231st Meeting - Tuesday, December 17th 2002
The Use of Science in Contemporary Western Buddhist Apologetics
A talk by Dr. Geoffrey Redmond M.D.
For most of religious history, accounts of
miracles added to
now in the context of science, miracles or claims of special powers
from plausibility, at least for the educated, affluent and cosmopolitan
for whom science apologetics are generally intended.
At least eight forms of Buddhist science apologetics can be discerned and will be critically analyzed in the presentation.
3. Presentation of meditation, and by extension Buddhism, as a form of stress reduction or psychotherapy.
4. Presentation of Buddhism as a "scientific religion" which follows scientific methodology.
5. "Physics mysticism" which claims that ancient Eastern mysticism, particularly Buddhism has anticipated the discoveries of modern physics. This includes the widespread misinterpretation of quantum physics as showing that subatomic particles are influenced by human consciousness. Holography and non-locality in physics have been compared to the interpenetration metaphor of the Net of Indra of Fazang and the Avatamsaka Sutra.
6. Dialogue between scientists and Buddhist leaders such as the Dalai Lama
7. Presentation of supposedly scientific evidence for Buddhist doctrines. Rebirth is a common instance.
8. Scientific experiments which are intended to support the effectiveness of Buddhist practice. The paradox of explaining a spiritual practice in material terms is unnoticed.
An effective apologetic must recognize that
science give answers in distinct areas of human concern rather than
that they are the same.
Dr. Redmond's CV
President, Center for Health Research, Inc.
1964 Cornell University B.A.
1965 University of Virginia (English literature) M.A.
1965-1967 Columbia University - Premedical Courses
1971 Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons M.D.
1971-1972 Pediatric Intern
1972-1973 Pediatric Resident
Both of the above at Babies' Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City
1974-1976 Postdoctoral Fellow (Pediatric Endocrinology), Columbia University
1976-1977 Postdoctoral Fellow (Basic Reproductive Endocrinology), Rockefeller University
1990-2000: Director, Center for Health Studies, Inc (Independent clinical research center)
1990-2000: Private practice with staff privileges at Mt Sinai, Hillcrest and South Pointe Hospitals
1982-1990: Head, Section Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
1977-1982: Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Pediatrics, University of Vermont July 1975-1977: Associate in Clinical Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians
1973-1975: Assistant in Clinical Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons