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Does ToE destroy buddhism?

betaboybetaboy Veteran
edited September 2013 in Buddhism Basics
If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.
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Comments

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Well, I believe in evolution...and used to teach it...and I believe in the basic of Buddhism.
    riverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I don't have a conflict between the 2, personally. Though, technically, evolution is still a theory, thus it's called the Theory of Evolution. If it where 100% known to be a fact, there are other religions that would have much more of a problem with it than Buddhism.

    Because we are thinking creatures, this is where we have arrived, so far. Where it might take us later, who knows. I'm not yet convinced that Nirvana is a state outside of life on as a human, just like I don't believe, at this point, that the hell realms are actually real places. I think it's a state that can be achieved, or uncovered, right here, right now by any person. Would it make a difference in what happens when I die? I have no idea. I don't really care, either. I'm more about living today and reducing suffering today, and if in any small way that helps the people around me so they don't have to suffer so much, I consider that a lofty enough goal or purpose.

    Personally I find it more bizarre to think we have no purpose. If that's the case, why not just go back to living like animals?
    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    As I see it (I am a very simple man), science can explain the material world but should butt out of the spiritual world.

    IMO, Nibbana and re-birth are beyond the scope of ToE.
    karastiInvincible_summerdhammachick
  • betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological.

    But why this assumption that evolution demystifies things?

    riverflow
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Personally I find it more bizarre to think we have no purpose. If that's the case, why not just go back to living like animals?
    The modern scientific community cannot see itself.. contradicts a lot.they don't seem to think its astounding that a superintelligent primate race natural behavior is to harness the forces of energy and build vast sprawls of our own environment... Its weird that they are so non-mystified by this...
    From a truly scientific perspective this must be our 'natural' tendency, but for some reason they think anything humans do is not natural
    behavior, unless its something mindless and stupid. theres a lot of things odd about the stilted approach that scientific community takes to humanity. there's also a weird self depricating tone that pervades the scientific community's attitude towards humans...like their job is to constantly hand out ego checks to humanity..Idk humanity seems pretty amazing to me! A lot of this stuff really makes me raise my eyebrows
    mfranzdorf
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    From what I understand of Buddhism, it doesn't posit that Nibbana is a cosmic goal for the entire universe and once it is reached, the universe is over. To seek nibbana is a personal path that doesn't really have anything to do with evolution or the natural world at all, IMO. Evolution is about the physical world, religions are about the spiritual.
    riverflow
  • betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    From what I understand of Buddhism, it doesn't posit that Nibbana is a cosmic goal for the entire universe and once it is reached, the universe is over. To seek nibbana is a personal path that doesn't really have anything to do with evolution or the natural world at all, IMO. Evolution is about the physical world, religions are about the spiritual.
    thats not my point. How can there be something like nirvana(spiritual) in a material world.
  • I will put it differently. In evolution, there is no conscious design or aim or goal. So where did nibana come from? I am talking teleology here - if there is no god, where did thjs purpose come from?
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    betaboy said:



    thats not my point. How can there be something like nirvana(spiritual) in a material world.


    But look! you have this vast concept of something called a material world... Its just that, a concept, based on assumption and frameworks of provisional descriptions! What does 'material world' really mean?

    riverflowInvincible_summer
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    betaboy said:

    religion is teleological...

    Not necessarily. Religions about the Way (Taoism & Buddhism, to name but two) are not concerned with the Telos any more than with the Path one walks to get there.


    @betaboy, what do you mean by a merely "material world"? If such thing exists, how can there be light and the illumination of loving-consciousness (which is spirituality) in it?

    If all there is is "material stuff," whence comes thought and emotion and energy and conscience and such things that are clearly of a different realm?
    riverflowmfranzdorf
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    My own personal view is this:

    1. You can't have it both ways. Either you can try to combine religion and science, or leave them separate. I'm not clear what the point is of attempting to combine them.

    2. There are some things in the world that are coincidence. But much is not, in my view, coincidence. As a geology major who specialized in invertebrate paleontology (the whole purpose of which is to interpret evolution), the idea that your functioning eyeball, and heart, and liver, and kidneys, and brain, etc. all developed by coincidence from stromatolites (blue-green algae) is preposterous. This is a primary reason that I do believe in God.

