Namo Budhhaya (I would like to begin by paying homage to Buddha...I don't think that will violate the rules of the forum please).

I oppose science for its wrong views on the origin of Universe , origin of consciousness and existence of God. However I everyday use science to make my life simpler. I am indebted to science for giving me all the comfort. But here arises the question of integrity.

How can I use the services of science if I oppose its values ? Am I a man of integrity?

Is Integrity Anatta too ?

6 Answers 6


Your dog guards your house from robbers and other criminals. But if it barks at your friends and relatives, shouldn't you shush it? Is that being ungrateful to the dog?

Rice is the staple diet of most asians. But are you ungrateful to rice if you refuse to eat spoilt rice? You eat rice when it is healthy to eat. In the same way, agree with scientific teachings when they are beneficial and true. Reject them when they are mere hypotheses based on wrong views.

Integrity is the quality of being honest. It is Anatta like everything else. But Anatta does not imply that one should not cultivate good qualities.

  • I agree. But if Integrity is Anatta then Integrity will be cause of suffering and it is not worth identifying with me or as myself or as mine. In other words it is not worth cultivating...Why will you cultivate something which will cause suffering ? (I am sorry if I got it wrong... but that is what is implied by integrity is Anatta.If you want to explain in full then I can ask this question separately. Thanks) Mar 13, 2018 at 10:31
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    Anatta does not imply suffering. Even Nibbana itself is Anatta. You do not have to cling to wholesome qualities as a self to cultivate them. All you need to understanding is that wholesome mindstates lead to favorable results. ex: To take medicine for a sickness, do you need to cling to medicine as a self? No! You just need to know that it is the medicine for the sickness. Mar 13, 2018 at 10:52

read sutta on intergrity glhf https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.031.than.html https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.073.than.html https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.113.than.html

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    If possible it's conventional and usually preferable to add some comment or explanation of your own, for example to clarify how the quoted suttas are relevant to answering the OP's question.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:23
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    This is interesting.In those suttas Integrity is defined with respect to other people. I am interested in integrity with respect to science. Am I ungrateful or unthankful to science ? No. But I wish to live in a world which is in greater harmony with Dhamma. Mar 13, 2018 at 12:04
  • science is just an idea, there is no science in real world, there are scientists who build up on previous ideas, no scientist(people/Aggregates/streams of cosciousness) start from scratch, everyone is influenced. You are enjoying the comforts of science due to your past merits. Do not worry about it.
    – user8527
    Mar 16, 2018 at 21:56

Integrity. - Do not make false claim about anything that you don't actually know. Whatever claims you make should be anything that you truly know. If you are unsure, then claim it as you are unsure.

Science is very broad. Some science are proven to be true, some are not. As simple as that.

  • Science claims life came out of and came as juggling of chemicals. That is impossible. Why is science ignoring such an obvious thing? Anyways , my question was if I disagree with science then should I use its inventions for a comfortable life? Mar 13, 2018 at 7:04
  • "Science claims life came out of and came as juggling of chemicals. That is impossible. Why is science ignoring such an obvious thing? " <--- because science is based on 'Matter'. They dismiss almost anything metaphysical. Quantum being metaphysical but again, it is calculable. Mar 13, 2018 at 8:22
  • "if I disagree with science then should I use its inventions for a comfortable life?" Use the part that you agree, and use the part that assist you with your Buddhism practicing. Mar 13, 2018 at 8:25

The Buddha did not teach about the origin of universe, about God or about the origin of consciousness (apart from saying consciousness is caused by the mind-body; SN 22.82; SN 22.56). Therefore, a man of integrity should not behave like a fundamentalist Christian and oppose science. The Buddha said he only taught about suffering & the cessation of suffering (MN 22). In the teaching of Dependent Origination, the Buddha taught about how consciousness polluted by ignorance arises because a defiled consciousness leads to suffering. The Dependent Origination is not about the existence of the consciousness element. In conclusion, a man of integrity does not misrepresent Buddhism & bring shame upon the Buddha by believing the Buddha taught unknowable & unverifiable things. The Buddha said his Dhamma is visible here & now and to be verified by the discerning.

  • SN 22.82 is missing from this page. I disagree with what science says and agree with what Buddha says. The two are incompatible because science claims to know all things about origination of universe and consciousness and feelings and perceptions etc...Buddha doesn't claim to know all the unknowables. I respect Buddha for that. But due to the position held by science I disagree with it. Mar 13, 2018 at 10:41
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    suttacentral has a more-complete collection of suttas -- if you don't find it on accesstoinsight you can probably find it on suttacentral -- for example suttacentral.net/sn22.82
    – ChrisW
    Mar 13, 2018 at 11:13

You have to differentiate the goal of science from the goal of Buddhism. Science aims to understand nature empirically, while Buddhism aims to end suffering.

You have to differentiate the method of science from the knowledge of science. The scientific method is empirical, which is quite the same in spirit, as the Buddhist method.

The knowledge of science however, is continuously updating. For example, Newton's Laws of Motion predicted most of the observations of motion, but could not explain them precisely. Einstein later was able to explain it precisely and also calculate almost all motion and gravity except for those at the quantum level. All these were empirically proven.

However, Einstein's theory has now been improved with String Theory for quantum gravity, but this is difficult to prove or disprove.

This shows that science is continuously updating.

The Buddha's methods only need you to prove to yourself that you can end your own suffering. If you became enlightened, it's hard to definitively prove that to others, but that's not needed.

The scientific method needs the scientists to prove or disprove hypotheses to others. And unfortunately, the Buddhist enlightenment is not something that can be easily physically proven to others.

Retired physics professor Richard Muller wrote here a few days ago:

My opinion? I don’t have one. I think we should be respectful of the iconoclasts, however. Consensus is an unreliable indicator of correct science.

So, you see... every scientist can propose something, anything. Then they have to try to prove it. One published paper may conflict with another. There may be a consensus among scientists, but that does not mean they are right. But they keep doing their work, and they keep updating their understanding over time. In the 80s to 90s, they said fat was bad, but now they say fat is OK and carbohydrates are bad. Things keep updating.

I would say as a man of integrity, either you should prove Buddhist teachings to scientists using the scientific method, or otherwise respect that scientists have their scientific knowledge (at whatever level it is as of today) based on the scientific method, while you have your Buddhist knowledge based on the Buddhist method.

Agree to disagree. Accept that an orange is an orange, while an apple is an apple - the two are similar in the sense that they are both fruits, but they will never become the same fruit. Similarly, science and Buddhism are both empirical in their methods, but they have different goals.


Why do you feel indebted to Science as a whole? Feel indebted to the man and women who invented the technology that made your life better. Feel indebted to Nikola Tesla for inventing AC current and lighting the world but don't feel indebted to Darwin, what benefit have you gain from his evolution theory? Similarly, what benefits is there for humanity from Einstein's spacetime mathematical abstraction? Noting! So, don't feel indebted to what is not beneficial.

Science as the study of nature is a good thing you can't be against it. Sure some scientists present unproved theories which may seem bombastic at present but it's a fact that theoretical science always outpaces experimental science and some of these theories may be proven to be true experimentally in the future.

You shouldn't also forget what drives science, the engine behind propelling science is Philosophy. So, although greatly discounted in our time, science could revert to the study of non-physical phenomena in the future.

Nikola Tesla said,

"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence."

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