Buddhism & Science -

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Buddhism & Science -

Postby BFS » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:57 pm

"The publication of a volume of essays on Buddhism and science presupposes that these two fields are commensurable and that the interface between Buddhist theories and practices and scientific theories and modes of inquiry can somehow be fruitful. But serious objections to this presupposition can be raised from the outset, so I would like to introduce this work by presenting arguments against such a coupling of Buddhism and science together with my responses to those arguments.

The first idea to be considered is the view that religion and science are autonomous, their domains of concern mutually exclusive, so they really have little, if anything, to say to each other. I shall respond to this assertion by first analyzing whether Buddhism
can properly be categorized according to modern Western notions of religion, then I shall describe specific elements within Buddhism that may be deemed scientific. I shall then distinguish between empirical science itself and the metaphysical dogma of scientific materialism that is often conflated with it. Next I shall address objections raised by proponents of postmodernism, to the effect that Buddhism and science are cultural specific and hence fundamentally incomparable. Finally, I shall present suggestions for a dialogic approach to the study of Buddhism and science that may enrich both fields and consequently broaden our understanding of the subjective and objective domains of the natural world."

continue here:

Buddhism and Science - Breaking down the Barriers - B. Alan Wallace
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Re: Buddhism & Science -

Postby Indrajala » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:53 am

I thought this was well responded to:

In short, apart from science,Wilson declares,“Nothing else ever worked,
no exercise of myth, revelation, art, trance, or any other conceivable means;
and notwithstanding the emotional satisfaction it gives, mysticism, the
strongest prescientific probe into the unknown, has yielded zero” (46). Given
his distinguished career as a practicing scientist, one might hope that his
conclusion about a topic as significant as the deepest modes of religious experience
would be based on compelling empirical evidence. Unfortunately,
in his evangelical zeal,Wilson throws to the winds any attempt to study this
subject objectively, rigorously, or thoroughly. In his sham attempt at comparative
religious scholarship, he claims, “Within the great religions . . .
enlightenment . . . is expressed by the Hindu samadhi, Buddhist Zen
satori, Sufi fana, Taoist wu-wei, and Pentacostal Christian rebirth. Something
like it is also experienced by hallucinating preliterate shamans” (260).
This facile conclusion is the sole reference in his book that he is even aware
of the existence of non-Western religious traditions. But judging by his uncritical
way of tossing them all together and all but equating them with hallucinations
of preliterate shamans, religious scholars might prefer that he
ignored them completely.


I also wonder which preliterate shamans he was referring to? Surely the shamans in sub-sahara Africa were quite different from the Nordic shamans of old. That's one big generalization to make.

This kind of dogmatic and ignorant attitude towards religious traditions will likely carry on for a long time unfortunately.
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