Scientific Disposition • 15 May 2007

A mentor sent over a freshly minted syllabus this morning. At the bottom, he’s printed a kind of empiricist’s creed, straight from Shakyamuni Buddha.

Not something you see in the university too often, even though it’s so harmonious with the disposition of scientific research. If only social scientists would take the time to flesh out our standards for evidence and our working assumptions so clearly.

Rely not on the teacher, but on the teaching.

Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words.

Rely not on theory, but on experience.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in traditions merely because they have been handed down for many generations.

Do not believe anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in your books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.