Science

  • We Are Not Kind Machines Paid Member

    Science seems omnipresent in the modern world, and its explanatory force and benefits are hard to deny. Indeed, its success has even led some, including a number of well-regarded figures in the contemporary Buddhist world, to argue that the dharma itself must be made more “scientific” if it is to survive. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: The Surveillance State & Revenge of the Neural Buddhists Paid Member

    We're in DC attending BuddhaFest and filming interviews, dharma talks, and Q&As for the Tricycle | BuddhaFest Online Film Festival, so I'll keep this short and sweet. We even almost lost an editor in a small DC Bikeshare accident! All this so you can get all the goodness of the festival from the safety of your own home.  * More »
  • The Ban on Rupert Sheldrake's TED Talk Paid Member

    Scientist Rupert Sheldrake’s recent work lays bare many of the unexamined assumptions common in mainstream science. I was very pleased to find that the first online comment on “A Question of Faith,” my interview with Sheldrake in the new issue, brought up the ban on his TED talk, and was from a scientist, at that. The commenter—a physician—explained how the ban caused him to rethink the effect of scientific dogma in his own practice. This convinced me that the ban itself is quite revealing. Proponents of the ban may have celebrated their early success, but the result has been more complex in that it has provided fodder for Sheldrake’s arguments.  More »
  • A New Buddhist Story: Week Three of David Loy's Retreat Paid Member

    In this third week of David Loy's retreat, he delves further into the notion of a collective self, suggesting that in order to strive for a "collective awakening," we as a species need to reconsider our current "story," or our prevailing perception of ourselves and where we come from. Taking us through various historical points of view on "the Story," from theistic narratives to the more recent scientific narratives, Loy closely examines the Western conception of evolutionary theory and offers ways that Buddhism can reinterpret evolution. Instead of understanding evolution as a naturally competitive force of nature, we can look at it as an intrinsically self-creative process. Loy finishes by suggesting that we can view it as a macrocosm of our own consciousness—essentially as the process by which the universe awakens to itself. More »
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    "Neuroscience: Under Attack" in the New York Times Paid Member

    If you get the Sunday Times you probably saw Alissa Quart's clever op-ed on the backlash against the perfunctory extrapolations and sweeping claims made by popular neuroscience. The danger of false positives in neuroimaging has been brought to the attention of the public eye over the last several years (remember those neuroscientists that imaged brain activity in a dead salmon?). Quart's piece, however, doesn't just lay blame on shoddy science and premature conclusions drawn by neuroscientists, it also examines the culture that allows neuroscientific explanations to supplant other viable interpretations of experience. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: The Cult's Ian Astbury and Some Hard Partyin' Monks Paid Member

    It's Friday the thirteenth (paraskevidekatriaphobics, beware) and what better way to celebrate than with an interview with "smash-and-grab Buddhist" Ian Astbury, veteran grunger and bandmember of The Cult? As the interview begins on the Huffington Post, "It might be argued that the visceral whack of The Cult's brand of heavy, dharma-conscious rock is just the kind of Zen stick a sleepy pop culture needs administered to its backside." I missed the fan cult of The Cult back in the 80s, so I can't really throw in my opinion on this. But we don't have to take the interviewer at his word: we have YouTube! Here's The Cult performing "She Sells Sanctuary" and perhaps whacking you with their dharma-conscious Zen music stick:   More »