    3. In this general topic, each of us can believe whatever we wish, and none of us can prove a damn thing.
    BunkskarmabluesdhammachickInvincible_summer
  • put it differently. In evolution, there is no conscious design or aim or goal
    First I really don't think that this is true! Nothing about evolution says anything about that either way.. I don't understand how this connection is made;
    And any buddhist principle such as nibbana is taught in such a way that is in line with the fundamental truth, that concepts are not representative of any form, and therefore form fundamentally cannot be grasped. Thus the practice of buddhism is outside the realm of what we refer to as a belief system.
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    Was it Frances Crick who said "You would be more likely to assemble a fully functioning and flying jumbo jet by passing a hurricane through a junk yard than you would be to assemble the DNA molecule by chance. In any kind of primeval soup in 5 or 600 million years, it’s just not possible"
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran
    edited September 2013
    No, it doesn't fundamentally challenge Buddhism, and it certainly doesn't "destroy" it.

    Although it does challenge those who believe humans are fundamentally different from animals, as encouraged by such concepts as the 31 Planes of Existence.
    karasti said:

    Though, technically, evolution is still a theory, thus it's called the Theory of Evolution.

    Please understand the difference between the casual use of the word "theory" and a scientific theory.
    karasti said:

    Personally I find it more bizarre to think we have no purpose. If that's the case, why not just go back to living like animals?

    Well, we ARE animals. Evolution says our genes' purpose is to reproduce themselves. Buddhism says our purpose is to become enlightened. These two purposes are not mutually exclusive.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    ...Thus the practice of buddhism is outside the realm of what we refer to as a belief system.

    I don't agree with that part of your post.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Bunks said:

    Was it Frances Crick who said "You would be more likely to assemble a fully functioning and flying jumbo jet by passing a hurricane through a junk yard than you would be to assemble the DNA molecule by chance. In any kind of primeval soup in 5 or 600 million years, it’s just not possible"

    Stanley Miller's early work in this field was very interesting.

    Love the quote!

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Daozen said:

    No, it doesn't fundamentally challenge Buddhism, and it certainly doesn't "destroy" it.

    Although it does challenge those who believe humans are fundamentally different from animals, as encouraged by such concepts as the 31 Planes of Existence.

    karasti said:

    Though, technically, evolution is still a theory, thus it's called the Theory of Evolution.

    Please understand the difference between the casual use of the word "theory" and a scientific theory.
    karasti said:

    Personally I find it more bizarre to think we have no purpose. If that's the case, why not just go back to living like animals?

    Well, we ARE animals. Evolution says our genes' purpose is to reproduce themselves. Buddhism says our purpose is to become enlightened. These two purposes are not mutually exclusive.
    Yes, I agree, evolution has no affect on Buddhism...although I suppose someone could come to that conclusion independently.

    I suppose there are people who can believe the 31 Planes Of Existence and totally doubt evolution and not understand that humans are just another animal form...but it's hard to understand how.

    Yes, it's a shame that there are so many people out there who have no understanding of what the word theory means. I guess we science teachers (13 years here) did a lousy job teaching the concept, because it seems misunderstood by most Americans and probably most other people in the world.

    I like that you see that there can be more than one purpose to life.



  • Bunks said:

    Was it Frances Crick who said "You would be more likely to assemble a fully functioning and flying jumbo jet by passing a hurricane through a junk yard than you would be to assemble the DNA molecule by chance. In any kind of primeval soup in 5 or 600 million years, it’s just not possible"

    Given the conditions and timespans involved, it was not only possible, but highly probable. You only need the right thing to happen once.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    Daozen said:

    Bunks said:

    Was it Frances Crick who said "You would be more likely to assemble a fully functioning and flying jumbo jet by passing a hurricane through a junk yard than you would be to assemble the DNA molecule by chance. In any kind of primeval soup in 5 or 600 million years, it’s just not possible"

    Given the conditions and timespans involved, it was not only possible, but highly probable. You only need the right thing to happen once.

    .....and further to that, if you believe in the "multiverse" theory and that space is infinite then anything you can imagine will have have happened or have to happen at some point in time.

    @Daozen - you would be typing this post to me in a different universe in 3 weeks time!

    I think I need a lie down

    :eek2:
    maarten
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    betaboy said:

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    Like What? Meaning that there's no room in such a world for people or things to have (among other things) purposes? Sorry, I don't follow.

    I mean, no room for aspirations or even desires or even any sense of purpose?

    Are you assuming that there's some kind of inherent design unfolding through time for all of the visible world? Here it is: Aging. Obviously the world's porpoise is 2 grow older and any new thing born into it is a freak and should be destroyed?

