Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

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tiltbillings
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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:12 am

christopher::: wrote: but we are still left with the riddle of why this process exists, why we live in a Universe where compounded beings evolve in form. I'm not bothered by that. Not all questions will be answered, it doesn't mean you don't consider partial answers that can explain things.
If you are not bothered by the fact that this is a question that likely never will be answered, why try to layer over it with a god notion or some sort of universal mind notion which when pushed answers nothing?
Responding to Tilt...

We've had this discussion already, in the Advaita discussion, and you did not seem to find satisfaction in my response.
Because they really explain nothing.
The metaphor of God presented as an observing father in the sky, is a very limited concept. Alan Watts has explained this at length in his writing. Have you ever read Watts? The God of the bible does not fit well with the evidence of Science, and what we know about Nature...
I am not talking about any sort of big daddy in the sky. I have yet to see a god notion, however refined, that really explains anything.
Have you ever read Watts? The God of the bible does not fit well with the evidence of Science, and what we know about Nature...
If we are to derive a god notion from science, it would be a horrifying god.
But there are many other ways a Supreme Intelligence can be conceptualized.
One can conceptualize anything, but that does not mean that such a conceptualization offers a reasonable or useful explanation of how things are or why things are.
Myself, the concepts of Dharma or Tao make more sense...
These are the same thing - Dhamma and Tao?
christopher::: wrote:If you look past differences in terminology and focus instead on methods, the nondual teachings of highly realized beings sound quite similar, imo, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, Kabbalah, Taoist, Gnostic, Sufi, etc..
But in doing that, far too much is ignored for your claim to hold any real water. What is in the terminology and behind the terminology are very different assumptions.
How they describe the Universe or "Ultimate Reality" (the words and conceptions) will differ, but most caution that the perceptions we hold in our heads are nothing like that mysterious reality itself, and better to cultivate a still non-egocentric mind and grateful heart then to think too much or become overly analytical.
Mysterious reality. That is pretty much it, which is why I prefer the Buddha’s teachings.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by christopher::: » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:14 am

Most people that I have met, or read, who pondered the Universe deeply come eventually to that same conclusion. Not of Buddhism, but of a very Mysterious Reality. The Native American Indians used terms such as Great Spirit and Great Mystery interchangably. I am not trying to "layer things over" with a God notion or Universal Mind concept.

I haven't been sharing all these ideas to try and convince you to give up the beliefs and ideas that make the most sense to you, but rather to try and point out that different conceptions can be highly meaningful, and even very helpful, for others. I don't have an expectation that everyone in the world will see things the same way, and so have great respect for the variety. People of various faiths go for refuge in different ways. If someone finds comfort and guidance by believing in a higher power, God bless em, lol.

No offense, but what I sense at times in your posts, Tilt, as well as those of a few others here, is a lack of respect for how others view the world, for the spiritual beliefs of others. That's fine, actually. We all have different backgrounds. You said I think that you were raised Roman Catholic and used to believe in God. That has probably effected how you view Christianity. No one can force you to respect the views and beliefs of others and we all should be able to speak freely.

I feel differently, however, and was raised differently. My parents were agnostic, and I was raised as a Unitarian Universalist. I had some brief periods where God made sense to me as a concept, but those were fleeting. But when I see variety in spiritual beliefs, it all looks fine to me. Like flowers in fields, animals in a forest. Variety is one of the manifestations of Life, of the Great Mystery.

:namaste:

"The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.

It was the experience of mystery-- even if mixed with fear-- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms-- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature."


~Albert Einstein
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:30 pm

christopher::: wrote:
No offense, but what I sense at times in your posts, Tilt, as well as those of a few others here, is a lack of respect for how others view the world, for the spiritual beliefs of others.
This is, no offense meant, an ad hominem. Because I can be, within a particular context, critical of a particular position does not mean I lack respect for other religions. A question for you, Christopher, what is the point of your statement? Does it move the dialogue along? Does explain a point? Does it refute a point? Does it add a point?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:33 pm

christopher::: wrote:Most people that I have met, or read, who pondered the Universe deeply come eventually to that same conclusion. Not of Buddhism, but of a very Mysterious Reality. The Native American Indians used terms such as Great Spirit and Great Mystery interchangably. I am not trying to "layer things over" with a God notion or Universal Mind concept.
Of course the universe is a mystery, that does not mean we must deify the mystery, or try to add another level of mystery on top of it. If you want to, that is your choice, but in the context of this thread, it is not science.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by christopher::: » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:02 pm

I started to respond to you in detail Tilt, but I really don't know what to say. I've tried to show there are other ways of conceptualizing God, but you simply dismiss those as well.

If this is not intolerance of other's belief, then I am in error.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:10 pm

christopher::: wrote:I started to respond to you in detail Tilt, but I really don't know what to say.
Which is likely why you resorted to an ad hominem response.
I've tried to show there are other ways of conceptualizing God, but you simply dismiss those as well.
Of course there are other way of conceptualing the notion of a god. I am well aware of them, but they are not any less open to criticism. You do not have to accept my critique. I certainly do not expect that anyone believes the way I do.

If your god notions works for you, fine. If, however, you put it out there, especially in terms of Buddhism, then do not be surprised if it elicits a response, and maybe one not necessarily to your liking. In the end, however, we can simply disagree with each other. Ad hominems add nothing positive to the discussion and they make you look bad.
If this is not intolerance of other's belief, then I am in error.
If my critique is intolerant, you might want to consider how very intolerant you are here in your insistent that some sort of god notion can be better explain things, or your insustence that the Dhamma really should be seen in a different light from how it is traditionally understood.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by Individual » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:20 pm

christopher::: wrote:Hi Mike. I cannot say how useful systems concepts are in your field, but they definitely are helpful in many fields. Just recognizing that compounded systems work in certain ways helps out a lot i think, whether you're a teacher, parent, economist, office manager, environmental engineer, doctor, band manager, online forum moderator or computer systems engineer. People working with alternative energy systems may be able to benefit by studying the natural energy utilization systems of plants, for example.

My own opinion is that its very useful to make students aware of systems properties. Here's a handout I give to my classes when we study the environmental problems humans are facing now. It helps put everything into a larger context, framework.
ChristophersSystemsScience.jpg
One of my interests is in finding ways to help people break out of dualistic and compartmentalized ways of thinking. Once you become aware of all the various systems in the world, how they are connected, how they work, one can create a unified visual model of everything that exists, that can assist with problem solving...

And is also kind of cool to contemplate.

:smile:
Is the universe actually composed of seemingly well-ordered "systems" of emergent properties, or is that just the way we reduce them in order to understand how they work, condensing them into terms and generalizations our brains can manage?
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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by chicka-Dee » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:48 pm

christopher::: wrote:One of my interests is in finding ways to help people break out of dualistic and compartmentalized ways of thinking. Once you become aware of all the various systems in the world, how they are connected, how they work, one can create a unified visual model of everything that exists, that can assist with problem solving...

And is also kind of cool to contemplate.

:smile:
This really caught my attention.. My first thought was, this is something that we seem to naturally progress towards (becoming more deeply aware of the interconnectivity of everything) through our spiritual practice. We have an effective "inner" method of achieving such awareness (through meditative practice). But what are the more "outwards" ways of increasing such awareness? This is a very interesting question. And a very important one, imo. Because this lack of awareness is, perhaps, the root of most (if not all) of our major problems in this world. Starting with our education systems, which serve to fragment learning by dividing everything up into bits and pieces of learning (now we're learning about Math, later we'll do Language Arts, then after lunch we'll do Art..), and in turn serve to fragment our thinking (I go shopping, come home and throw away the packaging - or if I am more conscious, recycle what I can - the garbage man comes along and conveniently picks up my garbage so I don't have to think about it anymore, it ends up in the landfill and becomes the problem of city administrators... just one small example). Further, if I develop an "inner" awareness of such interconnectivity and do nothing to change my "outer" behaviour, then have I really learned this deeply? No, not very likely.

This issue (of awareness of interconnectivity) just seems to get right at the heart of 'curing' so many problems.. the golden key, perhaps?

