Date: Wed Nov 7 10:59:25 2007

Author: Rick Tarara

Subject: Re: MonoLingualism (Science as culture)

One last post on this--it really IS off list-topic.

The point is really not that a Buddhist can't do science, or even a
fundamentalist do paleontology, but rather that to do internationally
recognized and accepted science, everyone has to step away from their own
religions/philosophies/and cultures and into the culture of science which is
reasonably uniform throughout the world. Sure, one can then go back and
apply science to one's own culture/religion/philosophy (or in many cases of
religion*, basically try to separate the two lest the conflicts destroy one
or the other). It is dangerous to go the opposite way--at least a danger
of having one's work rejected--that is to bring one's
religion/philosophy/culture to the forefront in trying to do science. Hence
the fundamentalist who absolutely insists that the earth is 7000 years old
will have trouble in the scientific world. Again, the are Buddhists, Jews,
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, Americans, Europeans, Asians, etc.
who do science, but we don't prefix science with any of these labels.


*religion as seen separately from theism or theology.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Perry Godwin"
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: [tap-l] MonoLingualism (Science as culture)

> Another example of a Vedanta Buddhist monk who is a scientist is John
> Dobson. I don't see the Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism
> and Zen as a barrier to science because of the way these religions
> emphasize a scientific analysis of self and the universe. As I understand
> these religions, that which we perceive through our senses is not seen as
> the reality; it is understood that the observer is as much a part of the
> perception as that which is observed.
> And speaking of the Dalai Lama and science, he has encouraged scientists
> to examine the brain waves and physiology of meditating priests, which has
> shown that the brain can be exercised as readily as the body. I believe
> the Dalai Lama has also written several articles making connections
> between some of the ideas in Buddhism and science.
> Perry Godwin, Head Physics Lab Technician
> Lansing Community College
> Email:
> Work: (517) 483-9653
> Cell: (517) 927-2155
> Pgr: (517) 232-0278
> Fax: (517) 483-1003
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Machele Kindle
> Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 2:05 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [tap-l] MonoLingualism (Science as culture)
> Buddhists as scientists:
> My former undergrad advisor, who then moved to be Dean of the School of
> Arts and Sciences, was Buddhist. He actually became a monk after his
> wife died, although I don't know if he actively lived at the monastery
> or not. I don't think this is a requirement to be a monk. After all, the
> Dali Lama doesn't like in a monastery. If Dr. Coulter did, I don't think
> it was long because he eventually remarried. I currently have a friend
> who is also a Buddhist monk who is very scientifically minded (he's a
> nurse with a psychology background). We often throw ideas and sources
> back and forth. Actually, he's opening his own Zen-do as he's reached a
> high enough level of enlightenment in order to be deemed worthy of his
> own place to teach. He's a wonderful man.
> I know scientists of almost all religions/spiritualities. My understand
> of science has helped me understand my own personal path in such. Being
> able to have systematic, logical, rational thought processes doesn't
> keep one from studying the sometimes irrational, unexplainable or
> unprovable.
> Chele
> Rick Tarara wrote:
>> I talk of science as being a culture--a pretty much monolithic culture
>> (in the 21st Century at least). Religious people have done science,
>> but often in spite of their religion (Copernicus). The Eastern
>> cultures stymied the science they did because of their philosophies.
>> Buddhist monks 'should' make pretty poor scientists--don't personally
>> know any! People who do science (as we now know it) may come from
>> different cultures, but the way science is done, the way it is
>> evaluated, the way we communicate it, transcends those cultures and
>> ideologies---lest what gets produced is something less. A
>> fundamentalist paleontologist might not produce the best science. ;-)
>> I will hold to the idea that the success of science/technology has
>> been much more a function of the unity of the science, the
>> uni-language of science, the accepted methodology of doing science
>> than to the diversity of the people doing the science. We don't think
>> in terms of Chinese Science versus European Science versus Jewish
>> Science versus Baptist Science.
>> Rick
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul Nord"
>>> Rick,
>>> I'll shoot off my mouth at this point. You speak of science as a
>>> religion. One right way of doing things - one proper way of
>>> ordering the world as you understand it - as if there would be great
>>> strength in having everyone work and think the same way. So often
>>> the opposite is true. Great discoveries are made when someone
>>> thinks outside the box, invents new terms, imagines unpopular
>>> ideas. It may even be the diversity of our viewpoints that is the
>>> greatest asset to science.
>>> Western science has had great success. It's origins are in the
>>> church. (Brother Gregor Mendel... Rev. Charles Darwin... etc.) The
>>> notion that the universe behaves in a constant and predictable way
>>> comes from the Judeo-Christian belief that God is constant and
>>> unchanging. The Chinese didn't hold to such philosophy. They
>>> didn't build scale models or apply knowledge of pebbles to
>>> boulders. In Chinese philosophy, everything has its own chi. The
>>> pebble and the boulder are different. They invented gunpowder, but
>>> not a fully- automatic assault rifle.
>>> I was talking to an adult who didn't know that AD stood for Anno
>>> Domini. And I thought, what the heck do they teach in schools these
>>> days that they managed to gloss over that bit of history? Whatever
>>> you believe about that, it has had a lasting impact. Much more than
>>> just a calendar system. And a bit more important than the War of
>>> the Roses, eh?
>>> Paul
> --
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For in the end, we will conserve only what we love.
> We will love only what we understand.
> We will understand only what we are taught. - Baba Dioum
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Machele Kindle
> Graduate Student
> Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering
> Arizona State University
> (336) 408-8382
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~