Astus wrote:Buddhism teaches that the primary driving force of the world is karma. That is reflected in Buddhist cosmology. The sequence of the becoming of the world is from top to bottom. That means that humans existed before animals. The view of evolution is from bottom to top, humans evolved from animals. The diversity of beings in Buddhism is explained by karmic dispositions, in evolution by selection and adaptation. In terms of society, the Buddhist view is the cycle of golden age toward a bad age and from then to a golden age. Evolutionary view of the society teaches a progress from hunters-gatherers to modern cities. Buddhism explains that the true goal of every being is happiness and they are confused by the three poisons. Evolution says that the primary instincts and the meaning of all life forms are self-preservation and reproduction. Buddhism says that it is consciousness that makes one a sentient being. Evolution derives living organisms from molecules. These are the reasons why I say that Buddhism is not compatible with evolution.
Humans coming first than animals is a cosmology of sorts, right? When Buddha explained the teachings and later developments were explained by Buddhist masters we already had both humans and animals present. I think that the idea that humans came first was a myth common in old India, no?
The thing is, evolution hasn't stopped. It continues. So more animals will appear and it's debatable if we humans aren't also prone to natural selection, at least to an extent (a major natural catastrophe, a sickness, gradual changes in the environment may lead to the selection of certain characteristics).
The fact that I am a human now doesn't mean I will take rebirth in a human form in the future. The fact that I was an animal in a previous rebirth doesn't mean I wasn't a human (or similar) previously in another world system. Karma is involved in both scenarios.
Now, if I believe I can only take rebirth in this planet Earth, in spite of for instance knowing that it is claimed that Dzogchen teachings are present in other world systems, things may get more complicated.
However, I don't see a reason justifying that we could only take rebirth in this planet if life could exist somewhere else. So, we could have been humans (or equivalent) in another world, then animals here, then animals there, then humans here, then devas, then hellish beings, asuras, pretas, you name it.
I don't see natural selection as opposed to karma. Karma will influence the circumstances you will experience. Many beings share similar karmic potential and perhaps this is why we have a lot of beings similar between themselves while others are radically different. I think the life of a dinosaur wouldn't be that different, in terms of perception, awareness, instinct and so on to the life of a croc today. A mammal living in one of the ice ages may have an experience quite similar to that of a lion today... and so on and so forth. As humans, we share many of the same emotions, feelings, dilemmas and so on with our paleolithic ancestors. We have a lot of the same drives, needs, desires. It's like a cake with a more sophisticated icing, but made of the same dough.
So unless one restricts our birth to this planet and forget that the fact that animals were here first doesn't mean we were those animals and couldn't take rebirth as humans (or equivalent) somewhere else, I see no problem in accepting the theory of evolution. I even think that the fact that there is an evolution (why not some sort of staticism instead, a different model of life and environment) goes pretty well with the theory of karma.
Now, is the theory of evolution in accord with Buddhist cosmology? No. Do I think Buddhist cosmology is more than expedient means? No. To me, it's just an ornament to the finger, perfectly changeable, not the direction it points. That's how I see it. I never bought that Mount Meru stuff anyway.
There's a story Chogyal Namkhai Norbu tells about a Gelugpa teacher that wanted to write a book insisting on this cosmology in spite of his advice for not doing so, since we now knew things weren't like that. If memory doesn't fail me, he was translating this book. It didn't fly, I guess. Funny story that goes to show how Buddhist cosmology is not such a big deal in terms of Path or View. Perhaps someone can tell you this story better. I found it quite amusing.