March 22, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's teleology does not square with the Abrahamic tradition

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"Science, Culture and Integral Yoga" - 1 new article
100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intilligent Design (part 1 or 6)

While the purpose Sri Aurobindo gives to evolution lends it directionality and transcendence. The fact that he presents a teleology as central to his views does not necessarily mean that his perspective squares with the contemporary theory known as Intelligent Design. Sri Aurobindo's teleology does not square with the fundamentalist view of the religions in the Abrahamic tradition, all of whom have found a common cause in the ideology of intelligent design, and who dismiss evolutionary biology because they find it threatening to their faith....

So called scientific theories of intelligent design often simply present a facade for creationist teaching. Although some Christian organizations have called on scientist not affiliated with their religious faith to discount evolutionary biology these scientist certainly represent a minority view in the scientific community at large. For instance, the faith based Discovery Institute, who is on the forefront of arguing that creationism be taught in American public school, has chosen to employ several scientist, some of whom claim to be atheist, to argue in support of their position...

While Sri Aurobindo does not buy into its materialist reduction of life, and openly voices his objection to the chauvinism of science, he does keep open the possibility that certain Darwinian mechanisms such as natural selection are at work in evolution, even if they can not by themselves fully account for it. While acknowledging the limitations of science he certainly does not seem to find its theories that diverge from his own threatening rather, he contextualizes them in accordance with his own integral comprehension of the world. In the following passage in his essay on Materialism (1915) he defers to science by referencing a religious text:.....

“we have not to hide our face from it any more than could Arjuna from the terrible figure of the Divine on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, or attempt to escape and evade it as Shiva, when there rose around him the many stupendous forms of the original Energy, fled from the vision of it to this and that quarter, forgetful of his own godhead. We must look existence in the face in whatever aspect it confronts us and be strong to find within as well as behind it the Divine.

Materialistic science had the courage to look at this universal truth with level eyes, to accept it calmly as a starting point and to inquire whether it was not after all the whole formula of universal being. Physical science must necessarily to its own first view be materialistic, because so long as it deals with the physical, it has for its own truth's sake to be physical both in its standpoint and method” 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intilligent Design (part 1 or 6)

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