This article was originally published on Desicritics.org, an online magazine that covers media, culture, politics, sports, and more with a
South Asian focus.
Recently, I mused about Science and Vedanta. Following this, my thoughts went back to the thoughts in a paper I had written a long time back. During my Masters at IRMA (Institute of Rural Management at Anand), we had a course called "Intellectual Traditions in Management Theory" where the professor used to encourage us to think laterally and "outside-the-box"! It ended up with some non-traditional treatise on a topic that was not just analysis or a rehash of existing thought but an esoteric creation of thought. I wrote on the basic difference between Vedantic Science and Modern Science (Western).
My argument went as follows:
While the Western Science, as it evolved during the Renaissance time, distinguished God and Science and put each other as opposites, Vedanta philosophers were content with approaching God through science! Western scientists believed that if something can be proven logically, the existence of God can be denied so Science and God were essentially antithetical in nature. Vedanta, however, believed that everything in nature is but a reflection of the God. Hence, if we could understand the reason behind natural phenomenon, we could possibly get to understand and so be one with God. That is why, in my opinion, Vedanta or Eastern Science and practices are in tune with the natural and non-polluting, while everything that Western Science has created has been at odds with Nature and in a way attempts to replicate it. That is one reason why, I believe, it ended up polluting that very Nature itself!
The problem with the current discussion on intelligent design as it is being approached in the US is that it is being approached with a premise of certainty rather than as an exploration. And exploration cannot be taught. It has to be experienced. That is why, any interpretation of intelligent design will end up with religious coloring (and so in folklores like the World was created in 7 days or similar stuff) – as it is the only way we understand Nature in the West – even God and spirituality had to be structured as a religion rather than an exploration as Vedanta essentially was. Also, there is no one I have seen or heard or met who possibly even understands or is privy to the intelligent design to teach it in the first place.