The Challenge

The Challenge Still Stands

Sunday Times, September 4, 1977
by Hansadutta das

First of all, it should be noted that Dr. Kovoor has done exactly what I predicted in my last article he would do—namely, he has swamped the reader with a deluge of word jugglery in order to avoid the main issue, which is this: if life is generated by chance biochemical combinations, as some scientists claim, can the scientist Kovoor, given the proper chemicals, make the chemicals come to life?

Instead of answering this point, he has cleverly written, “Scientists have created over ten elements, such as fermium, plutonium and einsteinium.”

But elements are a far cry from living beings. Dr. Kovoor says that Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma and Dr. Bal Gobind Khorana, the Nobel Prize winner, have synthesized the building blocks of living protoplasm. If this is a fact, why hasn’t Dr. Kovoor met the challenge by creating life with these building blocks? My challenge still stands.

As for incubating a baby in the test tube, this can be done only if you take the sperm and ovum of a living man and woman. In other words, the seed of life required to produce the baby in the test tube cannot be created by so-called scientists. What is their credit if they produce a baby in a test tube? God is already producing millions of babies daily in nature’s test tube, the womb. On the other hand, scientists are killing thousands of babies in the womb by abortion and calling it “scientific advancement.”

Dr. Kovoor’s statement that scientists are “objective thinkers because they base their thoughts on empirical knowledge” only goes to emphasize our point that the soul lies beyond the jurisdiction of the limited senses. Therefore, a completely different process of approach has to be adopted. The definition of empirical is “that which is based on observation and experiment.” Observation and experiment are conducted with limited senses, and therefore the conclusions thus derived are naturally limited and imperfect. Thus, the soul and the existence of God are in fact quite beyond Dr. Kovoor’s power of observation. Why should he be so obstinate? This is a common sense point that anyone can understand.

Dr. Kovoor says, “It is the unique ability of man to engage in creative thinking that has made him succeed in his fight against the laws of nature.” This is a preposterous claim that only a fool would make. Nature forces everyone to undergo old age, disease and finally death. Even the world’s most powerful conquerors are helplessly dragged off the stage of life by nature in the shape of all-devouring death. Will Dr. Kovoor be the first living being in history who will not die? That remains to be seen.

Finally, Dr. Kovoor says, “Some of the marvelous achievements of mankind in recent years have been the liberation of atomic energy, space flight, landing on the moon,” etc. Everyone knows that the first thing scientists did after discovering atomic energy was to manufacture the atomic bomb and promptly drop it on Japan, thus annihilating tens of thousands of innocent victims in a flash. Marvelous, indeed.

At the expense of untold billions of dollars and years of research and hard labor, scientists have supposedly gone to the moon. Of course, all they have “brought back” is a few blurry photos, a handful of rocks and the revelation that the moon is barren. And now they want more money to go to Mars. What is so marvelous about this? It is complete lunacy. On our own planet Earth, millions of people are without food, shelter and basic education. Scientists would be more credible if instead of spending billions of dollars to bring rocks from the moon they would spend the taxpayers’ hard-earned money to improve his own lot on earth. Rocks are rocks, whether from China, from the moon or from Mars. Or is it that science can turn the rocks into bread and cheese by applying some chemicals?

Now, to get to the main point, Dr. Kovoor asks on what objective evidence we have made the fantastic statements that life and matter both come from life, that there is a soul, that there is rebirth of the soul and that there is a Supreme Soul, or God. It is said, “Fight fire with fire.” Therefore, I may simply refer Dr. Kovoor to the authoritative, rational and thoroughly scientific findings of three researchers, all with doctorates, who are members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute. After examining the evidence they have presented [Bhaktivedanta Institute Monograph number one: What is Matter and What is Life? Monograph two: Demonstration by Information Theory That Life Cannot Arise From Matter Monograph three: Consciousness and the Laws of Nature], one who is truly a rationalist should agree with their conclusion that life never comes from matter, but only from life.—Hansadutta das

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One Response to The Challenge

  1. Saptarshi Roy says:

    Namaste Acharya ji,

    It’s 2013, almost half a century since Dr. Kovoor issued a challenge with regards to the absence of soul and that life happens due to chance chemical reactions.

    Yet, your challenge still stands.

    Respect, glories and obeisances to Srila Prabhupada.

    S. Roy

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