Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

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BlueLotus
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Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by BlueLotus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:21 am

I have been thinking.... The Buddha said that the universe expands creating different worlds and then it contracts and be destroyed. Then it will expand again and so on... This is pretty weirdly similar to the earlier big bang theory.

But, recently, scientists are having doubts that the universe will contract at all. They assume that it will keep expanding and either be ripped to pieces or completely freeze and die out as the distance between stars and planets gets ever so long.

Does this later scientific finding dispute the Buddha?

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Mkoll
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:25 am

BlueLotus wrote:I have been thinking.... The Buddha said that the universe expands creating different worlds and then it contracts and be destroyed. Then it will expand again and so on... This is pretty weirdly similar to the earlier big bang theory.

But, recently, scientists are having doubts that the universe will contract at all. They assume that it will keep expanding and either be ripped to pieces or completely freeze and die out as the distance between stars and planets gets ever so long.

Does this later scientific finding dispute the Buddha?
AFAIK, all of the theories you've described are still open to debate. There is no scientific consensus regarding the fate of the universe.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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BlueLotus
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by BlueLotus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:31 am

Mkoll wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I have been thinking.... The Buddha said that the universe expands creating different worlds and then it contracts and be destroyed. Then it will expand again and so on... This is pretty weirdly similar to the earlier big bang theory.

But, recently, scientists are having doubts that the universe will contract at all. They assume that it will keep expanding and either be ripped to pieces or completely freeze and die out as the distance between stars and planets gets ever so long.

Does this later scientific finding dispute the Buddha?
AFAIK, all of the theories you've described are still open to debate. There is no scientific consensus regarding the fate of the universe.
That's true. But NASA scientists are saying that 90% of the glaring evidence is now for an ever-expanding universe. The expansion rate has in fact sped up over the last million years. They say there are two forces- dark matte and dark energy and the latter keeps it expanding and the former makes it contract and the latter takes up 75% of the universe at the moment.

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by culaavuso » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:55 am

BlueLotus wrote: That's true. But NASA scientists are saying that 90% of the glaring evidence is now for an ever-expanding universe. The expansion rate has in fact sped up over the last million years. They say there are two forces- dark matte and dark energy and the latter keeps it expanding and the former makes it contract and the latter takes up 75% of the universe at the moment.
An ever-expanding universe is not necessarily in conflict with the idea of an eventual destruction followed by another expansion. As an example of a model of this type, see conformal cyclic cosmology as developed by Roger Penrose. Consensus has not been reached regarding such theories.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by BlueLotus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:01 am

Interesting.... Anyway, when I first read the sutta about a contracting and expanding world, I was pretty amazed by how close it is to the actual scientific findings...

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by culaavuso » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:08 am

BlueLotus wrote:Interesting.... Anyway, when I first read the sutta about a contracting and expanding world, I was pretty amazed by how close it is to the actual scientific findings...
The thread Dhamma Aboard Evolution may be of interest, as the paper linked there discusses DN 27 with comparison to scientific understanding.

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:10 am

BlueLotus wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I have been thinking.... The Buddha said that the universe expands creating different worlds and then it contracts and be destroyed. Then it will expand again and so on... This is pretty weirdly similar to the earlier big bang theory.

But, recently, scientists are having doubts that the universe will contract at all. They assume that it will keep expanding and either be ripped to pieces or completely freeze and die out as the distance between stars and planets gets ever so long.

Does this later scientific finding dispute the Buddha?
AFAIK, all of the theories you've described are still open to debate. There is no scientific consensus regarding the fate of the universe.
That's true. But NASA scientists are saying that 90% of the glaring evidence is now for an ever-expanding universe. The expansion rate has in fact sped up over the last million years. They say there are two forces- dark matte and dark energy and the latter keeps it expanding and the former makes it contract and the latter takes up 75% of the universe at the moment.
Do you have a reference for that 90% number?

It should be noted that we don't even know what dark matter and dark energy are. But that doesn't stop us from coming up with theories based on them. It should also be noted that we're looking at this from a very limited perspective. We're not even a Type 1 civilization yet (we may never get there), we launched our first satellite only 57 years ago, and modern humans have only been around for about 0.00137931% of the universe's calculated age. There's a lot we don't know and some things we may never know.

Being hubristic regarding our knowledge tends to come natural to human beings. And that hubris is amplified many times when we're in an agreeable group.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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BlueLotus
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by BlueLotus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:20 am

90% is a general number. No specific statistics.... At least I can't be bothered to look them up. I just said that scientists say "most of the evidence" is for an expanding universe. You can read about that in NASA site. The reason why it is called dark energy is precisely because they don't know what it is. :smile: But that doesn't disapprove its existence. Scientists know that some force exists but they still have no evidence to decide what it is. I agree that there is more that we don't know than we do.