Image

One bright light: the education program at our local university has wholistic learning and making connections as a major focus. Still, most schools here continue to fragment learning to a large degree. This movement (towards wholistic learning) has been around for decades, but fragmentation is so entrenched that the system is very slow to respond.. likely because we have to convince everyone that it 'works' and of the beneficial effects. This requires the public to have certain level of awareness, the very same group that was raised to think compartmentally... and so the cycle continues...

Anyways, sorry if I got off topic.. I just had to work that out for myself, lol...
Last edited by chicka-Dee on Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by chicka-Dee » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:03 pm

Individual wrote:Is the universe actually composed of seemingly well-ordered "systems" of emergent properties, or is that just the way we reduce them in order to understand how they work, condensing them into terms and generalizations our brains can manage?
These are interesting questions. Do we approach things by breaking them down into 'bits and pieces' because this is what we've been conditioned to do? Or is this the way our brains 'work best'? I tend to think that breaking everything down and compartmentalizing things is more "unnatural" and a result of how we were taught to think and learn. But then it seems I may be naturally more of a "global" thinker. Some people are more "linear" thinkers and learn best when information is presented in a linear fashion. There are individual differences here, and it seems the way our brains are wired to process information has a lot to do with how we best learn and the 'type' of thinking we perform. I'm certainly no expert, but I have done some personal investigating into this area.

You say, "is that just the way we reduce them".. I would say the opposite.. that by fragmenting we reduce the aspects of the whole. By looking at overall 'systems' we are looking at how the world operates in it's natural form...
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by mindfullmom » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:49 pm

Each time a thread appears on this topic it ends up going on for miles and miles. I think it's a wonderful example of our collective conscious EVOLVING forward in an effort to CREATE something new. I chose those words carefully as I have been condititioned (up to this moment) to believe that creationism and evolution are one in the same. They are both empty of a separate existence aren't they?

If god created the universe, who created god? And if the big bang created the universe, what created the big bang? Isn't this emptiness at its best? Or is my understanding off?

I agree when the Buddha says that sometimes we are asking the wrong question. I can't find the story but it is about the man struck with an arrow and as he lays there bleeding to death, he demands to know from which direction the arrow was shot, what it was made of, how fast it was travelling, etc. While all that is being investigated, he dies because he does nothing to tend to the wound. Isn't that what we are doing here? There is suffering (the arrow) and then more suffering created from the first suffering (death from the arrow). Since there doesn't seem to be any way to really know either way, why not focus ourselves on the present moment, on the breath, on the rise and fall?

I agree with Chickadee. Our understanding of interconnectedness (emptiness) is the key to it all. We may know it on an intellectual level but do we know it in the way we think, speak and act? And we all arrive at it in different ways. The linear thinker might want to pull apart the whole and separate it out into little "bits and pieces" (like quantum physics) and in doing so may penetrate the true nature of reality. The global thinker might not need to do that and might find analyzing systems a better way to see our interconnectedness. Either way you have made it there. Our schools and our workplaces compartmentalize because there is a need to do so, imo. There is so much to learn and so much to know, we have to start somewhere. It's up to each one of us to pursue a more global view indivdually whether we are talking about school subjects or work skills.

But I went off topic. Don't most religions believe that god is in us, we are in god? I'm not of the belief that a personal god exists, but isn't that the same as emptiness? :shrug:

And I would like to thank all of you here, as a result of reading this thread I am now different then I was before and you are all part of me now :bow:

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by christopher::: » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:19 pm

Good thoughts, chika-Dee and mindfulmom. :smile:

I think interconnectedness and emptiness are two ways of describing Nature's complex systems, depending on how you look at them. And in Buddhism we do recognize these systems, aware that every form is a compounded structure of parts coming together temporarily, to form a whole....

"A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to "inter-be" with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be... So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible. So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos."

~Thich Nhat Hanh
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by chicka-Dee » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:59 pm

christopher::: wrote:"A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to "inter-be" with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be... So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible. So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos."

