Advertisement

Bringing a dialogue between Buddhist multilogicality and evolutionary science into the science classroom

  • Helen KwahEmail author
Forum
  • 11 Downloads

Abstract

In the context of the science versus creationism debate, Elizabeth Watts thoughtfully explores Buddhism as a model of compatibility between science and religion, and as inspiration for the pedagogical potential of mindfulness practices to promote student receptivity to scientific views of evolution. However, Watts focuses on modern Buddhist movements in the West that seek to align with rational scientific, materialist worldviews. To expand the dialogue, I focus instead on the tradition of Mahayana Buddhism, and discuss ways that Mahayana Buddhist and scientific views conflict rather than cohere on their onto-epistemological and axiological grounds and on specific points of evolutionary theory. Further, I argue that the history and doctrines of Buddhism reflect and allow for a multilogicality (Kincheloe in The power of difference in knowledge production: multilogicality in the bricolage and postformalism, 2007) or pluralism of views and ways of knowing, and that the drive to modernize Buddhism by erasing its differences from Western science has resulted in a loss of its characteristic pluralism and axiological commitments. Therefore, in considering Watts’ proposal for engaging secularized mindfulness practices in the evolutionary science classroom, I suggest a return to an understanding of their traditional basis in commitments to generating compassion and care, and a re-valuing of multilogicality and difference in teaching and learning; only then will we truly enrich and support the understanding and receptivity of all students to evolutionary science.

Keywords

Science education Buddhist modernism Creationism Evolution Multilogicality Difference 

Resumen

En el contexto del debate de la ciencia frente al creacionismo, Elizabeth Watts ha explorado cuidadosamente cómo el budismo puede ser un modelo que hace compatible la ciencia y la religión y cómo puede servir de inspiración pedagógica a la hora de practicar la atención plena, para promover que los estudiantes sean receptivos a los supuestos científicos en los que se basa la evolución. Sin embargo, Watts se centra en los movimientos budistas modernos que se practican en Occidente, alineados con las cosmovisiones científicas racionales y materialistas. Para enriquecer el diálogo, me concentro en la rama mahayana del budismo, y examino las maneras en que la escuela mahayana y la visión científica, lejos de ser compatibles, entran en conflicto en sus fundamentos ontoepistemológicos y axiológicos y en cuestiones específicas de la teoría de la evolución. Además, sostengo que la historia y las doctrinas del budismo reflejan y hacen posible una multilogicidad (Kincheloe in The power of difference in knowledge production: multilogicality in the bricolage and postformalism, 2007) o pluralismo de puntos de vista y formas de saber, y que el intento de modernizar el budismo eliminando sus diferencias con la ciencia occidental ha tenido como consecuencia una pérdida de sus compromisos axiológicos inherentes. Por lo tanto, en mi análisis de la propuesta de Watts de introducir prácticas secularizadas de atención plena al tratar la evolución en las clases de ciencias, propongo que se les devuelva y se comprenda su base tradicional como compromiso de generar compasión y cuidado por los demás, y que se reevalúen la multilogicidad y la diferencia en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje; solo entonces ayudaremos verdaderamente a todos los estudiantes a comprender y aceptar de modo enriquecedor la ciencia evolutiva.

Palabras clave

Educación científica Budismo moderno Creacionismo Evolución Multilogicidad Diferencia 

Notes

References

  1. Berila, B. (2014). Contemplating the effects of oppression: Integrating mindfulness into diversity classrooms. Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, 1(1), 55–68.Google Scholar
  2. Cho, F. (2012). The limits of the Buddhist embrace of science: Commentary on “Compassion, ethics, and neuroscience: Neuroethics through Buddhist eyes”. Science and Engineering Ethics, 18(3), 539–542.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-012-9361-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cho, F. (2013). Buddhism and science in the mirror of language. Religions/Adyan, 5, 20–28.Google Scholar
  4. Condon, P., Dunne, J., & Wilson-Mendenhall, C. (2018). Wisdom and compassion: A new perspective on the science of relationships. Journal of Moral Education, 47(2), 1–11.Google Scholar
  5. Dalai Lama. (2001). The compassionate life. Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Dalai Lama. (2005). The universe in a single atom: The convergence of science and spirituality. New York: Morgan Road Books.Google Scholar
  7. Eisen, A., & Konchok, Y. (2017). The enlightened gene: Biology, Buddhism, and the convergence that explains the world. Lebanon: ForeEdge.Google Scholar
  8. Garfield, J. (2015). Engaging Buddhism: Why it matters to philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Garfield, J. (n.d.). Buddhism and modernity. Retrieved November 16, 2018 from https://jaygarfield.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/garfield_buddhism_modernity1.pdf.
  10. Harding, S. G. (2015). Objectivity and diversity: Another logic of scientific research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hayward, J. W., Varela, F. J., & Dalai Lama. (2001). Gentle bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the sciences of mind. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Kincheloe, J. (2007). The power of difference in knowledge production: Multilogicality in the bricolage and postformalism. Retrieved on December 8, 2018 from http://freireproject.org/wp-content/critical_pedagogy_reading_room/CP_research/BeyondReductionism.doc.
  13. Kwah, H., & Fellner, G. (2018). Contemplative, visual arts-based research methods for self-care and transformation. In K. Alexakos & K. Tobin (Eds.), Methodologies for multilevel research in teacher education. Leiden: Brill-Sense Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Laland, K., Uller, T., Feldman, M., Sterelny, K., Müller, G. B., & Moczek, A., et al. (2014). Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Nature, 514(7521), 161–164.  https://doi.org/10.1038/514161a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lopez, D. S. (Ed.). (2002). A modern Buddhist bible: Essential readings from East and West. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  16. Magee, R. (2015). How mindfulness can defeat racial bias. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_mindfulness_can_defeat_racial_bias.
  17. Pew Research. (2012). The global religious landscape: A report on the size and distribution of the world's major religious groups as of 2010. Retrieved on December 8, 2018 from http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/01/global-religion-full.pdf.
  18. Powers, J. (1995). Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism (1st ed.). Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications.Google Scholar
  19. Powietrzynska, M., & Tobin, K. (2015). Mindfulness and science education. In R. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of science education (pp. 642–647). Dordrecht: Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2150-0_264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Quli, N. (2009). Western self, Asian other: Modernity, authenticity, and nostalgia for “tradition” in Buddhist studies. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 16, 1–38.Google Scholar
  21. Ray, R. A. (2000). Indestructible truth: The living spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Roth, W.-M. (2010). Science and religion: What is at stake? Cultural Studies of Science Education, 5(1), 5–17.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-009-9234-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roth, W., & Désautels, J. (2004). Educating for citizenship: Reappraising the role of science education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 4(2), 149–168.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14926150409556603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Salzberg, S. (2011). Mindfulness and loving-kindness. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 177–182.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14639947.2011.564837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sharf, R. H. (2015). Is mindfulness Buddhist? (and why it matters). Transcultural Psychiatry, 52(4), 470–484.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1363461514557561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Skinner, M. K. (2015). Environmental epigenetics and a unified theory of the molecular aspects of evolution: A neo-Lamarckian concept that facilitates Neo-Darwinian evolution. Genome Biology and Evolution, 7(5), 1296–1302.  https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evv073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wallace, B. A. (2007). Contemplative science: Where Buddhism and neuroscience converge. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Zimmer, C. (2018). The famine ended 70 years ago, but Dutch genes still bear scars. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/science/dutch-famine-genes.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations