Are Muslims Humans?
By Ali Sina
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In the forum of this site, there is a discussion
going on about whether Muslims are humans or not. I am sure many are putt off
even by the title of it. This sounds more like a racial slur than a real
intellectual discussion. But don't write it off hastily. Anything is worth to
take a look at. After all we don't have to agree with views that are not
logical. Everything deserves a scrutiny, even things that on the surface seem preposterous
and potentially explosive.
Who came up with such an outrageous title to begin with?
Well, yours truly. But let me make a caveat and say that by Muslims I mean the
REAL Muslims and not those who just think they are but their Islam is the
figment of their imagination, which more or less resembles any other
religion. I am talking of the Islam as was taught in the Quran and practiced by
Muhammad. I am talking about those Muslims that the Media likes to call
"extremists", the terrorists and the child killers. These are the real
Humanness is a quality. We are not talking biologically but
about qualities that distinguish us humans from beasts. The king of all human
qualities is empathy. It seems that most species of animals do not possess empathy for their
kinds. There is parental love, but beyond that they do not seem to care for each
other. Well, practically they can’t do much for each other and therefore
empathy would be superfluous. If a lion attacks a herd of guzzles, they all run
for their lives, but once one of them is caught, and the lion starts devouring
it, the rest calm down and continue grazing, apparently unperturbed.
We humans are different. We have evolved in a way that
we care for each other and have feelings for one another. Humans come to each
other’s rescue and not just of their own kin. Some animals, like elephants and
primates adopt orphaned members of their species, but humans go beyond that, we
even go as far as to risk our own lives to save a total stranger’s. I heard on
TV about a man walking with his fiancé who jumped into the raging river because he
saw a boy being drifted by the currents. The boy was later rescued but the
man’s cadaver was washed to the shore a few days later. His fiancé said that
he did not think about what he was doing. He did it instinctively.
Of course this is not an isolated case. Most humans put at risk their own
lives to save someone else’s. What is inside us that makes us do such bizarre
thing? I don’t say this quality is unique to humans. Dogs are also known to
risk their own lives to save their masters’.
However we humans do that for total strangers. We have stories coming to
us from the tragedy of Titanic, that some of the passengers, declined to get
into the boats to leave room for others. They died in freezing waters, so
someone else could be saved.
selfish gene theory states that "the purpose of evolution is not, as
Darwin suggested, survival of the species, it is simply the survival of the
information in the genes of the individual. The individual is almost irrelevant
to the genes - they are useful containers of the genetic code, but are in the
final analysis expendable, and can be cast away if doing so can cause a greater
Whether we agree with this theory or not, it is clear that
we humans survived as species because we learned to care
for each other. Being altruistic and caring is part of our genetic make up. It is not
"me" that has to survive but my genes, which is shared by all mankind. Therefore I
am dispensable. I can sacrifice myself, for the sake of mankind. This is not different
from a bee committing suicide by stinging to protect her hive. The survival of
our species depended and still depends on us taking care of each other and
sacrifice ourselves for the survival of mankind. As we evolved, each member
became valuable to others. All the members helped
one another and risked their own lives to save each others. It was only by
evolving this bond that we managed to overcome our physical handicap. When it
comes to survival we are a
weak species. With only two legs we can’t run
as fast as quadrupeds. Our jaws are too weak. We do not have claws. Beyond scratching ourselves, our nails
are useless as weapons. Physically we are a very weak species. In a bare hand scuffle with
a baboon or a wolf a third of our size, we lose. We would even lose to a wild
cat. The only way for us to survive was to evolve empathy and stand for
each other. So when a ferocious animal attacked, the early humanoids did not run for
their lives but they stood together, pointed their spears at the intruder or chased
it away by throwing stones at it.
Empathy is what defines our humanness. Technically,
if you do not have empathy, or what is known as “brotherly love”, or
“Christian love”, you can’t be qualified as a fully evolved human.
Empathy is a learned behavior. Genetically we are wired for
it but it needs to be nurtured so it can develop. Humans are essentially good.
