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Featured The Baha'i belief about animal behavior, scientific or not?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by spirit_of_dawn, Dec 3, 2018 at 1:27 PM.

  1. spirit_of_dawn

    spirit_of_dawn Active Member

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    I extracted some points after reading a few statements uttered by Abdu'l-Baha -the second Baha'i leader- that describe the behavior of some animals. These are the points:

    • Domestic animals live in flocks and herds.
    • Domestic animals love and associate with each other.
    • Sheep, cows and horses graze together in concord and agreement.
    • ferocious animals and birds of prey are just the reverse of the domestic.
    • ferocious animals are never seen associating in love and fellowship.
    • ferocious animals live in solitary and alone or with a single mate.
    • When ferocious animals (like dogs, wolves, tigers, and lions) see each other, they manifest the utmost ferocity and fight to the death.
    • Ferocious animals, as soon as they meet, attack and fight with each other, tear each other to pieces and it is impossible for them to live peaceably together in one spot. They are all unsociable and fierce.
    • Domestic birds show fellowship and love.
    • if a dove from the east and a dove from the west, a dove from the north and a dove from the south chance to arrive, at the same time, in one spot, they immediately associate in harmony.
    • The meeting of two doves is a peace meeting.
    • When an eagle meets another eagle, there is a furious battle.
    I believe many of the aforementioned statements are incorrect and are not in line with scientific observations. How do Baha'is reconcile the above statements with the Principle of Conformance of Science With Religion?

    Sources:
    "The blessed animals engage in no patriotic quarrels. They are in the utmost fellowship with one another and live together in harmony. For example, if a dove from the east and a dove from the west, a dove from the north and a dove from the south chance to arrive, at the same time, in one spot, they immediately associate in harmony. So is it with all the blessed animals and birds. But the ferocious animals, as soon as they meet, attack and fight with each other, tear each other to pieces and it is impossible for them to live peaceably together in one spot. They are all unsociable and fierce, savage and combative fighters." (Selections from the writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 416)​

    "Study the law of affinity among the domestic animals. They manifest fellowship, they live in flocks and herds; the love of association is evident among them. Among birds we see evidences of instinctive fellowship and love. But the ferocious animals and birds of prey are just the reverse of the domestic. Sheep, cows and horses graze together in concord and agreement, but ferocious animals are never seen associating in love and fellowship. Each lives solitary and alone or with a single mate. When they see each other, they manifest the utmost ferocity. Dogs pounce upon dogs; wolves, tigers, lions rage, snarl and fight to the death. Their ferocity is instinctive. There is a creative reason for it. Birds of prey, like eagles and hawks, live solitary and build their nests apart, but doves fly in flocks and nest in the same branches. When an eagle meets another eagle, there is a furious battle. The meeting of two doves is a peace meeting. Therefore, it is evident that these blessed characteristics as well as the reverse are found among the creatures of a lower kingdom."(The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 207)​
     
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  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The purpose of Abdu'l-Baha's statements is NOT to provide a scientific exposition on the branch of science known as zoology. He was a religious leader. Like other religious leaders, he used the natural world as a metaphor for the spiritual reality of man.
     
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  3. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    Ya know, one could gloss over a rather large mountain with that kind of thinking. :)
     
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  4. spirit_of_dawn

    spirit_of_dawn Active Member

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    Yes he is a religious leader but unlike other religious leaders he claims:

    "religion must be in harmony with science and reason. If it does not conform to science and reconcile with reason, it is superstition."

    Those statements are not in harmony or conformance with science. He speaks those statements about the animals as facts but they are plain wrong. He can use these wrong statements to create metaphors but that doesn't solve the matter that his statements are wrong and against the Fourth Baha'i Principle.
     
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  5. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    Hence, he is waxing metaphorically. Problem solved!
     
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  6. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg A World Citizen
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    But a metephor of the spiritual is just that.

    It us using popular observation of the material to explain a spiritual state of mind.

    If asked a scientific question, Abdul'baha would reply with a scientific response.

    Regards Tony
     
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  7. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    You don't have to explain it to me. I understand the problem quite well, but thanks. :)
     
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  8. spirit_of_dawn

    spirit_of_dawn Active Member

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    Ok so let's see how Abdu'l-Baha responded to a scientific question:

    "Thou hast written regarding the four canine teeth in man, saying that these teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower, are for the purpose of eating meat. Know thou that these four teeth are not created for meat-eating, although one can eat meat with them. All the teeth of man are made for eating fruit, cereals and vegetables. These four teeth, however, are designed for breaking hard shells, such as those of almonds." (Helen Bassett Hornby, Lights of Guidance: A Baha’i Reference File, chap. XXIV, no. 1007.)
    According to Baha'i zoology, Canine teeth are for breaking almond nuts (kids please don't try this at home).
     
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  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Sometimes we make mountains out of molehills.:D
     
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  10. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg A World Citizen
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    Well your not an Aussie then :D

    Always used teeth to break the Christmas nuts, otherwise you would miss out as there was only one nutcracker on the table at Christmas :)

    Brazil and Macadamia nuts are a different story....they require mechanical means.

    So we can use the teeth in this way, luckily we have the brains to learn when not to.

    Happy nut crunching! Regards Tony

    :hugehug:
     
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  11. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Yet in another passage we have molars being used!?

    "As humanity progresses, meat will be used less and less, for the teeth of man are not carnivorous … The human teeth, the molars, are formed to grind grain. The front teeth, the incisors, are for fruits, etc. It is therefore quite apparent, according to the implements for eating, man's food is intended to be grain and not meat. When mankind is more fully developed the eating of meat will gradually cease."
    'Abdu'l-Bahá, from "Star of the West", Vol.III, No.10, p29.

    If you considered all the Baha'i writings in context, and not just using one passage to suit your agenda, the Baha'i writings are saying man is best suited to a vegetarian diet and the people of the future will no longer need to eat meat.
     
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  12. John53

    John53 Active Member

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    I'm in the middle of some rather extensive research into Brahminy Kites and he's wrong about birds of prey. Also worked on a dairy and he's wrong about cattle, I've seen epic cow v cow battles.
     
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  13. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    *stifles a giggle*
    *fails...*
     
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  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I enjoy your posts, as they offer an alternative POV that seems so sane in comparison to some. I didn't see this as metaphoric either. But hey, if somebody wants to claim that a teacher really meant 'ostrich' when the original wording was 'fish' that's their right. But after just so much of it, it just gets silly, and nothing else. There is ALWAYS an explanation for anything that is accepted by any fundamentalist group. Whether or not that explanation makes any sense to outsiders is largely irrelevant.
     
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  15. spirit_of_dawn

    spirit_of_dawn Active Member

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    Quoting a correct statement does not whitewash an incorrect statement.
     
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  16. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Lots of religious teachers are wrong about so many mundane things. It's not their field, and when ego takes charge, you think you know everything about everything. So sticking to far vaguer subjects would be wiser. But when you're wrong about the mundane, it seems quite likely that you're also wrong about the spiritual.
     
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  17. Marcion

    Marcion Neohumanism Tantra-Yoga

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    People who have a weakness to feel attracted to irrational belief systems can never be convinced by rational arguments.
    They will just see the arguments as coming from a hostile enemy of their belief system.
     
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  18. spirit_of_dawn

    spirit_of_dawn Active Member

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    Thanks. Good to know you are enjoying the posts. :)
    After numerous debates with Baha'is it seems that any mistake or grievous error of the leaders, is brushed aside by claiming it is a metaphor.
     
  19. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    My cat herd is out in the backyard purring while the neighbour's dog herd barks at them.
     
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  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Absolutely! It's the attitude that if I disagree with your belief, that means I hate your belief. Marcion, in reality, I do disagree with many of your beliefs, but I really don't think you think I hate your beliefs.
     
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