About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
More on the Dalai Lama
Johnson is actually fairly positive about the book, and since he has been the recipient this year of one of the infamous Templeton Fellowships in Science and Religion, one can hardly accuse him of being a hard skeptic about science-religion issues. Indeed, Johnson acknowledges the DL's openness toward science, for example when the latter says "If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." How refreshing, after a summer of Intelligent Design idiocy throughout the country, culminating in the asinine statement of President Bush concerning the evolution-creation controversy.
Yet, even Johnson points out that there is a worrisome limit to how far the Dalai Lama is willing to go. Although the wise man apparently accepts evolution, he denies that mutations are random, mumbling some nonsense about "hidden causality" and the Buddha's smile. Moreover, the DL isn't happy with physical explanations for consciousness, which makes perfectly understandable why he wasn't welcome by some scientists at this year's meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
Then again, why would anybody expect a religious leader -- i.e. somebody who thrives on ignorance and the glorification of mystery -- to truly and completely accept whatever science throws his way? The problem, of course, is that neither the Dalai Lama nor his even less enlightened Christian conservative colleagues give us any good reason to accept silly notions like Buddha's (or Jesus', or what have you) hidden smile.