Thank you very much for your answers!
Due to the answers, the post has been updated and something added.

Modern brain-centered evolutionary reductionism says that:

Ego, personality and "free will" are just illusions, "optical effects".

Culture: music, poetry etc; some romantic, delicate feelings are just by-products of evolution.
Evolution has no "meaning", sense, "goal" etc.

Instead of evolution, we can consider any process or explanation.
The main thing is that all the concepts that were considered philosophical or important, special - received the simplest explanations.
Good and evil, space-time, philosophy and morality - all have no essential special nature.
I see a parallel here with Buddhism.

Space-time, causality, all math and science have roots only and exactly inside the brain.

The existence of an "external objective world" is only a hypothesis, a model.

No one claims that certainly there is no outward world.
Nor is it necessarily there. It is a model, a framework. Here I see no contradiction with @ChrisW answer

Aside from the idea of reincarnation, is there any contradiction with Buddhism in these statements?


3 Answers 3


Buddhism say little or nothing about evolution -- i.e. "evolution of the species" -- there's maybe one sutta like that, and that one seems like it might have been meant as a joke or parody of some contemporary myth.

And you say, "evolution has no goal".

But I think Buddhism says that actions tend to have a purpose, people have goals or intentions -- and that that these are good, bad, and neutral, e.g. leading to harm or perhaps to liberation -- and that so, we should choose wisely.

As for the "external world" I think it posits that the senses are a contact, between a sense-organ (e.g. "ear"), a sense-object (e.g. "sound"), and sense-conciousness (e.g. "hearing"). Further events after a sense-impression -- e.g. thinking "ooh I like that sound!", and, "I'd like to hear it again" -- might well be mind-made, but I'm not sure that the sense-objects are too (I mean, I think they're not, but there are a lot of schools of Buddhism so it's hard to say categorically that none of them would say so).

As for "having roots only inside the brain", I can see why "brain-centered evolutionary reductionism" might say so, by definition. That i.e. the brain is not the centre of Buddhist doctrine though -- perhaps you could say that "the mind" is -- but really it's centred on a lot of other things, e.g. "society" and "suffering" and (conversely) "the unconditioned". So much so that you could almost say that it has no centre, for example,

The "essence" of Buddhism

According to Anderson, a long recognized feature of the Theravada canon is that it lacks an "overarching and comprehensive structure of the path to nibbana." The sutras form a network or matrix, which have to be taken together.

  • Thank you, a question updated
    – lesobrod
    Commented Apr 9 at 7:02
  • "Neither existing nor not existing, and having no essential/special nature" sounds like the doctrine called sunyata ("emptiness") that's a feature of more-especially later schools of Buddhism.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Apr 9 at 9:08
  • Well, yes, for me "Buddhism" means Nagarjuna and Mahamudra (^_^)
    – lesobrod
    Commented Apr 9 at 14:37

Well the entire concept of ego (id and then super ego) is quite literally a made up pseudo-science created by sigmund freud..

Evolution being a completely made up idea (theory) by darwin that has never and probably will never be able to be proved, rather as most theories that are never proved there is no evidence to the contrary to disprove it. God, big bang, space time...quantum physics.

So in essence you can state they are all made by the mind, and in the Buddhist sense, phenomena, which these are, are all experienced by the 18 sensory spheres, essentially a creation of the mind.


Equivalents to the word "reincarnation" are not found in the Buddha's Teachings.

The common misnomer non-literal translation of "rebirth" refers to various outcomes commensurate to/of various actions. In other words, "rebirth" is a moral doctrine & moral reality.

In short, as explained in MN 117, there are two types of teachings of the Buddha:

  1. Moral teachings about kamma & the outcomes of kamma connected to the self-views ('acquisitions') of ordinary unenlightened people.

  2. Transcendent/supramundane teachings related to liberation realised by enlightened people.

The redunctionist theories in the question are related to the transcendent/supramundane realities explained/revealed by the Buddha to those capable of enligthenment.

However, keep in mind, evolution, which is about reproduction & craving, prevents most life forms from attaining enlightenment.

For example, if the reduncationist scientific theories were completely mentally realized & embodied by those relevant scientists and their students, those scientists & students would be free from craving & lust due to developing "dispassion", therefore live this life as though they were monks & nuns.

For example, in the scriptures, it is reported many monks ended their lives after becoming disgusted with the meaningless & worthless reality of physical reality.

However, I doubt the above generally occurs with reductionsim evolutionary scientists & their devotee students, which seems to render brain-centered evolutionary reductionism to be other type of superstition.

  • Thank you very much, think about it!
    – lesobrod
    Commented Apr 9 at 7:03

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