    Intrinsic Purpose? HA HA HA HA

    And incidentally, Nirvana literally means "blown away, extinguished" (destroyed). So the world's purpose, if it were Nirvana, would be self-destruction.
  • @Bunks

    Mind = blown!

    :thumbsup:
    Bunks
  • ...Thus the practice of buddhism is outside the realm of what we refer to as a belief system.

    I don't agree with that part of your post.

    Yes. I can see how this is an imposition. I suppose I'd rather have said it is both belief system and beyond or outside of belief system, or belief system which at once allows one beyond it . although you may disagree with this also, its as far as I'm willing to budge.

    :om:
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    ...Thus the practice of buddhism is outside the realm of what we refer to as a belief system.

    I don't agree with that part of your post.

    Yes. I can see how this is an imposition. I suppose I'd rather have said it is both belief system and beyond or outside of belief system, or belief system which at once allows one beyond it . although you may disagree with this also, its as far as I'm willing to budge.

    :om:

    Cool.

    I think how it's practiced makes it either a belief system or not.

    Is it a religion or a philosophy? Again, depends on how a person is practicing it. On this forum it seems to be looked at as more a religion, but I was on another forum a few years ago and if you said it was a religion (instead of a philosophy) you were drawn and quartered.

  • Where does consciousness come from? That's the problem with scientific materialism.

    Buddhism relies on the mind, because that is where we can get work done. Better technology won't liberate the mind.
    dhammachickInvincible_summer
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited September 2013
    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    No, not at all. In my opinion, the theory of evolution is entirely compatible with Buddhism in the sense that Buddhism acknowledges change and the process of conditonality. Moreover, I see Buddhism as dealing exclusively with mental stress and its cessation (i.e., psychology), and not biology, physics, etc. Nibbana isn't a purpose so much as it's simply something that we, as sentient beings, can experience.

    As I mentioned in the "Nothing can be done thread," one can train their mind to do any number of things, and one can preform mental actions just as they can bodily ones. If one can work towards things like understanding calculus or learning a second language, why can't they also work towards more fully understanding their mind and reliquishing the mental causes of suffering?

    In addition, you can find more of my thoughts about Buddhism and evolution here if you're interested.
    Invincible_summer
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    ...

    Buddhism relies on the mind, because that is where we can get work done. Better technology won't liberate the mind.

    Well, in a sense, maybe it can.

    For example, let's say you're a family man living in 1910. Your work day was usually 10-14-hours, 6 days per week. Not much time left to focus your mind on Buddhism.


  • The question – if I understand correctly - comes from a position I share. Our understanding of the world is different from the understanding in the times of Gautama Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed.
    We can’t ignore that and we have to think about what that means for our religious ideas.
    You can’t teach biology all week and on Sunday believe that God created the world in six days and that the lion grazed next to the lamb in Paradise. You would have to admit that such an image must be a metaphor; if it isn’t plain nonsense.

    In the same way we have to find a way of integrating our Buddhist practice and our Buddhist beliefs with our present day understanding of the world we live in.
    I think a traditional and common understanding of Buddhism includes a belief in a cycle of rebirth and the liberation of this cycle by entering into Nibbana (whatever that may be).
    That’s not science. That’s not part of our present day understanding of life. Therefore I think the image should be taken as a metaphor; if it isn’t plain nonsense.

    If we want to be Buddhists in the twenty-first century we can’t just copy and paste the ideas of the fifth century BC. We have to work harder and find the essential meaning of the religion and give it a place in our time.

    Also we can’t seriously believe that the Buddha was right on everything and that he knew it all.
    We have to see his ideas as a part of the world he lived in.


  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    zenff said:

    ...

    You can’t teach biology all week and on Sunday believe that God created the world in six days and that the lion grazed next to the lamb in Paradise. You would have to admit that such an image must be a metaphor; if it isn’t plain nonsense.

    ...

    If we want to be Buddhists in the twenty-first century we can’t just copy and paste the ideas of the fifth century BC. We have to work harder and find the essential meaning of the religion and give it a place in our time.

    Also we can’t seriously believe that the Buddha was right on everything and that he knew it all.
    We have to see his ideas as a part of the world he lived in.


    I applaud your later comments.

    But in terms of that first paragraph I left above, I can only you tell you that while at university, where my major was geology with a focus on historical geology and invertebrate paleontology, every one of my professors was a regular church-goer. While I doubt they saw the religious examples you mentioned as real, they definitely believed in God, even though they avidly taught Darwin and the evolution of evolution.

