Creationism and Platonic Essences

Creationists believe that species are unchanging and derive their forms by reference to a divine blueprint. Theology has always been dominated by the ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato taught that the species were invariant, deriving their characteristics from reference to 'essences' or 'ideal forms' which were fixed, eternal and inherently existent. Bible-believing creationists claim that the world and all its species were created in six days of a single week around 4004 BC .

In contrast, Buddhist philosophy is evolutionary. Buddha taught that all things are impermanent, constantly arising, becoming, changing and fading. Nothing exists 'from its own side' or by reference to its own essence (see sunyata). Buddhist philosophers rejected the Platonic mechanism of production from 'ideal forms' as being the fallacy of 'production from inherently existent other'. To the Buddhist the idea of the species does not correspond to any inherent reality, but is merely a concept that the mind imputes over interbreeding groups of plants and animals with similar characteristics (and the majority of their genes in common). The boundary between one species and another is not necessarily clear cut, either in terms of changes in the course of the fossil record, or of hybridising populations at the present day.

- Sean Robsville