Preformationism vs. Epigenesis

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

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Preformationism vs. Epigenesis

Postby Individual » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:56 pm

Just learned something interesting in biology...

Two biology theories which have theological implications:
Preformationism: That all the structures of a being are present in miniature form before the being fully developed.

Epigenesis: That each being is created "from scratch," as in, there are no miniature components which correspond to the complex structures that arise.

Which view does the Abhidhamma presentation of rebirth correspond to? Or neither?

To put this into more specific Pali terms: Is the body or consciousness of a living sentient being the same or different than the gandhabba or rebirth-linking consciousness?

I suspect Abhidhamma goes against both theories, because both seem like retrospective eternalism and annihilationism. That is, Preformationism suggests, "I have always existed in the past (in a different form)," while Epigenesis suggests, "I did not exist in the past." But the Buddha's teaching has no regard for self.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Preformationism vs. Epigenesis

Postby cooran » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:35 pm

Hello Individual,

Why don't you dig around in the following books and see what you find?

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma ~ By Anuruddha, Bhikkhu Bodhi ... q=&f=false

Abhidhamma Studies - Buddhist Explorations of Consciousness and Time ~ Nyanaponika Thera ... q=&f=false

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Preformationism vs. Epigenesis

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:59 am

Individual wrote:url=]Preformationism[/url] [...] Epigenesis

These do not really belong into the biology department as they constitute pre-scientific 17th century views about procreation that arose from theology and philosophy. Epigenesis in the philosophical sense is different from epigenetics in biology. In biology it stands for non-DNA controlled aspects of phenotypical development.

Cheers, Thomas

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