Abdu'i-Baha on Darwinism

latter group advocated its own brand of traditionalism, prejudice, and dogma in the realm of culture, history, society, and morality. What was common in both groups was the worship of a culture of prejudice and violence. Contrary to both groups, ‘Abdu’l -Baha ’s approach to Darwinism acknowledged an important distinction between biological, philosophical, and sociological forms of discourse. While accepting the idea of evolution in the realm of biology, he systematically rejected the philosophical and sociological interpretations of Darwinism. His critique concludes that the principle of evolution, progress, and historicity must also be applied to the realm of human culture . In ‘Abdu’l - Baha’s discourse, critique of philosophical and social Darwinism becomes a criticism of all kinds of prejudice in human societies. The requirement of this true concept of evolution and progress, ‘Abdu’l -Baha argues, is the affirmation of a culture of peace, unity, and love. Darwinian theory is an empirical and scientific theory. The truth or falsehood of such theory is dependent on the application of the empirical method of scientific research. This theory argues that living organisms have evolved throughout history and that the appearance of human beings has taken place through a gradual process. This idea is an empirical theory and it is only through the empirical method that it can be affirmed or rejected. However, many writers constructed an arbitrary philosophical and theological interpretation of such propositions, concluding that Darwinian theory proved that human beings were merely animals, that there was no end or purpose in creation, and that the universe has no creator. Many of the followers of the philosophical Darwinism turned into social Darwinists, arguing that since humans are merely animals, therefore, the regulating principle of human social existence should also be the law of the struggle for existence. According to these authors the social and cultural progress of humanity takes place through the survival of the fittest. Consequently, they glorified war, extreme class inequality, racism, patriarchy, slavery, colonialism, and other forms of violence as a natural, rational, and moral order of culture and history. In present sociological discourse, the term social Darwinism is usually defined as the theory of pure capitalism, and extremes of economic inequality. However, the logic of social Darwinism is not restricted to a particular form of economic relations. On the contrary, all forms of cultural, political, and religious systems that are based upon violence, coercion, and conflict are manifestations of social Darwinism. For example, aggressive nationalism, glorification of war and militarism, racism, colonialism, patriarchy, religious discrimination, and slavery and forced labor are all various reflections of the reduction of human beings to the realm of the jungle. Furthermore, even at the level of economic systems, compared to capitalism, the pre-capitalist modes of production like slavery and feudalism are more compatible with the law of the struggle for existence. At least capitalism is based on the formal and legal equality of all people, and is usually accompanied with forms of political democracy. As we shall note later, both pure capitalism and communism are examples of a system that reduces humans to the level of beasts. Communism, therefore, is an extreme reflection of social Darwinism, and not a liberation from it. In the past, empirical science was not much developed. Consequently, even philosophers used a speculative and mythological method for understanding empirical events. For the same reason, divine scriptures utilized the prevalent mythology and beliefs of the people about nature and universe as Two Approaches to Darwinism

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