The issue of secular buddhism is important because it shows how the influence of bad science is becoming more and more dominant.
You would think that people in a tradition as potent as that of buddhism could stand up to scientism and preserve the basics of their subject. But the onset of ‘secular buddhism’ shows how intelligent people are the biggest suckers for bad science, while the ‘dumpkopf” sectors of the religious right and the Bible Belt are able to distance themselves from science (with disastrous results).
It should be intelligent buddhists who can both embrace and stand back from science/scientism, and lead the way toward what should really be the ‘secular buddhism’: a form of religion for the modern age. There is a need to study modernity in a new way to see that it is not monofocussed on science. Only with the rise of technocratic domination has that happened. The onset of Newton’s philosophy was a great triumph, but its ambition to hegemony was challenged almost at once. Kant, Rousseau, the Romantics, a host of others. But somehow the dumbest forms of positivism came to dominate.
My interest in science is fundamental, but the fact remains that ‘science jocks’ rival religious true believers in their newly invented brand of stupidity.
The issue here is that science has its limits, so far. Somehow the idea became dominant (a sign of poor science intelligence) that the triumph of physics was an excuse to imitate Newtonion mechanics in all fields, the dumbest example being the natural selection theme of the Darwinists. There is no such science, as the field of evolution shows its resistance to reductionist hopes. It is not anti-science to warn that science in this mode can never address the whole of reality.
In general science can’t address reality because it can’t address values. That doesn’t matter with physics, but the suspicion lingers that as we ascend toward biology, culture, and mind science as we know it begins to fade out.
But the current crop of science obsessives, the products of truly dreadful specialized education, has been so dumbed down even as they master complex subjects requiring high intelligence that the lessons of science in the early modern have been lost.
It is baffling that buddhists should also catch this disease. It is a sign that the ‘parinirvana’ of Gautama is probably now the case: there is no more feedback to the organizations in his wake.
A new buddhism for a new age of secularism is an idea with great potential, but it is important to see that ‘buddhism’ has been reborn several times, under different names, e.g. the primordial jainism (=buddhism) of the age periods going back to the Neolithic. It might help to consider the common denominator in all these phases. That would remind secular buddhists that they are just going off the wall with a degenerate brand of a great tradition.
Kevin Myers: Myth of Dawkins as an intolerant, atheist crusader is just that — mythRichard Dawkins – portrayed as an austere, proselytising dogmatist despite being nothing of the sort
Thursday June 09 2011
RICHARD Dawkins is thricefold famous: once for his espousal of the gene as being the primary unit of life, rather than the plant or animal that is carrying it.
Whether on not Dawkins is a bigot, the fact remains that his insight into science, religion, and evolution is crippled by a strangely narrow view, mixed with a Mr. Charmer style that is good at piedpiper salesmanship to immature scientific/adolescent minds.
His espousal of the gene as fundamental is also misguided: the result makes evolution incomprehensible.
This kind of thinking shows the pathetic plight of Xtian confusion. And yet the question could be perfectly natural, and perfectly simple: the ‘historical’ adam is simply the first appearance of the homo sapiens sapiens type in the transition to modern man.
But the absurd effort to buttress the Bible’s Genesis account is tiresome and doomed.
The (Lack Of) Conflict Between Science and Religion in College Students
Let’s see Xtian accomodationists (who use the term ‘religion’ to refer to their own religion) try their tactics with Buddhism, with respect to Xtianity, and with respect to science.
Buddhists are the other problem for these accomodationists.
Proof of Jesus outside the Bible?
Updated: Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 5:29 PM
Now, having been to an Alpha course I have heard this claim a lot – as I am sure have those of you who have also partaken in the same delight. I also heard this claim from an atheist friend of mine earlier today who, like the people at the Alpha course, failed to reference the source to me.
Now, I would like to know two things:
1.Is there any proof outside the Bible for Jesus even existing? – I have often taken the position that he never existed, because I personally have never seen any evidence.
2.If so, can I (finally) get a reference on that? – It seems to me that without referencing information, that information cannot be trusted.
