Essays

God, Evolution and Abiogenesis: The Topological Theory for the Origin of Life and Species

Introduction

I grew up hearing many refutations of the theory of evolution, since many people around me, and in books and on TV, considered evolution a challenge to religion that had to be defeated to protect our faith. While I eventually came to consider the evolution of non-human creatures plausible, the evolution of humans continued to be a challenge. In 2010 I read Darwinian Fairytales by the Australian atheist philosopher David Stove and considered it a good a challenge to the theory of evolution.

Since then I have read many more books on the topic. Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species is one of my favorite scientific books, in which he shows an unusual level of intelligence and intellectual humility in pointing out the deficiencies he saw in his own thinking.

One of my favorite novels is Terry Pratchett’s The Last Continent, in which the wizard Ponder Stibbons repeats many of Darwin’s thought processes.

As a lover of science and rationalism, and a very religious person, the issue of God and evolution has been on the back of my mind for years. I have seen many cringeworthy abuses of science by religious people in their debates against atheists regarding evolution. What I wanted was something better, something that perfectly satisfies both science and religion, because if a religion is true, it wouldn’t any conflict with science whatsoever. One of the things I’ve said in the past is this:

A religion must make as much sense as mathematics, and if it doesn’t, it is not worth believing in.

If something in our religion is proven false beyond doubt, then that proves the entire religion false. The Quran claims to contain the unadulterated words of God, and claims to contain no errors. It logically follows that the presence of a single error proves the entire book false, because it either means that God isn’t so great as all that after all, since He made a mistake, or that He was incapable of protecting His book from adulteration, which is an equally fatal flaw in an all-powerful God.

It is a common misconception that all religions require their followers to curtail their skepticism when it comes to some matters, meaning that they would have to believe certain things even if these things clearly contradict reality. The great science fiction writer Frank Herbert writes in his 1985 novel Chapterhouse: Dune:

Religion (emulation of adults by the child) encysts past mythologies: guesses, hidden assumptions of trust in the universe, pronouncements made in search of personal power, all mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always an unspoken commandment: Thou shalt not question!

The novel Chapterhouse: Dune is one of Western civilization’s great achievements.

In multiple places he repeats his principle that an essential commandment of religion is “Thou shalt not question!” This is a common mistake made by both the religious and atheists, and if it were true, then the existence of a conflict between evolution and Islam would not be a special thing, it would be yet another conflict between rationalistic, atheistic science and backward and superstitious religion.

While the above might be true of some religions, and of some misguided versions of Islam, it is not true of the Quran. The religion of the Quran is founded upon the commandment “Thou shalt question!” The Quran constantly refers to evidence and proof, mocks various sections of humanity for not thinking clearly or for believing in superstition, and constantly calls its readers to think, to reason, to observe, to analyze.

The religion of the Quran is the religion of the mystic scientist, the one who has a perfectly rationalistic and empirical view of the universe and believes that it functions according to well-established laws of science, but who also believes there is a greater power Who is responsible for all of it, and Who can bypass any of its laws, or act in an unseen way, whenever He wants.

It is from these two directions, both as a lover of rationalism and a lover of the Quran, that I have approached the theory of evolution, and after years of coming up with various approximate solutions, I have reached a point where I can comfortably share the complete theory.

My solution is not necessarily unique, others have probably said similar things, and it is not the last word on the subject. I am hopeful that the concept of topological programming should make the matter clear in a concise and easy-to-understand manner. As we find out more facts about the origin of life, we will be able to come up with better, more accurate explanations.

Explaining the Winds and Rain

Muslims who have a problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection due to the fact that it takes God “out of the picture” have a greater problem to solve, one that usually goes neglected, and solving that problem opens the way for solving the problem of evolution.

The problem is that in the Quran, God takes credit for various natural phenomena which all have scientific explanations. Among such instances are:

God is He who sends the winds. They stir up clouds. Then He spreads them in the sky as He wills. And He breaks them apart. Then you see rain drops issuing from their midst. Then, when He makes it fall upon whom He wills of His servants, behold, they rejoice. 1

It is He who sends the wind ahead of His mercy. Then, when they have gathered up heavy clouds, We drive them to a dead land, where We make water come down, and with it We bring out all kinds of fruits. Thus We bring out the dead—perhaps you will reflect.2

Have you not seen how God propels the clouds, then brings them together, then piles them into a heap, and you see rain drops emerging from its midst? How He brings down loads of hail from the sky, striking with it whomever He wills, and diverting it from whomever He wills? The flash of its lightning almost snatches the sight away.3

We, as rational human beings, are supposed to believe that God is responsible for the things described above, even though we never see God taking care of these things. This leads one to think that perhaps the universe would go on functioning like normal even if there was no God. What is the point of saying that God is responsible for making it rain when, from observation, it appears that it would probably rain anyway even if no God existed? We can carry out physics experiments inside sealed chambers where we can make it rain or snow, what does God have to do with any of this?

Imagine a king giving a speech in a newly conquered city, telling the listeners “I bring you food and water, so be thankful!” A skeptical person may go to the gates of the city early in the morning to see who actually brings food and water. Since he never sees the king himself carrying sacks of flour into the city, he concludes that the king lied, it is not the king who brings food and water to the city, it is people who do that.

His mistake is that he fails to realize that it is by the king’s order that people are bringing food and water to his city, so when the king says he is doing it, he is right. If it wasn’t for the king, it wouldn’t be happening.

When God claims to make it rain, the fact the His hand can’t be detected in the process doesn’t necessarily mean He is lying.

If the pharaoh of Egypt claims he makes the sun rise, I would be skeptical and ask him to provide some pretty convincing evidence before I take him seriously. In all likelihood the sun would rise regardless of the pharaoh. So what is so special about a 14-century-old book out of the deserts of Arabia that I should take it seriously when it says its writer makes it rain?

Atheists demand hard evidence before they believe in scripture like the Quran. But such evidence is not forthcoming. The Quran itself promises that it will not be forthcoming, because it says that once the existence of God has been proven by hard evidence, that would be the end of the world:

Are they waiting for anything but for the angels to come to them, or for your Lord to arrive, or for some of your Lord’s signs to come? On the Day when some of your Lord’s signs come (i.e. hard evidence for God’s existence), no soul will benefit from its faith unless it had believed previously, or had earned goodness through its faith. Say, “Wait, we too are waiting.”4

The above concept is repeated in multiple places in the Quran; that once a person has seen irrefutable evidence of God’s existence, their faith will no longer be of any worth, since faith will no longer be necessary.

The purpose of this universe is to create free-willed creatures who have the option of rejecting God’s existence, so that an act of will and a submission of the heart is needed for them to become believers in Him, and for this act of will, which they have to repeat every day of their faithful lives, they will be rewarded with Paradise5.

This situation leads to the conclusion that if God’s existence is ever proven, and the world doesn’t end, then this would prove the Quran false, since the Quran claims that hard evidence of God’s existence will only be shown to humanity when the world ends.

Are they waiting for God Himself to come to them in the shadows of the clouds, together with the angels, when the matter has been settled? All things are returned to God.6

As a Muslim, I obviously take God’s claim seriously when He says that He makes it rain. As a lover of science, a rationalist and an empiricist, I reject everything that’s not backed by evidence as superstition and ideology. And yet, although there is never any hard evidence, I am capable of believing the Quran when its Writer claims responsibility for various natural phenomena. How?

A verse of the Quran is called an ayah in Arabic, which literally means “sign”, something on the road that points toward a direction. As for its figurative meaning, the scholar al-Faraahhi says in his definition of ayah:

ما تستدِلُّ به على أمر. وليست هي تمام الدليل، بل يُنَبِّهُك على الدليلِ.

That which is used as evidence toward (proving) some matter. It is not the whole of the proof, but it directs you toward the proof.7

While a single verse or even chapter of the Quran cannot be used as “proof” of God’s existence, the book in its totality and its historical context is a powerful piece of evidence that cannot be discarded out of hand in good faith, and it is for this reason that a person like me can believe in it.

