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Science and Buddhism - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Science and Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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BubbaBuddhist
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:45 pm

Yea, many years of observing myriad intelligent and often well-trained people, many of whom were actual physicists (as opposed to amateurs attempting to create a Grand Unified Theory of Everything :P ) wrestling with this knot have taught me one thing: While Buddhism and Natural Science have exploring "reality" as their intention, the End Game of the two are very different.

Some things just don't fit well on the same plate. Ice cream and tuna fish for example. Best to keep them in separate bowls. I think at this point in our experience these two investigative tools are best kept separate. Otherwise, we only confuse ourselves and waste time. Although it can be an interesting waste of time, if that's yer thing.

At the root of the problem is that our Science only examines Rupa and phenomena arising from Rupa. If it acknowledges consciousness at all, it's how it arises from Rupa. Buddhism recognizes both Rupa and Nama (non-material elements) and these non-material elements are part of our experiences. These non-material elements of consciousness are not part of Material Science at this point; there are no instruments yet to measure them. Perhaps one day there will be a fusion of Science and Dhamma. If this happens quite a few changes in our existence would occur, it seems to me.

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

Freawaru
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Freawaru » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:03 am


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BubbaBuddhist
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:41 pm

I think you have an incomplete understanding of the term "rupa." :namaste: This term in its most general meaning refers to material objects and their appearance. The elements Earth, air, fire and liquid, I believe are commonly referred to as Dhathus.

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

meindzai
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby meindzai » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:41 pm


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Nibbida
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Nibbida » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:05 pm

Many good points raised here. Science is a way of understanding reality, so there is nothing to hide from but rather something to be invesitaged and embraced. It all comes through the same sense doors, as Kim succintly put it. However, it's also important to realize that science doesn't emerge from a burning bush, but rather from people who have their own interpretations and biases. The potential for clinging to views is something to be aware of.

Like Ben, I'm a fan of Sam Harris for this reason. Like the other atheist authors he's in favor of reason over dogma. To many religious people, this seems cynical and cold. But Harris offers something up more useful in place of dogma.

Listen to this talk by Henry Markram. He's trying to build a computer simulation of a brain. Without even touching on the pros and cons of that, listen to the talk especially at 1:50. He's describing emptiness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS3wMC2BpxU

:anjali:

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Nibbida
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Nibbida » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:52 pm


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Ben
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:05 pm

Yes, he's a great writer and he knows his stuff.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Dudenextdoor
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Dudenextdoor » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:19 pm

My first day in Quantum Mechanics class, the professor stood in front of the lecture hall and looked out at the 70 students before him. All had their notebooks out, and all were ready to learn this crazy-sounding field they'd only heard about before.

"How many of you," he asked, "are physics majors?" About half the class raised their hands. I was one of these.

"Good," he said. "You belong here. Now, how many of you are math majors?" About a quarter of the class raised their hands.

"Good. This will be a useful and interesting course for you. Now, how many of you are engineering majors or chemistry majors?" Most of the rest of the class raised their hands.

"Impressive! You're fine." Then he gritted his teeth and said in a much, much lower--I would even go so far as to say threatening--tone, "Now how many of you are philosophy or religion majors?"

Two students raised their hands. The professor proceeded to yell the loudest F-word I have ever heard in my life. And I'm a high school teacher, so... I've heard some pretty intense ones. This was the F-word that ate all those other puny cusses in one fowl bite.

When the echo died down, he said, "Alright, now LOOK. Here's the deal. There's more [expletive] written about Quantum Mechanics by people who don't know anything about it than there are actual books on the subject. People use the word 'Quantum' to justify beliefs in alternate universes, multiple consciousnesses, miracle medicines, and a bunch of other things. There are unfortunate phrases in this course, like 'The Uncertainty Principle,' which people take so far out of context it's not funny. To you who are philosophers and wish to learn this stuff, I'm not kicking you out of class, but be aware: this is a science course. Everything here is backed by data and experimentation. QM isn't a well-respected theory because of uncertainty or philosophy; it's respected because it is one of the MOST supported by evidence in the history of science. This is a science for the hard skeptics, for the doubters, for those who need to see to believe. If you need to believe things you can't see, this course will disappoint you. You'll do hard math. You'll see clear results. That's the way it is. And anyone who tells you QM is anything else is either ignorant or lying through their teeth."

And that's about all there was to say about the subject of philosophy in that class.

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Dan74
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:01 pm

This is a nice story and it sure does drive its point home, and yet the very founders of QM and many who followed spent a fair bit of time worrying how to interpret it and what it all means philosophically. Also serious mathematical physicists like Penrose, have been "guilty" of those crimes your professor has mentioned - positing quantum origins of consciousness, for example.

So it's not all so clear cut, but sure it is hard science in the way it models observable events.
_/|\_

Dudenextdoor
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Dudenextdoor » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:38 pm

I actually did talk with one of the philosophy majors after the whole course had finished. He got an A, by the way, and I got a B. He said the loud expletive scared him at first, but he thought it was actually the right approach for the class. He took the course basically because he wanted to gather arguments to refute some of his philosophy-oriented peers when they started quoting Deepak Chopra and the like. His view was basically that all of science actually is a philosophy in itself: that no belief should be held unless it is 1. justifiable based on evidence, 2. falsifiable if future evidence appears, 3. verifiable by peer review, etc. (I think he had about twelve things on the whole list).

So when the professor was ranting on about how this wasn't a philosophy course, this student was hearing nothing but philosophy. I found that rather interesting.

Freawaru
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Freawaru » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:21 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:21 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:05 am

Greetings,

Does science adequately recognise "the observer"?

Is there an appreciation that all the scientist can observe is via their senses, or are they always artificially shunted out of the process, as if the observations are somehow 100% objective or independent?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dan74
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Dan74 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:46 am

_/|\_

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mikenz66
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:04 am


Freawaru
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby Freawaru » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:44 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Science and Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:48 am

Yes, that's a nice book.

There's a collection of the videos that were made during Feynman's practise run for those talks at University of Auckland around 1980. I think they are on the internet here on Vega (which was set up by Harry Kroto):
http://vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8
It's quite impressive watching Feynman fill up the blackboards in those lectures...

Mike


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