Another religious assault on education

| 118 Comments

Conservative religious groups are once again making grade school textbooks the battleground. In California, supremacists and revisionists are trying to make radical changes to kids' textbooks, inserting propaganda and absurd assertions that are not supported in any way by legitimate scholars. The primary effort is to mangle history, but they're also trying to make ridiculous claims about scientific issues.

Such as that civilization started 111.5 trillion years ago, and that people flew to the moon and set off atomic bombs thousands of years ago.

(OK, everyone, let's all do our best imitation Jon Stewart double-take: "Whaaa…??")

Yeah, these aren't fundamentalist Christians, but Hindu nationalists with very strange ideas—still, it's the same old religious nonsense. Two groups, the Vedic Foundation and Hindu Education Foundation, have a whole slate of peculiar historical ideas driven by their religious ideology, and are pressuring the California State Board of Education to modify textbooks. They want to recast Hinduism as a monotheistic religion, whitewash the caste system and the oppression of women, and peddle racist notions about Aryan origins.

This is what happens when religious dogma is allowed to dictate educational content—reality and evidence and objective analysis all become irrelevant. The earth is neither 111.5 trillion years old, nor only 6,000 years old, and the errors and misperceptions of old priests are not a sound foundation for science. It doesn't matter whether those priests spoke Sanskrit or Hebrew, since their ideas are the product of revealed 'knowledge' rather than critical, evidence-based research, they don't belong in a public school classroom.

Heck, what am I saying? It's just another idea, right? Let's teach the controversy and allow orthodox Hindu supremacists to battle it out with fundamentalist Christian dominionists in front of sixth graders. It should be exciting and enlightening.

(via Butterflies and Wheels)

118 Comments

Yeah! Teach the controversy! W00t!

I wonder if the DI will want to include this bunch of wackos under their “Big Tent”.

And see this thread at http://www.kcfs.org/cgi-bin/ultimat[…]f=3;t=001257

Marshall Klarfield believes that aliens from the tenth planet settled here some tens of thousands of years ago and are responsible for genetically engineering human beings - apparently there is a group of people who believe this. Marshall has posted regularly on the KCFS forum, and now wants to write the Kansas BOE. We’ve told him to go for it.

Marshall Klarfield believes that aliens from the tenth planet settled here some tens of thousands of years ago and are responsible for genetically engineering human beings - apparently there is a group of people who believe this. Marshall has posted regularly on the KCFS forum, and now wants to write the Kansas BOE. We’ve told him to go for it.

Well, that’ll give Luskin something to do, anyway. (grin)

Ask this Marshall guy to make sure to mention Dembski and Behe’s “space aliens” BS, often and prominently.

Let them choke on their own words.

Why not just stick to theories for which we have EVIDENCE and PREDICTIVE POWER? By this criteria the age of the Universe would be noncontroversial (several billion years), but most of Darwinism would be laughed out of the classroom. Thank goodness we have physics to remind us of what real science looks like.

Where are the Raelians when you need them? If we are to teach the controversy we’ll have to include Raelian inspired atheist intelligent design less we be found guilty of being unscientific and and dogmatic. And note the Raelians have published as many peer reviwed papers in legitimate scientific journals as Behe and Dembski combined.

Raelians promote atheist intelligent design which will pass the constitutional lemon test. According to our good friend the Raelians, the designers are not god(s), they are a master race of space aliens. They also claim to be in contact with the intelligent designers. Yup, they pose a race of alien folks created humans. Isn’t that what Behe and Dembski have been saying all along?

“Space aliens” - Dembski

“Time travelers” - Behe

Someone should contact the Raelians and invite them to join the IDCBT (Intelligent Design Creationism Big Tent). There is plenty of room for all philosophical and scientific theories in the IDCBT, And no icky knowledge stunting definitions of science either. Anything goes in the IDCBT, baby, so bring on the Raelian space alien intelligent designer master race!

Finally, in the spirit of the IDC Big Tent, I leave you with the original message sent by the Intelligent Designers to Rael (a French media hack) back in 1973,

“We were the ones who designed all life on earth” “You mistook us for gods” “We were at the origin of your main religions” “Now that you are mature enough to understand this,we would like to enter official contact through an embassy”

I hereby nominate the theologian known as William “it could be space aliens” Dembski to be the official Ambasador of Good Will to the Intelligent Designers.

.

Whatever. We’ve experimentally verified and can estimate the relative contributions of evolutionary mechanisms to the process, hence we can make predictions about outcomes.

Physicists can’t even tell us whether or not gravity is due to the curvature of space, force particles, or both.

“The earth is neither 111.5 trillion years old, nor only 6,000 years old, and the errors and misperceptions of old priests are not a sound foundation for science. It doesn’t matter whether those priests spoke Sanskrit or Hebrew…”

Without getting into what precisely old Hindu priests may have said in Sanskrit pertaining to a 111.5 trillion year old earth, the fact of the matter is that no Hebrew priests ever claimed a 6000 year age for the earth. The Hebrew Bible says no such thing, nor does it imply any such thing anywhere. This is nothing but a discredired and disproven falsehood perpetrated by athiests, such as PZ, who refuse to become informed about a book they cannot read themselves.

Carol Clouser Wrote:

the fact of the matter is that no Hebrew priests ever claimed a 6000 year age for the earth

The Hebrew calendar is traditionally considered to begin at the time of creation (more or less), and is currently at the year 5766.

This is nothing but a discredired and disproven falsehood perpetrated by athiests, such as PZ, who refuse to become informed about a book they cannot read themselves.

I have a book about you Carol that says you’re a doo-doo head marketing lowlife with her head buried deep inside her own wazoo. I have no reason to doubt my book’s veracity. You have been informed about my book. You’re welcome.

And, PZ, as an addendum to my previous post, I don’t know of any Jewish organizations, of any theological persuasion, that is pushing for ID or any religious views to be introduced into public education, in science classes or anywhere else.

David Gehrig,

You are wrong. The Hebrew calendar works its way backward through the chronological history of the Jews, as depicted in the Bible, all the way to Adam. But nowhere does the Bible claim that Adam was the first human, despite what people who cannot read the Hebrew Bible say or believe.

I am not saying that you cannot find some ancient Jewish scholars who supported a 6000 year old earth before the scientific evidence to the contrary emerged. But these were personal opinions, not gospel or the word of “priests” representing the Bible. Nothing of the sort.

Gasp! PZ, *slap on hand* you evil atheist that refuses to believe Carol’s version of reality :bible, not any bible, HER old Hebrew super dooper errorless, perfect, holy, divine version, new testament excluded, since Carol think it is junk.

Carol, why is your special version “bible” worth more than Sanskrit? Maybe the translators just got the Sanskrit wrong, just like the translators got your bible wrong???

Carol wrote : I don’t know of any Jewish organizations, of any theological persuasion, that is pushing for ID or any religious views to be introduced into public education, in science classes or anywhere else.

Good. No, really! I agree that ID must stay out of education. In fact, all religions should stop targeting children for indoctrination.

We are going to get crazier and crazier attempts to get crazier and crazier things taught in schools in a world where social constructivism is an increasingly popular ( or increasingly influential) viewpoint among educators and thinkers. I believe ( don’t quote me) that these Hindu creationistst are enabled and inspired by these “developments” in thought. ( I hesitate to call them “developments” because they haven’t changed in essence since pre-socratic Athens).

A thought that I’ve been pondering lately is that maybe, as tragic as it is, we actually need a relativistic educational system to allow students to deal with the world, an idea can be both BS and necessary, culturally relativism coupled with universal cultural tolerance might be incoherent, but arugably it did a lot of good. Would you be willing to let your kids be exposed to Hindu creationism if ( theortically) it made them more tolerant and understanding, or even more enviormentally aware? It’s sort of a noble lie thing. I am pretty sure we don’t need such a noble lie, but hypothetically if we did, would it be right to teach it in schools?

Very Worried

I understand what you are saying, but giving these people a little finger will result in them grabbing the arm. We cannot allow them one inch of leniency. If they get a foothold into the door then there will be no stopping them. Look at history to calculate what will happen.

I agree that tolerance is a good thing, and I try to practice it, but tolerance is not a word understood by these religious Fundy people. They only tolerate their own kind, and even then not always.

No, it’s about freedom. They would take every freedom away if they were given half a chance. I am not willing to give them half a chance. They also think all people should be like them and believe what they do. You really want these people telling kids how they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to believe? As Ingersol would put it, “It will not do”.

CArol, although your comments are good for thread derailment, all you have to do is post the original hebrew and Landas interpretation/ translation of it. This would then give us something to think about, whereas right now, your debate style is more along the lines of “My dad says…” which is not exactly helpful.

I demand that Scientology be taught as fact too. Children need to know that humans were infected with spirits implanted by the evil, alien-overlord Xenu 75 million years ago.

I always thought the 6000 year old earth thing (at least for Christian fundamentalists) came from Bishop Ussher in the 1500s who calculated the figure from the bible. Regardless the outpouring of demands from all these religious/metaphysical groups wanting their origins beliefs taught equally is good news for us because what we’re interested in is highschool science classes. None of us should really care about comparative religion courses and the more squabbling among the chosen all of whom posess the revealed truth the better. I would bet that there would never be a consensus among them to a unified design or creation theory or means of speciation and diversification to compete with current scientific theories (including fledgling abiogenesis hypotheses) even if they all reject “Darwinism” (whatever that is). It may be true that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and its also true that intelligent design is a political movement (where strange bedfellows can be found more frequently than even on Brokeback Mountain), but when salvation is at stake there’s no room for compromise. One of the major differences between fundamentalist and mainstream Christian protestant demominations is that in the former what matters is what you believe and in the latter what matters is how you live your life. Expressions of radical belief are very impressive to people like Pat Robertson and whatshisface Buchanan and this is why they supported clemency to Karla Fay Tucker who converted to Christianity while on death row. This was because she did’nt become a work-for-justice-and-help-the-poor type of Christian but became a babbling-in-tongues-and-handling-serpents type favored by fundamentalists. As far as I can tell Pat Robertson believes that as we speak Jonas Salk and Mahatma Ghandi are roasting in eternal hellfire and damnation. So the stakes are huge for these people, protecting the tender beliefs of their schoolchildren from ideas that may interfere with the rapture that they all believe in and desperately want to occur sooner rather than later. We realists just dont want it taught to our kids in taxpayer funded science courses. The answer for them is obvious to me: home school your kids and send them to bible college; and they’ll never humiliate you by winning a Nobel Prize in a scientific field.

Why not just stick to theories for which we have EVIDENCE and PREDICTIVE POWER?

So much for ID then, huh.

Hey Carol, why again should science give a flying fig about your religious opinions?

Why again should your religious opinions be considered as “evidence” for anything?

So much for ID? Hell, so much for theology. No evidence and no predictive power, despite Carol and her alleged husband’s nonsense.

hugs, Shirley Knott

Lenny,

If ID is devoid of evidence and predictive power then how is it that you have such an awareness of it? Are you able to dissociate from your scientific self to an “unknown” state to discuss something scientifically “unknown?” Please elaborate?

One of the major differences between fundamentalist and mainstream Christian protestant demominations is that in the former what matters is what you believe and in the latter what matters is how you live your life. Expressions of radical belief are very impressive to people like Pat Robertson and whatshisface Buchanan and this is why they supported clemency to Karla Fay Tucker who converted to Christianity while on death row. This was because she did’nt become a work-for-justice-and-help-the-poor type of Christian but became a babbling-in-tongues-and-handling-serpents type favored by fundamentalists.

Yes indeed. When fundamentalist Christian was first formed as a political/religious movement, in 1910, it was through a series of booklets titled “The Fundamentals”, containing 94 articles by 64 writers. Fundamentalism was formed as a response to three things, (1) “Higher Criticism” – the scholarly effort in Europe to examine the Bible using standard techniques of literary anaylsis, (2) science (and in particular evolution), and (3) “The Social Gospel”, the idea that Christians should work together with other groups to improve living conditions here for everyone.

We all know, of course, why the fundies don’t like evolution. They don’t like “Higher Criticism” because it undermines all their ideas about the Bible (and despite all the fundie yammering, what they really worship is the Bible, not a god). As for the “Social Gospel”, they rejected it (and still do) because (1) fundies do not like to associate themselves with anyone except True Believers (the doctrine of “separation”, and (2) fundies have always believed that the return of Christ is imminent, and that therefore the task of the church should be to save as many souls as possible before the world ends, instead of wasting time trying to improve conditions here (this is one reason why fundies reject environmentalism, for instance).

If ID is devoid of evidence and predictive power then how is it that you have such an awareness of it?

Because ID is a theocractic political movement, and I am very aware of theocratic political movements.

If you think ID has evidence or predictive power, how about SHOWING it to us.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought.

Are you able to dissociate from your scientific self to an “unknown” state to discuss something scientifically “unknown?” Please elaborate?

Huh? What the hell are you gibbering about?

Comment #75589

Posted by thordaddy on January 25, 2006 08:08 AM (e)

Lenny,

If ID is devoid of evidence and predictive power then how is it that you have such an awareness of it? Are you able to dissociate from your scientific self to an “unknown” state to discuss something scientifically “unknown?” Please elaborate?

My cat’s butt has no predictive power, but when she sticks it my face when I’m watching TV, I’m very well aware of it…

In other words, your post was a fallacy. Lenny’s awareness of ID doesn’t mean ID has predictive power.

I think the first comment, by Moses (#75512), is the best.

We should all pick up this news item and spread it. Wherever ID proponents pop up insisting that schools “teach the controversy”, we should bring up this “controversy” as well.

Of course it won’t deter the diehard ID supporters, but it will definitely show the fence-sitters exactly what “teaching the controversy” opens the door to.

Comment #75561

Posted by Carol Clouser on January 25, 2006 02:16 AM (e)

And, PZ, as an addendum to my previous post, I don’t know of any Jewish organizations, of any theological persuasion, that is pushing for ID or any religious views to be introduced into public education, in science classes or anywhere else.

And Carol goes down in flames again:

In December 2005 a group of Orthodox rabbis, primarilly from Chabad Hasidic Judaism, convened in a conference at Florida International University for an International Conference on Torah & Science. In this conference Chabad Jews invited and worked with Protestant Christian William A. Dembski, of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dembski is an advocate of rejecting scientific views of evolution and inserting Christian views of theology into public school science classrooms. One of the conferences’ organizers is Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, who believes that science in schools leads to drug abuse and the breakdown of families, and advocates that intelligent design be taught as science in public schools. In response to a question asking if this was merely a back door to teaching religion in public schools, Lipskar responds “It’s not a back door, it’s a front door!.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judais[…]nd_evolution

You can always count on a fundie to lie or just trip themselves up with their arrogance and/or ignorance. Even if they have their own “special bible.”

Posted by theonomo on January 25, 2006 12:42 AM (e) Why not just stick to theories for which we have EVIDENCE and PREDICTIVE POWER? By this criteria the age of the Universe would be noncontroversial (several billion years), but most of Darwinism would be laughed out of the classroom. Thank goodness we have physics to remind us of what real science looks like.

Buuaahhh ha ha ha ha. Darwinism. That is a strawman if I ever seen one. Get your act together stupid!!!!!. Anyway don’t talk about physics as real science or is that you have no knowledge of the “debate” between quantum vs relativity vs strings, vs .…… oh what the hell I am already all strung up in the controversy. See theonomo nothing is clean and clear except only in the head of a dummy :)

Why not get rid of schools altogether?

Roger Schank suggests that we get rid of schools altogether…how would his idea fit in?

Carol,

Since you are gracing us with your presence and special bible knowledge, I (as a former minister in training turned atheist) have a task for you. If you’re “tough” enough. Or your “special bible” gives you the insight.

Please correctly match these names Horus (Egyptian), Jesus (Christian), Mithra (Persian), Buddha (Indian), Krishna (Indian) to the following profiles:

* Born of a virgin. * He was of royal descent. * He crushed a serpent’s head. * He performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick and walked on water. * He preached “the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness.” * He taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all. * He was transfigured on a mount. * Crucified in a sin-atonement and was resurrected 3 days later. * He ascended to “heaven.” * He was called the “Savior of the World” and the “Light of the World.”

* Born of a virgin. * He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old. * He was baptized. * He had 12 disciples. * He performed miracles and raised one man from the dead. * He walked on water. * He was transfigured on the Mount. * He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected. * He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word” etc. * He was “the Fisher,” and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish. * He was called “the Anointed One.”

* Was born of a virgin. * He was a great traveling teacher and master. * He had 12 companions or disciples. * He performed miracles. * He was buried in a tomb. * After three days he rose again. * His resurrection was celebrated every year. * He was called “the Good Shepherd.” * He was considered “the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.” * He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb. * His sacred day was Sunday, “the Lord’s Day.” * His religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper.”

# Was born of a virgin. # His father was a carpenter. # His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh. # He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants. # He was of royal descent. # He was baptized. # He worked miracles and wonders. # He raised the dead and healed lepers, the deaf and the blind. # Used parables to teach the people about charity and love. # He lived poor and he loved the poor. # Was crucified between two thieves. # He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. # He is the second person of the Trinity, and proclaimed himself the “Resurrection” and the “way to the Father.” # He is to return to do battle with the “Prince of Evil,” who will desolate the earth.

* He was born of a virgin. * He was descended of royalty. * He was baptized. * He had 12 disciples. * He lived poor and with the poor. * He performed miracles and raised one man from the dead. * He walked on water. * He was transfigured on the Mount. * He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected. * He was the son of “the father.” * He was called the fisher of men and the lamb of God.

And anyone else can join into this game of comparative savior mythologies. Feel free to test your knowledge of the ‘one true faith’ verses the ‘pagan’ religions that it doesn’t (wink) resemble or borrow from at all…

Just a note for administration: 207.200.116.136 is one of the main AOL web cache servers. As much as I appreciate a Larry Farfel-free environment, this might be entirely too dire.

Rule 6 kicks in for IP address 207.200.116.136, which has had comments from “Larry Fafarman”, “thordaddy”, “M”, and “the pro from dover”.

Well, since Pro From Dover has been here a long time and is a definite anti-IDer, I think it absolutely one-thousand percent certain that he and Larry are not the same person.

Thordaddy is, like Larry, just a crank (with some bizarre “theory” that nobody seems to care about), but I think it extremely unlikely that they are the same person either. Larry, as an attention-seeking crank, prefers to get his fix under his real name.

Lenny,

What was the motivating factor behind your extensive study of Hinduism and Buddhism?

Just curious. Hope you don’t mind my asking.

What was the motivating factor behind your extensive study of Hinduism and Buddhism?

Just curious. Hope you don’t mind my asking.

I don’t mind at all. It’s always been my inclination to study as many different viewpoints about as many different things as I could. It’s one reason why I read, on average, three or four books each week, on whatever topic strikes my fancy at the moment.

While I was in college, I was going out with a Japanese girl from Kyoto. From her, I learned a bit about Asian traditions, and took up studying Tantric Buddhism from an acquaintance of hers. I ended up studying Tantra for 3.5 years – no, I did not go out with Aiko for that long. ;) After that, I studied Zen, Taoism and Hinduism. Years later, I went out with a woman from Lebanon, and learned much about Islamic Sufi from her. One of my best friends is from Iran (his father was the Army Chief of Staff under the Shah), and I also learned a lot about Islam from his family (he is an atheist).

Prior to all that, I had lived in South Dakota for a time, and learned a bit about Oglala Lakota shamanism from some folks on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Tantra is the symbolism I know best, having studied it the longest. Taoism is the symbolism I’m most comfortable using, though, and Zen is, to me, the simplest and purest of the Asian traditions.

I view them all as, at core, the same. Just different fingers pointing at the same moon.

Though I’m certainly not for teaching ANY religion as fact in public high school, I would certainly be interested in a good primer on some of the eastern thought alluded to in this thread. (For my own edification, not for high school students) If I understand this all correctly, it seems that many of the posters here feel it (the real deal, not the crackpot stuff) is more symbology to relate to the universe around us, and ultimately to ourselves. Would that be close as a synopsis? If this is so, is it really religion, then? Without a big fat SkyDaddy involved, seems it would more properly be pigeonholed as philosophy. Is there a difference other than semantics? Perhaps it might be referred to as a grokking.

Stephen mentioned

I am still a bit angry, both with myself and the ID movement, because I originally fell for their hoax.

Stephen,

For once, this time only, don’t read more into it than there is, I am going to agree with Ms. Clouser on one single point. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Absolutely, be as hard as you care to be on the lying, deceitful bastards who tricked you. I was once a fundy, a long time ago, so I can empathize.

Damn, the rest of what I had to say was insightful, witty, earth shaking and off topic.

As far as I can tell, it’s not really religion at all. It’s more of a method.

BWE helpfully noted

As far as I can tell, it’s not really religion at all. It’s more of a method.

Thanks BWE, that’s kind of what I was driving at. It would seem not to be religion per se.

I imagine Lenny didn’t choose his girlfriends on the basis of their knowledge of Hinduism.

It certainly didn’t hurt, though, if they had read the Kama Sutra. :)

Re your statement, “they (Hindus) hope to symbolically invoke this or that portion of reality to help them with this or that thing they want to do.”

How does one invoke “symbolically”? Something is either invoked or not invoked. What does it mean to “invoke symbolically” and what effect is that supposed to have?

As I said before, it’s sort of like the Catholic patron saints. Sort of.

In the Asian traditions, one of the goals is to learn how to direct one’s internal mental energies and intentions into desired directions. Call it “focusing one’s energies”. One way to do that is to mentally fix yourself on a symbol of the particular trait or focus that you want to invoke. And Hinduism provides a myriad of gods to symbolize them. Pick the one that you want, and use it as a point to focus your own energies on. Here is where meditation, mantras, mudras, and other such practices enter the picture.

To try and explain it another way, certain mental or emotional states naturally produce specific physical markers — when we are angry or aggressive, we naturally, without thinking about it, breathe rapidly from high in the chest and tense the muscles of the hands; when we are relaxed, we naturally, without thinking about it, breathe deeply from the lower abdomen and have loose muscles in the hand. Hindu practice teaches one to consciously direct one’s self in this way, by concentrating on a set of traits symbolized by this or that god using specific breathing or muscular actions, therefore reversing the process, and allowing controlled physical markers to in turn produce the mental or emotional state desired. This is what “yoga” is all about. It is no more “religious” or “mysterious” than “taking a deep breath to relax” or “screwing up one’s courage” is. It is simply the conscious and deliberate effort to do what we all unthinkingly do naturally.

So it’s a method of focusing one’s own mind on a particular task or effort by focusing on a symbolic god or goddess that represents what you want to be or do. It is not any “invocation” of deities or divine powers. In Hinduism, as in Zen, Buddhism and Taoism, everything you do, comes from within you. The trick is learning how to direct it (or to let it direct you, and then understand that they are the same).

Keep in mind that it’s very near impossible to communicate most of this using descriptions or words. These sort of things deal with internal states of mind that cannot be communicated through words – they can only be learned through experience. It’s like trying to describe to a deaf person what “music” sounds like. Unless one hears it for oneself, no amount of words can communicate the thing.

I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did not set out to deceive anyone.

But they did. The Wedge Document demonstrates that deception and evasion was their conscious intended goal, right from the beginning.

What they want – ALL they want – is do exactly what the Constitution forbids them from doing; using public schools to preach their religious opinions.

And that FORCES them to dishonest deception.

If I understand this all correctly, it seems that many of the posters here feel it (the real deal, not the crackpot stuff) is more symbology to relate to the universe around us, and ultimately to ourselves. Would that be close as a synopsis?

More or less.

If I had to sum up all the Asian traditions in a short pithy way, I’d say, “The universe is what it is. And you are a part of it. So be what you are.”

Easy to say, isn’t it. But try it, and you’ll find it’s not so easy after all. Most people go their entire lives without ever once just being what they are.

If this is so, is it really religion, then?

Good question.

The answer most Asian practitioners would give, is:

(shrug)

:)

It simply doesn’t matter what one calls it. Call it “religion” if you like; call it “philosophy” if you like; heck, you can call it “Charlie” if you like. Makes no difference. It is what it is, and what it is doesn’t depend on what we call it.

