism What It Is-A Religion.

What is the way forward for Africa? Join the Online Discussion

Motherland Africa

We live in a world of continuous changes. Changes create fears and insecurity as well as challenges and possibilities. What continues to differentiate successful countries from others is that in the latter, their leaders failed to anticipate changes and respond to them effectively. There is no doubt that the problems that currently confront Africa are complex and deep-rooted in Africa’s history. However, it can be stated that Africa is poor, underdeveloped, and home to many problems because leaders have failed to respond to changes and challenges and exploit opportunities effectively. Africa continues to suffer from inappropriate policies, bad governance, incompetent, corrupt, and ineffective leaders.

Africa has failed because it lacks the requisite capabilities and the political will to effectively respond to its leadership and governance challenges. Because of poor leadership and governance, Africa is unable to optimally exploit the major developments in science and technology, novel types of production, organizational principles, invention of new goods and services, or adapt innovative forms of social development. There is a need to develop a new way of doing things.

The current problems we face are not new. In fact, these problems are the cumulative consequences of our inability or unwillingness to respond to changes in our midst. Africa is becoming progressively isolated because of being a weak participant in the global marketplace. Africa’s weak position increasingly makes it a victim or casualty of the global changes and challenges. In essence, Africa is a recipient of other people’s ideas and ways of doing things, goods and services.

The persistent negative images of Africa, as a continent in deep trouble, and Africans as people who are unable to solve their own problems is unhealthy and potentially damaging. If Africa cannot challenge these images, then these images will continue to mislead the world and cause many Young Africans to continue doubting their own capabilities and self esteem, and thus undermine their role as levers for change and agents that can provide a better alternative future for Africa. The net result is that Africa must build its requisite capabilities now and respond to its marginalization from world activities. Africa must accelerate its participation in trade and politics, science and technology. Africa must be heard to be seen.

There is no continent that is going to bail out Africa. Africans must, out of necessity solve their own problems. To do this, there is need for a re-thinking of our position followed by imaginative discourses and bold answers. We need competency, honesty, vision, and commitment to fully liberate our minds.

—- Richard Oduor –Nairobi, Kenya.

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The Soul as an Aesthetic Response, A Fantasy: A Review of Hillman’s ‘Re-visioning Psychology’

All influences or actions of individuals are psychological in nature. It is on this basis that Hillman solidifies his discourse of a poetic basis of mind and that psychology begins in the process of imagining. The mind and the workings therein define all experiences of an individual. In the same vein, all conceptual categories that can be developed are nothing but products of individual imagination which is driven by psychological, religious, scientific, mythical, and artistic factors. To fully develop a framework for understanding the poetics of imagination, Hillman avoids Freud’s dichotomy of the mind into conscious and unconscious. He posits that all psychological activities have their roots in fantasy; where fantasy encompasses imaginations, fancying, and daydreaming. Fantasy is presented as being an unconscious behavior uncontrolled by the real world. In other words, all psychology is of necessity based on fantasy (Hillman, 1976 p. 70).

One strength of deviating from Freud’s dichotomy is that it allowed Hillman to state that if psychology is a product of fantasy and psychology is the origin of all human activities, then it can only mean that human activity is based on fantasy or in other words, intrinsically imaginal. It follows that all ideologies, paradigms, philosophies, and belief systems among others are mere articulates of specific fantasies.  This is the framework on which Hillman’s archetypal psychology is based and used to refute assumptions on which the understanding of ego and self presented in the West as a substance that is monocentric, autonomous, and always in pursuit of perfection (73).

In archetypal psychology, this framework also lays the foundation for his discourse on the soul. The work concentrates on the soul because, Hillman believes that the soul should be the sole business of psychology whose definition literally translates into intelligent accounts of the soul or speech or reason (Hillman, 1983 p. 17). Contrastingly however, Hillman does not refer to the soul as a substance, rather a perspective. Again, the primary activity of the soul is imagination. The soul is constituted of images, but again, these images are generated by the soul (14). The poetic basis of the mind pictures all psychological activities as images.

