The Origin of Human Nature: A Zen Buddhist Looks at Evolution

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The Origin of Human Nature: A Zen Buddhist Looks at Evolution is a book discussing spirituality and its role in evolution. It was written in 2008 by Albert Low, a former human resources executive turned Western Buddhist Zen master.


Low claims he decided to write the book because of current problems within the Creation/Evolution "debate". According to Low, the neo-Darwinian view of evolution is too materialistic to explain evolution. Simply putting God in the gap like the creationists do is unacceptable from his Buddhist perspective. Low's spiritual view supposedly offers an alternative to the "current theories: random mutation (mechanistic neo-Darwinism), Genesis (God did it all personally), and Intelligent Design (God personally does what we can’t otherwise account for)." His main complaint in the book is an argument against natural evolution, which he claims is too materialistic to explain free will, requiring the addition of a spiritual element.[1]

Low's alternative of spiritual evolution, which he calls "intelligent evolution," is the view that a creative intelligence exists beyond the physical which explains consciousness.[2]

Intelligent design?[edit]

In an article titled By Design: Not all who are sympathetic to the idea of intelligent design are creationists, Low has written that Buddhism neither affirms nor denies the existence of God, nor does it deny the general theory of evolution. Rather, the neo-Darwinian view of evolution is wrong since it denies that intelligence and creativity play a part in evolution.[3][4] It appears Low advocates the view of guided evolution yet denies any God is doing it, which in a broad sense could still be called an intelligent design position.

Further, in an article on his website he supports the intelligent design ideas of Michael Behe and wrote "Behe’s criticisms of the current theories of evolution are trenchant and could open many people’s minds to the perspective of The Origin of Human Nature."[5]