Author Topic: Science and Buddhism?  (Read 4250 times)

Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2016, 03:19:41 am »
Not so! The wonders science brings have not been denied at all! Such wonders have just been ascribed to the realm where they belong, the realm of falsities, which by no means detract from their reality and worth.

Indeed, a falsity is a reality, and it has to be a reality in the first place, in order to be false.

Besides, much of Buddha's teachings, such as dependent arising, karma, love, compassion, the realities of suffering, of its causes, and of the path, and so forth, are all about falsities, and still highly worthy teachings.

I have to agree with stillpointdancer that the word "falsity" should not be used here. Just because an entity is empty of inherent existence, it does not mean that it is a falsity. What "empty of inherent existence" means is that the entity does not exist independently on its own right, but is dependently-arisen. The entity depends on causes and conditions, depends on its parts, and depends on the mind that imputes its label upon it. That is why it does not exist from its own side and is said to be "empty of inherent existence." But that does NOT mean that the entity is a "falsity."

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 03:51:08 am »
No, sunyata has a specific meaning in a specific context, and saying it applies to "everything" is new-age nonsense.  The Buddha frequently advised against this kind of metaphysical speculation.  Sunyata describes our phenomenal experience and is not intended as a metaphysical statement.

What I said was that emptiness of inherent existence applies to everything. Please do not use terms like "new-age nonsense." We are talking about Buddhism. The fact that emptiness applies to everything is the position of Madhyamaka philosophy which is an extensive philosophy based on concrete philosophical and logical analyses that has been extant for over a thousand years. Madhyamaka philosophy stems from the texts of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Shantideva, Aryadeva, Tsongkhapa, and so on.

And no, the observer does not have to be involved, all it requires is the introduction of some external influence, in this case a detection device.  And to repeat, QM only applies at the sub-atomic level, I do not have to observe a chair for it to pop into existence.

As I already mentioned, there is no such thing as a "detection" device unless there is an observer. If there is no observer, what does detection even mean? The so-called "detection device" is then merely an object composed of elementary particles and is no different from any other object. If there is no observer, there is no such thing as "detection."

The problem is actually deeper than even that. If you understand quantum physics, there is also the problem of the "preferred basis." What this means is that how particles manifest not only depends on a measurement being made. It also depends on what we observers choose to measure. What we choose to measure sets up the "preferred basis" which determines the alternative outcomes of our measurement. Now, how can this preferred basis come about without an observer to decide what to measure? That is why the formulation of quantum physics makes no sense without the observer.

You are just making stuff up and misleading people, and I'm afraid it is new-age nonsense.  Sunyata does not apply to "everything", and certainly not to the sub-atomic world which has only been discovered in the last century or so.

Sunyata applies to the phenomenal world or our experience.  The pivotal text on sunyata, The Heart Sutra, describes the emptiness of the aggregates.  It's not like the bodhisattva develops superpowers and starts seeing quarks in the quantum foam.

In any case QM only applies at the sub-atomic scale, and has no relevance to Buddhadharma which deals with our everyday world of experience.
Somebody could set up a QM experiment and then seal it in a locked room for eternity, with no observer present, the effect would still be there because an external factor has been added.  And this so-called observer effect has no relevance to our everyday experience, it's not like my settee only pops into existence from the quantum foam when I happen to look in the right direction. 

You might get away with this pseudo-science on a new-age forum, but not here.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 04:39:32 am by Spiny Norman »
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2016, 03:54:02 am »
I have to agree with stillpointdancer that the word "falsity" should not be used here. Just because an entity is empty of inherent existence, it does not mean that it is a falsity. What "empty of inherent existence" means is that the entity does not exist independently on its own right, but is dependently-arisen. The entity depends on causes and conditions, depends on its parts, and depends on the mind that imputes its label upon it. That is why it does not exist from its own side and is said to be "empty of inherent existence." But that does NOT mean that the entity is a "falsity."

To put it more simply, sunyata is the conditional nature of our experience.

But this is nothing whatsoever to do with QM.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 04:41:16 am by Spiny Norman »
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Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2016, 06:05:16 am »
Spiny Norman, when you do not understand the formulation of quantum physics, and do not know Madhyamaka philosophy, please refrain from making the kind of comments you are making now. For example, you do not even know that the Heart Sutra contains these words: “Shariputra, like this all phenomena are merely empty …” Note that the words are “all phenomena” and not just aggregates, as you claim.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 06:19:59 am by Kenneth Chan »

Offline Matibhadra

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2016, 08:53:55 pm »
One problem in this discussion for me is with the word 'falsity'- with the root being 'false', ie wrong, made up, fake, lying, and so on.

Not all falsities are wrong. A table is not wrong, but is a falsity, because it does not deny, and therefore covers, its own lack of independent existence. In general, objects of science, while not wrong, are falsities.

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It is not a suitable word in this context, as scientists are after 'truths' that apply to their area of inquiry.

Since such so-called “truths” are actually falsities, the word “falsity” is most suitable in this context.

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To say that everything is 'empty' is simply not applicable to the science they are doing.

A belief which explains why the science they are doing is about falsities.

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Emptiness is another such word. In the Buddhist sense it has nothing to do with quantifiable experience,

Of course it has. Any reality's mere lack of independent existence is a quantity, which amounts exactly to zero.

Any reality's sunyata, emptiness, or zeroness of independent existence is therefore a perfectly quantifiable experience.

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but is a tool to be used when meditating to explore what you happen to be trying to hold on to at the time.

Rather than a tool, the emptiness of independent existence of what you happen to be trying to hold on to at the time is what you find when you meditatively explore its imagined independent existence.