There is nothing in science that contradicts ID.

There is, of course, nothing in ANYTHING that contradicts ID.

That’s because ID doesn’t actually SAY anything – beyond “we think an unknown thing did an unknown thing at an unknown time using unknown methods”. (shrug)

Gee, thanks, guys. That sure is, uh, helpful.

“are they really Hindus?”

Who knows? There’s no more way to know who is The Real Hindu™(c) than there is to know who is The Real Christian™(c). (shrug)

All I can say is that the Hindu creationists mentioned in this thread are a tiny minority within Hinduism, and their ideas are rejected by the vast majority of other Hindus. That doesn’t make them either “right” or “wrong”. But it does mean that referring to them as “representing Hindu thought” is just as wrong as referring to Pat Robertson as “representing Christian thought”.

There is no authority in any of the Asian traditions that decides which opinion is or isn’t “right”.

Well, actually there is —— you do. But only for yourself.

Posted by Lenny’s Pizza Guy

Oooh!

Carol and Lenny, sitting in a tree…!

Nahhh, won’t work —- ID is still crap, and Carol’s religious opinions are still no better than anyone else’s (and don’t belong in a science classroom).

But I encourage all the young attractive ID-supporting females out there to give me your best shot anyway.

:)

He claims that godless buddism is only slightly off the mark from hinduism.

Not sure I agree with that, tho I suppose it depends quite a bit on which form of Buddhism you’re talking about – the different sects can be remarkably different. Nepal has a sort of hybridized form of Hinduism and Buddhism which probably isn’t all that different from straight Hinduism. But Theravada and Zen are quite different. Theravada, which I practice, is what I know best, and it seems to me that two fundamental concepts within Theravada that really couldn’t be smoothly reconciled with Hinduism (without just sort of practicing two different things at the same time) are anatta, or not-self, and anicca, impermanence.

In my experience, it mostly seems to be Hindus who think Hinduism is so similar to Buddhism. :-)

However, I totally agree that the usual response by Asian practicioners as to whether Buddhism is a religion is indeed *shrug*. It’s simply considered an irrelevant question, a question where a yes or no answer would have no consequence. My personal take is that Buddhism *is* a religion, tho its lack of a creator god would no doubt make many people reject that idea. The only case I know of where it was an important issue was allowing California state prisons to allow Buddhist chaplains. The problem was, if Buddhism was defined as ‘not a religion’, the state prison system would not be obliged to provide Buddhist chaplains, which indeed they didn’t want to do. Under some pressure, the definition was revised to include Buddhism as a ‘religion’, so that Buddhist chaplains would be given access to the prisons. So in that case, it was quite important to count Buddhism as a religion. :-)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 27, 2006 07:12 PM (e) … To try and explain it another way, certain mental or emotional states naturally produce specific physical markers —- when we are angry or aggressive, we naturally, without thinking about it, breathe rapidly from high in the chest and tense the muscles of the hands; when we are relaxed, we naturally, without thinking about it, breathe deeply from the lower abdomen and have loose muscles in the hand. Hindu practice teaches one to consciously direct one’s self in this way, by concentrating on a set of traits symbolized by this or that god using specific breathing or muscular actions, therefore reversing the process, and allowing controlled physical markers to in turn produce the mental or emotional state desired.

I have some (very limited) experience of that. Around 1983 I discovered (by chance) that forcing yourself to smile, makes you genuinely feel happier. Weird.

Nepal has a sort of hybridized form of Hinduism and Buddhism which probably isn’t all that different from straight Hinduism.

A very short history lesson:

Hinduism is the oldest of the Asian traditions, and formed in India. The Vedas, the oldest known Hindu texts, were written in about 1500 BCE, followed in about 500 BCE by the Upanishads and the Mahabharata.

In the 6th century BCE, Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince, founded Buddhism, which was then absorbed into some existing Hindu sects and modified to form Tantra. Tantra became established in the countries bordering India, including Nepal and Tibet. Tantra, Buddhism and Hinduism also traveled to China in the 1st century CE, where they encountered the Taoism view that had already been formed in China in the 6th century BCE. In China, a number of sects melded Taoism and Vajrayana Tantric Buddhism, while others distilled Buddhism into the Ch’an sect. The Ch’an sect then travelled to Japan, where it was adopted and modified into Zen Buddhism. With the fall of the T’ang Dynasty and the resulting civil wars in the 10th century CE, many of these Chinese monks became refugees and travelled to Japan. Here, they encountered the shugenja, a group of ascetic warrior-monks who practiced a version of Zen mixed with Shinto. The shugenja adopted a form of Taoist Vajrayana Tantra, and combined it with their own views to form a doctrine known as “mikkyo”, or “the secret knowledge”.

And Mikkyo is the tradition that I studied.

Theravada, which I practice, is what I know best, and it seems to me that two fundamental concepts within Theravada that really couldn’t be smoothly reconciled with Hinduism (without just sort of practicing two different things at the same time) are anatta, or not-self, and anicca, impermanence.

