Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:30 am

It is as you say: to question the scientifically-ordained orthodoxy is to be depicted as a 'traitor'. When the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, was awarded the Templeton Prize a few years back, Richard Dawkins compared him to a Nazi collaborator.

As for Thomas Nagel, this is how his reception by the academic community was depicted by a sympathetic reviewer of his anti-materialist book, Mind and Cosmos:

Image

That is because materialism is acually descended from Christian monotheism, which is why it is prosecuted with religious fervour. It is a kind of misguided religious impulse, culminating in the fantasy of interstellar travel.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Aemilius » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:58 am

Wayfarer wrote: That is because materialism is acually descended from Christian monotheism, which is why it is prosecuted with religious fervour.
Where does this misguided ignorant view stem from, which is repeated here again?
Please stay with the facts, ie that non-theistic schools of thought were established and well known in Greece, Rome and India for more than 500 years before the Common Era!
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:00 pm

Of course there have always been forms of materialism, I was referring to modern scientific materialism which is very much descended from Christian monotheism, the Reformation, and Christian intellectual history.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Aemilius » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:10 am

That sounds like pure nonsense. Atheism has descended from atheism, not from its opposite.
According to historians modern atheism started in the Age of Enlightenment in France. The French Revolution was noted for its "unprecedented atheism". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by pael » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:38 am

Can atheism rise from theodicy?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:39 am

Aemilius wrote:That sounds like pure nonsense.
And that sounds more insult than argument. Otherwise, I would discuss it further.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:44 am

pael wrote:Can atheism rise from theodicy?
What I'm referring to is the way that scientific materialism, as an outlook on life, arose out of, and partially as a reaction against, Christian culture. It is something that has been documented in many books and studies, but it's obviously a huge subject, and hard to describe in a forum post, and as it seems to be upsetting the other contributors, I won't say anything further.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Huseng » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:12 pm

The atheism you see out of America and to a lesser extent the UK is the final outcome of Protestantism: protestants started dropping everything they found disagreeable about their religion and worldview (the papacy, artwork, bits of theology) and then once these same communities found themselves immersed in materialism it was a logical step to just get rid of god altogether.

The bad habit of thinking that everyone else ought to believe the same way you do (the belief that there is no god or afterlife) remained. In some cases it remains a simple thought of thinking all the believers are merely misinformed and making an intellectual error, whereas in other circles it can foster strong anti-religious sentiments with people advocating for the destruction and silencing of all religion.

Atheism in the Anglosphere generally aligns itself with Humanist values, but those values are still very much rooted in modern New Testament values: pacifism, honesty, love they neighbor, turn the other cheek. Humanism would never endorse honor killings. I don't imagine many self-identifying atheists would agree with it either, even if you eliminated the religious aspect. My experience would suggest that most atheists are also against the death penalty (the virtue of forgiveness).

In secular western countries, marriage, even if it isn't defined as strictly heterosexual or religious any longer, is still monogamous (and this is enshrined in law). Monogamy is rooted in Abrahamic religions, but nevertheless it remains enshrined in secular law.

Western atheism and its associated school of materialism are very much a product of Christian traditions.

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Aemilius » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:09 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Aemilius wrote:That sounds like pure nonsense.
And that sounds more insult than argument. Otherwise, I would discuss it further.
I'm sorry for that. Using an old Buddhist metaphor: what you say is like "expecting rice to grow from barley seeds" when atheism grows only form seeds of atheism. In the long Wikipedia article about Atheism they say that for example that David Hume knew and cited Epicurus, an atheist who lived around 300 BCE. And that the French, German and English philosophers of 1700's and 1800's knew about the ancient Greek and Roman atheists. Why would you want us to ignore it? And invent something else instead of it? Obviously there must be some sort of propaganda reasons to put forward such fantastic things that You have told us.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Aemilius » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:10 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Aemilius wrote:That sounds like pure nonsense.
And that sounds more insult than argument. Otherwise, I would discuss it further.
I'm sorry for that. Using an old Buddhist metaphor: what you say is like "expecting rice to grow from barley seeds" when atheism grows only form seeds of atheism. In the long Wikipedia article about Atheism they say that for example that David Hume knew and cited Epicurus, an atheist who lived around 300 BCE. And that the French, German and English philosophers of 1700's and 1800's knew about the ancient Greek and Roman atheists. Why would you want us to ignore it? And invent something else instead of it? Obviously there must be some sort of propaganda reason to put forward such fantastic things that You have told us.
Voltaire even knew about the religions of China and Sri Lanka. You can't rule out the early European contact with them as a possible influence for the new atheism in Europe. It seems that Voltaire had heard a description of the cult of Yamantaka, that was then practised in the Chinese province of Amdo! (in Voltaire's Zadig , published in 1747).
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:13 pm

Of course there have been many forms of materialism from ancient times in many cultures, among them the ancestors of today's scientific materialism. But the point about the modern scientific materialismof the sort preached by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawkings, is that they want to put science in the place of religion. It has been described as the 'religion of scientism'.

