~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rational naturalistic mysticism....

The creationists, of course, you have with you always.

We may develop fusion energy, make the deserts bloom and colonize Mars, but someone still will object to evolution theory taught as science in the middle schools there.

The traditional creation/evolution discussion always has tried to allow for being nice, for the kindly argument that science and religion need not be at odds.

More than ever in this latter day, our options extend beyond the polarity of scornful atheism versus passionate investment in the factual veracity of the Books of Moses.

Here at our station between such extremes (see Middle Way), Buddhists heartily believe in the Big Bang, abiogenesis and organic evolution, and all such discoveries of ever-honest and beneficial science — since these attest to a living universe in which all things and beings are interdependently meaningful and good.

After all, scholarly Buddhism's characterization of the true nature of phenomena, many centuries old, is remarkably like theoretical physics. Just as chalkboards of calculations work out to give us Einstein's good equation, sutras of grand sweep come down to a formula made up of five or seven Chinese characters.
In both cases, we obtain glyphs of concentrated meaning that name the universe and unlock awesome stores of power.

For believers in Moses (who lived perhaps 700 years before the lawgiver Gautama Buddha), something of the Dharma is referenced in Exodus 3:14, when Man receives a title for invoking G_d, styled in all capital letters like Sanskrit: "I AM THAT I AM." The fundamental reality or law is not a result, not the effect of any prior cause, but a perfect and eternal singularity that contains its own purpose.

My faith tradition likens this sovereign absolute to the lotus, wherein flower and seed — which cause one another — appear at the same time. Sure enough, quarks have a similar arrangement, revealing how it might be that the intelligent design and the intelligence doing the designing are, as we Buddhists are fond of saying, "not two."

Left to their own devices, quarks and leptons make the atom, a living engine of order that carries construction codes in its heart.
From there, stellar birth-death cycles cook up the hundred elements out of just hydrogen and helium, ordaining the phenomenon we call chemistry.
Thus, a basic proposition about forces and particles has been blueprint sufficient for all the intricacy and value we see around us, and all purpose. How wondrous!

These splendid and interesting things, pleasing as they may be to you and me, just make the creationists mad.
Their comic book depicts the old evolutionist as scowling and shaking a fist, but it is they who have been cranky for a hundred years. It must be mighty irksome to have your paradigm humiliated, long before you were born.

Creation "science" is distinguished as the only branch of science to consist chiefly of desperately persuasive commentary — no findings as such, no experiment done nor discovery made in the field, no; it appears that they would substitute fervor for data.

I am counting on the science-inclined of today's youth to see ludicrous propaganda for what it is, just as I did so long ago, and choose the path of reality and reason.

From there, some may come to consider Buddhism and take faith in it. Glory!



This article was published in the local newspapers on Sunday, February 19, 2012

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