Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

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Re: Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

Postby WoodHorse » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:00 pm

Here's an interesting article:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... mple-brain
To me, it seems to call into question how much complexity the brain must have in order for it to generate awareness, let alone self-awareness.

By the way, I am not going to debate this. Just put this up for those who might be interested in reading it.
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Re: Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

Postby Lausten » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:51 pm

Does it count as debate to ask what this article has to do with NDE or anything else you have said? My understanding of it is that the researchers are questioning assumptions we have been working with about where self-awareness is centered, from what part of the brain self-awareness is generated.

Just FYI, I think Buddhism has a lot to offer. If there was a temple in my little town, I might have ended up calling myself a Buddhist instead of an atheist. I especially like the 4 noble truths. The 8-fold path gets a little bumpy, especially if you start introducing too much about reincarnation and karma et. al. but still, it has merits.
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Re: Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

Postby WoodHorse » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:53 pm

Lausten wrote:Does it count as debate to ask what this article has to do with NDE or anything else you have said? My understanding of it is that the researchers are questioning assumptions we have been working with about where self-awareness is centered, from what part of the brain self-awareness is generated.

No, it has nothing to do with NDE. The article follows the more common view of neurologists that consciousness/awareness is something that emerges from the brain, and in particular, due to the neurological interconnections. I am just going along with that. However, what is interesting to me is that the article is suggesting that the interconnections need not be as complex as is often assumed to generate self-awareness. If so, then it implies that even simpler connections should be able to generate non self-aware consciousness.

Lausten wrote:Just FYI, I think Buddhism has a lot to offer. If there was a temple in my little town, I might have ended up calling myself a Buddhist instead of an atheist. I especially like the 4 noble truths. The 8-fold path gets a little bumpy, especially if you start introducing too much about reincarnation and karma et. al. but still, it has merits.

I think it is cultural. It will be easier for someone brought up in an environment that assumes that there are multiple lifetimes to take on board arguments for the idea of cyclic existence than one brought up under orthodox Christianity/Judaims/Islam that teaches that each person has only one life.
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Re: Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

Postby Lausten » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:23 pm

WoodHorse wrote:I think it is cultural

No argument on that. I'm not sure what you mean by "take on" though. If you mean "agree with without questioning" then no argument there either. That is, I agree that people do that.

I was raised in an environment that said "question authority", "think for yourself", "use evidence to back up your assumptions and beliefs". I was also raised in a culture that has memes like heaven and hell, but fortunately the more modern thinking won out in the end. You started out saying Buddhism does not include the all powerful god concept and wondered what atheists might think of that. No one atheist speaks for all, but for me, atheism means no gods and nothing supernatural. Just like any religion, you can go to one Buddhist temple and not be accepted if you don't accept their ideas about reincarnation, or go to another and find complete openess about discussing the merits of doing that or not.

I prefer the second kind.
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Re: Arguments against basic tenets of Buddhism

Postby sepia » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:28 pm

WoodHorse wrote:You see it one way, I see it another. Let's agree to disagree here.

If you just interested in the existenc of views and not in the arguments, then why have you made this thread?

WoodHorse wrote:Btw, Buddhism does define what consciousness is.

Then this is one other thing I have agains Buddhism: what consciousness is should be defined by philosophy of mind. This is like "Chrstianity tells me what's right and wrong!". Buddhism needn't and shouldn't do it.
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