Fantasy is images, products, and also raw materials of the psyche. They are the primary modes through which the soul can be accessed because the soul is an imagining entity and images are its constituents. In the same plane, myths are also representations of fact which are vital to understanding the soul (Hillman, 1976 p. xi). Within this framework, dreams are understood as being compensatory to the sufferings and struggles that individuals go through in life and are not mere random residues. This approach of dream analysis directly contrasts interpretive/hermeneutic approaches. In place of these accepted methods in psychology, archetypal psychology relies on phenomenology and avoids interpreting a dream; rather the contents of the dream are presented as they are (54).

Hillman’s drew his influences from a mixed group of people. The main influence on his archetypal psychology was Carl Jung, but the whole list includes Freud, Vico, Scheling, Coleridge, Plotinus, Plato, and Heraclitus as well as an assortment of poets, artists, alchemists and philosophers (Hillman, 1976). It can be surmised that their writings influenced archetypal psychology, psyche/soul, and associated analysis of dreams, with regard to the process of soul making (44-46).

Hillman’s work cites three aspects that define his psychology, that is, the soul or psyche, aesthetic response and what he calls polytheism. The definitions and interrelatedness of these three concepts form the foundation of his archetypal psychology. The definition and dimensions of the soul is important for understanding aesthetic response. The soul as presented in archetypal psychology functions through images, myths, feelings, and individual stories (Hillman, 1976, p. xi).  Apart from these, the soul can also operate via an aesthetic response of perception. In this regard, the aesthetic response is that of feelings. Through feelings the soul is able to appropriately respond to aspects that affect. Aesthetic response is that specific, distinct, and unique sensual sensory and embodied response of what the soul perceives. Aesthetic responses bestow value and meaning to all the things that the soul encounters. Broadly understood therefore, the soul is religious (Hillman, 1976).

It is on this basis that Hillman develops his notion of polytheism, which is nonetheless a religious term. In archetypal psychology, the word is borrowed from religion to help in re-visioning psychology and its understanding of the self. Rather than monotheism which is closed, the polytheistic reference justifies Hillman’s notion that the soul has the space and freedom to generate aesthetic responses. Again, it is on this basis of pluralism that he calls for an extensive re-examination of monotheistic psychology, especially its psychological paradigms, within the new framework of polytheistic psychology. This multidisciplinary alternative would open up psychology to new expressions and perceptions in a dynamic and multicultural world and also make psychology more relevant and meaningful (Hillman, 1976 p. 27).

In other words, the soul being constituted with both imagination and images thus project the subjective and the objective on one hand, and human and divine on the other. These projections cannot be understood through personalistic reductions or one-sided interpretations. For this reason, only a polytheistic approach can bring together all the experiences of human life to the imaginative perspective and thus exude an aesthetic response (18-19).

Hillman also tackled the centrality of beauty to psychology. Hillman criticizes psychology for completely neglecting beauty. He notes that no experimental, social, or therapeutic branches of psychology have found it within its desire to incorporate beauty into the life story. In place of the beautiful shades that can be found even the most twisted of fates, professional psychology is wreath with banal language, mountains of useless books, and pretensions of progress. The neglect of beauty means that psychology can no longer find the right answers to life stories and the reward for this is an increase in sexual harassment cases, problems in gender and sexual relations, and reduction of every inquiry to experimental designs. In essence, there’s no longer any fun or humor in such inquiries (Hillman, 1976 p. 56-57).

Hillman maintains that psychology is the cause of its own death and it may not heal its own affliction. Even evident is Hillman desertion of all the common contemporary language in psychological writings. Thus, he states that words like ‘performance’, ‘coping measures’, ‘development’, ‘identity’ , ‘response levels’, as well as ‘ego’, ‘experience’ ,‘consciousness’, a host of diagnostic tools among others. These terminologies erase beauty and so archetypal psychology is the only vehicle that can be used to join psychology with beauty (Hillman, 1976 p. 134).

