[Buddha-l] Paul Williams

[DPD Web] Shen Shi'an shian at kmspks.org
Sun Dec 23 19:11:03 MST 2007

Causation already answers about the nature of why there is anything at
all. On the other hand, postulating the existence of an uncaused God
stirs up the classic problems. 

Once again, from
221 : (The 3rd para is the crux - a simple "proof" on why there is no

Why "Intelligent Design" Lacks Intelligence

Recently, there was much outrage in the academic world when "intelligent
design" was proposed by some to be scientific. The theory of
"intelligent design" argues that the universe, being so intricately
structured, must surely be the design of a super-intelligent being. This
belief is creationism, which is based on mere faith. It is the opposite
of evolution, which is the largely observable fact that life and the
universe evolves over time, adapting to changes of natural conditions.
While creationism simplistically believes in a first cause of
everything, evolution says what continually reshapes the world is the
complex network of fluxing yet interconnected natural and human-made
factors which make up the world itself. This is similar to the Buddha's
teaching of dependent origination. The belief that nature was created
begs the question of "Who created the creator?" If the creator was
uncreated, we might as well say nature was uncreated in the first place,
that nature naturally sustains itself, while allowing evolution to
occur. Buddhism is broadly agreeable with the widely accepted theory of
evolution, though its emphasis is on spiritual evolution - the
cultivation of compassion and wisdom which culminates in supreme
enlightenment, when one fully realises the nature of life and the
universe - including evolution!

Creationists usually attribute the suffering and evil present in the
world to be the creation of humans; not created by the "supreme
creator"... probably to defend the idealised perfection of the creator.
Yet logically, this creator cannot be perfect, since imperfect humans
were designed by him/her. It is then argued that humans were created
perfect, that we "fell from grace". This idea doesn't help either -
since it was the creator, not humans, who designed the glaring flaw of
"the possibility of evil". If the creator had his/her design contraints,
surely s/he is not supreme. Intriguingly, even to creationists, the
major onus is on us to relieve our own suffering - since it is us who
can choose good over evil, both of which originate from us. Does this
not displace the importance of the creator, since it is fundamentally us
who can better the world? This centrality of personal responsibility for
the state of the world happens to be the Buddhist approach, which sees
that karmically, individually or collectively, we are the true creators
of our personal worlds and the world at large. We make or break it, and
should not push any responsibility to an unseen being. It is also
improbable that a creator who could not prevent our "fall from grace"
can truly "lift us up". We then, are the re-creators of our destinies,
who constantly evolve too - this is the true Middle Path between
creationism and evolution perhaps? How are you intelligently
re-designing this world?

Ironically, if it is a rule that "there must be a creator", it means
this uncreated rule precedes the "creator". This rule, being a law of
nature, implies that nature precedes the "creator", that no "creator"
can precede nature. Since nature precedes the "creator", of course the
"creator" is not the "creator" of nature. This simple proof shows that
no one can create nature, and that there can be no "creator". One cannot
affirm that an intelligent designer exists simply by observing the
universe; one can only say there is some intelligent observation - which
is that much "unintelligent" when the observer concludes there is an
intelligent designer simply because the scheme of things seems
intelligent. A truly intelligent observer would realise that a truly
intelligent designer, if s/he exists, would surely not design
unintelligent elements such as pain and "the lack of intelligence"!
Interestingly, the Buddha did tell us about how, in the course of the
beginningless evolutional cycles of the world, a god would naturally
mistaken himself to be the creator. Instead of focusing on the vague and
unfair concept of all beings being originally born with sin, the Buddha
taught that we innately have "original sinlessness" - Buddha-nature -
the primordial potential to become fully free of suffering, to attain
True Happiness. Incidentally, the Buddha is the only religious founder
who taught that all his followers can fully evolve into perfection like
himself. Thus is the Buddha truly compassionate and wise, who thoroughly
deserves his renowned title - "The Teacher of Humans and Gods." - Shen

Example of non-creationism : Where Does Water Come From?

If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our
If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our
If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Somewhere, and I can't find where,
I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest,
"If I didn't know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
"No," said the priest, "not if you did not know."
"Then why," asked the Eskimo earnestly, "did you tell me?"

[Is it evil to offer the "fruit of knowledge"?]

- Annie Dillard

More quotes from"The Atheist's Bible: An Illustrious Collection of
Irreverent Thoughts", as compiled by Joan Konner @

-----Original Message-----
From: Ngawang Dorje [mailto:rahula_80 at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Sunday, 23 December, 2007 12:43 AM
To: Buddhist discussion forum
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Paul Williams

  More spesifically.
  From a book:
  Among the factors involved in his eventual rejection of Buddhism were
(1) his conviction about the incoherence of the allegedly nondualistic
introspective experiences at the heart of Buddhism, (2) the inability of
Buddhism to account for the integrity of the human person, and (3) the
inability of Buddhism to account for the contingency of the universe. In
particular it was Buddhism's failure to address specifically the
question, "why is there something instead of nothing?" that prompted
Williams to look again at theism. As Williams puts it, "I have come to
believe that there is a gap in the Buddhist explanation of things which
for me can only be filled by God, the sort of God spoken of in the
Christian tradition such as that of St Thomas Aquinas.
  The issue of contingency was critical for Williams, and he is worth
quoting at length on this point
  "Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at
all? And why is there a world in which, among other things, the
processes (causation etc.) detected by the Buddha are the case? Why is
it that this way is things is the way of things? As the Buddhist
scriptures (sutras) have it: 'Whether Buddhas occur or do not occur, the
true way of things (Sanskrit:dharmata) remains.' Why? Why is it like
that? The dharmata is not what we call 'necessarily existent.' That is,
there is no logical contradiction in a world in which things are not
like that....Thus, the dharmata, the true way of things, is contingent.
It could have been otherwise....We have a contingent fact or state of
affairs, how things happen to be in the actual world, for which we are
entitled to ask the reason.....
  An answer to that question - if there is one- would have to be a
necessary being., a being about which it would make no sense to ask the
question why that exist rather than not. For the theist God is the
answer to this question, and God is needed to as the ultimate
explanation for existence at any time, keeping things in whatever
existence things have.
  I think I have to agree with the theist."

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