Re: Evolution as fact

Peter D. Junger (junger@PDJ2-RA.F-REMOTE.CWRU.EDU)
Sat, 9 Mar 1996 08:51:43 -0500

This fits within the subject line, but represents rather a change of
direction for the thread.

There is at least one religion, Buddhism, that does not draw a sharp
distinction between men and other sentient beings and whose teachings
(This arises, therefore That arises; This ceases, therefore That
ceases) are compatible with the idea of evolution, but not with the
idea of creation or a creator.

For an example of the compatability of Buddhist teaching and--if not
anthropology--psychology, cognitive science, and neurophysiology, see:

AUTHOR Varela, Francisco J., 1945-
TITLE The embodied mind : cognitive science and human experience
Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, Eleanor Rosch.
PUBLISH INFO Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1991.
DESCRIPT'N xx, 308 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
NOTE Includes bibliographical references and index.
SUBJECTS Cognition.
Cognitive science.
Experiential learning.
Meditations --Buddhism.

(Since Varela, along with Humberto Maturana, is the author of
``Autopoiesis and cognition : the realization of the living'' it would
be hard to claim that he is not a believer in, and theorist of,
evolution of some sort.)

So my question is: have those who try to defend evolution from the
attacks of the creationists ever thought of joining forces with the
Buddhists to attack the teaching of creationism as establishing a
(false) religion?

(I admit that most Buddhists would probably not be willing to make a
major issue of the inconsistency between the Buddha's teachings and
creationism--Buddhists don't for the most part believe in making a fuss
about things--but I am sure that there are some who would be willing to
join forces with those who actively oppose creationism, a teaching that,
if taken seriously, might well obscure the path that leads to the
cessation of suffering.)

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH