the gods

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at
Tue May 27 20:45:10 UTC 1997

Op 27-mei-97 schreef Mr B.Philip.Jonsson:

>At 09:09 27.5.1997 +0100, Edwin F Bryant wrote:

>>My question to Louis remains: why was it
>>considered appropriate, to drag in and broadcast Howard's
>>personal religious orientations when this was irrelevant to the simple
>>point he was making (which was not to advocate scholarly neutrality)?
>>Edwin Bryant

>Does this mean that you consider it of no consequence what "personal
>religious orientations" a scholar holds? Far from finding it desirable to
>conceal my own religious orientation I think it is important that it is
>known, since it is in any case likely to influence my thinking in all walks
>of life, including scholarly work and scholarly orientation. I have
>experienced that my "scholarly seriousness" was called into question
>because of my Buddhist beliefs -- by an ordained Swedish Lutheran minister
>acting as a university teacher. The idea that empathy or embracing of the
>beliefs and values of the 'foreign' cultur one studies would be somehow
>'contaminating' for a western scholar or student is IMO outright racist and
>colonialist, and to those who object to my being openly Buddhist I have
>only one comment: "Honi soit qui mal y pense"!

dear mr. philip

let's not indulge ourselves to much in arguments ad hominem.
first of all, i agree with most of what has been said in this thread on the
issue of 'existence of god(s)'. ontology is not science, it's philosophy. a
scientific discussion can deal with the question WHAT a god is, not THAT a god
is. moreover it's useless: quantumphysics will never be able to prove the
existence of quarks, nor geometry the existence of PI. if anybody wants to
discuss the existence of god(s), let's begin with finding out what we mean
with 'existence' and 'god(s)'
science is as succesfull as it is, because it doesn't need to answere any of
these questions, this makes it possible that f.i. a swedish lutheran and a
buddhist can discuss buddhist texts and cooperate in translating them. those
buddhologists and indologists who gossip about the personal convictions of
their fellow scolars in a scientific debate are simply degrading there own
a completely different matter however is the motivation for investigating
certain texts or for becoming a buddhologist or whatever in the first place,
which can very well be motivated by personal believes. in most cases it even
improves the results of scientific work. it's called 'the context of
discovery', while the scientific debate is called 'the context of
justification'. this is a duplex ordo which is vital for solid scientific
research and debate.

-erik hoogcarspel

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