No, both concepts are also found in Hinduism, as well as in Taoism.

without just sort of practicing two different things at the same time

Actually many Tantrics do this, consciously and with no contradiction. After all, both things are just facets of a single thing.

An example:

One of the things found in Tantra is the Mandala. The Mandala is a representation of the Tantric Five Buddhas and Four Elements, which, when taken as a whole, is actually a schematic picture of the universe. In the center of the Mandala is the pictorial representation of the Buddha Akshobya, and, above him, a smaller pictorial representation of the symbolic Elemental Vajrasattva. This central disc is surrounded by eight circles representing the Tantric Buddhas Vairocana, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasidhi, and the Elements Locana, Mamaki, Pandaravasini and Tarami. The Elements (Air, Water, Earth and Fire) represent the various material things of the universe, while the Buddhas symbolize the different types of relationships between the Elements. The complete Mandala may be looked at in two distinctly different ways at the same time. By concentrating on the Material or Matrix Realm, represented by the figure of Vajrasattva, one can view the workings of the universe “from the outside in”. Using this viewpoint, physical reality is considered, in an effort to understand the central entity connecting all of the things in the universe. It can then be seen that every thing, person, place, thought or feeling is merely a fragment of the all-encompassing Universe symbolized by Vajrasattva. In meditating on the Matrix realm, known in Japanese as “Taizokai”, one considers the question, “What are the manifestations of the source of reality?” In this manner, one realizes that all of the surrounding ring of Buddhas and Elements are but differing manifestations of Vajrasattva, the Void of creative potential through which all things take their form.

On the other hand, the universe may be studied from the point of view of the Spiritual (in Tantra, “spiritual” refers to feelings or perceptions inside you, as opposed to the universe of things outside you) or Diamond Realm, represented on the Mandala in the form of Akshobya. Using this form of contemplation, known as “Kongokai”, the spiritual realm is studied in order to understand how the relationships of totality permeate and unify the rest of the universe. In meditating on the Kongokai Realm, one considers the question, “What is the source of reality?” In this manner, it can be seen that all of the surrounding Buddhas and Elements are merely differing facets of the single and eternal Diamond Realm. Meditation on the Taizokai Realm thus considers the Universe in terms of its separate parts, while the Kongokai Realm deals with the universe as an undifferentiated whole. In reality, both Taizokai and Kongokai are merely different ways of looking at the same thing, and the surrounding circle of Buddhas and Elements each bears the symbol of the unifying Akshobya to indicate that they are all the same thing. Thus, the realms of Spirit and Matter are not distinct or different entities, but simply form two methods of looking at the same thing; both are merely facets of the universal process. I feel now as though I should light a candle or something. ;> Once again, though, I emphasize that all of this is nothing but symbolism and example; once you grasp the underlying concepts, the symbolism no longer really means anything. As the Zen say, once you catch the rabbit, you don’t need the trap any more.

And all this obscure-sounding symbolism boils down to simply “the universe is what it is, and you are a part of it. So be what you are.” Once you grasp that, you don’t need any of the symbolism any more.

In essence, what all these traditions teach is “Be yourself”.

Odd that so many people need somebody else to teach them how to be themselves . … and once people find it, they realize that they had it all along – and they were taught absolutely nothing at all.

Theravada, which I practice, is what I know best

Another historical aside:

After the Gautama Buddha’s death, the practice of Buddhism split into three major branches. The Himayana, or “Lesser Vehicle”, emphasized personal meditation as the way to Nirvana. The Mahayana, or “Greater Vehicle”, developed the concept of the Bodhisattva, a person who is on his way to Buddhahood but who has sworn to help others reach Nirvana. The Mahayana school held up many Buddhas and emphasized reliance on these saints as the way to achieve enlightenment. The Vajrayana, or “Diamond Vehicle”, emphasized the complete immersion of the individual in natural surroundings and training in natural abilities as the Path to enlightenment. By 1200 CE, Buddhism in India had been almost completely obliterated, having been mostly absorbed into Hinduism. Mahayana Buddhism became the largest branch, and spread to China and Japan. Vajrayana Buddhism had become established in Tibet and Nepal. Himayana Buddhism had become established in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. Theravada is one of the sects of Himayana Buddhism.

Right .…..can I interupt this moon fingering love fest.

Q: Why don’t Buddhists vacuum in the corners? A: Because they have no attachments.

Q: What did a Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? A: Make me one with everything.

Q: What is the name of the best Zen teacher? A: M.T. Ness

Q: How many Zen Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Three – one to change it, one to not-change it and one to both change- and not-change it.

Q: What happens when a Buddhist becomes totally absorbed with the computer he is working with? A: He enters Nerdvana.

Q: How do I become a Lama? A: Go to a monastic university and study for twenty-five years. Begin by memorizing Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosha with its commentary (500 pages or so). Then study what you have memorised by hearing lectures on it and debating the contents with other candidates until you can argue every side of every controversy equally well. Then memorise several works of Nagarjuna, along with their commentaries. Then memorise the seven treatises of Dharmakirti. In additional to that study, you must master several forms of meditation and study tantric rituals for about two or three years.

Alternatively, you can come to America and just call yourself a lama. Billions of nubile virgins will follow you everywhere and give you money.

That’s IT there are too may here to retain ANY credibility I’m renouncing it all and becoming a Menippean satirist

Ankh if you love Isis!!

Alternatively, you can come to America and just call yourself a lama. Billions of nubile virgins will follow you everywhere and give you money.

COOL!!!! Count me in. :)

I’m no longer “Rev Dr” Lenny Flank. Now, I’m “Lama” Lenny Flank.

Hmmm …

Nah, I don’t like the way that looks.

But bring on the nubile virgins anyway. :)

Q: Why don’t Buddhists vacuum in the corners? A: Because they have no attachments.

Q: What did a Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? A: Make me one with everything.

Q: What is the name of the best Zen teacher? A: M.T. Ness

Q: How many Zen Buddhists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Three — one to change it, one to not-change it and one to both change- and not-change it.

Q: What happens when a Buddhist becomes totally absorbed with the computer he is working with? A: He enters Nerdvana.

LOL !!!!

But you left out:

Q. What did the hot dog vendor say when the Buddhist asked for his change? A. “Change must come from within.”

Q: How do I become a Lama? A: Go to a monastic university and study for twenty-five years. Begin by memorizing Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosha with its commentary (500 pages or so). Then study what you have memorised by hearing lectures on it and debating the contents with other candidates until you can argue every side of every controversy equally well. Then memorise several works of Nagarjuna, along with their commentaries. Then memorise the seven treatises of Dharmakirti. In additional to that study, you must master several forms of meditation and study tantric rituals for about two or three years.

You also have to shave your head and wear an orange bathrobe.

And after all that, you will have learned … nothing at all. :)

After the Gautama Buddha’s death, the practice of Buddhism split into three major branches. The Himayana, or “Lesser Vehicle”,

We try not to use the term ‘Hinayana’ anymore, since (a) it means ‘inferior vehicle’, and (b) it’s a polemical term Mahayanists created to denigrate the non-Mahayana schools of Buddhism. It was never a term the ‘Hinayanists’ used for themselves. ‘Nikaya Buddhism’ is a term that’s seeing increased use.

Also, Mahayana did not arise right after the Buddha’s death. It arose at the Second Council at Vesali, about a century after the Buddha’s death.

emphasized personal meditation as the way to Nirvana. The Mahayana, or “Greater Vehicle”, developed the concept of the Bodhisattva, a person who is on his way to Buddhahood but who has sworn to help others reach Nirvana. The Mahayana school held up many Buddhas and emphasized reliance on these saints as the way to achieve enlightenment. The Vajrayana, or “Diamond Vehicle”, emphasized the complete immersion of the individual in natural surroundings and training in natural abilities as the Path to enlightenment.

Um yes, I know all this. The Mahayanists also created many new sutras that very likely didn’t exist at the time of the Buddha’s death. The ‘Hinayana’ schools closed their canon much earlier.

By 1200 CE, Buddhism in India had been almost completely obliterated, having been mostly absorbed into Hinduism.

This was greatly hastened by the Moslem invasions of north India and Afghanistan, tho the process was already fairly advanced before that. The Moslem invasions never reached Sri Lanka, which is why Theravada survived there.

Mahayana Buddhism became the largest branch, and spread to China and Japan. Vajrayana Buddhism had become established in Tibet and Nepal. Himayana Buddhism had become established in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.

Um, not exactly, it was specifically the Theravada school that became established in Sri Lanka and SE Asia. The other ‘Hinayana’ schools in north India (such as Sarvastivada & Dharmaguptaka) went extinct after the Moslem invasions, tho some of their scriptures (their Abhidhamma and the Vinaya) were translated into Chinese and are still used in Mahayana countries to this day.

If you’re intertested, a superb source for modern Theravada is: http://accesstoinsight.org/

Hmmm… I wonder if this will get bounced to the Bathroom Wall?

Hmmm… I wonder if this will get bounced to the Bathroom Wall?

I’m surprised it hasn’t already been. :)

If you’re intertested, a superb source for modern Theravada is: http://accesstoinsight.org/

I stand corrected. :)

Re #75612:

So these guys were the same concept?! I feel as cheated by christianity and apparently useless comparative religion classes all over again as when I discovered that the Golden Rule was knicked from other religions.

One would think that both should ‘fess up to the similarities first thing and then bring out the distinctive traits. Nah, better to obfuscate. The drawback is when anyone finds you out…

> Please correctly match these names Horus (Egyptian), Jesus (Christian), Mithra (Persian), Buddha (Indian), Krishna (Indian) to the following profiles:

And your source is? Acharya S crank, or someone similar?

i am happy mostly - though terribly sick at times - the medicine is not a perfect fix - i think some weed would help but caant find any - Kant find any…

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on January 24, 2006 9:28 PM.

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