[D-G] color In 1908

NZ pretzelworld at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 01:19:33 PST 2005

November 2005, Washington DC
Dali Lama speaks at Society of Neuroscience
OK, There seems to be enough interest to start a dedicated thread.

Semiconscious V, would you mind re-posting your link here? I agreed
with your letter. I especially liked that you called out the circular
reasoning: "We shouldn't study meditation because it is not well
researched." Good man. I am a member of the Society for Neuroscience
and will be gladly attending this year's convention. I plan on
attending the Dalai Lama'a talk.
Some potential delegates are protesting his appearance, however,
suggesting science and religion should not be mixed and declaring his
views to be in 'poor scientific taste'. Neuroscientist Jianguo G. Gu
has reportedly started a petition against the Dalai Lama's lecture.
If it's true that Jianguo G. Gu has started the petition and that the
main reason is that "science and religion should not be mixed" then
its pretty odd that his Journal, Molecular Pain has Yin-Yang's all
over it. I'm suddenly feeling this fuss may have more to do with
politics than religion or science.

I received an email 2 days ago asking me to sign the petition
mentioned here.  I was made to believe the talk was created to bridge
cultural and scientific venues.I read through the signatures and [knew
for a fact that] a number of those signing do not support it. I was
made to believe the talk was created to bridge cultural and scientific

The Society for Neuroscience have defended their decision and noted
that the Dalai Lama will not be talking about 'religion or politics'.

I've heard the Dali Lama speak, and I agree with Semiconscious V. He
won't abuse his time in front of the microphone. He'll stay on topic.
I'm all for bringing together insights from science, philosophy,
culture and spirituality. I find the neuoscience behind "spiritual
phenomena" particularly interesting.

The Dali Lama's remark in this NYTimes artical (oct.2nd,2005) kind of
bothered me. I quote it here :

"it would be hard to find much in common between Pope Benedict XVI and
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. Yet both have recently expressed
an unhappiness with evolutionary science that would be a comfort to
the Pennsylvania school board now in a court fight over its
requirement that the hypothesis of a creator be part of the science
(more quoted...)
"This is a point I intend to make when I speak at the annual meeting
of the Society for Neuroscience today in Washington. I will suggest
that how science relates to wider humanity is no longer of academic
interest alone. "
(more quoted...)
"just as the world of business has been paying renewed attention to
ethics, the world of science would benefit from more deeply
considering the implications of its own work."

There was an interesting question put forth by one of the audience
members after his talk. It asked what his views were on animal
testing, given that he advocates compassion for all beings. He stated
that one should only use animals where there is no other way to find
the answers to our questions, in other words to minimize our reliance
upon animal testing. He also said that we should become more aware of
our intentions for our research, and pursue animal research only when
it offers the possibility of decreasing the suffering for a greater
number of beings.

When asked what he thought should be done about the teaching of
science and religion in US public schools and his views on intelligent
design, he politely declined to answer by saying he didnt know the
answer to these important questions.

I hope that the group will forgive my comment on the newswriter's
accuracy. I think having accurate facts is relevant to any serious discussion
Fact: Dzogchen buddhism requires the highest standards of critical
thinking and skepticism. Monks in this tradition go over the words of
the Buddha and attempt to discriminate between those that are
consistent with what we now know about the universe through the
scientific method and those that are inconsistent.
Fact: HHDL has thrown in not with creationists and pro-lifers,
but with stem-cell researchers saying that anything we can do to
eradicate suffering we must do. The DL strongly supports stem cell
Fact: HHDL says if science disproves particular doctrines of
Buddhadharma, Buddhadharma must change. Conversely, the Roman Catholic
church one recently acknowledged that Galileo was right and Church
doctrine was wang.

Personally, I do not believe in any kind of mystic energy or presence
that guides or influences our lives. However, I meditate on a regular
basis.Meditation is real and requires no faith to perform. At least,
not faith in anything supernatural.
My experience in DC so far has been very strange. Between the Dalai
Lama's talk, and the monolithic presence of government, I have been
giving more thought to working on scientce relations with government,
policy, society, and religion at some point in my career. There seems
to be a serious lack of scientific leadership and presence in our
country right now, at a time when science is coming under attack.

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