Only complications in their development impedes that goodness to develop. Take
the example of grapes. Grapes are sweet by nature, but if there is not enough
sun or the soil has not the right nutrients and alkalinity, they can become sour.
Some schools of thought argue that the
nature of man is both good and bad. I disagree. Personally I see nothing evil in
myself. There is no malice in me. I am of course a human and get angry,
frustrated, sad, and my sense of justice demands revenge. Some may call these
weaknesses, but I think they too are necessary ingredients of humans genetic
makeup, needed for our survival.
They become problem, only when they get out of control. I am not evil. My inner
being wants me to be good. I sense this inner goodness and love within
me. Now, as far as I know I did not parachute from the sky. I was born like anyone else
and share the same genes that everyone else has. I am a drop of this
ocean of humanity. So it is logical to assume that all humans are good too. I
have come across many good people. In fact most people are good. Being good is
normal. Being good and selfless is genetic. It is the imperative of the selfish
gene that tends to to evolve to maximize its inclusive fitness with the number
of copies of its genes passed on globally, rather than by a particular
individual. Therefore it is natural to be good. To be altruistic is an
Then, why there is so much evil in the world? How is it possible that some
humans have so little empathy for their kinds? The answer is that they are
defective gene carriers. They have not developed their humanness. Just as
our bodies can be infected by viruses that mutate the genes, our minds under the
influence of memes can mutate too.
Meme is a term
coined by Richard Dawkins and can be defined as some sort of a self-propagating
unit of cultural evolution having a resemblance to the gene (the unit of
Meme is any
unit of information that passes from one mind to another, affects and transforms
it. This usage more closely resembles the analogy of "language as a
virus". In the same way viruses affect the genes and mutate them, memes
affect the human thinking and transform it. With the transformation of human
thought societies and cultures change, new cultures and religions evolve or
degenerate and die. Pernicious
beliefs act as degenerative memes and are destructive to human society.
Genetically we are all made to be good. We evolved because of
our altruism. Being selfish goes against the normal course of evolution.
Ideologies that impede us to be selfless are counter evolutionary. They are
destructive to our species and will eventually cause the extinction of our race.
To be altruistic is normal. However negative memes, i.e. units of cultural ideas
that tend to induce hate, or pernicious meme complexes such as cultic beliefs
can have devastating effects on human behavior. To continue our evolution, and
reach our full potential we need to have positive meme complexes. Goodness is inside
us, the same way sweetness is inside the grape. But it must be educated.
To educate means to develop the innate capacities. Beliefs and doctrines that
induce hate, are destructive memes, like virus, they propagate and cause the
decline of human society. The negative effect of Islam on Islamic countries and
Muslims in general is conspicuous.
Any new information is a new meme. At
this very moment, I am transmitting new memes from my mind into yours. They will
certainly affect you. Every information affect us whether positively or
negatively. You process them, transform them and pass them to others and
eventually they replicate and take a life of their own.
To change our
world we have to change our culture and to change our culture we have to change
the way we think, i.e. replace our present destructive meme complexes with
better ones. If we replace the thoughts of hatred, apathy and war with thoughts
of love empathy and peace, our world will be changed.
You develop empathy during the first five years of your life. If
as a child you receive love and are cared for, you learn that behavior. My
father is a kind and altruistic man. He helped anyone who came to ask for
help. Some of these people were very ungrateful and paid him back
with treachery and malice. Nonetheless he kept his heart open and continued to
help others. He was an orphan. The only memory he has from his father is when he
was dead lying in the middle of the room covered with a white sheet and friends and family had gathered to wail.
He recalls watching the hand of his father exposed from the sheet to see if it
moves. But his mother, was truly a saint. This woman raised her six children alone
by sewing and making quilt. She was the embodiment of love. She dedicate herself to her
children and imbued them with love. My father
became a loving man full of empathy because he received lots of love during his
early childhood and formative years. These were the positive memes that nurtured
his soul and formed his character. Many of those who do not receive love, like
Saddam, Hitler, Stalin, Charles Manson or Muhammad, grow up to become monsters,
unless they make the conscious effort and strive to be good.
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