Hillman’s work has had a huge impact. They have inspired a whole generation of thinkers and individuals who have adopted the soul-centered approach in teaching, research, scholarship, governance, interpersonal relations, ethical decision making, psychological training, and promoting diversity as a way of life. Individuals trained in archetypal psychology have the sole purpose of freeing the soul from the straps of individual, personal, and humanistic strings so that it can explore in fantasy inspired imagination and re-soul the world.

Richard M. Oduor

Books for Further Reading

Hillman, J. (1976). Re-Visioning Psychology, New York: Harper and Row

Hillman, J. (1983). Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account. Dallas: Spring Publications

Utopian Socialism: Does it Warrant Our Thoughts?

I think we should discuss the concept of complete socialism.  By that I mean an economy where every member of the community works at whatever task they can do, and the community’s production is distributed equally to everyone.  Of course, there will be some who cannot contribute in any way, such as the very young, the very old, the sick, or disabled. And some of these will require less or more product than others, but for the great majority, no one needs any more food, clothing, or shelter than anyone else.  We have to realize that in any community there will always be mix of brains, brawn, and beauty, but there is no ethical reason why someone who is more intelligent, stronger, or more beautiful is entitled to more of society’s products than anyone else.

The usual reaction to the idea of such complete equality is: “Impossible!–people need incentive; those who contribute more to the community should be rewarded with more of its products, and the lazy ones, who contribute less, should receive less.”  But this reaction is based on the idea that the only reward for working is purchasing power, whereas there are many other reasons for expending effort: because the work needs to be done; because no one else does it as well; because of a feeling of accomplishment; because of the recognition of a job well done; because of interest in the work itself; or because of habit.  As for the people who are considered lazy, they may be bored by the wrong job, or a few may be incurable slackers.  For the latter, social pressure would help to get some contribution.

In a utopian socialistic community, it is obvious that cooperation would be a necessity.  Fortunately, cooperation has been shown to be hard wired in the human species.  In fact, even in our present unsatisfactory economic system there is a remarkable degree of cooperation.  By having complete equality, the natural tendency of everyone would be to work for mutual benefit.  Although inevitably there would be difference of opinion on details, the unifying effect of a common goal would help to reduce conflict.  But if only a tiny bit of inequality were to creep in, the evils of envy, graft, and intolerance could take root.

Such a community, where everyone is pulling in the same direction, where envy and conflict are minimized, and where economic security is spread over the whole group, obviously would be desirable if it could be organized.  Unfortunately, there is no way to suddenly change direction of the present economic system, even if a large number of people desired it.  And large numbers are not even thinking about complete equality.  Most people dismiss the idea as preposterous.

The Spirit Level, by Wilkinson and Pickett shows that in any society, the degree of equality determines the health and happiness of its members, not wealth, resources, culture, or climate.  Further, more unequal societies are bad for everyone, rich, middle class, and poor.

Under today’s economic system we will never get anywhere trying to deal with the problem of inequality, regardless of how much we preach about treating each other better.  But I believe that     equal sharing of all products is a possibility for at least a portion of the population who would be willing to give it a try.  That is why I would like to get the discussion going.  I have already worked out some practical details of an alternative system of value and how to distribute products without the use of money.  Let us not be dissuaded from discussion of the idea by conventional thinking.

Edward Wilson is a Global Thinker and Writer on Contemporary Issues.

He can be reached at

Argyle Lane, Gabriola, B.C., Canada

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Quick Links on Utopian Socialism


Utopian Socialism. Maybe Wikipedia should be your first stop

Utopian Socialism; According to the Socialist Party of Great Britain

Utopian Socialist Experiments. Quick read here

 Is America’s Dance with Utopian Socialism Ending? See what the American Thinker has to say

Utopia and Marxism; An Interview with Karl Held

Can modern cooperatives possibly be the foundation for socialism, given that the most modern historical efforts such as the Israeli Kibbutzim have failed or become capitalist corporations? The Idea might be called Utopian


