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Intelligent design east: What might it look like?

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama , was chosen the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan Buddhists as a small child in 1940. (He was believed to be the reincarnation of the Thirteenth Lama.) After a failed 1959 revolt against the 1949 Chinese takeover of Tibet, his government has been exiled at Dharamsala, India, along with tens of thousands of Tibetans.

The Lama would be a theocrat if he were not in exile. However, he is not at all most people’s idea of a theocrat. He is an intensely curious man who has made friends with great philosophers of science and scientists, such as Karl Popper, Carl von Weizsäcker, and David Bohm. He also championed interreligious understanding, all the while campaigning for the rights of the Tibetan people. In 1989, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

His 2005 book, The Universe in a Single Atom basically rejects materialism and Darwinism, though for Eastern rather than Western reasons, as I explain here.

Part One: Intelligent design east? The Dalai Lama kisses Darwin goodbye

Part Two: If you are a Buddhist, what would test your faith and what wouldn’t?

Part Three: Why does the Dalai Lama reject Darwinism?

Part Four: Materialist neuroscientists vs. the Dalai Lama

Part Five: Other reviews of Single Atom: Materialists and non-materialists continue to lock horns

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8 Responses to Intelligent design east: What might it look like?

  1. “I feel that, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, it is critical that we allow the question to remain open, and not conflate our assumptions with empirical fact. (p. 128)

    As a Buddhist, he places a great deal of emphasis on the idea that the universe is top down, not bottom up. To him, the mind is real and creative. It is independent of matter. On that, he is not prepared to budge, as his reacton to the scientist shows.”

    Somewhat of a dichotomy here, no?

  2. Well, now, I’d have to say this is more Scientific Creationism East, rather than Intelligent Design East. He comes at the problem from a religious perspective, while we IDiots try to come at it from an entirely scientific one. The Dalai Lama is hoping that scientific evidence will support his extant religious beliefs. We hold to the stance that it is the scientific evidence that leads us to a designer. It is a common conflation, among ID opponents, and I am somewhat surprised to see it here.

  3. Dalai Lama: “The view that all mental processes are necessarily physical processes is a metaphysical assumption, not a scientific fact. I feel that, in the spirit of scientific inquiry, it is critical that we allow the question to remain open, and not conflate our assumptions with empirical fact”

    An obviously intelligent man.

    Denyse O’Leary: “That is, the materialist is not just saying that there is no God, he is also saying that there is no you.”

    Denyse, that is a terse quotable tidbit of brilliance in that statement.

  4. “there is no you.”

    Rather, you are no more than a collection of energized atoms.

  5. While I respect the Dalai Lama he did repeatedly make a wrong statement i.e “Buddhists believe…” and then gave his version of what “Buddhists” believe. Although I am not a Buddhist I have done enough study of Buddhism to know that there are 2 broad types of Buddhism; Theraveda and Mahayana. Usually the the Buddhists who belong to the Theraveda category will deny that Buddhism is theistic, and often also Buddhists who belong to the Mahayana will deny that Buddhism is theistic. But that is certainly not the case. It seems that just like many followers from any other religious sect that obfuscation is used in order to define the followers belief system to be the true defining outlook of a particular religion. Just like a member of one Christian sect or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu sect will speak of Christianity or Judaism or Islam or Hinduism as if the views of his sect solely represent the larger tradition. So it is with most Buddhists as well.

    In fact there are a variety of theistic Buddhist traditions, and even the atheistic traditions are suffused with theistic ideology of various types. Also some scholars have argued that Buddhism was originally theistic but transformed into mostly non-theistic traditions later on, they are in the minority but there arguments are quite good.

    Also I don’t think that the Big Bang theory aids theistic cosmology. Nowhere in any scripture in any religion is there a Big Bang scenario. The idea that the Big Bang presupposes that the universe began at one point is the only point of similarity with any creation account in any religious scripture. A different type of creation could easily be accomodated by religious scriptures e.g. God created the material universe not from a single point (singularity) but rather from every point. In other words God brought matter into existence everywhere without any need of some type of expansion field. I wouldn’t sign up for the Big Bang is absolute truth brigade just yet, especially since many highly qualified scientists have pointed out the numerous faults with it, and the numbers are growing all of the time: http://bigbangneverhappened.org/

  6. While I respect the Dalai Lama he did repeatedly make a wrong statement i.e “Buddhists believe…” and then gave his version of what “Buddhists” believe. Although I am not a Buddhist I have done enough study of Buddhism to know that there are 2 broad types of Buddhism; Theraveda and Mahayana. Usually the the Buddhists who belong to the Theraveda category will deny that Buddhism is theistic, and often also Buddhists who belong to the Mahayana will deny that Buddhism is theistic. But that is certainly not the case. It seems that just like many followers from any other religious sect that truth bending is used in order to define the followers belief system to be the true defining outlook of a particular religion. Just like a member of one Christian sect or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu sect will speak of Christianity or Judaism or Islam or Hinduism as if the views of his sect solely represent the larger tradition. So it is with most Buddhists as well.

    In fact there are a variety of theistic Buddhist traditions, and even the atheistic traditions are suffused with theistic ideology of various types. Also some scholars have argued that Buddhism was originally theistic but transformed into mostly non-theistic traditions later on, they are in the minority but there arguments are quite good.

    Also I don’t think that the Big Bang theory aids theistic cosmology. Nowhere in any scripture in any religion is there a Big Bang scenario. The idea that the Big Bang presupposes that the universe began at one point is the only point of similarity with any creation account in any religious scripture. A different type of creation could easily be accomodated by religious scriptures e.g. God created the material universe not from a single point (singularity) but rather from every point. In other words God brought matter into existence everywhere without any need of some type of expansion field. I wouldn’t sign up for the Big Bang is absolute truth brigade just yet, especially since many highly qualified scientists have pointed out the numerous faults with it, and the numbers are growing all of the time: http://bigbangneverhappened.org/

  7. “So says Jehovah God, He who created the heavens and stretched them out,”… – Isaiah 42:5

    …”I with My hands have stretched out the heavens;”… – Isaiah 45:12

    …”and My right hand has stretched out the heavens.”… – Isaiah 48:13

    “And you forget Jehovah your Maker, who has stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth.”… – Isaiah 51:13

    …”and has stretched out the heavens by His judgment.” – Jeremiah 10:12

    …”and has stretched out the heavens by His understanding.” – Jeremiah 51:15

    I heard (from a speaker on my chruch on this topic) that there are even more verses all talking about the streching of the heavens, which might imply that the universe was smaller before it was stretched out. (and became bigger) While not directly implying that the universe began with a big bang, it does seem that the Bible supports the idea that it was formerly smaller, and then became bigger.

  8. WinglesS those verses you point out can have different meanings in the original hebrew. The root of the translation of “stretching” means to “spread out by beating” or “to beat, stamp, beat out, spread out, stretch”. It implies a beating out of a piece of metal, like gold. Also in various verses it is written:

    Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (Psalms 104:2)

    It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)

    Here we clearly see the concept of stretching using a tent opening up and a curtain opening up as metaphor. A tent does not begin as a single point and then expand, neither does a curtain. They exist fully formed and simply open up, the tent and curtain implying dwelling places which allow people to live in them.

    Then there is Genesis which clearly states that the first thing created was heaven, or the sky and space, (depending on how you translate, some hebrew scholars say that in ancient hebrew cosmology heaven refered to everything above the earth) and earth.

    So combining these 3 concepts of hammering out gold, a tent and curtains opening up, with the first created things being earth and everything above the earth, what message are we receiving?

    We end up with a message that is saying that God transformed the original substance of reality into another substance. The hammering of gold or metal (stretching) being a metaphor for a skilled craftsman creating crafts from hammering on raw gold or metal. In this case the gold or metal being “stretched” or transformed into a craft, represents the transformation or crafting of the material universe from the ground of all being, or God’s own being i.e that which the material world is crafted from and made out of. The opening or stretching of a tent and curtains is a metaphor for God opening or unfolding or crafting a home for humanity, and all of this was the very first act of creation.

    So in the Bible it is heaven and earth which is created first, in big bang cosmology earth isn’t created until long long after the big bang. Light is created before the earth in big bang cosmology whereas in the bible earth is created before light. And the “stretching” mentioned in the Bible really has nothing to do with the big bang concept of an infinitely dense point exploding and then inflating outward, rather it has a metaphoric intent pertaining to crafting the universe and creating a home for humanity.

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