Subject: Re: origin of Species Acccording to The Buddha
From: David McDivitt <david@nonspiritual.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 19:13:50 -0500
Cc: mahinda@frisurf.no

I do not agree with your premise for two reasons.

First, determinism is no more than a logical syllogism used to connect cause with effect. Determinism has no significance other than to provide pragmatic reasoning. It does not control the so-called physical world. We simply use deterministic premises in an effort to get things we want and accomplish objectives, such as, if such and such is done then such and such should happen. It is a way of predicting the future, in a sense. Constructing cause and effect relationships is the most rational form of reasoning, differing from spiritualism, whereby things are said to occur spontaneously without cause.

This leads to the second point. Even from a spiritual perspective there is cause. Do gods and spirits do what they do for no reason? Do they not do what they do to reach an end? Have they no sense of accomplishment? Granted, a leaf falling to the ground has no incentive, but neither is a leaf deemed an active willful agent.

We think in terms of cause and effect, or determinism, as a vehicle for the will to do what it wants. For instance, when people were sacrificed in ancient cultures to appease the gods, a cause and effect relationship was envisioned being: sacrifice causes appeasement. The difference today is that we have better observation and can attempt tight narrowly defined causes with the intent of achieving effects more narrow in scope.

Allowing our reasoning to become more nebulous as you propose is a step backwards in human evolution. A problem often exhibited by people when constructing metaphysical models is that such are not constructed with any scope or purpose. It's just there! We are just here! Why are we here? Well, we are determined they say. No context is given, however. There is no determinism without context. There is no reasoning without context. No logical syllogism exists connecting this with that. People who put forth determinism as a metaphysical model without context see themselves as helpless victims, at the mercy of whatever forces may be, which they have no will to reduce and analyze.

I very much agree with the concept of emergence. However, it is emergence of new intellectual contexts more than anything else, and we are intellectual beings rather than spiritual beings. In ages past people simply didn't know what to call the dynamic nature of life and how to relate to the dynamic which they represented.

>From: mahindaw <mahindaw@online.no>
>Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 13:38:02 +0200
>Cc: mahinda@frisurf.no
>Dear Sirs,
>I have followed your creation/evolution debate with great interest. It
>stimulated me enormously. Unfortunately the debaters are ensnared by the one
>or the other Varity of determinism.
>On one side you have the true believers canvassing their “creationist” dogma.
>According to which we find the individual has no freedom of choices, as his
>destiny is fatalistically determined by some inscrutable God.
>Judo-Christian sects were urging people to knee down and pray so that any
>“short comings” in this life, will be rectified at some unknown address called
>heaven or what have you. These jacked up egoism in individuals and their
>collectives in the most insidious manner. Boosting and inflating their egos
>full of hot air with; God loved them, they are with souls, created in his
>image, etc., etc., that these has convinced them that, they are unique,
>special, chosen and loved. Indeed if God loved them so much, why weren’t they
>cast directly in heaven, so they skip this round of suffering and enjoy their
>life with their father for ever! After all he is supposed be God, he can do
>anything he damn pleases.
>Darwin replaced these static theories of fatalistic determinism with ones
>“mechanistically” and accidentally kicked off. Believers of the mechanistic
>view of life are under the illusion that their account is totally rational.
>But in fact what they possess is a slanted view of life.
>Accordingly this, man’s station in life was attributed to a whole series of
>lucky chances! Indeed, to be born a Galileo or a listless idiot, a Bishop or a
>Darwin, for that matter a man or a lizard, or this race or that, was purely a
>mechanical outcome of a draw of genetical lotto! The individual, going by this
>new religion, was a slave to his genetic inheritance. Hence his destiny is
>externally mechanistically accidentally determined.
>To pray in the temple of one or the other variety “determinism,” is to endorse
>the hypothesis that the individual is devoid of any power to steer his own
>destiny; he has no purpose of his own, no aims and ambitions to be fulfilled.
>Indeed to accept that, destiny is controlled by an external deity, or chance,
>gratuitous and senseless material forces, is to accept that we do not have
>aims, aspirations, passions and ambitions of our own. In which case we should
>bow down and concede that we do not possess a free will, since some bizarre
>creator or external forces of blind chance, supervise and direct our fortune.
>Indeed through not gasped by the evolutionary pundits, their still exist a
>none-deterministic view of life. In fact it’s over two and half millenniums
>old. Buddha we find taught nothing but evolution, but he did not use that
>term. He defined this process of transformation, as “becoming” and for a
>decisive reason.
>As per Buddha’s explanation, existence is not an objective in itself. Rather,
>that what lies beyond! Existence becomes merely a preamble to a more vital
>goal. Biological evolution is subservient to a pleasure principle. The net
>result of evolution is creatures with progressively developed sensory
>potential. Evolution we notice heightens the sensory experience, including the
>pleasures of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking.
>A closer investigation yields the validation of this extraordinary principle.
>Sensory additions to the original single celled amoeba, did not necessarily
>contribute its ability to survive, though such additions certainly did
>contribute to his ability to enjoy!
>Being equipped with this knowledge, if we were to scrutinise the broad
>evolutionary ladder, we would be in for a shock: species with ascending orders
>of sensory complexity in body and mind were extending their possibilities of
>sensory stimulation, and thereby reaping gratification! Humankind, the
>ultimate result of this sensory struggle, provides ample evidence of this
>phenomenon. If we were to compare him with the lower orders of species, it is
>not hard to spot his ultra sophisticated and balanced sensory apparatus, which
>would help him gather myriads of sensory pleasures.
>In fact when we confront comparatively the main Darwinian dogmas, with that of
>sensory becoming theory of Buddha, we find in the former, the following vital
>elements missing: -
>1. An action theory. (Not considered in the Darwinian one.)
>2. An ethical theory. (Being purely of a mechanistic nature, Darwinian
>concepts, does not give any consideration to ethics as having relevance for
>the “struggle to survive”.)
>3. Conditioning process or conditional genesis of creatures, (A core Buddhist
>concept and of momentous consequence when understanding the sensory becoming
>process.) (This element is not considered by the Darwinist)
>4. Pleasure and pain principal, which triggers evolution, is not of any value
>in the Darwinian sense, but crucial to the sensory becoming process.
>5. Cause and effects is of profound significance when considering the
>mechanisms of evolution according to sensory becoming. (This is purely a
>Buddhist notion and a metaphysical one, and a central pillar when analysing
>the sensory becoming process.) (To Darwinist such an idea is superstitious and
>an irrational one at that).
>I must assume that the above information is new to you, as it is to most
>people. Yet it is time that “we pull our heads out of the sand,” and stop
>subscribing to determinism, or we will find ourselves in blind alleys of
>fatalism. Hence I am forwarding my web site address below, and hope you will
>find it worthy enough to link it with your site. I am also forwarding my
>e-mail address, for any feed back, for which I will be most grateful.

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