  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    it a religion or a philosophy? Again, depends on how a person is practicing it. On this forum it seems to be looked at as more a religion, but I was on another forum a few years ago and if you said it was a religion (instead of a philosophy) you were drawn and quartered.
    Oh ! No I don't hold that viewpoint at all, actually, I defy anyone to put the philosophical aspect truly into practice and not have a religious experience. To me its both, and more!
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Ah, but read your last sentence!
    dhammachick
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran
    evolution is like noticing the frills of the fabric, but it tells you nothing about the cloth itself
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Huh?
  • In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.
    Nirvana is an evolutionary goal, most animals exhibit the tendency to find stress free existence. Buddhist animals in the human realm have the ability to create the conditions that evolution has not yet enabled, except in us.
    Compatible!
  • All the evidence points to the theory of Evolution as an explanation of biological processes.
    Nirvana is of a different order. It is absolutely not a Evolutionary goal. It is' the Unborn, Unmade and Unconditioned.' No amount of evolution over endless eons will result in Nirvana per se.
    Any more than endless polishing can make a tile a mirror.
    lobsterkarmablues
  • Some look at tiles and see their own reflection. Some look at burnt clay and are reflective. It is all a question of evolution. More cliches to the usual grind . . . :wave:
    . . . and now back to the hard science . . .
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited September 2013
    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu ' The processes by which our physical form arises in no way contradicts Pratitysamutpada ( usually translated as Dependent Origination..Citta ) .
    All conditioned things arise interdependently. This does not require a first cause neither does it require a set of concepts like some kind of evolutionary force.'

    A universe either with no biological life or with biological life does not fit does our human idea of purpose. Neither does it fit our timescales.
    All phenomena..all ' compounded things ' as the Buddha puts it..arise dependently and interdependently To ascribe purpose or a lack of purpose, or both, or neither , is to miss the point entirely.

    _/\_
    oceancaldera207Jeffrey

  • All phenomena..all ' compounded things ' as the Buddha puts it..arise dependently and interdependently To ascribe purpose lack of purpose, or both, or neither , is to miss the point entirely.
    Well said.
    Basically the original question makes the assumption that concepts can accurately reference anything.
    It sounds like a way to dodge the question, but after years of playing with ever undulating conceptual frameworks (which are ultimately only provisional), you'll see that this is the only way to fly.. both logically and for your well being!:)
    Citta
  • Indeed. The OP sees the matter in terms of opposing ontological schemata. Dharma presents us with the means to transcend ontology.
    riverflowoceancaldera207
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Does the theory of evolution help you be kind to your neighbor? Does it make annoying things less annoying? Does it give your mind equanimity? Does it help you become perfectly ok with becoming old, sick and dead, in the reality of your everyday life? Can the theory of evolution give you complete freedom from suffering? Does the theory of evolution have anything at all to do with any of those things?
    Jeffrey
  • betaboy said:

    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    From what I understand of Buddhism, it doesn't posit that Nibbana is a cosmic goal for the entire universe and once it is reached, the universe is over. To seek nibbana is a personal path that doesn't really have anything to do with evolution or the natural world at all, IMO. Evolution is about the physical world, religions are about the spiritual.
    thats not my point. How can there be something like nirvana(spiritual) in a material world.
    It largely depends on what you mean by "spiritual." If you equate nirvana with the western equivalent of an immaterial heaven that literally exists somehow on a different metaphysical plane, a conflict arises between "material" and "spiritual."

    As far as my own thoughts go, "spiritual" simply means how human consciousness engages with the world-- nirvana is not found "elsewhere." Put most bluntly, Glenn Wallis refers to nirvana as a skill. Think of nirvana as a HOW not a WHERE ("where" serves a metaphorical purpose).

    I have no problem whatsoever with natural selection and evolution. It does not negate the fact of suffering nor the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.

  • karasti said:

    Though, technically, evolution is still a theory, thus it's called the Theory of Evolution. If it where 100% known to be a fact, there are other religions that would have much more of a problem with it than Buddhism.

    Evolution is 100% fact; though scientists may disagree on the small print. Over the past 20 years all the pieces of the jigsaw have come together; there is no doubt that evolution happens. Evolution doesn't explain the first cause of life though.