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It is the answer to the question, 'Does any 'thing' in existence contain something 'essential' that I can cling to, to help me understand any underlying reality?'. And the answer is of course, 'No.

Fine. Therefore, such emptiness is a truth, and what you happen to be trying to hold on to at the time is a falsity.

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You must let go of every thing, even nothing.'

If you let go nothing, then you have just missed your chance of letting go everything, right?

Otherwise, anything's emptiness of independent existence is itself empty of independent existence, whereby there's actually nothing out there, or independently existent, to let go.

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As a scientist I am both comfortable with the kind of truth that science uncovers,

Congratulations. Now you are aware that what you are comfortable with are falsities rather than truths.

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[...] or only scientists would be capable of attaining enlightenment!

Rather, only scientists would be incapable of attaining enlightenment, as long as they do not realize that their area of inquiry is about falsities, rather than truths.

Offline Matibhadra

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2016, 09:22:40 pm »
Not so! The wonders science brings have not been denied at all! Such wonders have just been ascribed to the realm where they belong, the realm of falsities, which by no means detract from their reality and worth.

Indeed, a falsity is a reality, and it has to be a reality in the first place, in order to be false.

Besides, much of Buddha's teachings, such as dependent arising, karma, love, compassion, the realities of suffering, of its causes, and of the path, and so forth, are all about falsities, and still highly worthy teachings.

I have to agree with stillpointdancer that the word "falsity" should not be used here. Just because an entity is empty of inherent existence, it does not mean that it is a falsity.

Such an absurd statement has never been uttered by me. Please read carefully my previous statements, before uselessly refuting what has never been said.

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What "empty of inherent existence" means is that the entity does not exist independently on its own right, but is dependently-arisen. 

So what. This has nothing to do with my statement about which realities are falsities.

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The entity depends on causes and conditions, depends on its parts, and depends on the mind that imputes its label upon it.

In English language there is no such thing as “to impute upon”. Whatever is imputed is imputed *to*. “To impute upon” is a meaningless expression invented by neo-Buddhists who lacked any meaning to express, and who have never checked in a dictionary what does it mean “to impute”.

Besides, if a mind imputes a label to an entity, this means that the entity does not depend either on such mind or on such labeling, whereby it could not be empty of inherent existence.

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That is why it does not exist from its own side and is said to be "empty of inherent existence." But that does NOT mean that the entity is a "falsity."

Do you always use capitals when you want to disprove what you misread?

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2016, 11:14:54 pm »
Spiny Norman, when you do not understand the formulation of quantum physics, and do not know Madhyamaka philosophy, please refrain from making the kind of comments you are making now. For example, you do not even know that the Heart Sutra contains these words: “Shariputra, like this all phenomena are merely empty …” Note that the words are “all phenomena” and not just aggregates, as you claim.

I have studied the Heart Sutra in some detail, and I can assure you that all the phenomena described relate to the aggregates, to our experience of the phenomenal world.  This has nothing to do with the sub-atomic world, and was never intended to be.  We see colours and shapes, not quarks and electrons.

You are misrepresenting both Buddhism and QM in your desperate attempts to show an equivalence.  Sadly this is what always happens.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 11:24:00 pm by Spiny Norman »
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Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2016, 12:40:53 am »
Spiny Norman, I know for a fact that you do not even understand basic physics. This is so evident in your other posts in the forum. I recall that you did not even know how energy and force can be linked. So please, at least admit that you do not understand physics. If you start accusing people of misrepresenting things that you yourself have no understanding of, the whole discussion becomes pointless.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 12:49:10 am by Kenneth Chan »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2016, 12:49:34 am »
Spiny Norman, I know for a fact that you do not even understand basic physics. This is so evident in your other posts in the forum. So please, at least admit that. If you start accusing people of misrepresenting things that you yourself have no understanding of, the whole discussion becomes pointless.

I understand enough to know that you are preaching pseudo-science, and have corrected you on a number of points. 

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Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2016, 12:59:01 am »
Spiny Norman, this is ridiculous. If you do not even know how energy and force can be linked, you certainly do not know enough physics to say anything at all about it. So it is pointless continuing this discussion with you.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 01:03:55 am by Kenneth Chan »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2016, 01:06:19 am »
Spiny Norman, this is ridiculous. If you do not even know how energy and force can be linked, you certainly do not know enough physics to say anything at all about it. So it is pointless continuing this discussion with you.

I think you're just annoyed that I have exposed your pseudo-science and misrepresentation of Buddhist teachings.
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Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2016, 01:11:57 am »
Spiny Norman, I can spell troll. So goodbye troll. :)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 01:28:04 am by Kenneth Chan »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2016, 02:17:51 am »
Spiny Norman, I can spell troll. So goodbye troll. :)

You are just projecting.  I am not the one using a Buddhist forum to preach pseudo-science and misrepresent Buddhist teachings.

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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2016, 02:20:03 am »
Spiny Norman, this is ridiculous. If you do not even know how energy and force can be linked, you certainly do not know enough physics to say anything at all about it. So it is pointless continuing this discussion with you.

Lets see. Force is a vector quality. It is the application of energy to change the speed or direction of an object, including acceleration. If you want to use it in any other sense, then that's perfectly acceptable, but it ain't science. Deliberate obfuscation isn't the same as debating the truth of the matter. It's like saying, 'See that cloud I've generated? I've placed the truth in there. You can't say the truth isn't in there.' It just isn't helpful to the rest of us trying to chase down underlying reality.
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Offline Matibhadra

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Re: Science and Buddhism?
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2016, 07:16:36 am »
I do not have to observe a chair for it to pop into existence.

Actually, “to exist” means “to appear to a consciousness.”

Indeed, if a chair does not appear to a consciousness, how can is be said to exist?

 


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