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Date Posted: 11:40
Author: Waqidi - 5 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Burbank, Microfiche and Statistical Blunders
In reply to: Mike Drake - 4 Jun 2001 's message, "Burbank, Microfiche and Statistical Blunders" on 11:39

Mike,

I responded to your comments in detail in another reply. Here are some other quotes I was able to find supposedly attributed to or related to Luther Burbank and his views.

First with regard to his position on a Supreme Intelligence:

We have from the Theosophical Magazine from 1927 -

"THEOSOPHY, Vol. 15, No. 6, April, 1927
(Pages 241-246; Size: 18K)
(Number 7 of a 13-part series)
THE RISING CYCLE
"I HAVE not changed my views on immortality. The word 'God' has no meaning for me, but I believe there is a supreme intelligence pervading the universe."
Thus Thomas A. Edison on his eightieth birthday, February 11th. His views are essentially identical with those of Lincoln, whose religion is still subject of vast dispute, and this despite the known facts as recorded in his own writing. Luther Burbank's convictions on the same subject excited much discussion recently. And so with Henry Ford's and many other men of note of the generation -- in science, in business, in letters, and even in what is popularly regarded as the "Christian religion."

Thomas Edison clearly is quoted as believing in a "supreme intelligence."

Now we also have from the excerpts of the speech given by Judge Ben Lindsey at the Memorial Service for Luther Burbank the following statement:

"Thomas Edison, who believes very much as Luther Burbank, once discussed with me immortality. He pointed to the electric light, his invention, saying: "There lives Tom Edison." So Luther Burbank lives. He lives forever in the myriad fields of strengthened grain, in the new forms of fruits and flowers, and plants, and vines, and trees, and above all, the newly watered gardens of the human mind, from whence shall spring human freedom that shall drive out false and brutal gods. The gods are toppling from their thrones. They go before the laughter and the joy of the new childhood of the race, unshackled and unafraid."

Here is another quote from Burbank:

Luther Burbank, accoladed in his lifetime as the "wizard of horticulture," was once asked to lecture upon his unorthodox methods in plant breeding. The audience, members of the American Pomological Society, was reported to have sat agape as he "told all":
In pursuing the study of any of the universal and everlasting laws of nature, whether relating to the life, growth, structure and movements of a giant planet, the tiniest plant or of the psychological movements of the human brain, some conditions are necessary before we can become one of nature's interpreters or the creator of any valuable work for the world. Preconceived notions, dogmas and all personal prejudice and bias must be laid aside. Listen patiently, quietly and reverently to the lessons, one by one, which Mother Nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery, so that all who will, may see and know. She conveys her truths only to those who are passive and receptive. Accepting these truths as suggested, wherever they may lead, then we have the whole universe in harmony with us. At last man has found a solid foundation for science, having discovered that he is part of a universe which is eternally unstable in form, eternally immutable in substance.

The theosophical Society lists a number of article by Burbank in their literature:

WorldT y1932 v2 April p270 - Training of the Human Plant (rprnt) -- Luther Burbank

WorldT y1933 v3 January p60 - Health - Why I Believe in Nature Cure -- Luther Burbank


Based on this and other articles and statements I can find, I would say that Luther Burbank was not an atheist but he was a skeptic of tradional religions and their concepts. He did not accept a God of fire and brimstone and was against dogmaticism. However, as Judge Lindsey said of him: "Luther Burbank will rank with the great leaders who have driven heathenish gods back into darkness, forever from this earth. And all that he spoke was but the awe in which he stood before a great unknown force, and his courage was but the reverence in which he held this great unseen." Hardly a purely atheistic view of the world.

He did not believe in a God of retribution or one that favored one man over another simply because of an adherence to a set of religious beliefs. So he would likely have rejected a concept of immortality for man that is obtained through the works or deeds of a man. He would equally have rejected the idea of hell as the place one goes if one does not meet the standards of a God of vengeance and retribution.

He may have never been sure of his relation with the "supreme intelligence" in the universe. I believe he was a sceptic but a spiritual person who expressed an inner reverance for all things. Yogananda IMO would have enjoyed his ojectivity and honesty.

I do not have enough information on the issue of Burbank's views on reincarnation or the possibility of life after death of the human being to come to a conclusion on his range of views on these two subjects throughout his life. Some articles indicate a definite position against such views others seem to indicate that he may have been more open to such possibilities.

According to the articles (unsubstantiated) I have read, he supposedly never commented in public on the issue of reincarnation and immortality of the soul until early 1926, months before his passing. According to one article his motivation was based on his concern for the outcome of the Scopes Trial on evolution. He supposedly died a short while after coming out against the concept of reincarnation and the immortality of the soul. (Same unsubstantiated information you quote from.) He was according to one article a broken man who died in the act of writing to those who questioned his views. An an unlikely scenario in my view.

The materials I have read do not support your view that he was an atheist. Rather they indicate an agnostic person who inherently felt that there is a spiritual basis to life but demanded proof for such things as reincarnation and the immortality of the soul. Whether these writings more accurately represent the real Luther Burbank than the Yogananda's account of his friend's views, neither of us are in a position to know or will be able to prove one way or the other.

Waqidi

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