Scientific Research Studies on Spiritual Science and Philosophy

<h1>Scientific Research Studies on Spiritual Science and Philosophy</h1>
<strong>Author: <a title=”Yuga Rishi Shriram Sharma” href=”″>Yuga Rishi Shriram Sharma</a></strong><br />
<p>Today’s era predominates with a high intellect. Every aspect of our life is fully influenced by the modern scientific principle of proof and sound logic. As a result world humanity requires both proof and logic as far as philosophy is concerned too. Only after testing it thus will they deign to accept its usefulness. Truth and Reality will be imbibed only after it is tested via logic and scientific proof. This insistence of ‘proof’ has greatly challenged the very existence of Spiritual Sciences. Man’s glory and social arrangement has its roots in high leveled faith that encompasses both sacred ideals and principles. Sheer intellectualism with its emphasis on direct proof has truly harmed man’s faith potential. Logic and proof says that faith is ‘blind’. Hence today’s need of the hour is to test Spiritual Values like faith, trust, ideals etc on the basis of scientific logic and principles along with its utility and proof of its very existence. For this those very scientific research need to be deployed which are today being used by Modern Material Science.<br />

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Today everyone fully accepts the importance of Material Science. Its utility and importance have always remained in vogue because it tests itself on the basis of logic, experimentation and research. In addition to this it never wavers when it is required to give up beliefs that are not scientifically sound and rational. Of course it is a well known fact that scientific findings do tend to change every now and then. If for the first time some proof is found it is not necessary that it will remain eternally correct. This is because when newer discoveries and inventions unfold the previous conclusions are renounced. Thus scientific findings at a particular point in time are accepted as true only until new findings later disprove their veracity. Hence the previous finding henceforth does not hold true as it did previously. It is this yearning for truth that helps Modern Science retain its importance and utility.<br />

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The attainments of Spiritual Science are infinitely more than those of Material Science. Hence its importance too is n-fold more than modern science. Thus it is most required that greater attention be paid to it. Since in ancient times Spiritual Science was given a lot of importance man’s overall glory too reached high peaks. But later the more man’s soul force weakened the more he headed towards both a material and spiritual degradation. Hence if we wish to herald in a radiant future in the 21st century optimum usage of soul principles are the need of the hour. Thus keeping this in mind it is most required that Spiritual Sciences be researched in a modern scientific manner and place them in front of all so as to imbibe them in their pristine purity.<br />

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It is Spiritual Philosophy that is the foundation stone of human thought/viewpoint. It is the very life force of spirituality. Man’s wholesome thinking or otherwise is totally dependent on the beliefs of social norm that are in vogue at a particular time. The basis of high leveled thought flow during the Rishi Era was Spiritual Philosophy that was in vogue. It ceaselessly inspired human beings to strive for supremacy as far as wholesome thought and activity was concerned. As a result heavenly situations manifested and divinely human beings took birth. Serious questions regarding the soul, God’s existence, God’s glory, fruits of ones past/present/future actions, creation of this world and the aim behind it can only be answered by Spiritual Philosophy.<br />

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During varying times and circumstances great Rishis of yore gave us philosophical tenets to suit those times and requirements. As long as the Rishi Yuga existed, this tradition continued thus creating heavenly situations for world beings. But later during the Middle Age a fairly long time span of darkness and gloom prevailed. Since in this dark period unruliness and anarchy took over philosophy, righteousness and spirituality were totally ignored by one and all. During such dire times it is most required that one is alert enough to gauge what is apt and what is not apt. Thus we should develop an intellect which leans towards research so as to understand what is true and what is its day to day usefulness.<br />

Ancient and very useful spiritual principles need to be put forth to world humanity in such a way wherein there remains no room for doubt as far as its utility and veracity is concerned especially in today’s Jet Age.<br />

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Great Rishis elucidated various behavioral depending on each circumstance and its requirement. Smritis clearly depict such differences in norms laid down. The different norms laid down by great seers during various points in world history were not because there was hatred, differences etc amongst these seers. In fact they were forced to lay down different social norms simply because the requirements during various phases of world history required specific norms for each and every phase.<br />

