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#13
(26-Jun-2012, 10:40 AM)arvindiyer Wrote:
(26-Jun-2012, 09:13 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: I just want to know what is the fundamental reason why you have a beef (no pun intended) with Hindus having a soft-corner for the cow.

That bovine exceptionalism has more than once resulted in murderous excesses is reason enough for outrage from any humanist. My own dietary preferences have little to do with it.

You linked to two articles. The first talks about skinning cows. It is not clear if the skinning of the cows was carried out for dietary purposes. Presuming it is not, should I take it that you concede that for dietary purposes, there is no need to slaughter cows? There are ways in which every Indian's nutritional needs can be met with our current stock of foodgrains. The second article makes a lot of presumptions that are questionable. For one, AFAIK, there is no Brahminical conspiracy in India. India follows mostly secular laws in the public domain. Affirmative action has its own problems, but one thing that it has helped achieve is to dent any supposed historical Brahminical conspiracy against the non-Brahmin. If anything, I would argue that the Indian government bends over backwards to appease non-Hindus - Hajj subsidy and subsidy for Xians to visit Bethlehem, etc. The solution to the caste problem is not easy. But the solution is not to demonize one caste for domination over the other - as the 2nd opinion piece did.

(26-Jun-2012, 09:13 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: Also, please refrain from putting forth false dichotomies "reason and compassion" versus "faith, authority, revelation or tradition". The two are not mutually exclusive.

The primacy accorded to reason by the rationalists and the relegation of reason and even conscience by several influential spokespersons of the faithful into something overriden by tradition, render the two stances prima facie incompatible.[/quote]

What constitutes Dharma is a huge topic in itself and I hope you will be charitable enough to concede that Kanchi Shankaracharya's position is one of the many positions on the issue. For eg. non-Advaitins are not committed to accept whatever this Shankaracharyar says. Even for those who are beholden to the Kanchi Mutt's views on this issue, the article you linked to does not establish your proposition. For that you need to show that the sruthi does NOT lead to compassion. Specific instances need to be brought forth and it should be established that Sruthi opposes rationality and compassion in such instances. Arguing in generalities does not help.

(26-Jun-2012, 09:13 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: Regarding inherited merit - Karma - it is one of the key metaphysical premises of Hinduism. But this is related to the question of how God (assuming He/She/It) exists will allocate souls (assuming such a thing exists) to newborns. Absent Karma, one reduces God to an arbitrary being that does this allocation randomly. The only other alternative is Karma.

'God' or 'karma' would be a called-for hypothesis if indeed some sort of Cosmic Justice were in evidence demanding an explanation, when one dispassionate admission obviates the need for any such explanation: that underlying the Universe is a blind, pitiless indifference.
[/quote]

Well, to conclude that the universe as is, is exactly as if a God did not exist, one would have to be in a position to examine the counterfactual or argue about it. Since we but have only one universe we can use as evidence examining the counterfactual is not possible. Hence, we probably need to argue about it philosophically.
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#14
(26-Jun-2012, 11:19 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: Presuming it is not, should I take it that you concede that for dietary purposes, there is no need to slaughter cows?

No claim was made about the 'necessity' of feeding on cows. All that was implied was that there are absolutely no grounds for treating cow slaughter as a capital offence, and it is distressing to note the absence of any significant condemnation on part of supposedly compassionate moderate Hindus, of the gruesome murders that occur on this account. Apparently, these moderates are more outraged by rationalists lambasting bovine exceptionalism than over the murderous excesses that occur in its name. So much for the claim of representing a culture that represents a shining beacon of compassion for the rest of humanity.

(26-Jun-2012, 11:19 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: For one, AFAIK, there is no Brahminical conspiracy in India.

What is being spoken of here is not some Illuminati-like conspiracy, and what is actually being implicated here is a culture of system-justification and opportunistic refusal to acknowledge inequities. To cast the all-too-real scenario of opportunity gaps and intersectional marginalization that is evident in India into a strawman narrative of a 'conspiracy theory' and then smugly dismiss it with an 'all is well', only serves to perpetuate the problem .

(26-Jun-2012, 11:19 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: Even for those who are beholden to the Kanchi Mutt's views on this issue, the article you linked to does not establish your proposition.For that you need to show that the sruthi does NOT lead to compassion.

To counter the claim of infallibility and indispensability that is made on behalf of Shruti, it is sufficient to show that adherence to Shruti is not a necessary condition for compassion or a just society. Such instances abound, in societies with no demonstrable exposure to what is considered Shruti, that offer equal opportunity for the unfoldment of human potential to all its citizens.

Further, if any unequivocal statement made by any pontifical spokesperson of any influence can be conveniently disowned as not adequately representative of 'Hinduism as a whole', there is no reason why the same grounds can't be used by rationalists to dignify any self-proclaimed defender of the faith in forums like these as a representative of the 'true Hinduism'. The 'true Hindu' may please stand up before requesting debate, and better still, set their own house in order by disabusing their fellow Hindus of 'ideas not originally sanctioned by the scriptures, before trying to bait freethinkers.

(26-Jun-2012, 11:19 AM)KalBhairav Wrote: Well, to conclude that the universe as is, is exactly as if a God did not exist, one would have to be in a position to examine the counterfactual or argue about it. Since we but have only one universe we can use as evidence examining the counterfactual is not possible.

It's simple enough to address this question in the Universe we happen to be in. To suggest that some sort of Cosmic Justice (Providential Harmony or Karmic Balance) is in action in this Universe, is an empirical claim. Since 'arguing in generalities does not help', the skeptical mind only asks for some compelling specific instances where such harmony and balance are convincingly on display. To put it even more simply, "What are some events in the natural world whose occurrence is incompatible with the parsimonious assumption that the Universe is not endowed with any intentionality, preferences or foreknowledge of human affairs?"

While we wait as always for that one instance that demands an explanation in terms of some kind of Cosmic Consciousness, here is a reminder that no real new ground is being broken here.

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