m0rl0ck wrote:...many "buddhists" are materialists who just repaint their western intellectual materialism a nice buddhist saffron color and then carry on with business as usual. In that case intellectualism is a problem and buddhism is just ideological cruft.
There are several good reasons why materialism is a poor if not entirely invalid world view besides the typical Buddhist critiques. For instance it was likely started by the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic ontological monists like Thales (It's all water!), Anaximander (It's all one, but we don't know what it is.), Heraclitus (It's all fire!) and Parmenides (Existence is a tautology.). Even modern atomic theory, which has been seriously challenged by quantum mechanics and quantum physics (a la
Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger), has it's origins in the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosophers Leucippus and his pupil Democritus. Ontological monism was also perpetuated by Aristotle's elementalism, Neo-Platonisms and philosophical rationalists like Leibniz, Spinoza, Hegel, and Haeckel. Most recently, you will find a materialistic-monism in Francis Crick's molecular reductionism and his neuroscience colleague Patricia Churchland's eliminative materialism and physical reducitionism, a.k.a. physicalism.
The principal reason materialism is untenable, then, is because all of the above, while associated with some scientific discoveries, has not not been supported by ongoing experimental and empirical investigations into either microcosmic or macrocosmic realms. Part of the problem is the misunderstanding of some scientists about the purpose(s) of science (Einstein and Bohr debated this to point of almost despising each other). Paul K. Feyerabend (and to a lesser extent, Thomas Kuhn and Vladmir Lakatos) have outlined the reasons why methodological uniformity is not a valid basis for science and highlighted the problems scientists encounter when they bring assumptions to their experiments and analyses that someday science will arrive at Objective or Ultimate Truth.
"You stop me, obviously with a demand for a personal explanation. 'How is it, you write, 'that you reject with such immitigable scorn the very foundation-stones of Buddhism, and yet refer disciples enthusiastically to the technique of some of its subtlest super-structures?'
-Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears
, Chapter XXVII: Structure of Mind Based on that of Body (Haeckel and Bertrand Russell)
"Questions of reality are too important to be left to the scientists."
-Paul Feyerbend, The Tyranny of Science
, p. 51 (Polity: 2012).