Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science

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9780199985562: Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science

Many high-profile public intellectuals -- including "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens -- have argued that religion and science are deeply antagonistic, representing two world views that are utterly incompatible. David Barash, a renowned biologist with forty years of experience, largely agrees with them, but with one very big exception: Buddhism.

In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights the intriguing common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide and reinforce each other. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept -- the interconnectedness and interdependence of all natural things -- is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which consists of ten insights into the "interpenetration" between beings and their environment, could well have been written by a trained ecologist, just as current insights in evolutionary biology, genetics and development might have been authored by the Buddha himself. Barash underscores other notable similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, an appreciation of the "rightness" of nature, along with an acknowledgment of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. Buddhist Biology shows how the concept of "non-self," so confusing to many Westerners, is fully consistent with modern biology, as is the Buddhist perspective of "impermanence." Barash both demystifies and celebrates the biology of Buddhism and vice versa, showing in a concluding tour-de-force how modern Buddhism --shorn of its hocus-pocus and abracadabra -- not only justifies but actually mandates both socially and environmentally "engaged" thought and practice.

Buddhist Biology is a work of unique intellectual synthesis that sheds astonishing light on biology as well as on Buddhism, highlighting the remarkable ways these two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and stunning perspectives on the world and our place in it.

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About the Author:


David P. Barash, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. A long-time evolutionary biologist as well as an aspiring Buddhist, he has been involved in the development of sociobiology as well as the field of Peace Studies, and is the author or co-author of 33 books.

Review:


"I'm skeptical of attempts to reconcile religion with science. At worst the two are incompatible. At best the reconciliation seems superfluous: why bother, why not just go straight for the science? But if you must essay this difficult reconciliation, Buddhism is surely religion's best shot, at least in the atheistic version espoused by David Barash. And the task is an uphill one, so you'd better pick a very good writer to attempt it. David Barash, by any standards, is certainly a very, very good writer." -- Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion


"Most atheists turn from religion with emotions between disdain and relief. Not so David Barash. He is convinced that traditional Western religions fall because they are refuted by modern science, especially in the evolutionary realm of which he is a master. Nevertheless, in Buddhism he finds deep insights about human nature and our obligations to others and to our environment. Barash is sometimes wrong, and sometimes even irritating. But as this provocative and stimulating book shows, he is never boring." -- Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and Editor of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolution


"All who are motivated to search for life's meaning will be stimulated and guided by David Barash's exploration of similarities and differences between Buddhism as a philosophy and modern evolutionary biology. He demonstrates that combining modern biology with that ancient philosophy can yield a deep and satisfying foundation for enjoying a world that does not care about us." -- Gordon Orians, Former President of the Ecological Society of America


Mentioned in the Wall Street Journal.


"Barash's volume is a fascinating personal manifesto, full of humor and intellectual historical references that mark an exploration of Buddhism from the perspective of a trained scientist embedded in Western culture." --The Quarterly Review of Biology


"The discourse on Buddhism and science has mainly engaged the former with physics, psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. Trained as a biologist, Barash brings a new perspective with a focus on ecology and evolution." --Religious Studies Review


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David P. Barash
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. An eye-opening look at the crossroads of religion and science, illuminating the unexpected common ground shared by biology and Buddhism. Many high-profile public intellectuals-such as the well-known New Atheists Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens-have argued that religion and science are highly antagonistic, two views of the world that are utterly incompatible. David Barish, a renowned biologist with thirty years of experience, largely agrees with them-with one very big exception. And that exception is Buddhism. In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights an intriguing patch of common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where the Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept-the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things-is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra-which consists of ten insights into the interpenetration between beings and their environment-could well have been written by a trained ecologist. Barash underscores other similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, a recognition of life as transient and as a process rather than permanent and static, and an appreciation of the rightness of nature along with a recognition of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. After decades of removing predators to protect deer and elk herds, ecologists have belatedly come to a Buddhist realization that predation-and even forest fires-are natural processes that have an important place in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Buddhist Biology sheds new light on biology, Buddhism, and the remarkable ways the two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and valuable perspectives on the world and our place in it. Nº de ref. de la librería AOP9780199985562

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David P. Barash
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. An eye-opening look at the crossroads of religion and science, illuminating the unexpected common ground shared by biology and Buddhism. Many high-profile public intellectuals-such as the well-known New Atheists Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens-have argued that religion and science are highly antagonistic, two views of the world that are utterly incompatible. David Barish, a renowned biologist with thirty years of experience, largely agrees with them-with one very big exception. And that exception is Buddhism. In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights an intriguing patch of common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where the Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept-the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things-is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra-which consists of ten insights into the interpenetration between beings and their environment-could well have been written by a trained ecologist. Barash underscores other similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, a recognition of life as transient and as a process rather than permanent and static, and an appreciation of the rightness of nature along with a recognition of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. After decades of removing predators to protect deer and elk herds, ecologists have belatedly come to a Buddhist realization that predation-and even forest fires-are natural processes that have an important place in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Buddhist Biology sheds new light on biology, Buddhism, and the remarkable ways the two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and valuable perspectives on the world and our place in it. Nº de ref. de la librería AOP9780199985562

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