February 15, 2006

God vs. Universe for title of “Beginningless” (Dalai – Part l )

Posted in non-fiction, religion, science at 3:27 pm by Jerry

“Today, it seems, most cosmologists are convinced that the background microwave noise conclusively demonstrates the validity of the big bang hypothesis.” p.76.

“From the Buddhist point of view, there is this further question. Even if we grant that there was only one big cosmic bang, we can still ask, Is this the origin of the entire universe or does this mark only the origin of our particular universe system? So a key question is whether the big bang – which, according to modern cosmology, is the beginning of everything.

“From the Buddhist perspective, the idea that there is a single definite beginning is highly problematic. If there were such an absolute beginning, logically speaking, this leaves only two options. One is theism, which proposes that the universe is created by an intelligence… The second option is that the universe came into being from no cause at all. Buddhism rejects both these options.” p.82.

I’ve thought for some time now that Buddhism was one of the most interesting versions of atheism (even more so when many of its followers present sacrifices to a statue of Buddha).

“…in Buddhism the universe is seen as infinite and beginningless, so I am quite happy to venture beyond the big bang and speculate about possible states of affairs before it.” p.93.

“Infinite!” This word. This word is a fascinating word. It’s scientific because every capable test for the “finite” proves false. But doesn’t this word seem like a metaphysical word? To say the universe has no beginning is one thing, but to say there is no end to its size?

(I’ve also wondered what kind of theology would develop if theologians believed God could be quantitatively measured.)

“..the theory that God created the world can never be a scientific one because it cannot contain an explanation of the conditions under which the theory could be proven false.” p.35.

So it comes down to a difference between knowledge and belief? Becky (grrrlmeetsworld.com) wrote a great post on this difference yesterday. Here’s another interesting comment from Dalai Lama…

“..the fact that science has not proven the existence of God does not mean that God does not exist for those who practice in a theistic tradition. Likewise, just because science has not proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that beings take rebirth doesn’t mean reincarnation isn’t possible. In science, the fact that we have not so far found life on any planet but our own does not prove that life does not exist elsewhere.” p.36.

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