Faculty of Natural Sciences has cloaked Christian religion in scientific rhetoric

Stabroek News
July 17, 2001

Dear Editor,

I thank Mr. Alfred Bhulai for his studious, though somewhat verbose, clarification regarding the criteria used by the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Guyana to endorse the Christian story of creation (SN 13.7.2001.)

Mr. Bhulai says the faculty's decision rests on three scientific principles as outlined by the late Dr. Stanley D. Beck (1919 - 1997) in an article published in Bioscience magazine.

The learned faculty concentrated on the second principle - the law of cause and effect - and according to Mr. Bhulai, agreed that the law represents two alternatives:

1. An infinite chain of non-primary causes, and

2. An uncaused primary cause of all causes.

The faculty then decided that both alternatives deserved equal study even though they're aware that "the second one is used by monotheistic religions to explain belief in God."

In this way some Christian groups in Guyana have succeeded in completing an agenda which their counterparts in the United States have so far failed to do. They have cloaked Christian religion in scientific rhetoric and will now pass it off as academic instruction to students. To get an idea of how similar ploys failed in the United States, readers

should see my letter titled "Astounding statement" published in the Chronicle of Monday June 25th and still available through the newspaper's online archive.

Would Mr. Bhulai, or any other member of (the still silent) faculty care to say if there was any discussion regarding the Hindu belief about creation at the mentioned retreat? I am interested in knowing how this important aspect of Hinduism was treated by the faculty which is supported by the tax dollars of all Guyanese, including Hindus.

It is good that Mr. Bhulai is taking Stanley Beck's three stated principles to heart. Dr. Beck's first principle is that "The world is real and the human mind is capable of knowing its real nature." Further studies of this statement would prevent Mr. Bhulai from saying things such as people are "freed from a paralysis of their belief in their own ability to think out complex matters for themselves. . ."

It is clear that Dr. Beck did not think that an ongoing quest for truth, as practised by science, would lead to a "paralysis" of beliefs. Perhaps quite the opposite. As a scientist he probably felt that the very ability to think would prevent one from having a paralysis of beliefs and no doubt he continued to nurture his mind "to think out complex matters. . ."

Mr. Bhulai also spoke about those "who would criticize from hearsay without much evidence" and I was reminded of what Herbert Spencer wrote: "Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution as not adequately supported by facts, seem to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all."

In any case neither Mr. Bhulai nor I was around at the beginning, therefore anything he or I say is technically based on hearsay.

It is an endorsement of the principles of science, principles once scorned by Christians, that they themselves (Christians) have now resorted to using (or misusing) scientific findings to support their faith.

Scientists knew that in the long run the truth would prevail: "It seems to me (rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and Theism hardly have any effect on the public; and that freedom of thought will best be promoted by that gradual enlightenment of human understanding which follows the progress of science. I have therefore always avoided writing about religion and have confined myself to science." (Charles Darwin, in a letter to Karl Marx, 1880. In 'Ever Since Darwin' by Stephen Jay Gould - 1978.)

Even Charles Darwin, over a hundred years ago knew that due to the verity of scientific knowledge, religion would one day wind itself into the arms of science.

Yours faithfully,

Lutchman Gossai.