Jun 5, 2007

Back to You


Regarding my posted critique of "The Buddha Was Wrong"; the site author (a chap known by the handle OneMind) has posted his reply over on his forum (a copy can be found in the comments here also.) I've posted a riposte to that reply on his forum. You can follow the dueling dialectic here; FreeSpeech Forum.

8 comments:

Barry said...

I looked at the site and the forum and thought it was a hoot. I thought the section on the dalai lama very funny. I don't think it is anything but skeptical humour really. In truth it is much more interesting than arguing with Christians!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ajhan,

I'm sure you really want this guy to be convinced by you. I'm sure you really want that others will not be mistaken due to his wrong views (in your opinion). Let me just say that we do not really know for sure who is right and who is wrong. We are simple believers and everyone has his own beliefs and values. You believe this guy is wrong!!! You do not know for sure!!! Now you become much more humble!!


There is only one philosophical problem with this argue you carry with the other web site- you cannot convince one by logic to agree with you if both of you do not share the same values (i.e. the same axioms for life). Therefore, your efforts are meaningless. Those who believe in materialism will not convert their heart due to your answers and those who feel that there is something beyond matter will not convert their heart due to that web site.

I must say that you are manipulated very easily. If you really practice according to the Buddha teachings, this is a much more annoying evidence that the Buddha was wrong. Since I'm optimistic by nature, I would like to believe that you had many good intentions when you entered this argue with him. However, the road to hell, you know, is covered by good intentions...

Since you are a Buddhist believer, I guess you know that the Buddha was not the guy that argues very easilly. Much of his teaching was by showing the bikkhus how to behave.

Therefore, my suggestion to you is to let go. Ignore, practice, smile. Show him that the Buddha was actually right.

Johno said...

This is the most interesting discussion i have seen with a buddhist monk. Finally someone is asking the real questions and not just bowing and smiling when a monk says something ludicrous.

The mere fact that you said "He was spot on actually" and provide zero evidence for your stance makes you no better than anyone else.

I had a christian telling me how science proves creationism, your arguments for a scientific view of buddhism are very weak and you should stick with faith.

glenn fitzgerald said...

Punnodhammo, I left a few of my own comments on the ",Buddha Was Wrong," forum.

Although I don't condone the pesonal attacks of Onemind, I also found certain of arguments vis-a-vis the science concerned in your assertions, either weak or in need of further elaboration.

The child prodigy thing, for example, can be nicely accounted for through lots of other biological explanations than the simple view represented by certain DNA processes.

I'm sure a geneticist would agree that biology on the level of certain genetic processes can impact on the development of learning ability----a child prodigy being someone who learns certain tasks at such a fast rate that it might seem that learned behvavior is inherent behavior (reincarnation) of some sort.

Anyway, my user name on the FreeSpeech Forum is glennfitzgerald---the same guy who used accompany Winston up to Arrow River to sit-in on your meditation sessions at the hermitage.

By the way, I included in my one post some very justified praise of your efforts at the hermitage. I felt that the harsh attacks on you as a man of the cloth (or "robe," as it were) needed some counter-balance of legitimately positive praise.

I may find some of your views weakly supported---having been made all that much weaker by your lack of response whenever I've challenged them--but the personal attacks arise from misguided anger (wel, I know something about that character attribute).

Glenn Fitzgerald.

P.S: Good luck! And I hope that all is well.

P.S: Oh, and I should also mention that I now post on Blogs Canada. Here is the link: http://www.blogscanada.ca/egroup/

Also look for Glenn Fitzgerald. I'll bet I now get fifty times the hate-mail than you do. LOL.

glenn fitzgerald said...

Actually, I notice that entries here are now subject to blog owner approval.

And I just devoted twenty minutes of my time responding to your discussion.

I realize that you're likely responding to past "wrong speech" issues here. But the blog owner approval requirement makes it unlikely that I'll post here again.

There ways, other than censorship, in which we can address undesirable commentary which gets too personal. Might I suggest that you may not have given your strategy--a strategy meant to make debate more civilized--thorough enough consideration.

Glenn Fitzgerald.

Ajahn Punnadhammo said...

GlennFitzgerald writes

The child prodigy thing, for example, can be nicely accounted for through lots of other biological explanations than the simple view represented by certain DNA processes

But that can't account for why prodigies like Morphy can learn one specific and culturally based skill, like chess, unnaturally fast , but doesn't display any general ability of extraordinary learning ability. You can't pretend that the rules of chess are somehow biologically determined!

Anonymous said...

"But that can't account for why prodigies like Morphy can learn one specific and culturally based skill, like chess, unnaturally fast , but doesn't display any general ability of extraordinary learning ability. You can't pretend that the rules of chess are somehow biologically determined! "

There is nothing special about chess. It takes the average person 5 minutes to learn how each peice moves and the objective of the game. The game is completely mechanical and a persons skill at it is determined by how many variables a persons short term memory can keep track of via thinking about moves in advanced and that is completely determined by dna. Otherwise computers would not be unable to beat grandmasters at the game. There is nothing cultural about algorithms or memory and these human traits are completely genetic.

glennfitz said...

Punnadhammo replies

"But that can't account for why prodigies like Morphy can learn one specific and culturally based skill, like chess, unnaturally fast , but doesn't display any general ability of extraordinary learning ability. You can't pretend that the rules of chess are somehow biologically determined!"

To begin with, Punnadhummo, chess is certainly not merely based on a "cultural" framework of understanding.

Chess is deeply based on mathematical principles---so based, in fact, on mathematically constructed logic, that chess-playing computers have been built which have challenged the world's best chess players.

Anyone who has inherited an aptitude for math should be able to play good chess---including those "idiot savants" or prodigies whose skills remain restricted mainly to mathematical problem solving.

Anyway, the recorded annals of psychology would certainly not agree with your view that humans can't display extraordinary aptitudes in a few narrowly specific areas. In fact, many psychologists would take issue with your conclusion that any such thing as a "general" learning ability exists.

Humans possess aptitudes for distinct sets of problem solving tasks. A given population, then, consists of people who possess more or less a number of specific aptitudes for a number of distinct learning skills.

And we can easily see this specificity of aptitudes for learning in everyday life.

It is a generally understood fact of campus life at University of Waterloo, for example, that many math students are only good at math---those students which would include those lucky people who display genius level of comprehension.

But ask most Math students to write a paper on any other subject and you might be extremely surprised at he deficient results.

Many people, who possess excellent communication skills, will readily admit to being unable to acquire math skills.

Moreover, the existence of the "idiot savant" is a well documented fact both outside and inside the discipline of psychology. There is no reason why genetic inheritance wouldn't impact on the number and nature of human aptitudes for any set of problem solving skills which a human might possess.

Don't misunderstand the direction of my arguments here, though. I'm not saying that people can't and haven't passed down their aptitudes through consecutive lives. I'm just saying that your arguments have not the power to convince an open-minded skeptic.

But there is another angle to this whole issue of "materialism" versus the existence of a transcendental soul, which you haven't really explored.

The problem is that we hold a very narrow conception of materialism.

A good materialist would have to concede that the secrets of the universe we inhabit have been barely revealed----and that it is a materialist's sort of universe which might function to conserve the energy of a human "soul" in some way human understanding can't presently grasp.

So, one might dismiss certain arguments which assert the principle of reincarnation, but we can't dismiss the very real possibility that we just don't understand how the universe works well enough to have yet discovered how reincarnation fits in.

Sorry, if I'm a little long winded here, but I've been writing fast. I have a busy evening ahead.

Glenn Fitzgerald.