There is a powerful analysis of scientific materialism by Bikkhu Bodhi, in a lecture called A Buddhist Response to the Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence. He says:
The early founders of the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century — such as Galileo, Boyle, Descartes and Newton — were deeply religious men, for whom the belief in the wise and benign Creator was the premise behind their investigations into lawfulness of nature. However, while they remained loyal to the theistic premises of Christian faith, the drift of their thought severely attenuated the organic connection between the divine and the natural order, a connection so central to the premodern world view. They retained God only as the remote Creator and law-giver of Nature and sanctioned moral values as the expression of the Divine Will, the laws decreed for man by his Maker. In their thought a sharp dualism emerged between the transcendent sphere and the empirical world. The realm of "hard facts" ultimately consisted of units of senseless matter governed by mechanical laws, while ethics, values and ideals were removed from the realm of facts and assigned to the sphere of an interior subjectivity.

It was only a matter of time until, in the trail of the so-called Enlightenment, a wave of thinkers appeared who overturned the dualistic thesis central to this world view in favor of the straightforward materialism. This development was a following through of the reductionistic methodology to its final logical consequences. Once sense perception was hailed as the key to knowledge and quantification came to be regarded as the criterion of actuality, the logical next step was to suspend entirely the belief in a supernatural order and all it implied. Hence finally an uncompromising version of mechanistic materialism prevailed, whose axioms became the pillars of the new world view. Matter is now the only ultimate reality, and divine principle of any sort dismissed as sheer imagination.
Here Bikkhu Bodhi shows clearly how scientific materialism arose out of the pre-existing religious philosophy of the Christian west. This is a matter of historical fact as far as I am concerned, and there is voluminous commentary on this topic.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by monktastic » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:07 pm

Dunno if he has already been mentioned, but I love Bernardo Kastrup: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IXUXDE4/re ... TF8&btkr=1

"Why Materialism Is Baloney"
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Aemilius » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:05 am

Wayfarer wrote:Of course there have been many forms of materialism from ancient times in many cultures, among them the ancestors of today's scientific materialism. But the point about the modern scientific materialismof the sort preached by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawkings, is that they want to put science in the place of religion. It has been described as the 'religion of scientism'.

There is a powerful analysis of scientific materialism by Bikkhu Bodhi, in a lecture called A Buddhist Response to the Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence. He says:
The early founders of the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century — such as Galileo, Boyle, Descartes and Newton — were deeply religious men, for whom the belief in the wise and benign Creator was the premise behind their investigations into lawfulness of nature. However, while they remained loyal to the theistic premises of Christian faith, the drift of their thought severely attenuated the organic connection between the divine and the natural order, a connection so central to the premodern world view. They retained God only as the remote Creator and law-giver of Nature and sanctioned moral values as the expression of the Divine Will, the laws decreed for man by his Maker. In their thought a sharp dualism emerged between the transcendent sphere and the empirical world. The realm of "hard facts" ultimately consisted of units of senseless matter governed by mechanical laws, while ethics, values and ideals were removed from the realm of facts and assigned to the sphere of an interior subjectivity.

It was only a matter of time until, in the trail of the so-called Enlightenment, a wave of thinkers appeared who overturned the dualistic thesis central to this world view in favor of the straightforward materialism. This development was a following through of the reductionistic methodology to its final logical consequences. Once sense perception was hailed as the key to knowledge and quantification came to be regarded as the criterion of actuality, the logical next step was to suspend entirely the belief in a supernatural order and all it implied. Hence finally an uncompromising version of mechanistic materialism prevailed, whose axioms became the pillars of the new world view. Matter is now the only ultimate reality, and divine principle of any sort dismissed as sheer imagination.
Here Bikkhu Bodhi shows clearly how scientific materialism arose out of the pre-existing religious philosophy of the Christian west. This is a matter of historical fact as far as I am concerned, and there is voluminous commentary on this topic.
I read Bhikkhu Bodhi's essay. I don't think he is right in the idea that European world was really so "religious" as he thinks, and that it has only recently become "secular" and rational. It is a romantic idea, but it doesn't hold true. There is a lot of written history that disproves his premise.
Religion has often been used as a means of and justification for conquering other nations, for stealing their land and treasures, etc...
Wikipedia article of Atheism gives a more comprehensive view of human development in the European culture.
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They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:53 am

