[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 28 16:02:23 CDT 2012

Let me state how I see this. The sAMkhya pUrvapakshin who listens to Sankara's 
argument about brahman and makes pradhAna subservient to brahman has already
moved away from what he originally established, based on tarka alone. And when
Sankara says that such a modified version of sAMkhya is okay, what he is doing is
that he is accommodating the modified version of the opponent's thought.
Let us set aside biological evolution for the time being and focus on the origins of
material reality. I am sure even list members who are not scientists are aware of
the basic details of the big bang theory, how the first stars were formed, and how
hydrogen and then helium and then all the heavier elements came into being, etc.
Now, Sruti talks of AkASa, vAyu, agni, ap and pRthvI. Are we to take this literally
and say that if any atoms and molecules exist, they have to be of space, air, fire,
water and earth only? That hydrogen atoms and uranium atoms are not material
realities because they are not mentioned in Sruti? This, I think, would be a quite
wrong approach to what Sruti really conveys about the material universe. And
does it necessarily follow that a vedAntin needs to reject any and all scientific
theories of the origins of the material universe as being contradicted by Sruti?
I don't think so.

Now, if a vedAntin were to say to the astrophysicist,
"fine, the universe began with a big bang and has a finite age. But the collapse
of a wave function only happens under an act of observation. The very first wave
function collapse at the big bang, being a unique event, had to have been a
unique act of observation, implying a unique conscious observer. If you agree
with this, then I am okay with your science." 
is he compromising on vedAnta? I don't think so.
A similar kind of argument can be made for biological evolution theories too, I
should think.

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