Why the cow was chosen to be holy - a hypothesis
#25
(09-Mar-2011, 03:54 AM)surya.prash17 Wrote: I suggest we as atheists have many other irrational issues to target let us leave the cow worship alone.

I see bit of a conflation here.

We can leave cows alone, but for non-worship-related reasons, and for so many other fully secular reasons that one might have for leaving animals alone.

But we cannot afford to leave worship alone, be it related to cows or otherwise, and spare it critiques of its futility and sunk costs.

It would be an ill-advised concession to selectively approve of worship when it seems to serve a purpose favorable to us; and a cop-out side-stepping the real challenge of providing reason-based alternatives (in this case, promoting animal rights without resort to animist worship).
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#26
(09-Mar-2011, 06:05 AM)arvindiyer Wrote: [quote='surya.prash17' pid='4063' dateline='1299623058']
It would be an ill-advised concession to selectively approve of worship when it seems to serve a purpose favorable to us; and a cop-out side-stepping the real challenge of providing reason-based alternatives (in this case, promoting animal rights without resort to animist worship).

Cow is a living breathing creatures unlike thousands of imaginary gods that Hindus worship.And believe it or not cows have always delivered 100% of the times unlike the imaginary gods.The greatest right an animal can and should have is not being killed for food and I think cows in INDIA enjoy that right. I think once the believers understand the irrationality of worshiping the imaginary gods they will automatically understand the irrationality of worshiping the cow. So lets keep our guns on target with the imaginary gods ,vedas and all other BS.
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#27
(09-Mar-2011, 03:54 AM)surya.prash17 Wrote: But I am also a vegetarian and happy that the irrationalism is at-least keeping the cows from being slaughtered for meat.

How does not worshiping cows translate to eating them? We don't worship dogs and yet we don't eat them. That's some spurious logic you used.

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#28
(09-Mar-2011, 07:56 PM)Lije Wrote:
(09-Mar-2011, 03:54 AM)surya.prash17 Wrote: But I am also a vegetarian and happy that the irrationalism is at-least keeping the cows from being slaughtered for meat.

How does not worshiping cows translate to eating them? We don't worship dogs and yet we don't eat them. That's some spurious logic you used.

There are many parts of india were dog is eaten. And dont forget CHINA. Dog meat is a delicacy in CHINA. And the american food industry has been trying for years to convince INDIA to stop worshiping cows and start consuming them for their meat. There is your logicThumbup
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#29
(09-Mar-2011, 07:59 PM)surya.prash17 Wrote: There is your logicThumbup

Not quite! Insistence that animal rights would be compromised by opposing animist worship (saying here that cows would be harmed if their worship ceased) commits the fallacy of necessity and a type of package-deal fallacy.
Packaging of worship and vegetarianism together, can be exposed for the fallacy that it is, by naming even one vegetarian/vegan who does not worship animals. Peter Singer. So there!

I agree that Peter Singer's reasoned arguments are harder to communicate to the masses than the unreason of mindless worship. But failing to make attempts in this regard just because it is hard would be a cop-out we can ill afford.
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#30
This article makes a few interesting points on the history of not eating cows in modern India.

1. In-group/out-group dynamics may have played an important role:
Quote:There is conflicting evidence about the treatment of cows in ancient times, but after the Muslim occupation Hindu God experts became more fastidious about cow protection, as a way of asserting moral superiority over their grubby conquerors. Conversely, Indian Muslims placed a great emphasis on their Baqra Īd celebration, at which an animal (often a cow) is slaughtered to commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham, as a way of thumbing their noses at the Hindus.

2. In response to surya.prash17's comment above that at least the irrationalism is keeping people from slaughtering cows, here's a point to consider:
Quote:In 1881, a Hindu treatise called Ocean of Mercy to the Cow generated widespread agitation over the issue. The following year a charitable foundation was established to feed India’s wandering cows, then numbering in the hundreds of millions, because so many of these “beloved” animals were allowed to die of starvation. No corresponding effort was made on behalf of India’s millions of impoverished humans.
Almost always when someone claims an irrational act to be doing more good than bad, there is another side to the story. In this case the irrationalism of allowing millions of cows to die of starvation, or feeding them till they die of old age, is keeping millions of starving Indians from life-giving sustenance. There is absolutely no doubt where most humanists would stand on this issue, (although it can be argued that if the world's food resources were distributed fairly and efficiently there would not be any food shortage in India).