Well, I agree with Bikkhu Bodhi, and have read many arguments in support of that idea, but as you have formed the opposite view, let's not keep arguing the case. It is tangential to Buddhism anyway.
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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:20 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Well, I agree with Bikkhu Bodhi, and have read many arguments in support of that idea, but as you have formed the opposite view, let's not keep arguing the case. It is tangential to Buddhism anyway.
One of the crucial influences on the Enlightenment was the spread of Epicurean materialism through the works of the Lucretius. Indeed, the term "Nature's God" comes from this trend. Quite a number of leading Enlightenment intellectuals, for example, David Hume, were atheists.
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[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by boda » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:23 pm

Wayfarer wrote:... the point about the modern scientific materialism of the sort preached by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawkings, is that they want to put science in the place of religion. It has been described as the 'religion of scientism'.
Anything that offers purpose and meaning can take the place of religion, so yes of course science could adequately fill that role. What you don't seem to appreciate is that atheists such as Dawkins are essentially opposed to the irrationality that can result from the inability to separate "hard facts," as Bikkhu Bodhi puts it, from other spheres of value. They are opposed to 'drinking the Kool-Aid', to put it more colloquially, and yet your point seems to suggest that they are merely drinking a different brand of sugar water. If that is your point point then you are fundementally mistaken.

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:26 pm

boda wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:... the point about the modern scientific materialism of the sort preached by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawkings, is that they want to put science in the place of religion. It has been described as the 'religion of scientism'.
Anything that offers purpose and meaning can take the place of religion, so yes of course science could adequately fill that role. What you don't seem to appreciate is that atheists such as Dawkins are essentially opposed to the irrationality that can result from the inability to separate "hard facts," as Bikkhu Bodhi puts it, from other spheres of value. They are opposed to 'drinking the Kool-Aid', to put it more colloquially, and yet your point seems to suggest that they are merely drinking a different brand of sugar water. If that is your point point then you are fundementally mistaken.
They are most definitely drinking a brand of sugar water.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by monktastic » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:54 pm

boda wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:... the point about the modern scientific materialism of the sort preached by Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawkings, is that they want to put science in the place of religion. It has been described as the 'religion of scientism'.
Anything that offers purpose and meaning can take the place of religion, so yes of course science could adequately fill that role. What you don't seem to appreciate is that atheists such as Dawkins are essentially opposed to the irrationality that can result from the inability to separate "hard facts," as Bikkhu Bodhi puts it, from other spheres of value. They are opposed to 'drinking the Kool-Aid', to put it more colloquially, and yet your point seems to suggest that they are merely drinking a different brand of sugar water. If that is your point point then you are fundementally mistaken.
Dawkins & co are certainly espousing a metaphysics without recognizing the assumptions that underlie it, and why they're not actually givens. This is a particular brand of Kool Aid (the "materiality is all and everything" brand), and it stems from being unable to recognize the sheer stuff of mind. It's why guys like Dennett and Graziano can, with straight faces, deny that there's such a phenomenon as conscious experience at all.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by monktastic » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:58 pm

Hypothesis: in any given dream, mind will try to explain its own felt existence in terms of the contents of that dream. In this dream, those contents just happen to be matter and energy. To the extent it insists on doing this, it is drinking Kool Aid. If only it would just look back in the other direction, from whence it came....
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa

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Re: Texts that destroy ""scientific" materialism

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:20 pm

By definition, scientific empiricism will only consider data from the sensory domain (a.k.a. domain of nama-rupa), and quantitative analysis thereof, and mathematical theories which can be shown to account for the observed phenomena. That's it. But it's not even 'materialism' any more; Max Tegmark believes that 'everything is number' (which is Pythagorean) but at the same time maintains a strictly materialistic account of the nature of mind (i.e. that mind is a product of brain - even though numbers are themselves not material objects, i.e. are only perceptible to a mind capable of counting. Figure that out.)

And, there is a massive controversy going on in current physics as to whether the 'multiverse hypothesis' and string theory ought to count as science, on the grounds that these theories have not, and may not ever, produce 'falsifiable results' (there's a summary here.) There are grant applications for experiments aimed at detecting parallel universes, and others to search for the signs of multiple universes (by the way, these are different theories.) And consider all of the well-known conundrums known to current science, such as quantum non-locality, and the dark matter problem (i.e. current science accounts for only 4% of the identified matter-energy of the Universe.)

It all adds up to the fact that physics is in crisis. Yet, say this on a Physics Forum, and this is the reaction you get:

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