Claire wrote:Hi again... I have another question. Im starting an evolution module on my uni course soon and it got me thinking. What is the Buddhist view on evolution? We have some close family members who are Jehovah Witnesses and they don’t believe in evolution, they say it is simply adaption. It’s something that comes up time and time again when we see them and on occasion we can spend long into the night talking about this topic. I was a Roman Catholic when I was a very young child and I think I remember a similar train of thought from then... although I could be completely wrong. Both myself and my partner are very 'science' minded and we have been looking at various religions on and off for the last couple of years so we find this topic very interesting.
What is the Buddhist view on evolution?
Claire wrote:What is the Buddhist view on evolution?
That being said, I agree with Prof. Gombrich that, taking the context of DN 27 into account, this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development.
To put it crudely, many educated people now feel able to admit openly that after all, Darwin, Marx and Freud did not know all the answers. For some, this is a new exhilarating experience, and perhaps rather frightening. But the inevitable question arises: What now?
What the new knowledge actually does, in the first place, is to disprove once and for all that basic and yet so improbable assumption of materialistic science (or ’scientism’ as it has been called): inanimate matter by pure chance, by some incredible series of flukes, ’contrived’ to teach itself to think. We now have proof, or as near proof as makes no difference, that what we call ’mind’ is autonomous, and that if either member of the pair we call mind-and-matter is subordinate or illusory, it is matter and not mind. So far, so good. The worrying thing is that this recognition seems at one fell swoop to bring back chaos in the place of science’s carefully-ordered cosmos. The attraction of materialism to the scientific mind was that it produced a neat and tidy, ultimately finite system. Actually it still does—as far as it goes. The difference is merely that the mind (whatever ’mind’ may be) that can grasp such a system is itself outside of that system—which ought logically to have been obvious all along. A stone cannot perceive itself, though a dog can perceive it, while a man can not only perceive the stone but—to some extent at least—’understand’ it.
The chaos which this recognition brings can look at first sight almost total. It is like a dream-world in which anything can happen, in which what we yesterday dismissed as superstition can easily turn out to be fact, in which the very criteria of what is probable and improbable cease to be clearly discernible. Once we accept spoon-bending, the result is mind-bending! The temptation to retreat even into the bleak orderliness of materialism may be strong, and what before looked so unbearable may seem comforting by comparison. If we resist this temptation we may find it necessary to come to terms with what used to be called the ’supernatural’ (and is better termed the paranormal)—though that does not mean becoming obsessed with it. But some modern Christians may well find that, ’blinded by science,’ they have perhaps rejected too much of their traditional beliefs, without being too sure of how to find the way back.
The traditional Buddhist view of the ’three worlds’ may be helpful here.
Zom wrote:That being said, I agree with Prof. Gombrich that, taking the context of DN 27 into account, this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development.
So you think this sutta (and other DN suttas about distant past and futute) is a lie?
If someone attempts to make a point by means of parody, how is that a "lie"?
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