Beyond Illusion and Doubt: A Vedic Perspective on Western Philosophy
Abridged version of Dialectic Spiritualism
Excerpt from: Beyond Illusion and Doubt (copyright 1999 BBT)
Disciple: Darwin tried to show how the origin of living species could be fully explained by the purely mechanical, unplanned action of natural forces. By the process he called “natural selection,” all the higher, complex forms of life gradually evolved from more primitive and rudimentary ones…..They try to trace the origin by means of excavation. And they have found that gradually through the years the animal forms are evolving toward increasingly more complex and specialized forms…..In that process many species, like the dinosaurs appeared, flourished, and then disappeared forever, became extinct. Eventually primitive apelike creatures appeared, and from them man gradually developed.
Srila Prabhupada: Is the theory that the human body comes from the monkeys?
Disciple: Humans and monkeys are related.
Srila Prabhupada: Related? Everything is related……both are now existing. Similarly, we say that at the time the evolutionists say life began, there were human beings existing.
Disciple: They find no evidence for that.
Srila Prabhupada: Why no evidence?
Disciple: In the ground. By excavation. They find no evidence in the ground.
Srila Prabhupada: Is the ground the only evidence? Is there no other evidence?…
Disciple: It appears that in certain layers of earth there are remains of apelike men —
Srila Prabhupada: We say that we all come from God, the same ancestor, the same father.
Disciple: But surely if men were living millions of years ago, they would have left evidence, tangible evidence, behind them. I could see their remains.
Srila Prabhupada: So I say that in advanced human societies bodies are burned after death, cremated. So where does your excavator get his bones?
Disciple: But Darwin says there are many species, like dinosaurs, that are seen to be extinct.
Srila Prabhupada: What has he seen? He is not so powerful that he can see everywhere or everything. His power to see is limited, and by that limited power he cannot conclude that one species is extinct. That is not possible. No real scientist will accept that. After, all the senses by which you gather knowledge are limited, so how can you say this is finished or that is extinct? You cannot see. You cannot search out. The earth’s circumference is twenty-five thousand miles; have you searched through all the layers of rock and soil over the whole earth? Have you excavated all those places?
Srila Prabhupada: There our first charge against Darwin is this: He says there were no human beings millions of years ago. That is not a fact. We now see human beings existing along with all other species, and it should be concluded that this situation always existed. Human life has always been there. Darwin cannot prove that there was no human life millions of years ago.