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 Post subject: Mythology in Physics?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:09 am 
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This remark here from Dr. Hawking surprised me:

Quote:
Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.


http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/02/hawking.god.universe/index.html

Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with.

Moreover, that is religious thought. That is a completely unfalsifiable claim. It cannot be reproduced, predicted or observed.

It is no different than a theologian insisting that God, which is likewise an uncaused entity capable of initiating causal processes, created time and space.

As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:01 am 
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I haven't read his piece yet (it is afterall another one of his books) but the excerpt seems to read like he's talking after the Big Bang - given those initial conditions and gravity the universe spontaneously formed. In his book he may invoke the energy of space itself (Feynman worked on this) to create everything. Basically the standard model goes right back to conditions just before the Big Bang (although the Steady State model is still chugging along ...). And this is not the first time Hawking has raised this. First time was 20 or 30 years ago at a physics conference at the Vatican .... I think this is where he was playing around with cycles of expansion and contraction in order to create cycles of universes .....

Kirt

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:45 am 
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Meanwhile in Indonesia, a statement attributed to him that :"God did not create the universe" is creating some minor waves in this largely Muslim country, even though as atheistic thought goes it really is hardly new!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
This remark here from Dr. Hawking surprised me:

Quote:
Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.




Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with.

Moreover, that is religious thought. That is a completely unfalsifiable claim. It cannot be reproduced, predicted or observed.

It is no different than a theologian insisting that God, which is likewise an uncaused entity capable of initiating causal processes, created time and space.

As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world.



When Hawking uses the term nothing, he is of course using vernacular language. The quantum vacuum is quite a different thing from nothing, having structure and properties and a non zero energy. He is not saying something is coming from nothing in the sense you think he is.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:15 pm 
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Well this may be true, to the extent we can say this is what another is thinking in this matter...." He is not saying something is coming from nothing in the sense you think he is."

This is also true...
"As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world."

Scientists are most reluctant to accept any theory which though proveable, counters the accepted norm of things which almost invariably is founded in fundamental philosophical bias which in the west is theism.
The history of scientific theories acceptance is anything but a tale of truths found and truths accepted.
Thusly the end product, what is considered to be the state of the art at any given moment is invariably colored by actual bias and interpretable bias, always.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:10 am 
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Huseng wrote:
This remark here from Dr. Hawking surprised me:

Quote:
Hawking says in his book "The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing," according to an excerpt published Thursday in The Times of London.

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he writes in the excerpt.


http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/02/hawking.god.universe/index.html

Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with.

Moreover, that is religious thought. That is a completely unfalsifiable claim. It cannot be reproduced, predicted or observed.

It is no different than a theologian insisting that God, which is likewise an uncaused entity capable of initiating causal processes, created time and space.

As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world.

Have you reviewed his equations? It would be more accurate to say that it's Mathology rather than Mythology. :jumping:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:40 pm 
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Mara would never allow Madhyamaka-Prasangika to become mainstream science. He would have no problem hiding it from people. I believe you need a lot of merit just to come across such a view let alone come close to "believing" it, which the majority of the world does not have.

OK I'm being hardcore, but I'm serious. Truth just doesn't become mainstream because this is a degenerate age.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:14 pm 
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neverdowell wrote:
Mara would never allow Madhyamaka-Prasangika to become mainstream science..

Hi Neverdowell,

Rest assured that science is only concerned with conventional phenomenon. This is not because Mara does not allow it to be otherwise. It's just that science serves a different purpose than the purpose which religion serves.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:59 pm 
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shel wrote:
neverdowell wrote:
Mara would never allow Madhyamaka-Prasangika to become mainstream science..

Hi Neverdowell,

Rest assured that science is only concerned with conventional phenomenon. This is not because Mara does not allow it to be otherwise. It's just that science serves a different purpose than the purpose which religion serves.


Yes and no.

In some religious thought comes an understanding of the universe and how it works.

In some science the purpose is to alleviate suffering and better mankind (to say nothing of the womenfolk).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:28 am 
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Huseng wrote:
shel wrote:
neverdowell wrote:
Mara would never allow Madhyamaka-Prasangika to become mainstream science..

Hi Neverdowell,

Rest assured that science is only concerned with conventional phenomenon. This is not because Mara does not allow it to be otherwise. It's just that science serves a different purpose than the purpose which religion serves.


Yes and no.

In some religious thought comes an understanding of the universe and how it works.

Hi Huseng,

Unless this knowledge is acquired based on the scientific method and capable of resulting in a correct prediction or reliable outcome it is not science. And if it does fit this criteria indeed, it's science and not religious thought. Religion may borrow from the knowledge gained from science to better serve its purposes however.

Quote:
In some science the purpose is to alleviate suffering and better mankind (to say nothing of the womenfolk).

I can't imagine what prompted you to think that this is the sole domain of religion.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:35 am 
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shel wrote:
Rest assured that science is only concerned with conventional phenomenon.


But conventional phenomena, let alone whole universes, are not created. They do not exist and do not ever exist. Only ignorance brings them into being. Check the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines. :)

The problem is he's assuming that there was a creation at all, that something came from nothing. Maybe that's a philosophical statement he has no business making as a scientist.

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To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:40 am 
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Huseng wrote:
Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with.

Isn't nirvana/state of enlightenment is uncaused?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:00 am 
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neverdowell wrote:
shel wrote:
Rest assured that science is only concerned with conventional phenomenon.


But conventional phenomena, let alone whole universes, are not created. They do not exist and do not ever exist. Only ignorance brings them into being. Check the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines. :)

Does the Perfection of Wisdom say what brings ignorance into being?

Quote:
The problem is he's assuming that there was a creation at all, that something came from nothing. Maybe that's a philosophical statement he has no business making as a scientist.

As others have suggested above, your concept of "nothing" may differ greatly from that of Hawking.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:39 am 
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What then...."Unless this knowledge is acquired based on the scientific method"..... of a method which arises at a correct prediction or reliable outcome not based upon scientific method....is this then less viable or credible than one based upon "scientific" method".

Is scientific method than a higher thing than other method or deriveing truth of things?
Or is it but equal to other means?

No offense Sherab, but this is after all dharma free for all...why do you keep saying that?
I find no uncaused thing in my reality....why do you state this repeatedly..have you interpreted some sutra that way or has someone told you that?

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Last edited by ronnewmexico on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:04 am 
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shel wrote:
neverdowell wrote:
shel wrote:
Does the Perfection of Wisdom say what brings ignorance into being?


177. As many beings as there are in the low, middle and high realms of the world, we know, from the Buddha, that all of them have been brought about by ignorance. This machine-like process of birth-and-death, is kept going continuously by ignorance, and yet the ignorance never gets depleted, nor does it grow. As many roots of skillful devices there are, of doors, paths and methods to proper understanding, they all have been issued from wisdom, the foremost perfection. This machine of cognition is kept going by the fuel of wisdom, which does not increase or become diminished.

http://thenewheretics.wordpress.com/200 ... and-lines/

Seems to be saying that ignorance and wisdom are without beginning or end. Pretty mind-boggling stuff. :)

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To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:11 am 
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or...that is expressing ignorance and wisdom as quality not object.

As in..... water when it presents is always wet. We can then state water is always wet and when dry it is not water.... always for ever and ever.
That is a eternal characteristic but that does not infer water is eternal or not.
So it is a quality of something that presents in form not a absolute eternal thing.

As in sentient beings have the quality of ignorance always

and doors and all the rest have the quality of wisdom always.

as water is wet always, and thusly such a thing cannot increase nor deminish. Nothing when wet can become wetter nor when dry drier.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:44 am 
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neverdowell wrote:
shel wrote:
Does the Perfection of Wisdom say what brings ignorance into being?


177. As many beings as there are in the low, middle and high realms of the world, we know, from the Buddha, that all of them have been brought about by ignorance. This machine-like process of birth-and-death, is kept going continuously by ignorance, and yet the ignorance never gets depleted, nor does it grow. As many roots of skillful devices there are, of doors, paths and methods to proper understanding, they all have been issued from wisdom, the foremost perfection. This machine of cognition is kept going by the fuel of wisdom, which does not increase or become diminished.

Seems to be saying that ignorance and wisdom are without beginning...

You must not have posted where it says that, perhaps by accident. It only says that "ignorance never gets depleted, nor does it grow." It doesn't address the cause of ignorance at all.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:42 am 
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shel wrote:
neverdowell wrote:
shel wrote:
Does the Perfection of Wisdom say what brings ignorance into being?

Seems to be saying that ignorance and wisdom are without beginning...

You must not have posted where it says that, perhaps by accident. It only says that "ignorance never gets depleted, nor does it grow." It doesn't address the cause of ignorance at all.


Drat! I made a mistake. In the original argument I said to look up the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 lines. But I meant to refer to the Golden Light Sutra. Never mind. I'm going to quote the Golden Light Sutra again.

Quote:
Behold these things, O goddess:
Here, beings, persons
And likewise phenomena are empty.
Due to ignorance, they arise.