3. The extreme fundamentalism of these cow-worshipers can be as dangerous as the extreme fundamentalism of those in Afghanistan protesting the Quran burnings in Florida the past week:
Quote:By 1893, mass demonstrations against cow-killing resulted in rioting from Bombay to Rangoon; 107 humans died in the argument over saving cows.

4. Gandhi's irrationality when it came to this subject:
Quote:The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian.’ …
I worship it, and I shall defend its worship against the whole world …
I will not kill a cow for saving a human life, be it ever so precious.
Emphasis added to stress the inhumanity of Gandhi's statement, and to point out that this is something Pete Singer would certainly disagree with. I'd kill a million cows to save a human life.

5. Discrimination on grounds of cow slaughter in India was a huge reason why Muslims wanted a separate homeland:
Quote:Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, used to explain succinctly his objection to living in a Hindu-majority state: “The cows I want to eat, the Hindu stops me from killing. Every time a Hindu shakes hands with me, he has to wash his hands.” In 1939, Jinnah’s Muslim League published a report entitled Muslim Sufferings under Congress Rule, listing in grim detail more than 100 reports from Bihar, the United Provinces, and the Central Provinces of Muslims who were violently attacked, killed, or looted between July 1937 and August 1939, mostly due to their insufficient sympathy for cows. The very next year, the Muslim League adopted its “Pakistan Resolution,” demanding a separate homeland upon Indian independence. When partition came, a million humans died as a result.

6. Nehru as the upholder of reason:
Quote:As mayor of Allahabad in 1923, he flatly rejected demands to ban cow slaughter in his city. As prime minister he did the same thing, upholding the rights of India’s non-Hindus against the oppression of the majority.


"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#31
I guess the success of religious injunction against beef eating owes it to the fact that vast majority pre-Indo-Aryan Indians were never beef eaters. Since lactase persistence goes down drastically in East and South, I suppose, cow (probably only Zebu) was never reared for any purpose.

If we consider the only beef eating Hindu region, Kerala, the majority beef meat comes from Buffalo which is neither holy nor sanctioned against. This is important because if at all pre-Indo-Aryan Indians ate beef, it should have been Indian Water Buffalo and there is no reason why this tradition would have stopped.

There were certain Dalit castes which traditionally ate beef. However, I would consider it as a later development for variety of reasons. Maybe we can think of the caste which traditionally ate rats, in this case.One of the views that Chinese started consuming variety of animals because of drought also could be used here (It appears some of them are restricted to certain regions. Non Hong Kong Chinese get annoyed that whole world considers them as snake eaters while only a small fraction ... Guangdong province... are known for that).
Manju Vadiarillat
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#32
(14-Sep-2012, 08:43 PM)Joey953 Wrote: I've some points on it but now tell me only that why only cow is chosen to be holy?
I mean, there are also animals that only give and demand for no return. Whats about
the buffalo, donkey and dog?
They just demand food to survive and nothing else!

Cow provides milk, ghee, butter etc. and as such early Indians could identify the animal with a mother. As a mother animal, it probably attained a higher status,in comparison to other animals, hence it probably became Holy. Buffalo=black=inauspicios. Dog=aggressive+meat eater+sometimes bites & eats humans and other animals, Don‌key=used for carrying luggages.

I guess if early Indians started drinking donkey's milk or that of some other animal instead of cow's, that animal might have replaced the cow as a motherly and holy animal.


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#33
Just had an idea, so I felt like sharing. I really find it pitiful as to how a cow can be considered as a mother and Holy just because it gives milk, whereas a Chicken which provides its whole body as well as its babies (eggs) as food for humans is considered as nothing but food?
Doesn't the Chicken deserve more respect than the cow? Me thinks so!
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#34
Just curious : Does gestation period has some factor to add cow as mother figure? The gestation period in human and cows are similar ( 9+ months) . Also water buffalo has the similar gestation period.
Probably our ancestors have some love for fair skin, hence would have chosen cows over buffalo.
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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