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Creationism and Platonic Essences


Creationists believe that species are unchanging and derive their forms by reference to a divine blueprint. Theology has always been dominated by the ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato taught that the species were invariant, deriving their characteristics from reference to 'essences' or 'ideal forms' which were fixed, eternal and inherently existent. Bible-believing creationists claim that the world and all its species were created in six days of a single week around 4004 BC .

In contrast, Buddhist philosophy is evolutionary. Buddha taught that all things are impermanent, constantly arising, becoming, changing and fading. Nothing exists 'from its own side' or by reference to its own essence (see sunyata).  Buddhist philosophers rejected the Platonic mechanism of production from 'ideal forms' as being the fallacy of 'production from inherently existent other'. To the Buddhist the idea of the species does not correspond to any inherent reality, but is merely a concept that the mind imputes over interbreeding groups of plants and animals with similar characteristics (and the majority of their genes in common). The boundary between one species and another is not necessarily clear cut, either in terms of changes in the course of the fossil record, or of hybridising populations at the present day.

- Sean Robsville


Arguments against Buddhism
' ....People get spiritual experiences under the influence of electromagnetic fields such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS),   and from psychedelic drugs such as mescalin, LSD, Psilocybe semilanceata and Amanita muscaria. All these transpersonal experiences are simply delusions caused by disruption of the normal electrochemical activity of the neurones.'

' ...Yes and No. There's no doubt that people experience other realms of reality under the influence of TMS  or psychoactive drugs. In these conditions the functioning of the brain is indeed abnormal.  But - you've got to ask yourself - what is the purpose of the normal functioning of the brain? The brain is a device which has evolved by selection of the fittest (not the most truthful) to project the delusion of the inherently-existing self onto the mind. This delusion of a permanent, unchanging self is 'imputed' over the ever-changing transitory collection of biochemical building blocks that makes up the physical aspects of a sentient being. Disruption .... by biochemical or biophysical agents, enables the mind to temporarily push the doors of perception ajar and peek beyond mundane biologically-determined appearances.... '

RATIONAL BUDDHISM
If we regard Buddhism as a combination of a philosophy, psychology and religion, then how much mileage can we get from the first two aspects before we have to start invoking religious faith?

Christian versus Buddhist worldviews

Buddhism in Everyday Life
The Daily Meditation