[Buddha-l] Article: The Death of the Scientific Buddha

Curt Steinmetz curt at cola.iges.org
Fri Nov 2 08:57:21 MDT 2012

I fear that Lopez is the victim of a case of mistaken identity, which is 
understandable considering the fact that the stinking corpse in question 
is already now in an advanced state of decay.

That is to say, reports of the death of "the scientific Buddha" are 
greatly exaggerated, while his evil twin, "the scientistic Buddha" has 
in fact gone the way of all flesh. May it rest in pieces.

None other than good old T.H. Huxley pointed out in the late 19th 
century that both Buddhism and Reason are incompatible with the 
crudities of Comte-istical positivism. Huxley did this by adroitly 
pointing out that the notion of "matter" is equally susceptible to the 
"metaphysical tour de force" employed by the Buddha in his 
deconstruction of the notion of Self. To put it as plainly as possible: 
"the 'substance' of matter is a metaphysical unknown quantity, of the 
existence of which there is no proof." [See Huxley's 1893 essay 
"Evolution and Ethics": http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE9/E-E.html.]


On 11/1/12 2:43 PM, Jo wrote:
> Article in _Parabola_ excerpted from _The Scientific Buddha: His Short and
> Happy Life_, by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., copyright C 2012 by Yale University
> Press.
> http://www.parabola.org/the-death-of-the-scientific-buddha/print.html
> Excerpt:
> "...Previous buddhas had increased stress, explaining, "Monks, all is
> burning," in the Fire Sermon; that we are trapped in a house on fire, in the
> Lotus Sutra; that we should regard the world as a prisoner regards his
> prison on the night before his execution. Previous buddhas sought to create
> stress, to destroy complacency, in order to lead us to a state of eternal
> stress reduction, that state of extinction called nirvana.
> The Scientific Buddha is a pale reflection of the Buddha born in Asia, a
> buddha who entered our world in order to destroy it. This buddha has no
> interest in being compatible with science. The relation of Buddhism and
> science, then, should not be seen as a disagreement over when and how the
> universe began. It should not be seen, in Stephen Jay Gould's memorable
> phrase, as "nonoverlapping magisteria," with science concerned with fact and
> religion concerned with morality. It should not be seen, in Buddhist terms,
> as the two truths, with science concerned with the conventional truth, and
> Buddhism concerned with the ultimate truth. Buddhism and science each have
> their own narrative, each their own telos. If an ancient religion like
> Buddhism has anything to offer science, it is not in the facile confirmation
> of its findings. If the past has a future, it is in its description of an
> alternative world, one that calls into question so many of the fundamental
> assumptions of our scientific world."
> I would prefer to put this as, an alternative world, one that calls into
> question the ways in which science has been used to justify so many of the
> fundamental assumptions of our social world.
> Joanna
> _______________________________________________
> buddha-l mailing list
> buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com
> http://mailman.swcp.com/mailman/listinfo/buddha-l

More information about the buddha-l mailing list