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The basis of past progress, analysis of downfall and goal setting for the future is an intellect which yearns for facts and reality. In spiritual parlance it is called Ritambhara. According to Brahman scriptures this is what Prajapati says while elucidating Divine Wisdom or Self Realization: When during cosmic annihilation (Pralaya) everything in this world is destroyed at that time too one Rishi remains alive to reveal the truth. His name is ‘Tarka’. Over here Tarka is not some dry and superficial argument but it is a divine intellect full of profound wisdom. It is with its help that one can attain Self Realization. An intellect that is open to accept truth shies away from prejudiced fanatical beliefs. The wheel of time is such that situations faced by us all are bound to change again and again. And it is because of this that the methods of solving various problems too change when situations change. No doubt we revere saints and seers of the past and the spiritual endeavors demarcated by them. And yet it is not necessary that these endeavors can help in today’s times since situations of those times and today differ a great deal. Hence it is most required that spiritual practices of those times that can be used today be imbibed wholeheartedly and renounce those which are not suitable for modern times (but were apt for past times).<br />

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As mentioned previously in the Middle Age of darkness and ignorance a lot of distortions plagued the spiritual arena. Such disparity was seen in the principles, methods and social execution of Spiritual Philosophy that even a common thinking intellect would refuse to trust its veracity and utility. In the dark Middle Age sacred scriptures got ‘adulterated’ so as to say. This resulted in the degradation of the lives of so called religious and spiritual “leaders”. Thus majority of world humanity rightly refused to trust them and follow in their footsteps.<br />

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There was a time many centuries back when Rishis’ speech and the sacred gospel of our scriptures were thought to be beyond doubt. Today because intellectualism and logic/proof is the in thing, scriptural precepts will not be gulped down solely on the basis of faith. The philosophy of faith can only be reinstated today on the firm foundation of its utility, proof and veracity. Today the need of the hour is that the principles and day to day execution of Spiritual Science be put forth in a form that is wholesome and acceptable to this present generation of the Computer Age. Those very spiritual tenets faithfully and wholeheartedly imbibed by seers of yore must be presented today in a manner that is acceptable to the highly intellectual human beings of modern times. The gist of the teachings of great thinkers and sages of ancient times is unanimous wherein human beings love each other selflessly, imbibe the wealth of sacred thinking, grow the flowers of wholesome actions and develop a great character. How will al this happen? The answer is one without a second and that is faith towards Spiritual Sciences be imbibed deeply in ones psyche.<br />

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For this a 2-pronged effort has been designed wherein distortions that have entered Spiritual Science are being rooted out and to prove with sound scientific arguments the futility to pursue materialism that does not have a firm substratum of spiritual values. For this in the gigantic library of the Brahmavarchas Research Institute’s highly experienced scholars are re-analyzing every religious scripture in a scientific manner. Every scripture is scrutinized minutely for its useful tenets and without any prejudice or bias renounce all precepts that are not useful/applicable in today’s 21st century. We must have deep faith that just as when the mythological churning of the ocean took place and 14 jewels emerged from it so too our scientific research will definitely unearth those spiritual jewels that will be acceptable the world over.<br />

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It is also the need of the hour to combat the rat race like material pursuits (one could say it is a by product of Modern Science) devoid of spiritual and human values. The very foundation of ethics has been shattered because of laying emphasis solely on direct visible proof and material utility. Die hard materialists refuse to accept the existence of the soul and God. As a result the attitude of ‘why even deign to think about good deeds/merits, spiritual goals, renunciation, sacrifice etc’? Charvak said: Rinam Kritvaa Gridham Pibait. It means keep borrowing money and thus eat, drink and be merry. He also said: Yena Kena Prakaarena, Yaavajjeevait Sukham Jeevait. It means beg, borrow or steal and continue to live a life of sense merriment. If one looks around and analyzes the life style of the highly materialistic intellectual class it certainly appears as though they are hell bent on proving Charvak right. When scientific research proves everything on the basis of proof collected from ones sense organs, mind and intellect why should not life’s philosophy be erected on the foundation stone of selfishness? The results of such erroneous thinking stares starkly in our face wherein every area of our life predominates with narrow minded selfishness, lack of magnanimity and generosity and hard heartedness. There is no other cause for this apart from our lack of faith in the importance of spiritual values and tenets. How can it be warded off? The answer is unanimous in that faith in spiritual values must be reinstated in the psyche of world humanity on a firm footing. And this is possible only by imbibing the sacred precepts of Spiritual Sciences.<br />

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Spirituality can be imbued with new vigor only by 1) destroying distortions that have entered spirituality and 2) reinstating the philosophy of aspiring for greatness which is being ignored today by those who pursue rank materialism devoid of spiritual and human values. It is hence that the gigantic Research Institute called Brahmavarchas has been established. The highly intellectual class of this Computer Age can only be convinced by giving philosophical answers to philosophy, scientific answers to science and logical answers to logic. Atheism is ruling the roost today simply because spiritual principles have not been presented via sound scientific proof and logic. One can safely say that Modern Sciences’ principles that rely on proof only is not the major cause of people scoffing the existence of the soul, God, fruits of ones actions, spiritual goals etc. Instead the root cause is that till today we have failed to present Spiritual Sciences laced with ample scientific proof and logic.<br />

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In order to fulfill this all important goal Brahmavarchas Research Institute has been set up as a all round centre of scientific research. No doubt our beginning is dwarfish yet the potential of it becoming gigantic and all pervasive is very high. We have sown a powerful seed and without doubt it is not the end. It is a gigantic task to test Spiritual Science’s principle on the basis of sound scientific logic and proof. And hence gigantic means that include a well equipped high profiled laboratory are most required. Over here there are 2 options. The first one wherein wait for high leveled means and then start research activities. The second is make-do with the limited means available at present and commence research studies on a war like footing. We realized that it is not possible to stop research just because all the required means are not available. A delay would mean not helping in the obstruction of world humanity’s imminent spiritual and material downfall. Hence it is important that without delay we prove the authentic nature of spiritual values via scientific research and only then will the highly intellectual class of the world accept it and imbibe it to the fullest. Brahmavarchas Research Institute’s wheels are on a roll and the train of research studies has started moving slowly but surely.<br />

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Research studies have 2 aspects viz. literature based research and experimentation in a well equipped laboratory. A gigantic collection of literature in our high profile library that includes religions of all nations of the world, books of great thinkers and philosophers of the world covering areas of Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Parapsychology, Sociology etc will help fulfill our requirement of scientific as well as a philosophic method of scientific analysis. Further spiritual practices will be scientifically tested in our laboratory that is equipped with advanced scientific apparatus and technology. We are analyzing the effect of Mantras, Japa and Yajna on human beings, other creatures and plants. It is no secret that today man’s bodily, mental and spiritual health is fast deteriorating. Various medical therapies like Allopathy, Homeopathy and Ayurveda are not weeding out diseases from their very roots. Under such dire circumstances what is required is that we unearth a mode of therapy which gives us sound bodily, mental and spiritual health for keeps.<br />

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The Science of Yajna or Yajnopathy is being given a firm and strong foundation. We are constantly in touch with well known scientists and medical specialists so as to reap rich dividends from our research. We must all have faith that in the near future Yajnopathy will bloom forth in its total healthy and all encompassing form. Thus it will serve entire world humanity both materially and spiritually.<br />

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Literature based research study has many aspects. And yet chief amongst them are Science and Philosophy. This era demands that spiritual and human values be given prime importance. Hence 4 main topics with reference to them have been taken up for research studies. They are: 1) Inter Faith Understanding and Equality, 2) Cosmic Consciousness and Cosmic Nature, 3) Science of True Thinking and 4) Yajna based therapy. In the subsequent phase of our research other topics too will be studied minutely.<br />

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1)    Inter Faith Understanding and Equality: In order that every world religion is given utmost honor and respect 14 golden aphorisms have been elucidated that are accepted by all religions. They will encompass the religious discourses, rites/rituals and traditions of religions like Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Parsi, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Jew and Taoism. In order to make individuals and world society great and pious in character ethics, human/spiritual values, discipline and wholesome social behavior have been taken up for study purposes.<br />