    It could also be useful to find out how science uses the word 'theory'; it's not used in some airy fairy sense. Remember gravity is still a theory; the theory of gravity; but try jumping off a tall building and you'll discover that gravity is also a fact.

    riverflow
  • If you look "out there" somewhere for an absolute confirmation of your own ways of engaging with life (in terms of meaning, purpose, etc.), you'll only find disappointment. The responsibility of our lives lies within us, no one and nothing else can absolve anyone of that irreducible individual experience. No matter how biological life came to exist, or if a god does or does not objectively exist, or whatever-- these things have no bearing on the task of engagement.

    "Spirituality" as a verb, rather than as a noun.
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Really I think the only reason there is conflict between organized religion and ToE, is because it contradicts timeline assertions in certain holy books. Other than that, what bearing does it even have on creation or meaning or anything of the sort? If you were a creationist, wouldn't evolution just add complexity to your idea of god?
    I really don't understand, its like anyone who believes in evolution assumes that if you believe in god, you also believe in one of the religious books which says the world is a coulple thousand years old, and if you are religious, believing in evolution means you are an atheist! Please , someone explain to me why this rift is such a prevalent issue .
    It reminds me of some arbitrary but bitterly fought over US civil war battleground or something
    riverflowvinlyn
  • riverflowriverflow Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Even Augustine thought the creation story in Genesis as not literal. The only way it becomes an either/or proposition is when the religious narrative is taken literally- which usually indicated a very impoverished spirituality...
    oceancaldera207
  • riverflow said:

    betaboy said:

    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological. Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.

    From what I understand of Buddhism, it doesn't posit that Nibbana is a cosmic goal for the entire universe and once it is reached, the universe is over. To seek nibbana is a personal path that doesn't really have anything to do with evolution or the natural world at all, IMO. Evolution is about the physical world, religions are about the spiritual.
    thats not my point. How can there be something like nirvana(spiritual) in a material world.
    It largely depends on what you mean by "spiritual." If you equate nirvana with the western equivalent of an immaterial heaven that literally exists somehow on a different metaphysical plane, a conflict arises between "material" and "spiritual."

    As far as my own thoughts go, "spiritual" simply means how human consciousness engages with the world-- nirvana is not found "elsewhere." Put most bluntly, Glenn Wallis refers to nirvana as a skill. Think of nirvana as a HOW not a WHERE ("where" serves a metaphorical purpose).

    I have no problem whatsoever with natural selection and evolution. It does not negate the fact of suffering nor the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.

    Well put...its not a where...nor is a target that we will reach collectively in the future.
    Ideas of a place or of an ideal world which we are somehow going to attain willy-nilly by biological determinism are not found in Buddhadharma.
    riverflow
  • misterCopemisterCope PA, USA Veteran
    I feel like embracing science and logic while denying the spiritual or the inexplicable is very similar to looking at the head of a coin and denying that the tail side exists.
    riverflow
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited September 2013
    betaboy said:

    If evolution is true - and it is - does it render buddhism false? Evolution demystifies things, reduces things to a material plane, whereas religion is teleological.

    Evolution doesn't demystify, it just moves the mist. Evolution depends on things like natural selection and instinct which still begs the question "what is it exactly that selects?"
    Religion posits a purpose like nibana, god, etc. in a universe which has had no life for billions of years, where bacteria and insects still dominate in terms of numbers, where eating each other is common (except in humans).

    In such a bizarre world (and evolution has established this), isnt it even more bizarre to assume there is a purpose or goal (or whatever you call it) like nibana.
    I wouldn't call nibana a goal or a purpose... I see it as an eventual state of union and non-being.

    Teleological arguments usually posit a first cause whereas Buddhism does not.
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    Also, it's good to remember that evolution and abiogenesis are explaining different things.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    First, I understand the word theory and scientific theory just fine. Second, I think it was probably pretty clear what I meant when I said "why don't we go back to living like animals." Of course we are still animals. But we don't live like them most of the time. We have reason and logic and compassion for other beings (well most people do). We don't run around based solely on survival and instinct anymore, which is what I meant (and I'm pretty sure you knew that, @Daozen.) If we don't have a higher purpose then why bother to hold onto compassion at all? If it doesn't matter, why do it? Because I think most of us know it *does* matter.

    Why does the material world have to be real but our spiritual purpose is not? I think we are spiritual beings, first who happened to create a material world to live within. I think we have far higher "powers" than we believe we have and we are capable of living different lives than we do, but we haven't gotten there just yet. We have a purpose simply because we are spiritual beings and the universe is a spiritual place. Not because someone gave us a purpose. That's what I believe about it, not saying it's fact.
    vinlynDavidmisterCopeMaryAnne
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