Scientific endeavours did not start a few hundred years ago
Stabroek News
July 30, 2001

Dear Editor,

There is an ongoing debate in your columns on creation versus evolution which I have been following with interest but I was only compelled to write because of the last contribution made by Mujtaba Ahmad Nasir captioned "There has never been a conflict between Islam and science" (20.7.2001). Some of the statements are not accurate.

To say that no one or no religion can produce writings as sublime as the Quran is purely subjective and is always debatable .It bothers me that an Almighty God, omniscient, omnipotent, would throw out a challenge to his creation -mortal man, lesser, ignorant and bewildered , "to produce a chapter like any chapter in the Holy Quran." That to me is not an exalted, all knowing God but an ordinary man speaking and boasting of his own work.

To say also that "the impetus to scientific investigation started with the holy Quran" is like saying the whole world lay in ignorance awaiting the advent of "Muslim scientists ."Here again the writer is guilty of not knowing the greater contributions that were made by the people of the Orient whose scientific knowledge and philosophy are now only being recognised by westerners. In fact the "Muslim scientist" were only repeating what was already known, more like a message in transit from one point to another. Mathematics as we know it today would not have been if it was not for the "o" regardless of the arabic numerals which itself was a derivation from a much older Oriental non-muslim language. Scientific endeavours did not just begin suddenly a few hundred years ago by Muslim scientists.

Added to this is the proclivity of western writers to give more credence to Islam than Hinduism because much of its teachings were borrowed from or mirror that of Christianity. Knowledge itself is growing rapidly. The bible we knew yesteryear is no longer what it used to be. There is a new bible that now includes the Nag Hammadi scripts of the gnostics as well as the completed translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. What is included in these additions throws new light on the interpretation of the bible. And we should not forget the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar which started a few years ago and is ongoing.

Someone said that God's way of creation is through evolution. The creation of the bible seems more like the creation of our solar system rather than the creation of the universe. Something happened out there; primordial matter from which came the Big Bang did not just happen. There was a force; there had to be a force and that force is what we call God. What happened afterwards could be termed evolution. We mortals could have been created or developed from a simpler life form by the Gods of the Old Testament and the mythologies of the Incas, Mayans, Romans, Greek, Polynesians and all the other mythologies that we have been ignoring for so long. They the old gods themselves being the creation of the Supreme Creator. We might have had a better understanding of who we are and where we came from if the library at Alexandria and others were not burnt down by religious fanatics who claim to be doing the work of God. It is sad that we do not have that knowledge booster but we are slowly but surely rebuilding that database. And we fervently hope that all will not be destroyed again because the same brand of fanatics that burnt Alexandria are well and alive today.

The marriage of western science and eastern thought embodied in the New Age Movement is the fastest growing belief system in the world today and through its ever growing knowledge base, without prejudice to any organised religion or beliefs, it is hoped with this new openness that sooner or later, the answer to the age old questions of who we are and where we come from will be found.

Yours faithfully,

H Singh