Do you believe man descended from the apes?

Evolution: Science or Skullduggery?
By Kundali dasa

Perhaps you've never given the matter much thought one way or another. Or maybe you're convinced of the theory after seeing the way some people behave.

In any case, if you're at all intrigued by the notion of evolution, you will be interested to know about " Ancestors: Four Million Years of Humanity," an exhibit currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

The exhibit is generating a new wave of interest in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. More than forty legendary fossils that supposedly chronicle man's evolution have been flown in from Europe and Africa for "Ancestors," which tells " the wondrous tale of how humans become human , " Newsweek said in April.

Ian Tattersall, co-curator of the exhibit, called the fossils our "family portraits,... the real crown jewels of the human race."

The news media, obviously very pleased to deliver this news, have run stories strewn with photos and facts about the Taung child, "Lucy," Homo habilis, Sivapithecus, and the well-known Neanderthals. They also cite dates that stretch way back in time - thirty-five thousand years, one million years, three million years, and even seventeen million years. Impressive. In fact, a person reading about "Ancestors" or touring the exhibit itself might easily feel a sense of awe and wonder, of reverence even, both for the fossils and the evolutionists.

According to William Fix, author of The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution, awe and reverence is exactly what the evolution scientists intend us to feel. Fix claims that while making a careful analysis of the more than one hundred and twenty years of archeological discoveries, he unearthed a "catalogue of fiascos," findings recorded by researchers more interested in publicity, funding, and reputation than in truth. To protect their pet theories and their reputations, says Fix, researchers have deliberately ignored or dismissed contrary evidence. To back his claim he cites examples - one of them the discovery of a "modern-type" skull some seven hundred thousand years old. Fix ultimately concludes, " The origin of man is more mysterious than either the evolutionists or creationists contend."

I agree completely. Many people, however, are so mesmerized by the idea of evolution that they flock to see " Ancestors." These innocent peopop have been hyped into believing that with nothing but an assortment of relics, a pile of old bones, and some very lively imagination the evolutionists have actually discerned what life was like between thirty-five thousand and seventeen million ago !

Fortunately, not everyone is bewildered by the clever word jugglery of the evolutionists. A growing number of scientists are voicing dissatisfaction with neo-Darwinism. But this discord is not widely publicized.

The main bone the dissenters have to pick with the evolutionists is that, from a mathematical point of view, evolution is impossible. What the evolutionists, with amazing optimism, claim was achieved by chance is just not possible - not in terms of the time scale they have established for the various stages of the earth's development. This and other flaws were pointed out in 1967 at a conference called "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution," chaired by Nobel laureate Peter Medawar.

In opening the meeting he said, "The immediate cause of this meeting is a pretty widespread sense of dissatisfaction about what has some to be thought of as the accepted evolutionary theory in the English-speaking world, the so-called-Darwinian theory."

An even more severe criticism has been leveled from another quarter. Karl Popper, a philosopher of some distinction, challenges that evolution is not science at all. He argues that the theory can be neither proved nor disproved, because no one can go back in time to see what factually happened. All that can honestly be said from a purely scientific viewpoint is that fossils suggest such an explanation might exist. That's all. In other words, the theory of biological evolution, far from being a scientifically proven fact, is sheer conjecture.

Why then so much fuss over fossils? Why is evolution being taught in schools as though is were fact? And, considering all this, where does Mr. Tattersall get the authority to call his pile of old bones "the real crown jewels of the human race"?

I can easily think of a candidate far more worthy of that distinction - the Vedic literature of India. Common sense tells me I can learn much more about the past from man's literary legacy than from his bones.

The Vedas are the literary legacy of mankind. They are the oldest surviving body of writings in existence, containing knowledge of events going back millions of years. Formerly they were passed down by word of mouth, but about five thousand years ago it was seen that the human memory was getting too short to retain such an enormous wealth of knowledge, so they were put into writings.

But many scientists and scholars discount the Vedic literature as too fantastic to believe. Ironically, however, they boldly make even more fantastic claims based on their collections of fossils. Are their "bone readings" necessarily more credible than the wisdom of the ages stored in the Vedas?

Some say that the Vedas are mythological writings from a more recent time, because five thousand years ago man was too primitive to write such literature. But how do they know this?

Today many primitive peoples are coexisting with different previously? Especially if we have such reported anomalies as seven-hundred-thousands-year-old, "modern-type" skulls staring at us.

The main reason for the evolutionists' assumption that the Vedic literature could not have been written five thousands years ago is that Europe at the time was not civilized. But is it science to assume that because Europe was uncivilized so was the rest of the world? That is faulty logic. It's like the man who assumes that because he is deaf and dumb, all men must be deaf and dumb.

A possible motive for the rejection of the Vedas' authority is the simple fact that to accept them would be to accept India as the seat of civilization and culture eons before Europe - a most untenable notion if you happen to be a cultural chauvinist. And a careful analysis of Western history will reveal a chauvinistic attitude toward other cultures and an implicit assumption that the West is the standard of civilized life for the rest of the world. But the Vedic literature challenges that assumption. It describes a civilization centered on the development of human virtues, simplicity, spiritual enlightenment, and saintliness rather than on the acquisition of wealth, fame, power, and technological prowess.

The evolutionists, our so-called arbiters of scientific truth, doubt there is evidence of a Vedic civilization so long ago. But actually the Vedic literatures themselves are the evidence. And why shouldn't they be? What better evidence could there be? Smokestacks? Skyscrapers? Railway box-cars? Bones? The Vedic culture stresses spiritual values, not technology. The very fact that the literature exists is substantial evidence.

How can evolutionists prefer bones over books? Why this peculiar fetish for fossils? Why are the evolutionists so keen to convince us that we descended from the apes?

We in Krishna consciousness movement are certainly dubious about the integrity of such men. As followers of the Vedic literature, we are seeing practically that these writings are not the result of anyone's fanciful reveries. Their recommendations for a high standard of human life geared towards self-realization yield wonderful results. Elwin Powell, professor of sociology at the State University of New York, has noted this fact: " If truth is what works, as Pierce and the pragmatists insist, there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is (the essential Vedic text,) since those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people."

This joyous serenity, along with the enlightening information the Vedic literature bestows - on cosmology, politics, science, psychology, and philosophy - firmly convinces me that should these writings ever be pitted against Mr. Tattersall's "Ancestors" for the title "real crown jewels of the human race," the Vedic literature would win hands down.