Also, if you manage to hit points 1 and 2 for me: Is there any mention of the supposed miracles outside the Bible and can I get a reference if there is (though at this stage I am doubting it highly).
This debate is almost completely useless. The real issue is that the ‘new atheism’ is the wrong vehicle to challenge religion. Many science types, like Mooney, sense this and bring in the issue of accomodationism.
But the fact remains that the new atheism will backfire and, if anything, restrengthen Xtian belief.
The first thing to observe is that Mooney and Kirshenbaum are confused about the nature of the problem. The goal is not to get more Americans to merely accept the truth of evolution (or any other scientific theory); the goal is to get them to value the principles of reasoning and educated discourse that now make a belief in evolution obligatory. Doubt about evolution is merely a symptom of an underlying condition; the condition is faith itself—conviction without sufficient reason, hope mistaken for knowledge, bad ideas protected from good ones, good ideas obscured by bad ones, wishful thinking elevated to a principle of salvation, etc. Mooney and Kirshenbaum seem to imagine that we can get people to value intellectual honesty by lying to them.
Harris trumpets the ideology of reason but appears confused himself about the evolution question. Or, perhaps, he is being cagey and omits reference to natural selection on purpose.
The point here is that the evidence for evolution is very strong, but the questioin of natural selection hides behind this but is far less established. So is Harris trying to pull a fast one: does he mean purely the fact of evolution? Or is he sneaking in natural selection, and then accusing its critics of rejecting evolution?
The ideology of reason promoted by Harris et al is completely sterile. Few problems are solved by true believers in Reason. I think nonetheless the heritage of Enlightenment reason is one we should study intensively, keeping in mind that practical creative problems very often come from a more complex combination of factors, including the ‘rational’ faculty.
But the question of Reason could never be monopolized by the cult of scientism, or the new atheists, whose irrationalities are a novelty in the history of atheism.
The use of the term ‘reason’ by modernists (what to say of philosophers of antiquity, like Plato) needs caution its usage, that of the philosopher Hegel with his dialectic being one of its variants, apt here given the narrow usage of science types with the phrase.
Hawking’s new stance is a new dogmatism. He should know (but he denounced philosophy as superfluous) that there is no way to prove anything about an afterlife, and in fact the state of physics suggests a host of future venues for the discovery of the larger dimension of the organism beyond space and time, so this cranky Science Pope pronouncement syndrome deserves a shrug. Note the confusion of Xtian ideas of ‘heaven’ with the broader question of the self beyond death.
Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’
By IAN SAMPLE – GUARDIAN.CO.UK
Added: Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 11:02 PM
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the cosmologist shares his thoughts on death, M-theory, human purpose and our chance existence
Stephen Hawking dismisses belief in God in an exclusive interview with the Guardian. Photograph: Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/Discovery Channel
A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death, Stephen Hawking has said.
In a dismissal that underlines his firm rejection of religious comforts, Britain’s most eminent scientist said there was nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.
Hawking, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, shares his thoughts on death, human purpose and our chance existence in an exclusive interview with the Guardian today.
The incurable illness was expected to kill Hawking within a few years of its symptoms arising, an outlook that turned the young scientist to Wagner, but ultimately led him to enjoy life more, he has said, despite the cloud hanging over his future.
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he said.
ID footholds in schools
Intelligent Design Making Headway into Texas Public Schools…note the link to Johnson’s Darwin on Trial. Why has the biological community abdicated to people like Johnson. This book should have been written by a scientist three decades ago (and in fact was). Btw, this book doesn’t even mention ID.
Thus note, ….