These great elements have no great origination.
Originating from the unoriginated, they lack origination.
Since that which originates does not originate,
I have called them the great elements.
They do not exist and do not ever exist.
Due to ignorance, they come into being.

Ignorance itself does not exist.
Thus, I have called it ignorance.
Action, consciousness, name and form,
The six sources, contact, feeling,
Craving, grasping and existence too,
Birth, aging and death, sorrows and afflictions ­
These comprise the twelve links of dependent origination.

The inconceivable sufferings of cyclic existence
As they operate in the wheel of life
Have originated from the unoriginated;
Thus, they are without origination,
Free from discursive, conceptual thought.


http://www.fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advic ... 0207a4.pdf

Mind boggling... does that answer your question? I'm not sure if it does. But it just rubbed me the wrong way when you asked what "causes" ignorance, as though in a linear sense. From all my studying, it's beginningless, just as all your previous rebirths. Time is only conventional as well, as past present and future are interdependent. That's relative existence for ya.

At a guess I would postulate that ignorance and wisdom are interdependent. OK this is driving me mad. Someone should definitely correct me if I'm wrong.

:buddha1:

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To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:08 pm 
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neverdowell wrote:
... it just rubbed me the wrong way when you asked what "causes" ignorance, as though in a linear sense.

And what is uncaused or non-linear is spontaneous. Howz that for a unified theory! :tongue:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:17 pm 
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I think you're being unfair.

Its actually very clear from the article that Hawking is not claiming that "something" (in the sense of the very first primordial existent) emerged from "nothing" (i.e. in ex nihilo). He is not using the term "universe" to denote "all that exists"; it is made clear in the article that, in his view, a single universe is only one subset of the whole, errr, "macrocosm," if you will.

From the article:
"From there he introduces the idea of multiple universes, saying that if there are many universes, one will have laws of physics like ours -- and in such a universe, something not only can, but must, arise from nothing."

He is simply saying that the first existent thing(s) in our particular universe could have emerged simply given the physical laws of our universe [i.e. its existence does not rely on a creator God]. This still leaves the existence of our universe open to causes and conditions from a number of outside events.

Quote:
Moreover, that is religious thought.


Not all conclusions that are not derived from science are "religious." On this argumentation, any a priori claim made at all would be a religious one. If you make an exhaustive dichotomy between empirical induction and religious belief, you fail to leave room for one very important thing: reason. The sort of reasoning that Mr. Hawking is basing his claims off of. Whether you agree with his reasoning or not, you have to at least admit that he is indeed reasoning (notably, in a way acceptable to a large contingency of people). Its simply unfair to characterize him as someone who is religiously devoted to the idea of something-out-of-nothing-ism .

Quote:
That is a completely unfalsifiable claim. It cannot be reproduced, predicted or observed.


Why judge yourself and Mr. Hawking on two different scales? You critique him for making an unfalsifiable claim, but make just as strong of an unfalsifiable claim to the counter: "Positing that something (like the universe) can arise from nothing without a cause is fallacious to begin with." At least Hawking does us the service of offering his reasoning, your view is stated as though its axiomatic. Further, I think it would be hard for you to deny that your strong belief in causal dependence is not influenced by your religion...

Maybe this double standard would make sense if you were critiquing his scientific view as mythologized in order to argue that "scientism is just one narrative on par with any other mythical narrative" just as your own is; but that doesn't seem to be your line of reasoning.

Quote:
As time goes on I see what kind of theories materialist philosophy cook up and wonder why they're hailed as the state sanctioned directors of the truth in the present day world.


You're right, I'm voting for you when the next election for "Director of Truth" comes up. :D

The thing is, I agree with you; it seems counterintuitive that something could come out of nothing -- yet, I think we need to be understanding/empathetic enough to see that quite a few people could see it as equally counterintuitive that this very moment could be causally connected in a chain back to "beginningless time" (even this term, as language often does, reifies the conception that there is such a particular "time"). There have been a number of great philosophers (and people in general) from all different traditions who have grappled with these competing intuitions in a number of different ways for years (see Aristotle's hylei for one interesting example); we can't just pick one as the reasonable one and claim that all others are based off of mythology.

Conclusion: Its easy to caricature someone's view and beat up the straw man in front of a bunch of people likely to agree with you; it takes a bit more skill to step into someone else's shoes sympathetically and try to see where they're coming from. Understanding the Dharma is for the salvation of sentient beings, not to attack others with.

We are meditating on emptiness and analyzing phenomena in order to attain liberation from cyclic existence so that we may help all sentient beings to do the same.

:namaste:


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