~Thich Nhat Hanh
And if many of us can come to realize this, deeply, the world would be altered in inimaginable ways... :namaste:
mindfullmom wrote:Each time a thread appears on this topic it ends up going on for miles and miles. I think it's a wonderful example of our collective conscious EVOLVING forward in an effort to CREATE something new.I chose those words carefully as I have been condititioned (up to this moment) to believe that creationism and evolution are one in the same. They are both empty of a separate existence aren't they?

If god created the universe, who created god? And if the big bang created the universe, what created the big bang? Isn't this emptiness at its best? Or is my understanding off?

I agree when the Buddha says that sometimes we are asking the wrong question.
I can't find the story but it is about the man struck with an arrow and as he lays there bleeding to death, he demands to know from which direction the arrow was shot, what it was made of, how fast it was travelling, etc. While all that is being investigated, he dies because he does nothing to tend to the wound. Isn't that what we are doing here? There is suffering (the arrow) and then more suffering created from the first suffering (death from the arrow). Since there doesn't seem to be any way to really know either way, why not focus ourselves on the present moment, on the breath, on the rise and fall?

I agree with Chickadee. Our understanding of interconnectedness (emptiness) is the key to it all. We may know it on an intellectual level but do we know it in the way we think, speak and act? And we all arrive at it in different ways. The linear thinker might want to pull apart the whole and separate it out into little "bits and pieces" (like quantum physics) and in doing so may penetrate the true nature of reality. The global thinker might not need to do that and might find analyzing systems a better way to see our interconnectedness. Either way you have made it there. Our schools and our workplaces compartmentalize because there is a need to do so, imo. There is so much to learn and so much to know, we have to start somewhere. It's up to each one of us to pursue a more global view indivdually whether we are talking about school subjects or work skills.

But I went off topic. Don't most religions believe that god is in us, we are in god? I'm not of the belief that a personal god exists, but isn't that the same as emptiness? :shrug:

And I would like to thank all of you here, as a result of reading this thread I am now different then I was before and you are all part of me now :bow:
Very good thoughts, mindfullmom :smile: :bow: You remind me that I tend to think (as most of us do) that my own conceptulizations are the 'right' ones, lol. I do agree that we each 'arrive' at this realization of 'interconnectiveness' or 'emptiness' or whatever you may prefer to name it, in different ways, each in our own time and way. I have this sort of 'need', as christopher::: said, to 'help' others to 'see' this Truth. But really, we may only be able to 'help' those that 'see' things in a similar way that we, personally, do. And who is to say which is the 'right' way of looking at it? Perhaps ALL views are really 'right' and can lead to the same, One Truth, which may be the same as saying that NONE are 'right'? The Truth, it seems (with a capital 'T'), is afterall, a Paradox. When we can learn to embrace paradox, then we are really getting somewhere, I'd say :smile: .

Thank you to us all for this wonderful discussion. :group:
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by mindfullmom » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:35 pm

On a more scientific level, is there any proof of evolution?

Excuse my lack of knowledge on this but I have not kept up with the times.

I know this is part of the debate here, but from what I was taught way back in school, evolution was a fact. Is it really? I know we can look at similar types of animals and see how they evolved but what about between species. Like say, is there any break in the chain between a lion and an elephant? Is every species separate and distinct or blended together? Have we just not found these "missing links" or do they exist?

I know I am asking questions similiar tomy earlier statement about which direction the arrow was shot from and what it was made of and so on, but it is interesting to learn about.

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by Ben » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:32 pm

Dear members

Please return to topic.


Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Evolution and Intelligent Design/Creationism

Post by clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:02 pm

mindfullmom wrote:On a more scientific level, is there any proof of evolution?

Excuse my lack of knowledge on this but I have not kept up with the times.

I know this is part of the debate here, but from what I was taught way back in school, evolution was a fact. Is it really? I know we can look at similar types of animals and see how they evolved but what about between species. Like say, is there any break in the chain between a lion and an elephant? Is every species separate and distinct or blended together? Have we just not found these "missing links" or do they exist?

I know I am asking questions similiar tomy earlier statement about which direction the arrow was shot from and what it was made of and so on, but it is interesting to learn about.


Lots of it, science doesnt accept something just because it sounds nice

Sorry for short post, will answer more fully tomorow, need sleep atm

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