Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby undefineable » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:05 pm

Alfredo wrote:Religious rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, atheists /materialists / etc. seem about as well-behaved as religious folk. Since this is hard for many people to believe, we see even irreligious people wanting to bring up their children as "something."


Many surveys have been quoted as showing that 'the religious' commit more crime on average. 'Atheists / materialists etc.' and 'religious folk' covers a small spectrum of any modern western society, the rest of that society being made up of people who aren't sufficiently 'in' to intellectual positions to take such a stance. Being more motivated by practical concerns by definition, they're more likely to have sufficient spare brainpower to commit crimes among such practicalities. One wonders which side most criminals (who -as our life experience tells us- tend to either laugh at or shy away from any such talk) are lumped in with ;).
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby 5heaps » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:50 am

DaftChris wrote:Such as Sam Harris. who believes that Buddhism "needs to be saved from Buddhists".

there are a few lectures where he says not the dismiss it because there is some compelling evidence

jeeprs wrote:There has to be faith in something for the whole process to get started.

not true, you are having valid cognitions necessarily ie. i think therefore i am. only a completely irrational person would deny their experience for no reason ie. a nihilist. what you and they are asserting by implication is that killing yourself or not killing yourself are equivalents :p
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:03 am

jeeprs wrote:There has to be faith in something for the whole process to get started.


I think that where everything gets started is in some sort of experience that one regards as objective reality.
You might say, "well, a person believes in Dharma" or something like that,
but then the definition of "believe" comes up again.

That is why I maintain that the whole question of "real or not?"
regarding what to believe and what not to believe,
from the buddhist point of view, is irrelevant.

What matters is that beings experience what they experience as objective reality.
One might read that "because of karma a being is reborn into the realm of hungry ghosts".
But what does that actually mean?
If we start talking about whether such a realm exists somewhere in the universe or in some other dimension,
that is pure speculation from a point of view based on a misunderstanding of the teachings.
Buddha didn't delve into speculations.
So, I think, as soon as we realize we are speculating, we should know we are sidetracked.
So, when various authors say "we don't need these superstitions" and so forth,
the question arises as to whether or not we need or don't need superstitious fantasies.
But it's the wrong question, because that never really came up to begin with.
When we hear that karma propells beings into this or that realm,
we have to look at our own realm, the human realm, and consider how 'real' our experience of it is.
this has nothing to do with whether it is real or not.
This can be compared to a dream state, which we experience as real.
And it is precisely because of our previous thoughts and actions
that we have the pleasant dreams and terrible nightmares that we have.
That's the point.
We can see easily how our dreams are created by our karma.
Likewise, the experience itself of the human realm, as well as the other realms, is created by karma.
So, a being is reborn, meaning the effects produced by the actions of body, speech and mind
produce a kind of echo.
The mind can go anywhere.
It can have the very 'real' experience of human, or hungry ghost, or animal, or deva or whatever.
"irrational" is only a comparative concept.
Dreams are irrational, yet we experience them as rational events, even if they are really weird dreams,
we see them as weird compared to not-weird
and this only happens because of rational mind.
So, this has nothing to do with "belief" in things we cannot see or prove.
It has only to do with our direct experience of our own minds,
and the suffering and cessation of suffering
neither of which exists outside of the mind.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:17 am

5heaps wrote:
jeeprs wrote:There has to be faith in something for the whole process to get started.

not true, you are having valid cognitions necessarily ie. i think therefore i am. only a completely irrational person would deny their experience for no reason ie. a nihilist. what you and they are asserting by implication is that killing yourself or not killing yourself are equivalents :p


The rest of my statement was 'No matter how rational something appears to be, it rests on axioms, or assumptions, of some kind, and not all of them can be established rationally.

Note the emphasis. What I had in mind when I wrote it was Gödel's Theorem:
Wikipedia wrote:Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory


Earlier on in this thread, there was a discussion of how what is taken to be 'rational' in scientific thinking, rests on certain assumptions as to what constitutes valid experiential data. Somewhere along the line, there has to be a decision as to what kind of evidence to seek, and what is a valid explanation. Some of these are simply axioms. And all I am saying is that every body of knowledge, philosophical system, has some element that cannot be proven, which is basically what an axiom is. So no system goes 'all the way down', so to speak, or provides a complete chain of evidence terminating in some rationally demonstrable fact. Science is no different even though in an empirical sense it has gone much further than science from previous times. Much scientific thinking, so called, still embodies fundamental value-judgements about 'the nature of reality', for instance, that it is ultimately a matrix of meaningless physical forces. And this very assumption, results in certain types of research being endorsed, and other types discouraged, for reasons that may not be 'rational', in the way I have indicated.

Maybe it is only a roundabout way of saying 'stay humble'. :namaste:
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby 5heaps » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:39 am

jeeprs wrote:Note the emphasis. What I had in mind when I wrote it was Gödel's Theorem:
Wikipedia wrote:Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory


So no system goes 'all the way down', so to speak, or provides a complete chain of evidence terminating in some rationally demonstrable fact.

im saying the chain travels upwards starting with your conscious experience, which is not an axiom. the axiom would be the evidence/reasoning which would attempt to deny it. from my pov, ultimately the chain of evidence terminates in a rationally demonstrable fact because that is the nature of the chain (beginning with the initial conscious experience, relying on airtight logic in the best of scenarios, not extending into speculation but staying within the parameters of what can be validly known through conscious experience)
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