The scientific community is letting this one slip away, as noted here repeatedly, and it is in some ways their own fault. The warning, so to speak, came in the seventies, about the time DNA science as taking off, Eldredge and Gould began talking about punctuated equilibrium, Hoyle pointed to the absurdities of random evolution and probability claims, Gould pronounced the synthesis dead, the left critiqued sociobiology and dumbed water on E. O. Wilson, and people like Soren Lovtrup, an embryologist, sank Darwinism. He is merely symbolic of the concealed reality: the problems with Darwinism are known to science, but kept from the public. This was thirty years ago, or more, and if the scientific community had acted then to challenge its own theory of Darwinism, and taken a more intelligent stance toward its own findings, the religious right might never have been able to really take off with anti-Darwinism, which was always so poorly considered that nothing could come of it. But at the point where the challenges within science were seen for what they were, the religious critics were closing on taking over the critical step of any science: critique and paradigm change. It was no longer pseudo-science, it was cutting edge critique, soon frittered away in ID confusions, but, amazingly, more intelligent than what mainstream science students were getting with their endless indoctrination into Darwinism, and its dumbing effect.
And the next phase, still part of the original phase, was that of Denton, whose Evolution: A Theory in Crisis is the source of Johnson’s Darwin on Trial, and a book of considerable acumen. It made no reference to ID, but simply restated and amplified the problems with Darwin’s theory. This book, despite some problems and mistakes, was so devastating and so clear that even the religious right could get it straight, and Johnson’s Darwin on Trial attempted to restate the gist of that book.
And then a strange thing happened, in part because of Behe’s book on complexity (the history is complicated, and the ID gambit began perhaps a bit earlier): the creationists were able to construct a viable alternate ‘paradigm’ based on the revived design argument, soon the provocative Intelligent Design argument. People like Dembski with better math skills than most biologists was able to constuct a maginal, highly debatable, but coherent methodology of ID, not the same as a science of ID, but a new brand (a la Hoyle) of probabilistic design argument. This disaster is one that biologists can’t seem to get past, frantically denouncing it as pseudo-science. It is neither science nor psedo-science, but an upgraded version dressed in advanced math of Hoyle’s basic critic of probability nonsense.
If the religious critics had simply stayed with the scientific critics of Darwin like Denton, et al., their challenge might have done the job science should have done a decade earlier, the job that, in many ways, Gould should have done, but didn’t. But instead in the wake of Philip Johnson and Behe we find the attempt to create a science of ID a la Dembski and others. Again, who’s to say you can’ t try here. But the problem is that the metaphysical character of ID gave the Darwin establishment a foil to counterattack and in the process defend Darwinism as proper science. The ID movement weakened their challenge, and left the situation confused on both sides. But that hasn’t stopped a host of school systems and disparate religious groups from standing their ground on a refusal of Darwism. They know that the mainstream science groups and educational systems are promoting an easily challenged paradigm, and that its defenders will refuse to think clearly about their own science.
What a golden opportunity handed to the religious right.
The science community needs to stop peddling Darwinism, acknowledge the limits of its science, and from that stance be able to point to the problems with ID, taking back the basic critique of Darwin for science. The question of ID can be addressed with the simple tactics of dialectic: the yes/no of evolutionary theories, and teleological issues. That science is doable only within the limits of this dialectic might stop the false debate in its tracks, by making it ‘dialectical’. Subjects that are not yet scientific will be dialectical, or elses debates ad infinitum. Science evolution is not yet a science (it can’t resolve teleological antinomies, as Kant warned) it is likely to be vulnerable to lesser versions of the real design argument, teleological methodology, i.e. the crypto-theistic Intelligent Design sophistries, and their clever packaging. Why on earth then hasn’t science taken control of the inevitable dialectic with its antithetical dialectic? This tactic was cleverly emerging in a work such as The Cosmological Anthropic Principle by Barrow and Tipler, and had all the elements of a way to challenge evolutionary nonsense withing science.
But the moment was lost. I think scientists are too conditioned by the educational system to be able to think anymore on this question, and blunder along to the glee of the religious right who correctly see stumbling Darwin phantoms easy to pick off at their leisure.
I think there is still time: biologists must be their own harshest critics and take the false brand out of circulation.
In any case, the scientific community has no right to impose Darwinism in schools in communities that really don’t wish that. Why should they? Figures like Johnson have shown them the lie behind this.
The question of church and state is important. If dissenters had stayed with Denton, or Johnson’s initial position, there would be no question about religion: it was bad science. ID was a ‘bridge too far’.