2)    Cosmic Consciousness and Cosmic Nature: We are deeply studying material nature, the subtle atom, special qualities of the gigantic cosmos and the mysterious layers of human (microcosm) and cosmic (macrocosm) consciousness. Serious research is being carried out into the scientific basis of the awakening of Extrasensory Potential (ESP). In addition the question of how could one ‘contact’ cosmic consciousness and imbibe their Divine Powers is being researched into. Within this topic the various branches of Modern Science are being studied and on its basis soul scientific principles will be put forth.<br />

3)    Science of True Thinking: All those principles and theories of Psychology and Philosophy are being studied deeply that are strongly related to man’s very thinking process. The Science of Thinking includes research studies on reflection, faith, trust, sensitivity etc that designs man’s inner personality and character. A psychological study of devotion, meditation, prayer and mental focus/concentration too has been taken up by us.<br />

4)     Yajna based therapy: It encompasses the scientific application and utility of Yajna, its influence on our body and psyche and what is its philosophical basis.<br />

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We must imbibe deep faith that soul based principles stand on the firm foundation of spirituality. In addition they are omnipotent enough to ward off all attacks made by atheistic units. What can we achieve by ‘defeating’ that path which has yet to be imbibed totally and which yet has no followers or propagators? In the court of intellectualism theism tasted defeat simply because theistic propagators did not take up the challenges thrown by their modern intellectual counterparts and instead insisted on saving theism with the slogan: Have faith in God! If only they had answered logic with counter logic, precepts with counter precepts, proof with counter proof etc theism would have succeeded in defeating hard core intellectuals in their own court. But alas this was not to be and theism was relegated to an ethical downfall and psychic inertia. This is the reason why Spiritual Science over the years beat a hasty retreat to its downfall. And yet there is no need to despair because today scientific research on Spiritual Sciences will help regain eternally its lost glory.<br />

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In reality Spiritual Principles are such that the basis of human joy, peace, progress and prosperity remain on a solid footing. The problem is only one wherein the complexity of what is true and false is so enormous that it is very difficult to understand the true meaning of their precepts along with its application in day to day life. Gold is purified via a blazing fire. Similarly spiritual teachings too will be heated in such a manner so as to transform them into that form which can be understood easily by even a layman and thus will be conducive to imbibe in ones daily professional, social etc life. The probability to achieve this goal via a positive transformation of Spiritual Philosophy indeed is very high. We must have faith via the research endeavor of Brahmavarchas Research Institute that all encompassing form of Spiritual Philosophy will be presented to the world wherein there will be no room for differences and doubts. Only modern scientific research can ward off obstacles faced by theism and reinstating of spiritual values in our day to day life. Only those principles that are heated in the furnace of research and tested for sound proof and logic will prove to be true and useful both materially and spiritually. Without this the highly intellectual class of the world cannot be wooed to imbibe spiritual tenets.<br />

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<strong>About the Author</strong><br />
<p>AUTHOR: Shriram Sharma Acharya: founder of the International Gayatri Family: was a great Yogi: seer and incarnation of God who wrote volumes of scientific literature mainly on spiritual subjects for world welfare and peace. For more scientific e-books visit: (GOOGLE PR 4) and (Google 5) KEYWORDS: Kundalini Yoga Gayatri e-books biography Guru world peace mind psyche god nerve subtle consciousness soul divine trance endocrine glands ESP Chakras plexus meditation concentration intellect prophecy thought thinking Cheiro Nostradamus Aurobindo bliss brain Vedas solar sun energy sacred pure sense organs Prana Avatar Upanishad light cell hypothalamus pituitary transformation futurist prediction serpent power life human ethics integrity character vagus Tantra Mooladhar atom neutron proton DESCRIPTION: Free e-books on Future Scientific Religion: Gayatri Science & Kundalini Yoga correlated to Neurosciences-ESP, Endocrinology, Anatomy, Psychology & Sociology for 1) material & spiritual prosperity & 2) uniting the world peacefully as a family. Ours is a strictly non-commercial website which aims at realizing the age old dream of great leaders and thinkers of the world: A beautiful borderless world.</p>