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Kusala » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:33 am

BlueLotus wrote:Interesting.... Anyway, when I first read the sutta about a contracting and expanding world, I was pretty amazed by how close it is to the actual scientific findings...


And this was 2500 years ago... :o
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:17 am

Yes. Isn't it in Iron age India? Pretty amazing if you think about it... He was an amazing man

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Zom » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:09 am

Quite interesting on BBC:

"Billions of dark matter particles pass through us every second. "They are in your office, in your room, everywhere," says Frenk. "They are crossing through your bodies at a rate of billions per second and you feel nothing.

It's a humbling reminder of how far we still have to go before we really understand our Universe. We may understand all sorts of things, from the beginning of the Universe to the evolution of life on Earth. But most of our Universe is still a black box, its secrets waiting to be unlocked."

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150824 ... se-made-of" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; :reading:

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Keith » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:21 am

Observational bias.

I'd be wary when looking for links between science and Buddhism. Buddhism doesn't need to be scientifically correct to be useful and affective, and certainly it would be madness to disregard something from science because it contradicts something in the Pali Canon, so does it really matter how scientifically accurate the Pali Canon is?

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by dhammacoustic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:54 pm

.
Last edited by dhammacoustic on Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Vanda » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:53 pm

“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.”
- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:55 pm

Hinduism (or the religion that later came to be known as Hinduism) provides a model of cosmology closest to modern understanding. The entire universe is created and then destroyed and that there is a cycle of creation and destruction.

The time scales match at least to some extent that of modern science. Hindu cosmology estimated life of universe at 8.64 billion years. That is far less than the actual time scale - universe is 13 billion years old and will last another 6 billion years but at least way closer than other religions.
BlueLotus wrote:Pretty amazing if you think about it... He was an amazing man


This was a general idea floating around at that time in the Indian subcontinent and not unique to Buddhism. Hindu Cosmology or Kalpa

I am not saying Buddhist cosmology is wrong (or right). Like Karma is a shared concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and no one can say this particular religion discovered concept of Karma .. same in this case.

But since his philosophy is amazing, Buddha was an amazing teacher. No doubt about that.
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by samseva » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:34 am

Without any scientific knowledge at the time of the Buddha's life, having taught the Big Bang and the Big Crunch and also mentioning the lengthy time period, is nothing short of miraculous.

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:39 am

samseva wrote:Without any scientific knowledge at the time of the Buddha's life, having taught the Big Bang and the Big Crunch and also mentioning the lengthy time period, is nothing short of miraculous.
:thumbsup:

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time, friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion.”
(Digha Nikaya, Brahmajala Sutta)

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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Vanda » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:13 am

Germanic cosmology is much more impressive, and inline with the modern scientific view. Ginnungagap, "fire" and "ice", etc. The Hindus, not impressed, the Vedic period isn't so old, lucky for them the Aryan tribes added to the culture.
“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness’ — then you should enter and remain in them.”
- Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya

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No_Mind
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:14 am

Vanda wrote:Germanic cosmology is much more impressive, and inline with the modern scientific view. Ginnungagap, "fire" and "ice", etc. The Hindus, not impressed, the Vedic period isn't so old, lucky for them the Aryan tribes added to the culture.
Vedic period is not old !! The start of the Vedic period is at least 1,000 years before Buddha. Even the earliest Upanishads were written in 800 BC.

What do you mean by "The Hindus, not impressed, the Vedic period isn't so old, lucky for them the Aryan tribes added to the culture."

If you say you are not impressed by Hindus do you mean you are not impressed by Aryans who migrated to India? There was no Hinduism at that time to begin with .. it was Brahmanism and Brahmanism arose AFTER Aryan migration (whether it was invasion or not, it was in any case a migration). So how can you say Aryans improved Hindus. There were no Hindus to improve :?

I am not a Hindu* so I hold no brief for them but one should try and be as accurate as possible (I felt the need to write this post since as an Indian it is my duty to ensure that history of my country is correctly represented)

*nor am I a Buddhist or Christian or Jew (I dislike being clubbed in an "ism".) I like to read teachings of a wise man called Buddha and find many of his teachings resonate with me (definitely not 31 planes.) I also like to read the Bible, books on Hinduism and works of Western philosophers in general along with Eckhart Tolle, Jiddu Krishnamurti and other similar people.
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Re: Is Buddhist cosmology disproved by science?

Post by Keith » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:51 am

Latest evidence strongly suggests the expansion of the universe is accelerating, hence dark energy. That observational evidence rules out a cyclic universe as it's been described here.

Edit: but there are attempts to describe a different type of repeating universe that is consistent with observations here. Not sure I'd describe it as cyclical, certainly not analogous to breathing in and out! More like breathing out until you can breath out no more, then starting a new out breath from there.

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