It is debatable whether ID actually violates church/state issues. But if it does (and many of its adherents will bungle the job and certainly violate church/state boundaries) the same can be said about the promotion of atheism in the name of Darwinism. Why should scientists be able to promote reductionist scientism with a theory made the foundation stone of the New Atheism, the destruction of public religion, and the hidden paranoia over eugenics, Nietzchean nihilism, and a total revision of ‘human nature’ to create a phantom man that never existed, and even humble readers of the Bible can tell is wrong-headed. Whatever happened to science education?
Small wonder that the religious right should ask the same question and stonewall endless on evolution education.
I think that teaching evolution is still close to the teaching of history, where theories have little foothold and the study is that of the facts of history. That is the actual condition of biological evolution: no theories work yet, so just study the facts of evolutionary history, keeping theories, Darwinian or ID, at bay.
Please note the behavior of biologists in practive in many situations: they follow the history of evolution in deep time with a series of depictions of its successive chapters. The moment they attempt theory, controversy starts. Fine. But make the cutting edge the simple fact based study of evolution.
There is no simple way to resolve the evolution question, because ‘science’ as now defined can’t handle the task. If the scientific community would simply level with the public, some fresh air could enter, and the hijacking by the right would stop. But too many cynical operators have guessed they can get away with the Darwin fake by conditioning the suggestible public. That strategy has blown up in the face of Big Science, and the damage to science will prove lasting.
Are All Religions Equally Crazy?
Are less established religions really crazier than older mainstream ones? Or are mainstream religions just more familiar
Greta Christina is derailing with this trend toward extreme statements, new atheists please note (although, no dobut, they would be in the cheering gallery, mostly). She started out with some popular posts at Alternet, but now she seems to be driven to dangerous statements about religion in general, statements that show the latent contradictions of the New Atheism, which tends to attach theism, but then, for some unknown reason and with totally misplaced ‘consistency’, proceeds to attack a ‘generalization’ called religion. Why not just tilt at windmills.
Here’s an example of the confusion possible here: ancient Athens spawned the first democracy in the context of a polytheistic art-culture of majestic sublety and breadth (even as the birth of science was taking place in the Greek Enlighentenment). This flowering of the Greek Enlightnement was a multidimensional phenomenon of almost unfathomable depth.
So should we oppose thie phenomenon on the grounds of its hybrid religious elements and strains? Can you, like Solomon, to divide the baby, where art and religion blend, politics and religion blend?
There are hundreds of examples like this.
The New Atheists need to define what they are doing more carefully, because what they have now is crazy, and will turn into fanaticism.
You may say this is a special case, but Christina’s generalization attempts to reject all religion. Her universal statement is deliberate, and most ill-considered.
Too much heat, not enough light in the creationism warThe near hysterical way in which intelligent design is treated online only suits those who seek to politicise evolution
Creationists and the ID lobby are hardly the full problem: the contribution of Darwin ideologists trying to monopolize the idea of science for evolution drives dissent, as it should. ID may not be science, but Darwin’s theory is not really science either. And the issue is not entirely science: the issue is whether ID can explain evolution (I doubt it), not whether it is science. The definition science is crippling the attempt to understand evolution. No wonder some try a different approach
Santorum Debates Out of Both Sides of His Mouth
When it comes to big government moralism, few Republicans can match Rick Santorum. He has always been one of the more extreme theocrats within the GOP and nothing has changed since Pennsylvania voters wisely threw him out of the U.S. Senate in 2006. Santorum is an advocate of the junk science called “intelligent design” and is a leader in the anti-gay movement.
He said that polygamy, adultery and sodomy are all “antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.” An ultra-orthodox Latin-Mass Catholic, Santorum went so far as to blame the epidemic of Catholic priests molesting children on “political and cultural liberalism,” based on the assumption that Boston “lies at the center of the storm.” Apparently, the senator was unaware that the problem was worldwide and just as prevalent in conservative areas as liberal ones. Nor can one ignore the fact that priests are part of a very conservative Catholic culture.
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