Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

Darwin and Evolution in Japan

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The resistance to Darwin’s ideas on evolution by natural selection expressed by some in the West — both 150 years ago and even now — is well known…. But how did Darwin go down in Japan, as it started trading and interacting with Western powers?

Lacking Christianity, there wasn’t the religious opposition and controversy in Japan that scandalized people in Victorian England (and still hinders understanding of evolution).

Instead, a society based on Shinto and Buddhism apparently easily accepted Darwin. Some historians have also said that because Japanese people share their country with a nonhuman primate — the Japanese macaque — it made it easier for them to understand and accept evolution. …  The Japan Times Online

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Author: Bill

Birder, cat-lover, pilot, poet. Former lounge lizard, pauper, pagan, lifeguard, chauffeur,cop and martial artist, turned pacifist addiction writer. Tries to be a good husband, father and brother, and makes a decent friend. Likes to take pictures. Stumbling down the Middle Path, one day at a time.

One thought on “Darwin and Evolution in Japan

  1. Most Japanese worship nature. Maybe that’s why they were open to the evolution theory. What do you think Bill?

    About 85% of Japanese claim to practice a mix of (or both) Shinto and Buddhism, so you may well be right. The animistic religions have no dogma that would prevent the adoption of new ideas, which are usually superposed on the old without prejudice to either. A refreshing attitude when compared to Western philosophy, wherein ideas are, for the most part, presumed to be either right or wrong, and one or the other must prevail.

    As those who have looked within know, polarization — black and white thinking — is the root of much suffering, for it is the cause of most unhappiness: I must be right, because if I’m wrong the whole house of cards on which I’ve built my beliefs might be wrong, too. It is hard for our psyche to accept that possibility.

    Far better, as the Buddha said, to accept no authority, but only thos things that we have examined with our own common sense. In the case of evolution, however, the examination requires a fairly thorough knowledge of the science behind it, which most folks — in the US at least — lack in abundance.

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