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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Science’

Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 31, 2012

By George Lakoff, Author, The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant!

Comment: We are responsible to all disasters. We already knew this, however; we did pretend because we thought this will not happen to ourselves. Now what to say, whom to blame?

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation. When causation is direct, the wordcause is unproblematic.

Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism. In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal. And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism, Cosmology and Evolution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 5, 2012

 

By John Stanley & David Loy 

Even with all these profound scientific theories of the origin of the universe, I am left with serious questions: What existed before the big bang? Where did the big bang come from? What caused it? Why has our planet evolved to support life? What is the relationship between the cosmos and the beings that have evolved within it? Scientists may dismiss these questions as nonsensical, or they may acknowledge their importance but deny that they belong to the domain of scientific inquiry. However, both these approaches will have the consequence of acknowledging definite limits to our scientific knowledge of the origin of our cosmos. I am not subject to the professional or ideological constraints of a radically materialistic worldview. – The Dalai Lama

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. – Charles Darwin

For traditional Buddhist cosmology, the life cycle of a universe is cyclical. There is a period of its formation, a period where it endures, a period where it disintegrates and a period of void before a new universe forms from the luminous space that remains. That space, according to theKalachakra Tantra (Wheel of Time) is inseparable from beginningless, universal consciousness.

The constraints of scientific materialism

A very different perspective is offered by mechanistic science. From its European origins in the 17th century to its final triumph in the 19th, it has insisted that matter is non-conscious stuff interacting in dead space. And these premises are not merely intellectual abstractions. They have become beliefs about reality, shared by a globalizing human culture. The structure of our subjective experience is inevitably influenced by the notion that we too are mechanisms located in a non-conscious mechanical universe. Read the rest of this entry »

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