The reason I believe in the Quran is the same reason I believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. They both get too many things right, which makes it impossible for me to dismiss them in good conscience. For the Quran, among such things are:

  • Its zero-tolerance policy toward usury. The evils of usury are long-term and requires deep and lengthy analysis to bring them to the surface, so much so that one among a thousand economists today cannot be found who appreciate how it creates immense wealth inequality, creating a form of legalized stealing that constantly causes wealth to “trickle up” into the coffers of the upper class.
  • The zakat system, in which the poor charge an annual 2.5% interest on the uninvested and speculatively invested wealth of the rich. This system would be completely useless without banning usury, it takes a genius to plug that loophole, and the Quran does it.
  • The fact that in 600 pages written in the 7th century CE, it doesn’t contain a single statement that’s provably false, or that contradicts another part of itself.
  • The moral philosophy of the Quran, where moral integrity and justice are always paramount. Killing a single innocent human is similar to killing all of humanity, which means that there can never be such a thing as a utilitarian murder, the type of murder that’s practiced on a daily basis by the CIA and probably every other intelligence organization in the world, where innocent people can be murdered if there is a great enough prize to be gained by it.
  • The concept of the Straight Path, where humanity’s long-term survival is ensured while humanity’s short-term moral integrity is also ensured. The Quran never asks you to do evil for the sake of the greater good. The end never justifies the means. The Quran teaches that God ensures a good end, so that our job is to stay on the Straight Path, serving His interests while behaving in the best manner possible, being kind and forgiving to all, and never, ever doing any evil toward anyone even if it ensures great good. That’s the only type of moral philosophy I can believe in.
  • The beauty of the Quran. The Quran is the only book that I can read over and over again and continue to be surprised by how intelligent, beautiful and sensitive the mind of its writer is. The writer is always superior to me. I’ve never had a similar experience with any other writer. I used to think Terry Pratchett was incredible, and I continue to enjoy his books, having read some of his books 20 or more times, but every reading brings up further flaws in his thinking, to the point that I can no longer stand some of his books that I used to think were so clever and intelligent in the past.

That is just a short illustration of what makes the Quran the best guide in life that I have found. I continue to read the Quran with skepticism, assuming Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) wrote it himself, as a way of ensuring that I’m being honest to myself, that I am not following it merely out of habit, but out of recognition for its virtue, and all it takes is 3 to 4 pages before the sheer amount of beauty, intelligence and sensitivity dispels any doubt I have that it could have been written by a human.

Re-examining Rain

How could God claim credit for making it rain when we cannot detect His hand in the process? In three ways:

  1. Purposeful invention. God invented rain. He designed and built a universe in which rain happens, for the very purpose of having it be a help toward the evolution and sustenance of the creatures that would one day come about on Earth.
  2. Operating the universe. This universe would be a big blob of inert, unmoving matter without God’s involvement. An atom has no power or will to move. It is God who has to move every single thing that moves in this world. That means God has to cause steam to raise, He has to make it go where it is supposed to go in the sky, He has to bring it together into clouds, and then He has to take it to where it will eventually become rain, where He condenses the water atoms into droplets of water, and where He causes these drops to fall using gravity, a energy field that He has to maintain. He does all of these things so reliably for us that we start to think of them as simply phenomena, saying “things just happen”, refusing to admit that there could be a power doing all of these things for us.
    This entire universe is like an image shown on a TV screen. Turn off the TV, and the image would disappear like it never existed. In the same way, this universe, if God decided to “let it go”, would disappear as if it had never existed: “God upholds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease (to exist). And were they to cease, there is none to uphold them except He. He is Most Clement, Most Forgiving.” (The Quran, verse 35:41) If God decided to stop moving the frames of this universe, the universe would be like a frozen video on a TV screen, not moving. It is God who has to move everything, and in this way He animates the universe, and claims responsibility for doing so.
  3. Intervention. While the above two ways admit for the possibility of God being responsible for the phenomenon of rain in general, we need something more. God seems to claim that He purposefully sends rain here and there (especially in verse 24:43 quoted above), in directions He wants at this moment, meaning not directions that only obey the laws of nature that He sustains. God seems to claim that His agency goes into deciding when and where rain happens, that it is not mere chance caused by the laws of nature. The way that God could make this happen is by making it happen regardless of the laws of nature, because He has the power to do that. This, of course, would be impossible to detect, according to His plan, since God does not want His existence known by hard evidence. Even if we could build a machine that perfectly predicted rain around the world, so that any aberrations caused by God’s decisions could be seen, God could change what the machine shows. While this explanation is not scientifically satisfactory, since it requires undetectable supernatural agency (which sounds like any other old superstition), the reason it can be taken seriously is that the Quran says it. Once you believe in an all-powerful God, it doesn’t require any stretch of imagination to think that He can do whatever He wants.
    Saying that God intentionally makes it rain here and there is to claim a miracle happens, since you are saying this rain is happening due to a supernatural phenomenon (God’s decision), not due to a natural phenomenon. To prove a miracle, an equally miraculous piece of evidence is needed, and the Quran is that miracle.
    Personally I’m disinclined to believe that God would change the readings of a machine just so that His hand would be hidden. It seems more likely that in the things where He intervenes, He will do it so gracefully that no further intervention would be needed to hide Himself. For example, when it comes to weather, His interventions are so subtle that they are all easily explained as “randomness” by scientists. A Muslim scientist can study the weather as a purely natural system, while also believing in God’s power to direct it as He wills, or to inspire him or her personally to go home five minutes later than usual to avoid a hailstorm that would have damaged their car.

Some Muslims and Christians try to re-interpret the relevant verses regarding weather and other phenomena to say that God is merely explaining how the laws of nature work. But I cannot support such interpretations in good conscience, because verse 24:43 in particular seems to claim direct agency. While a Muslim scientist may feel ashamed to admit that rain could ever happen for supernatural reasons, we Muslims aren’t actually asking non-Muslims to believe in it. We fully support scientific explanations, and we will not bother non-Muslims with anything supernatural, since that requires that they believe in God and the Quran in the first place, since they don’t, there is no point in telling them about God’s potential role in undetectably making it rain in certain times and places.

In other words, we fully believe in science. But we also believe that God is its inventor, that science is nothing more than the human effort to find out how God designed the universe, and we believe that God has the power to bypass it when He wants, in a fully undetectable way, because His own laws require that His existence should be undetectable.

An atheist could say this is like saying invisible magical fairies make it rain, and the reply is that yes, it is exactly like saying that. But in our case, we have extraordinary evidence to support our thinking; the Quran, while a person who claims that invisible magical fairies make it rain has no evidence.

Atheists will go on to say that the only reason highly intelligent and educated people believe in the Quran is cultural conditioning, that if we were reallytruly intelligent and open-minded, we couldn’t possibly believe in it, that there is some invisible, magical force that is preventing people like me from opening my eyes even after years of exposure to scientific books and enjoying books by atheists. There is no evidence for this, it is an atheist superstition that helps them feel smugly snug in their comfort zones.

Another phenomenon for which God claims direct agency is the forming of the genetic makeup of humans during conception:

It is He who forms you in the wombs as He wills. There is no god except He, the Almighty, the Wise. (The Quran, verse 3:6)

When a father and a mother’s genes unite, there are 64 trillion different possible combinations that could be created. God claims to have a hand in choosing which combination ends up actually taking place. Again, God can claim responsibility for forming our genes in the womb through the three methods mentioned above: Purposeful invention, operating the universe and intervening when He wants. Similar to weather events, the process of genetic recombination is so immensely complex and affected by randomness that God does not need to do anything to hide His hand in the matter, His interventions would easily explainable as merely randomness, which is as it should be.

Yet another place where God claims direct responsibility for physical phenomena is in His providing sustenance for humans:

Or, who originates the creation and then repeats it, and who gives you livelihood from the sky and the earth? Is there another god with God? Say, “Produce your evidence, if you are truthful.”8

And whosoever fears God, He will create for him a way out. And He will provide him with sustenance from where he does not expect.9

The second verse implies that God has a direct hand in providing sustenance, because He says that if we fear Him, then He will provide. This is a central concept of the God-human relationship, repeated often in the Bible and the Quran,

[Moses said,] “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.'”10

If God did not intervene directly in the affairs of humans, there would be no way for this contractual relationship to be maintained. If we fear God, God will provide for us. We act, God reacts. For God to react, He has to intervene directly in our universe.11

God, Evolution and Topology

The problem that many of the religious have with evolution is that it seems to claim that the creatures on Earth could have come about regardless of whether God exists or not. They mistakenly think it is a God versus nature problem, and this mistake is also made by atheist scientists on the other end, who think that finding a scientific explanation for natural phenomena disproves God’s role. They do not see that God’s agency and the existence of perfectly explainable natural phenomena are not mutually exclusive.

Topology refers to the physical design of the universe; the placement of the galaxies, stars and planets, and the placement of mountains, rivers and oceans on Earth.

Topology is critical to evolution. Very minor differences in the universe’s topology would have made life impossible to exist. And very minor differences in the topology of Earth would have lead to the evolution of extremely different creatures than the ones we have now, and could have made the existence of humans impossible.

This is a fact of evolution that rarely goes examined even by scientists (I say this as someone who has enjoyed numerous books on evolution). Imagine if Earth was entirely an ocean planet, with the bottom of the sea a flat, featureless plain of sand. What type of creatures would evolve on such an Earth?

Ones that would be very different from the ones that we currently have. To begin with, there would be no way for land animals to evolve. The only types of bird that could evolve would be ones that could survive by sleeping on water without being eaten by the fish underneath, if such a thing is possible.

Since the bottom of this imaginary sea is flat and featureless, the type of aquatic life would be far less diverse, because diversity requires differences in conditions, the presence of unique evolutionary niches where an organism can find food and shelter and reproduce. Having an Earth that is exactly the same all the way round would lead to far less biodiversity. Perhaps the number of all species that would evolve on such an Earth would be less than a few thousand, instead of the 8.7 million species we have on Earth.

It might even be impossible for such an earth to support any type of organism beyond microscopic ones.

What this is meant to show is that the design of a planet is crucial to the type of creatures that evolve on it. And if you could design a planet with the right topology, you could create any type of creature you want.

It follows that you can create any living thing you want just by designing the right topology for it to exist.

And perhaps it is for this reason that God says:

Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of humanity, but most people do not know.12

27. Are you more difficult to create, or the sky? He constructed it. 28. He raised its masses, and proportioned it. 29. And He dimmed its night, and brought out its daylight. 30. And the earth after that He spread. 31. And from it, He produced its water and its pasture. 32. And the mountains, He anchored. 33. A source of enjoyment for you and for your animals.13

God is saying that the fact the He designed our universe’s topology is a greater accomplishment than the fact that He created humans. This would make a lot of sense if the existence of humanity was nothing more than a byproduct of the universe’s topology. When God created the universe, He didn’t merely create a lifeless system of stars and planets. He created a universe in whose topology was embedded the program that would ultimately lead to the existence of 8.7 million species, including humans.

Imagine if Earth lacked mountains and rivers. Could humans or human-like creatures have evolved on such a planet? It is unlikely, perhaps impossible. The design of the planet and the universe in which it exists decides what type of creature can evolve on that planet, meaning that the designer of the universe can be fully credited with the creation of all the creatures that exist inside that universe, if the designer had the creation of those creatures in mind to begin with.

Through the Quran’s consistent references to mountains, rivers, seas and the design of the earth and the sky, God acts as a topological designer explaining His methods. God explains the topological design of the universe in detail, and says that this is of greater importance than the creation of humans, because He is in effect describing the template, the code, that led to the existence of humans.

This universe can be thought of as nothing more or less than a factory for creating and sustaining humans. When God describes the various design elements of the universe, He is explaining His greatness as the designer of such an immensely complex factory that led to the existence of not just one species, but millions, and all done in a way that hides Him from our view.

Reversing Entropy for a Time

How can non-living matter lead to the complex biological machines that exist in all kinds of creatures? Doesn’t this go against the idea of entropy, that the universe continues to break down and become simpler over time?

It is possible if you provide 1. energy sources and 2. complexity-inducing topologies.

Both of these conditions come true on Earth, where energy is available in the form of sunlight, geothermal energy and tides, and where the topology of Earth and the universe in which it is contained create an environment in which life can not only originate, but diversify by finding niche after niche in which it can survive.

The origination of life requires that dead matter somehow join together and increase in complexity. This is somewhat like expecting a bunch of rocks to join together and walk up a hill. The difference is that in the world of atoms and molecules, things join together and increase in complexity all the time. All that’s needed is the right mixture, and usually a source of energy, and from this, extremely complex molecules can evolve. This is a fact of chemistry. The question is just how complex can these natural structures become? Someone who denies abiogenesis (the origination of life from non-living matter) would say that there is no way that the complexity can increase to the degree seen in living things, meaning that life could never evolve from non-living matter.

While someone with sufficient imagination would see that it might be possible given a large enough test chamber, ample building blocks of life, water, energy and hundreds of millions of years, and most importantly, a Designer who put all of these together in just the right way to create life.

Topological Programming

Physicists say that if the Big Bang (the explosion of the blob of matter that lead to the creation of our universe) had happened the merest fraction of a second slower or faster, the galaxies couldn’t have formed, and humanity wouldn’t have existed.

To create humanity, what God had to do was get the conditions of the Big Bang right, and 13.8 billion years later human-like creatures came into existence on one of the planets inside the universe created by the Big Bang.

The timescales involved in this, and the amount of intelligent design necessary, make it very difficult for people to imagine this actually taking place, that is, imagining God creating humans in such a complex and roundabout way.

But if you imagine the whole process taking just one second, it becomes easier to believe. Imagine a god who is holding a blob of matter in his hands. He parts his hands, the blob expands with it, and in just that second, you see a planet inside that blob of matter on which certain creatures live. Shouldn’t a god have such power? And can’t such a god claim responsibility for the existence of those creatures, if the nature of the blob of matter and the way he expanded it is all that lead to the existence of those creatures, and if the way he did was perfectly intentional, with the aim of creating those creatures?

Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were one mass, and We tore them apart? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not believe?14

We constructed the universe with [our] capability, and We are expanding it.15

The Islamic version of intelligent design (the phrase Christians use to refer to God designing humans and other creatures) can therefore be also called topological programming. When you want to create a creature or group of creatures, all that you need to do is design a universe with the right topology. In this topology is programmed the existence of those creatures you want to create, and after millions or billions of years, which, if you are God, could be no length of time at all, those creatures will evolve on the planet or planets of your choice, according to the design you put into the topology you created.

Think of a computer program that lets you design creatures, but instead of letting you design the creatures directly, it asks you to design a universe that would lead to the type of creature you want. On the screen it shows you a box where a picture of the creature would be, but currently it is blank. And it gives you various boxes where you can input various numbers. It asks you for the size of the universe, the speed of its expansion, the external shape of it, and the various physical constants that go into that universe, such as the speed of light. By making the tiniest changes to any of these variables which the program lets you change, the creatures it shows you on the screen change immensely. Get the numbers just right, and you will get humans, among the trillions upon trillions of other possible creatures you could create.

This is what topological programming means;  designing universes with the specific aim of seeing creatures originate and evolve upon it after billions of years. A topological programmer is a designer of universes, and that is what the Creator is.

If you think about it, there is no difference between God creating all the creatures on earth by a single command that turns a large puff of smoke into all of them, which is the way our ancestors used to think how creation should work, and creating them by designing and sustaining a universe that would lead to their existence after billions of years. The end result is exactly the same, it is just that the second method is harder for the human brain to understand and appreciate.

In this way there is no clash between Darwin’s theory of evolution and intelligent design (except when it comes to humans, which will be dealt with below). The theory of evolution is merely telling us God’s means of designing creatures, which is far cleverer than anything one would usually imagine.

To design an elephant, God doesn’t need to create an elephant from a puff of smoke. He instead brings a blob of matter and expands it, and billions of years later elephants will exist on a planet or many planets inside that blob of matter. God has the power to create a new universe full of millions of planets all of which are inhabited by elephants, merely by designing a universe with the right topology to lead to such planets and creatures.

Topological programming doesn’t only explain evolution, but the origin of life as well. The same way that God can program evolution into the universe’s topology, He can also program the origination of life into it, and take credit for it.

Muslims mustn’t challenge atheists to create life from scratch, saying that if they do that we will stop believing in God. There is no suggestion in the Quran that artificial life cannot be created, and creating artificial life does not take away from God’s greatness. We are merely copying Him, from inside a universe that He designed and that He sustains.

The following verse seems to suggest that humans cannot create artificial life:

O people! A parable is presented, so listen to it: Those you invoke besides God will never create a fly, even if they banded together for that purpose. And if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it. Weak are the pursuer and the pursued. 16

However, this verse can actually be used as an argument for the possibility of humans creating artificial life. The second part of the verse says, “And if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it.”

Is it impossible to recover things stolen by flies? As a general rule, it is not impossible to catch flies and take back whatever they have stolen. What the verse is actually saying, which is a point repeated many times throughout the Quran, is that we have no inherent power of our own, that we have zero power over this universe, and that it is ultimately God who operates it. This means that we have no power to recover something a fly steals except when God enables us, by moving the relevant atoms, photons and energy fields for us so that we can carry out our intention of recovering something the fly stole.

By the same reasoning, we have no power to create artificial life, except when God enables us, by maintaining and operating the universe. Both of these things might be possible for us to do, if God makes them possible, and both would be impossible, if God makes them impossible.

In this way, creating artificial life might be as possible as recovering something stolen by a fly.

It is possible that humans will never be able to manufacture life. Perhaps there really is something special about life, and perhaps at some point God had to breathe life into Earth to jump start the process of evolution that would eventually lead to the rest of all of the creatures we see on Earth. We do not know, and it is best that we do not issue definitive statements on matters we know little about.

Personally I lean towards abiogenesis, I believe God is great enough to program the origination of life into the universe’s topology, meaning that He can create a universe that leads to the origination of life without Him having to intervene afterwards to plant life on it. Questioning the possibility of this happening is questioning God’s greatness and creativity. Just because we cannot imagine how we ourselves would accomplish this does not mean that it is impossible for God.

The Rarest Species

Why would God create life in such a roundabout way instead of creating it directly? Because this allows for the creation of the rarest species of all. No, not humans.

Atheists.

God wants His existence to be impossible to prove. He wants there to be the possibility of disbelieving in Him, and that requires that His own hand should be invisible from direct measurement. If you think about it, evolution is just the right way of achieving this. It provides a perfectly scientific explanation for the evolution of all the creatures we see, which makes God unnecessary, which makes it possible to disbelieve in God if we want to.

God wants us to have a choice, and creating life in a way that makes scientific sense is what God wants to do, so that we will not have any knowledge of the Unseen except through His scriptures.

Making it possible for atheists to exist might perhaps be God’s greatest accomplishment in this universe. Who else is there who can create such an immensely complex, well-functioning and logical universe that can lead to the existence of creatures who can doubt the Creator’s existence?

Human Evolution

God describes the creation of humans in detail, which causes many Muslims to automatically reject evolution, thinking that evolution goes against the Quran, or that the Quran goes against evolution:

26. We created the human being from clay, from molded mud.

27. And the jinn We created before, from piercing fire.

28. Your Lord said to the angels, “I am creating a human being from clay, from molded mud.”

29. “When I have formed him, and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down prostrating before him.”

30. So the angels prostrated themselves, all together.17

We know that humans share many of their genes with chimpanzees, rats, yeast and even some viruses. So are the above verses false, or is evolution false?

The answer is in the Quran, in this verse:

The likeness of Jesus in God’s sight is that of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him, “Be,” and he was.18

We know that Jesus, peace be upon him, was a human. Yet the Quran says his creation was similar to that of Adam.

How did God create Jesus? He used some clay to create a human whose genetic code was like any other human, and at a time when other humans were around.

In the same way, God could have created Adam at a time when humans or human-like creatures already existed on earth (and existing, of course, by God’s design, who designed the topology that lead to the existence of such creatures). God took genetic code from these humans, or more likely, God already had the genetic code before the creation of the universe. He embedded that code into the universe’s topology. For example, a minimum number of rivers may be necessary on a planet for humans to exist on it. For humans to evolve on a particular planet, their genetic code has to be translated into topological features of that planet and the universe in which it is contained.

The evolution of humans or human-like creatures on earth, and the creation of Adam from scratch (rather than from another human), are not mutually exclusive. God created Adam from dust, and He created Jesus from dust, and in the first instance, humanoids may have already existed on earth, similar to the second instance.

What, then, was special about Adam? He had free will, while the human-like creatures that had evolved on Earth lacked it, they were merely animals, like Richard Dawkins thinks he is. The fact of God breathing “His spirit” into Adam may have been the critical differentiator that turned Adam into something more than yet another animal, perhaps it is this spirit which gives us free will.

Before Adam, the earth lacked any creature that could be held responsible for its actions. Adam’s introduction into Earth was the start of the existence of responsibility. It is for this reason that the angels complained about Adam being placed on Earth:

“Will You place in it (i.e. on Earth) someone who will cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we declare Your praises and sanctify You?”19

The angels do not like the idea of ruining the fact that Earth was free from all evil, since everything on it (including the humanoids) acted according to instincts placed inside them by God’s topological programming, meaning that everything on it perfectly obeyed God’s design as accurately as the planets do in their orbits.

Bears probably still ate deer, but that was according to God’s design, so it wasn’t an evil thing. Placing Adam on Earth, on the other hand, meant that there would be a creature on Earth who could defy God’s design, in this way creating evil.

The reason humans could do evil on Earth, when no other creature could do it, is that by having free will, they could do “artificial” things, things that did not directly follow from the rules and the wisdom that went into the creation of the universe. They could defy the program embedded in the universe’s topology, in this way bringing about corruption.

Some atheist writers make a great deal of the simple line of reasoning that if the universe is entirely ruled by physical laws, then there would be no place for free will or responsibility, because every action on it would be a derivation of the system itself. In a sealed chamber, if an atom moves faster than another, we do not say it decided to move fast. It moved fast because of the way it interacted with the rest of the atoms (and other forces) present in the sealed chamber. If we think of the whole universe as one big sealed chamber, then naturally, there would be no responsibility or free will, every action and reaction on it would be nothing more than particles and forces interacting. When someone decides to steal something, it is because all the different factors in the universe led them to make that decision at that time, similar to the different factors inside a sealed chamber causing a particular atom to move faster.

They do not realize that there is a big “if” at the beginning of that whole train of thought. The Quran says that humans have free will, therefore there is some special ingredient in humans that makes them an exception to the physical laws, and therefore none of the above actually applies to humans. Based on what evidence? The Quran. Therefore the above line of reasoning is irrelevant and does not prove anything, since it relies on an unproven premise. The question is whether we accept the Quran’s evidence or reject it, if we accept it, then we believe human actions are free-willed, and there is no scientific opposition to this, since there is no scientific proof that free will does not exist. All that atheists have is a line of reasoning that starts with an unproven premise, they believe in the superstition that there is no free will without having any evidence, while we believe in the Quran-and-conscience-backed, but scientifically unproven, fact that there is free will.

The Quran refers to the atheist desire to believe in unproven superstitions that help them disbelieve in God:

That is because when God alone was called upon, you disbelieved; but when others were associated with Him, you believed. Judgment rests with God the Sublime, the Majestic.20

Many irreligious people somewhat admit the truth of free will by acting as if human creations are artificial, while saying animal creations are not. They say that it is a bad thing if a city expands and destroys the uninhabited ecology in which various animals exist. But if we are simply yet another species, our destruction of the habitat of other creatures is as natural as the destruction of habitats that has gone on for millions of years as one species acquired mutations that enabled it to destroy other species, and as natural processes turned forests into deserts.

Why should our actions be artificial and the actions of animals natural? Why should humans not act greedily and destructively when animals can do it?

The reason why human creations are artificial, rather than natural, is because our free spirit is not controlled by the universe’s topological programming (by the laws God laid down for the universe), rather, we can defy it and do as we please. This makes us responsible for our actions, and it makes our creations artificial. Human creations are artificial because we are from outside this universe. We are only here for a short time. Once humanoids were given free will, from then on they stopped being partakers in nature, equal to other animals, and became something more, something that could sidestep nature, sidestep their own genetic programming, to do new things, sometimes good, sometimes evil.

Some will use the evidence-free theory of emergence to say that a piece of biological tissue (the brain) can acquire self-awareness and responsibility, and in this way do things that are artificial, that are not mere derivations of the system’s design and function. There is no proof for this, therefore it cannot be used to prove any point.

There is much debate on what consciousness is, what this thing is behind our eyes that enables us to think about thinking, to philosophize, to choose and be responsible for our choices. Consciousness is probably nothing more or less than our God-given spirit experiencing life inside a human body. This means that even if we manage to create life, it will probably be impossible to create a free-willed creature from scratch, since unlike God, we cannot breath a spirit into something to make it self-aware. This seems like a power that only God has.

We do not know the exact moment in the history of Earth that Adam was placed on it. It is possible that it was in the past 10,000 years, or it could have been 100,000 years ago. We do not know how Adam interacted with the existing humanoids, whether there was any interbreeding.

Even if Adam and his children (humanity) share genes with various humanoid creatures that have existed, that doesn’t mean we are directly descended from them, just that God used some of their genetic code to create Adam, the same way He used the genetic code of existing humans to create Jesus from dust.

God probably already had the full genetic code of humans before the creation of the universe, and it is for this reason that He can take full credit for the creation of humans (and all other creatures) despite the fact that they evolved naturally. This universe is simply a seemingly automated factory that follows a program placed inside it (embedded in its topological features) by God that is designed to lead to the origination of life and ultimately humanoids. Therefore it is not that God “took” genetic code from other humanoids to place them in Adam. He already had all of the genetic code to begin with, even before the universe was created. He placed some of the code in those humanoids indirectly (using evolution), and some in Adam directly. The code in both cases comes from God’s “library”, so to speak, one travels indirectly, hiding in the universe’s topology until, after billions of years, it is brought to life through evolution, and one travels directly, with God creating Adam from dust based on that code.

It is a case of starting with the recipe and building a massive universe in which the recipe can come into existence, without leaving any trace of one’s direct involvement in the process. God did not have to come look on Earth 10,000 or however many years ago to find genetic code to use for Adam. The code was already in His library.

The Self-Destructive Fight Against Science

Religious people, both Christian and Muslim, have done a great deal of work to discredit religion in their short-sighted and badly advised defense of it. The Christian speaker Bill O’Reilly has been the laughing stock of the internet multiple times in his ridiculous statements in support of religion.

O’Reilly makes the same mistake that many Muslims make. He supports atheists by making the exact same mistake they make; he thinks that once a natural phenomenon has been explained by science, it automatically proves God’s involvement false.

You can’t come up with a better weapon to hand to atheists to help them win their war on religion. By buying into their way of thinking, religious people enter an arena where they are guaranteed to be crushed over and over again by scientific findings.

The scientific functioning of our universe is a principle of the Quran. God’s existence must be impossible to prove, therefore there must always be scientific reasons that explain things without a need for God.

The world of the Unseen, the supernatural, is by God’s design beyond human knowledge or measurement. Everything we see around us must have a logical explanation, or seem to, or there should be the hope of finding a logical explanation for it one day. There should never be anything provably supernatural.

Provable miracles must never happen, because a miracle, by definition, is a sign of God’s direct involvement in our universe, which means it is a direct measurement of God, which means it is hard evidence for God’s existence. God, as He repeats over and over again in the Quran, intends to hide Himself from us until the end of the world, when clear signs of His existence will be shown to us:

Do they mean to wait until the angels come to them, or for your Lord to arrive, or for some of your Lord’s signs to come? On the Day when some of your Lord’s signs come, no soul will benefit from its faith unless it had believed previously, or had earned goodness through its faith. Say, “Wait, we too are waiting.” (The Quran, verse 6:158)

Atheists say they want to wait for hard evidence for God’s existence before they believe in the fairy tales present in scripture. The Quran tells religious people to say the same thing, that we too are waiting. The above verse can be considered a pointer to the proper religious mindset toward science. We too acknowledge, with atheists, that there is no hard evidence for God’s existence. They say they will wait for hard evidence before believing, we say we believe in scripture and wait for hard evidence, and for this humble submission and patient waiting for proof, we will be rewarded.

The mistake they make is that they reject the possibility that scripture might be true, that what their consciences tell them might be true, that there is a God and that there is a purpose built into this universe, while we do not neglect our consciences and read scripture with an open heart, until the soft evidence of it proves to us that faith is better than disbelief, while acknowledging that we would never have direct proof for our beliefs until the Day of Judgment.

There is no shame in admitting that God’s existence is impossible to prove. That is what the Quran teaches. If God’s existence was possible to prove (with hard evidence), that would make faith unnecessary, and that would turn this world into a farce.

There is certainly ample proof in this universe and in the Quran for any fair-minded person to be guided to God, as the Quran says:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the oceans for the benefit of mankind; in the water that God sends down from the sky, and revives the earth with it after it had died, and scatters in it all kinds of creatures; in the changing of the winds, and the clouds disposed between the sky and the earth; are signs for people who understand.21

But these signs are not hard evidence, in that it is always necessary for the conscience to be involved before the evidence is accepted. Rational thought is not sufficient by itself.

One can argue that there is nothing besides rational thought to think with. Religion says that there is also the conscience, a power that probably comes with the unproven spirit of God that’s inside all of us, and which was given to us through Adam. This is the part of a human that is involved in faith, involved in making the final judgment to believe in God and obey His commandments without having direct proof of His existence. The recognition of the soft evidence in scripture and the universe’s design is sufficient to prove the existence of God, even if our rational brains continue to recognize that there is room for doubt and disbelief.

A Clarification on Kufr (Disbelief / Infidelity) and God’s Justice

In Islam, merely not believing in God doesn’t necessarily mean one will go into the Hellfire. The Quran’s word for someone who deserves eternal punishment is kafir. Misinterpretation and misunderstanding of this word among Muslims and non-Muslims has led to a great deal of confusion, and has turned many away from religion.

Kafir comes from kufr, which literally means “one who conceals”. For this reason kafir is actually also used to mean “farmer”, because a farmer covers up seeds with soil. A kafir is the evil mirror image of a faithful person; one who has seen the soft evidence for God’s existence and has accepted it in their heart, but who intentionally rejects this faith out of arrogance and desire. A kafir is someone who acquires faith and then disbelieves:

On the Day when some faces will be whitened, and some faces will be blackened. As for those whose faces are blackened: “Did you disbelieve after your belief?” Then taste the punishment for having disbelieved. 22

That’s what a kafir, a disbeliever, is. Someone who acquires faith but intentionally rejects it. In Islam, people who do not believe in God, or who believe in the wrong god because they do not know any better, are not automatically disbelievers. The Quran says:

God does not hold a soul responsible except for what is in its power.23

God does not hold a soul responsible except for that which He has already given it. 24

Therefore a person who never has a chance to believe in God, for example because they have only seen negative things about religion and have never had it clearly explained to them, will not be held responsible for not believing in God.

There is some disagreement among theologians on this matter. Some say that humans are endowed with sufficient capacity to believe in God even without scripture. While we cannot rule this out, I find it questionable, although I cannot think of any definite proof either way. It seems possible that perfectly good and kind people can be driven away from religion due to particular circumstances, or simply because they never learn enough about God to believe in Him, but again, we cannot make any definitive statements about what goes in inside people’s hearts throughout their long lifetimes.

Ultimately, what matters is that God is just. Many irreligious folk say that it is unjust for someone to be punished if they truly do not have sufficient knowledge to believe in God, and use this to say that religion is unjust. But religion says the same thing these people say. God is just and He will not needlessly punish anyone. God will not do anything unjust, therefore if we ever think or imagine that something He does is unjust, then we have thought wrongly about Him, and have not appreciated His kindness, generosity and justice. It is utter madness to think that the One who created humans, with all of their complexity and sensitivity, should be less just and sensitive than humans.

The God of the Old Testament is certainly that way, because of the corruptions that the rabbis introduced into the book. The God of the Quran is not. I have not found a single unjust thing in the Quran despite all of the times I have read it.

Conclusion: Time to Join in Origin of Life Research

It is time for Muslim individuals, organizations and nations to proudly adopt the theories of evolution and abiogenesis as nothing more than new fields of the sciences. The same way that we do not fight the atmospheric sciences even if they explain how rain happens, we must not fight the science of evolution just because it explains how creatures are made.

We must abandon the centuries-old superstition that discovering rational explanations for natural phenomena proves that God is not involved with them. We must eagerly endorse the effort to find out explanations for all phenomena, explanations that completely take God out of the picture, because we and the atheists have the same beliefs when it comes to this. We both believe that there can never be anything supernatural that can be measured, meaning that when doing science, we and atheists have everything in common, seeking to find rational and logical explanations for everything around us.

It is foolishness to attack a scientist for explaining how it rains, and similarly, it is foolishness to attack a scientist for explaining how creatures come into existence. In both cases, scientists try to find out how God designs and operates the universe.

Jews are a race and a religion

Can you please tell me the meaning of “Children of Israel” in the Quran?

Israel is another name for Prophet Ya`qoub, grandson of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Ya`qoub is known as Jacob in the Bible. The Children of Israel are Jacob’s descendants. He had twelve sons, and the descendants of his sons make up the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Israel/Jacob is the father of all Jews, meaning that the Children of Israel means “genetic Jews”, people who are Jewish by birth. The Quran also uses yahood to refer to Jews, which means “genetic-cultural Jews”, Jews who are Jews by genetics, and who consider themselves part of the world’s Jewry and act as a specific culture and interest group.

In Islam, a person can be Muslim and belong to the Children of Israel (i.e. be a genetic Jew), since belonging to the Children of Israel is a matter of genetics, similar to being Arab or Indo-European.

But a person cannot be Muslim and yahood, because being yahood means that one accepts to be part of Judaism to a greater or lesser degree.

These distinctions are lost on many Muslims and many people in the West, especially since some Jews act as if they are “just a faith” like Islam and Christianity, when they are not just a faith. If they were just a faith, how could Israel use genetics to decide who to give Israeli citizenship to (since only a Jew can get citizenship)? According to the racist thinking that rules in Israel, an Arab’s genes are not good enough to make them citizens, while a Jew’s genes are. It is all about race, similar to the apartheid government of South Africa treating whites as first class citizens and blacks as subhuman.

The Children of Israel refers to Jews-the-genetic-group (i.e. the Jewish race), yahood refers to Jews-the-genetic-and-cultural group, those of the Jewish race who are part of Jewish culture (even if they are not religious). The word Jew in English, among those who understand history, has the same meaning as yahood.

What “Jew” means is similar to what “WASP” means (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). WASP refers to people of European and Protestant heritage, which includes many of the white people who live in the West. WASPs are both a genetic group and a cultural/religious group (even though they are not very religious in general). Jews, instead of having white genes, have Jewish genes, and instead of belonging to Protestant culture, belong to Jewish culture (even if they aren’t very religious).

Some people can be found in the West who think that one stops being a Jew if one stops “practicing”. This is like saying one stops being a WASP if one stops “practicing”. Being a Jew, and being a WASP, is not something you practice, it is something you are.

For Jews and WASPs, there is a religious tradition that originally defined their culture, but to most Jews and WASPs, religion is something that’s only useful during weddings and funerals, although both groups retain some of the teachings of their religions. Thus many Jews, even the atheists among them, continue to maintain the Hebrew Bible idea of considering themselves a superior species of humans, separate from all other humans, and continue to view the world in terms of Jews vs. non-Jews. WASPs, too, continue to value Christian ideals to some degree, and their culture of respecting fairness, equality and hard work was originally inspired by Biblical ideas.

Question from a reader

Asalaamualaykum. who founded Judaism?, was it the children of Israel? (Yacoub) did they become jews after Moses? before the coming of Jesus? Would be grateful for any info into the history of Judaism and children of Yocoub.

Judaism as we know it today was established by Moses (Prophet Musa peace be upon him). The same way that Islam is based on the teachings of the Quran, Judaism is based on the teachings of the Torah, the revelation that was given to Moses.

The Torah makes up the first five books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These five books contain the message and the laws of the original Judaism that was founded by Moses (with some corruptions).

The Jewish race (people of Jewish genes) existed before Moses, since their existence starts with Israel/Jacob, about 400 years before Moses according to Biblical chronologists. Before Moses, they followed the religion of Abraham and Israel.

The Jews before Moses are known as Hebrews, since in current usage Jew means a person of Jewish genes who is a follower of Moses’ religion/culture. But genetically and culturally the Hebrews and and the Jews are the same people. Once the Hebrews acquired Moses’ religion, they reformed into Jews.

Today’s Judaism is very different from the original Judaism because it follows the Talmud (writings of rabbis), which creates a new religion on top of the old religion and legalizes things like usury.

In Islamic thinking, Jesus was the Jewish messiah that was sent to correct and reform Judaism and ban the evils that the rabbis had legalized, such as usury. The rabbis tolerated for a while, until he started to threaten their profits by attacking the Temple (which was the Jewish Wall Street of that time where usury was practiced). Within one week Jesus was to be crucified for this unforgivable sin. In Islam, we believe that God saved Jesus, as is narrated in the chapter 3 of the Quran:

54. They planned, and God planned; but God is the Best of planners.

55. God said, “O Jesus, I am terminating your life, and raising you to Me, and clearing you of those who disbelieve. And I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return; then I will judge between you regarding what you were disputing.

In verse 55, God promises Jesus that He will ensure that the Jews and non-Jews who followed Jesus (the Christians) will be forever superior to the Jews who disbelieved in Jesus (Jews who continued to follow Judaism). This prophecy has continued to remain true to this day. Despite all Jewish efforts to stamp out Christianity, it went on to become the official religion of the Roman Empire, and since then Christian powers have always been orders of magnitude more powerful than Jewish powers.

On Islam, Homosexuality and Homosexual Muslims

You don’t have to answer this because its a very complex question but do you think you can be Muslim and gay? And how should we as Muslims feel about gays? How shall we treat them? How do you reconcile Islam (in the sense it is a religion that discourages/disagrees with homosexuality) with homosexuality? Is there even anything to reconcile? How should Islam (or I guess Muslims) move about in this world that supports homosexuality? Is there a compromise that can be made in such a pluralistic world?

There is nothing wrong with having homosexual feelings, the same way there is nothing wrong with a man having sexual desire toward another man’s wife. The desire exists, what Islam forbids is acting upon it.

We can speculate about the reason why God forbids these things, for example it appears that any society that approves of sex outside of marriage and homosexuality quickly dies out due to low fertility rates. There isn’t a single civilization on Earth today that has tolerated homosexuality for centuries on end and survived.

I don’t doubt that some people can have highly fulfilling homosexual relationships, the same way that people can have highly fulfilling relationships outside of marriage. What matters is that God considers these harmful, and so He forbids them.

We do not need to be convinced of the harms of these things to avoid them. God forbids that we eat bacon, although by all accounts it is an extremely tasty thing to eat. We do not need to be convinced that bacon is bad for our health, God forbids it, therefore we avoid it. God forbids that we eat during the daytime in Ramadan, even though the food and water in the Ramadan daytime are just as nourishing as they are at night. The food and drink don’t turn into poison during the day, yet God forbids that we consume them.

The Quran gives a certain structure to our lives that we have to implement, even if we do not fully appreciate the wisdom behind it. The matter all boils down to the Quran, one reads it, becomes convinced that it is truly from the Creator, and decides of their own free will to follow it, which means they will follow all of it, including the parts of it that they do not fully understand, because, since they are convinced that it is from the Creator, they trust Him to know what is best for them.

Part of the structure that the Quran gives to our lives is to not have sex outside of marriage, and to not engage in homosexual relationships, despite whatever fulfillment that exists in these things. As God’s lowly servants, we can only say “We hear and we obey.” (The Quran, verse 24:51).

Reconciling Islam with homosexuality is similar to reconciling Islam with the desires of a man who is not satisfied with having sex within marriage only but constantly desires other women. While there might be scientific reasons for their desires, and while carrying out their desires might give them extreme fulfillment, Islam requires that they do not act on their desires for the greater good, therefore there can be no reconciliation.

A person who has homosexual desires might wonder, “What is so wrong with desiring a person of the same sex? We don’t mean harm to anyone, and our relationship is consensual.” What’s wrong with it is that it goes against the structure that God wants to give to our lives. It is similar to eating in the daytime during Ramadan. You can do it without meaning harm to anyone, and it can give you pleasure, but it goes against the rules that God has placed.

If one thinks God’s rules are silly and not worth following, then this is not about homosexuality, it is about their not believing in the Quran. And if they believe in the Quran but feel that it is unjustly discriminating against them, this is similar to a person feeling it is unjustly discriminating against their desire for alcohol, or for sex outside of marriage. It might feel unjust and oppressive, but it is for the greater good.

If a person feels that giving up the fulfillment of a homosexual relationship for the greater good is not worth it, then they are choosing the present life at the expense of the hereafter. Millions of people have taken this choice in various ways, choosing fulfillment in the present life instead of being content with God’s commandments, to their ultimate loss.

Homosexuality is just another condition that prevents a Muslim from having satisfactory intimate relationships. There are thousands of such conditions, and there is nothing special about homosexuality that makes one deserve to break God’s laws so that one can attain fulfillment.

A Muslim engaging in homosexual sex saying there is no other way for them to receive fulfillment is like a poor Muslim man of 60 who really desires women but who has never had sex saying that he deserves to sleep with a prostitute in order to receive fulfillment, since God has prevented him from getting fulfillment the acceptable way, or like a crippled Muslim woman who thinks she can never get married saying that she is allowed to get sex outside of marriage since there is no other way for her.

There are many people living with horrible conditions that prevent them from enjoying life and cause them great suffering, or that prevent them from ever having intimate relationships. Being homosexual and not being able to enjoy heterosexual relationships is just one of those thousands of conditions. Many Muslims patiently suffer through such conditions, and they do not justify breaking God’s laws in order to attain fulfillment.

Millions of Muslim men and women desire marriage but live their lives without enjoying an intimate relationship even once because they are too poor or too unattractive to marry, or they are attractive but there is no one they can marry, and in this way they get old and die without marrying.

For a homosexual Muslim, the matter is entirely between themselves and God. They should read the Quran and use their conscience to decide the best course of action, and they should reject the 24/7 propaganda in the West that constantly tells them they should act on their desires.

As for dealing with a Muslim who has homosexual desires but who does not act on them, then they should be treated like any other Muslim, since they haven’t broken any Islamic laws.

And as for dealing with Muslims who do engage in homosexual acts, they should be dealt with like other sinners, for example those who engage in heterosexual sex outside of marriage, or those who drink alcohol. We should treat them in public with politeness like we treat all people. If we have a close friend who is a sinner, we can admonish them with kind words if they are close enough to not be offended by our words. As for distant friends and acquaintances; we will not cause a Muslim alcoholic to suddenly come back to the Straight Path by calling them sinners or sending them articles about how people like them will go to hell. In such cases, it is best to avoid them, or if we have to interact with them, to be as polite and generous as we always are.

If such a person seeks our friendship or help, we should not reject them automatically. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says: “For God to guide another person through you is greater in worth than red camels.” Red camels were considered the most valuable commodity in Arabia at that time. (Bukhari and Muslim)

But he also says: “The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Associating with any type of sinner can be good for both of you; they may be encouraged to become better people, and you could earn the rewards of being a cause for them to come back to the Straight Path. But it could also be harmful for both of you, in that you could become involved with their sin, and in this way both of you could earn punishment, you for falling into sin, and they for being a cause for it. What one should do is not a clear matter, it is a conscience call, and one should decide on a case-by-case basis. There is no single rule that fits all cases.

To reiterate regarding your main question (whether there is something to reconcile), there isn’t. Homosexual sex is like sex outside of marriage, drinking alcohol or engaging in usury. There is nothing to reconcile. Regardless of how common it is, or the billions of dollars that leftist billionaires spend promoting it, we must judge things according to how God judges them, even if this makes us unfashionable. Fashions come and go, but God’s words remain the same. Today it is fashionable to legally steal money from the poor through usury, and every rich celebrity engages in it by “investing” their money into various financial institutions that lend money at usury. Just because fashionable people do this does not mean we should follow their example or approve of it or try to reconcile Islam with their desires. They may all have a mental condition that makes them really like stealing money from the poor. Islam, however, asks them to not carry out their desires for the greater good even if what they do is perfectly acceptable according to today’s fashions.

200 years ago in the West usurers were treated like the most disgusting wretches of society by Christians. Today almost every single Christian engages in usury through mortgages and various investments, and even the Vatican lends money at usury through the Vatican Bank. Have they gained anything by this other than God’s wrath and the hollowing out and demise of their culture and civilization?

Here is a 7-minute video by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi speaking about the same matter, for those interested:

What happened to Islamic civilization? Why did Muslims fall behind in science and technology?

I wanted your in depth opinion on a particular observation. Muslims, historically speaking, have been responsible for hundreds and thousands of scientific discoveries. What happened to us? Why are we in the stage we are?

Only 100 years ago, which is just a little more than one human lifetime, the Ottoman Empire was a sovereign Muslim nation that could stand up to any Western power. No Jewish colonizer would have dared to terrorize and massacre Palestinians when the Ottoman Empire was there to protect its citizens.

While many Muslims, including scholars, think that Muslims were always powerful, capable and thriving throughout history until modern times, this is mostly a romantic fairy tale told to console and encourage.

The Crusaders were able to take Jerusalem and other parts of the Levant from Muslims in 1099 CE and ruled it for nearly 100 years. Where were the great Muslim powers in this time that they couldn’t take it back? The Middle East was a mix of weak and fractured “Muslim” powers, who were only Muslim in name but in general acted like any modern power, killing and destroying while using religion to justify their actions, and while being under the influence and sometimes control of foreign non-Muslim powers.

The current weakness and powerlessness of Muslims is similar to their state during the Mongol invasions. Some Muslims thought the end of the world had arrived, thinking the Mongols were the promised Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog) mentioned in the Quran. The Mongols utterly destroyed the Sunni Muslim Khwarezmian Empire which controlled nearly all of Modern Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and parts of Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, and which had existed for 150 years, through the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children. After that, they went on to destroy Baghdad and Damascus, although the Abbasid Empire had been in decline for centuries before the Mongols arrived.

On the other side of the Medieval world, Muslims ruled nearly half of Spain for nearly 800 years, until 1492 CE (which is also the year the Americas were discovered). Just as they threw Muslims out of Spain, Christians went on to conquer two continents, spread Christian rule all over them, and eventually built the world’s most powerful nation there.

The Myth of Continuous Power Increase

There is a myth among Muslims that since they belong to God’s chosen religion, they should have been able to establish a globally dominant power that ruled the world forever. But God doesn’t promise us that. He promises that we will be tested:

You will be tested through your possessions and your persons; and you will hear from those who received the Scripture before you, and from the idol worshipers, much abuse. But if you persevere and lead a righteous life—that indeed is a mark of great determination.1

God also threatens us with His ability to remove us from power and replace us with others if we do not follow His guidance:

131. To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. We have instructed those who were given the Book before you, and you, to be conscious of God. But if you refuse—to God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God is in no need, Praiseworthy.

132. To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God suffices as Manager.

133. If He wills, He can do away with you, O people, and bring others. God is Able to do that. 2

Verse 131 above mention’s God’s warning to the People of the Book. The Old Testament contains many promises by God that if His people disobey, He will abandon them to whatever that may happen to them, and that He will make others dominant over them. In the Book of Deuteronomy (part of the Old Testament, and part of the Torah), prophet Musa (Moses) says:

25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:

26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.3

The Quran, too, mentions prophet Musa saying similar things:

6. Moses said to his people, “Remember God’s blessings upon you, as He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, who inflicted on you terrible suffering, slaughtering your sons while sparing your daughters. In that was a serious trial from your Lord.”

7. And when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.”

8. And Moses said, “Even if you are ungrateful, together with everyone on earth—God is in no need, Worthy of Praise.” 4

Our relationship with God is not one where He constantly supports us just because we say we are His nation, unlike some Muslims and many Jews think. Here is the Jewish feminist author Naomi Wolf expressing her surprise at finding out (by reading the Hebrew Bible) that unlike what many Jews think, God does not promise them never-ending support just because they are “His chosen people”:

He never says: “I will give you, ethnic Israelites, the land of Israel.” Rather He says something far more radical – far more subversive — far more Godlike in my view. He says: IF you visit those imprisoned…act mercifully to the widow and the orphan…welcome the stranger in your midst…tend the sick…do justice and love mercy ….and perform various other tasks…THEN YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE AND THIS LAND WILL BE YOUR LAND. So “my people” is not ethnic — it is transactional. We are God’s people not by birth but by a way of behaving, that is ethical, kind and just. And we STOP being “God’s people” when we are not ethical, kind and just.5

She is not quite correct when she says “my people” is not ethnic. Jews are God’s chosen, what they don’t generally realize is that being chosen doesn’t necessarily mean one is chosen for a good thing. Jews are God’s chosen in that He gave them many scriptures and throughout the centuries continuously sent them new prophets to guide them back to the Straight Path. He chose them for a specific test. Their being chosen is not just a privilege, it is both a privilege and a heavy burden. If they reject God despite being chosen, God sends the most terrible punishment on them, like He has done many times throughout history. Many Jews forget the burden and choose to enjoy the privilege of thinking of themselves as God’s chosen elite.

Our relationship with God is contractual. If we obey, He supports us. If we disobey, He stops supporting us and subjects us to unfriendly powers.

The story of the Jews is a good lesson for us. Many times in their history they were extremely powerful. After they left Egypt, they entered Canaan around 1446 BCE. They disobeyed God when they were about to overtake a city and live in it, so God punished them by having them wander in the desert for 40 years. They finally entered Canaan in 1406 BCE and completely conquered it by 1399 BCE. Once they become a sovereign power, they soon start to do evil, abandoning God, worshiping Baal or the Calf, practicing usury or allying themselves with irreligious foreign powers. For this reason, as they rejected and sometimes even killed their prophets, every few generations God would send a powerful foreign power to destroy many of their cities and slaughter many of their people.

When they continued to reject God, He sent Babylon to conquer their lands and sent them into exile for 70 years. After that the Persian emperor, whose empire had conquered Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to their lands and reestablish themselves there. Their story continued the same as before, with them doing evil and being punished for it. In 70 AD, a few decades after they rejected Jesus and tried to kill him, they tried to escape the rule of the Roman empire. In return they had their city of Jerusalem utterly destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Jews killed.

The Arch of Titus, which commemorates the Roman victory over the Jews, among other things, still stands in Rome.

Titus, the Roman commander who was in charge of the Roman victory over the Jews, is supposed to have refused to wear a wreath after the victory, saying that he was only acting as a tool of God’s wrath over the Jews. Perhaps this was God’s punishment on them for their rejecting God’s prophet.

Another recent example from Jewish history is Germany in the first few decades of the 20th century. In 1920, Jews owned most of Germany’s media, banks and large corporations and controlled Germany’s academia. They continually promoted homosexuality and sex outside of marriage in books, plays and films in the name of progress. In short, they acted exactly the way they act today in the United States and Europe.

That ended abruptly with the rise of Hitler, who utterly destroyed everything the Jews had worked for.

In Jewish history there is an important historical lesson; that just because a nation associates itself with God and claims to be His people does not mean they will always have God’s support.

Muslim nations have had a history similar to that of the Jews. Many powerful Muslim states have risen and fallen throughout history, and this process is not going to end. If we establish a caliphate like some Muslims dream about, and even if it rules the world for 1000 years, if most of the population abandons Islamic values and Islam becomes largely culture and tradition and not faith, then that caliphate too will fail. God will enable another Mongol invasion, or another invasion by the British and the French, to come and divide their caliphate and do with it as they please.

Christianity’s Place in Islamic History

Just as Islam faded in the Middle East and became little more than cultural tradition and ceremony, Christianity rose in the West. The Christians who conquered the Americas thought they were doing it for God’s sake. They read the Bible daily, they established Biblical law in their colonies, and they braved many dangers in order to establish families, villages and cities in empty and hostile lands.

God’s promise in the Quran came true for them for their deeds:

65. Had the People of the Scripture believed and been righteous, We would have remitted their sins, and admitted them into the Gardens of Bliss.

66. Had they observed/enforced the Torah, and the Gospel, and what was revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed amply from above them, and from beneath their feet. Among them is a moderate community, but evil is what many of them are doing.6

While it is common for many Muslims to think of Christians as nothing but heathens who should magically disappear now that Islam has come, Christians are as much God’s people as Muslims are, that is, they too have a contract with God, and if they uphold their contract with God, God will uphold His contract with them. If a Christian nation is more faithful, more eager to serve God, and more observant of God’s laws, then we shouldn’t be surprised if God gives them His full support.

This was the case in the Americas and much of Western Europe until 1900 CE. With all of the corruption present, the average person’s actions and thinking were still largely controlled by Christian ideals.

Today, things are different. The West has finally abandoned the religion that made it great. The only reason the West is great today is the momentum of the past. A Muslim may lose hope when they look at the United States and see its immense capacity to dominate and do evil throughout the world. But the United States is already past its prime. It is desperately trying to hold onto its past power, constantly threatening Russia, China and Iran, but incapable of doing anything about them as they continue to rise.

The United States has had a below-replacement fertility rate since the 1970’s. If it wasn’t for their continuous importation of immigrants, their population would have been shrinking by now. A decades-long below-replacement fertility rate is all that is needed to illustrate that a nation is failing.

It is a country’s population that gives a nation its economic, technological and military power, and once the population starts to shrink, its power will decrease, because there will be fewer people to innovate, and fewer people to consume the fruits of these innovations and in this way pay for further innovations. Today the United States can afford to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on military spending every year, and it is this spending that enables various military companies to continue innovating. But as the American tax base and economy both shrink, with it its power to spend will shrink. America is on a trajectory to become the next Portugal, once a global superpower, now a complete non-entity.

One illustration of the continuing fall of the United States is that of the world’s top 15 skyscrapers (those higher than 350 meters) finished in the past 3 years, 10 are in China, and only one in the United States. China continues to rise, the United States continues to stagnate and fall. America’s failing economy has no need for new office buildings, hotels and restaurants, since it already has more than its shrinking economy needs.

The answer to the question of why Muslims are so powerless compared to the West these days is that Islamic history ran into Christian history. Christian power was still rising went it clashed with an Ottoman Empire that was already past its prime, so the Ottomans didn’t stand a chance.

Today, Christian powers too are past their prime, and great change is coming.

Of course, the United States is unlikely to become a Portugal any time soon, and if Islam continues to spread, it might change into a new type of superpower without becoming irrelevant.

Islam in the West

There already are tens of millions of Muslims living in the United States and Western Europe. Just as the native populations of these countries continue to shrink, the Muslim population continues to increase.

At the moment, of course, Muslims are extremely poor and powerless in the West. But demographics decides the destiny of a nation. It is this fact that is terrifying Zionist career Islam-haters like Robert Spencer, Geert Wilders, Daniel Pipes and Pamella Geller and the billionaire Jews supporting them.

They know that it is only a matter of time before Muslims have the political power to affect the foreign policy of these nations, and that means they will have the power to affect the policy of these nations toward their beloved Israel.

Ten years ago, in 2007, every terrorist attack and every crime that could potentially be blamed on Muslims would be plastered all over the Jewish-owned or operated Western media (which is nearly all of the West’s media) for weeks on end. It appears that some time between 2014 and 2016 the Jews decided that it was more in their self-interest to protect Muslims and promote unfettered Muslim immigration to the West, to prevent white Christians from ever gaining total control of a Western country and in this way having the power to dictate Jew-unfriendly laws, as happened in Nazi Germany. Their media today does its best to hide the identities of terrorists, and whenever a terrorist attack occurs, Jewish-operated companies like Google can be seen promoting articles (in this case, in search results and on Google News) that blame these attacks on white people rather than on Muslims.

The Jewish-owned and operated Salon Magazine, a leftist publication, is a big defender of Muslims at the moment. This is a magazine that hasn’t made a profit in the past 20 years, it is entirely a tool of propaganda for leftist Jews. If they pretend to care about us, if they defend us, should we celebrate and join forces with them?

In ten years, when winds change again and the Jews7 decide, like they did in the first decade of the 21st century, that it is in their best interest to promote a negative image of Islam in the West, then they will do that all over again. We in the West are on a collision course with Jews. As our population, and thus our political power, increases, so will our power to sway Western governments against Israel. And when that happens, when we become a threat to Jewry’s beloved Israel, they will turn around overnight, attacking us left and right and portraying us as evil barbarians intent on destroying Western civilization, like they were doing 24/7 a few years ago, and like so many Jewish Islam-haters and “conservative” Jewish media outlets like Breitbart, continue to do today.

We must learn to develop long memories, and our best help in this regard is the study of history. We must never ally ourselves with an evil force that has decided at the moment it is in its self-interest to defend us, because tomorrow it can decide that it is in its self-interest to attack us. We must never justify evil for the greater good, and we must never lose our moral integrity for the achievement of political goals.

Islam might go on to become the dominant religion of the West in 100 years, as non-Muslim white people continue to die out, and as white people who convert to Islam continue to increase and have higher fertility than non-Muslim whites. And of course, there are the millions of Muslim immigrants currently residing in the West.

While Muslims continue to be strangers in the West at the moment, this is going to change soon. Today it is still common for us to be viewed as barbarians and outsiders. But a point will be reached when everyone will know a few Muslims and accept them as ordinary citizens, and when that happens, the number of conversions to Islam could multiply very fast, because these people will finally see that Islam is nothing but an updated and improved version of Christianity.

The Long View of History

Even if Muslims establish a new global superpower that lasts for hundreds of years, it too can eventually fail and get conquered by non-Muslim powers. Imagine if this world continues to exist for the next 100,000 years. The story of Muslims being powerful then weak then powerful again might play out fifty or a hundred times more.

We humans wants safety and security. We want to establish Paradise on Earth once and for all and then go on living in it. But that is not the purpose of this world, and dreams of establishing a Paradise on Earth are naive and futile.

We are taught over and over again in the Quran that this world is worthless, that it will soon be over, that none of our deeds done in this world will last. The Quranic character Dhul Qarnain shows his appreciation for God’s message when he says the following right after completing building a structure for God’s sake:

He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes true, He will turn it into rubble, and the promise of my Lord is always true.”8

For us Muslims, it is always about the journey, not the destination. It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this world. What matters is the record of our deeds. No matter what we build, no matter how much power we have, we could see it all destroyed tomorrow. This has happened over and over again in history, though sadly we continue to fail to learn the lesson.

Why did God let the Mongols destroy Baghdad and Damascus if our purpose was to continue to gain power, wealth and fame in this world? Why did He let the Ottoman Empire, the last truly sovereign Muslim power, be invaded and destroyed? Why did He not allow the Arab powers to defeat Israel during their multiple wars?

Because this world is a test. It is not our purpose to build Paradise on Earth. Our purpose is khilafah, literally “to be stewards”. We are stewards of the earth. Our purpose is to take care of it by enjoining good and admonishing against evil, so that humanity continues, and so that the the earth does not become entirely corrupted.

A steward takes care of a farm until the owner returns, continuing the running of the farm as best they can. It is the owner’s business what they do with the farm. In the same way, our job in this world is to continue be God’s stewards, God’s agents for good in this world, but it is His business what He does with this world, and whether He gives us power or takes it away from us. All that we can say is, “We hear and we obey.”

We are not seekers after power. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not seek power, it was given to him. Neither did any of the righteous Rashidun caliphs. We do not seek to establish global dominance, or to carry out global war. Our job is to be God’s stewards, to walk on the Straight Path.

Being on the Straight Path does not require gaining power, and in fact the seeking of power is directly opposed to it, for the seeking of power always requires that one abandon one’s moral integrity “for the greater good”. This is the story of every political party that starts out with high moral ideals only to become a nest of corruption and evil.

It is God who gives us power if we deserve it, and if the time is right, for His own purposes, and as long as it pleases Him, until He can take it away from us. As for us, we must be thankful and content throughout all of this:

No, but worship God, and be among the thankful ones.9

It is God who manages history for us. We are not in charge, God is.

No calamity strikes except by God’s permission. Whoever believes in God, He guides his heart. God is Aware of everything.10

No calamity occurs on earth, or in your souls, but it is in a Book, even before We make it happen. That is easy for God. That you may not sorrow over what eludes you, nor exult over what He has given you. God does not love the proud snob.11

God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. And if God wills any hardship for a people, there is no turning it back; and apart from Him they have no protector.12

God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will make them successors on earth, as He made those before them successors, and He will establish for them their religion—which He has approved for them—and He will substitute security in place of their fear. They worship Me, never associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that—these are the sinners. 13

Our job is to do good wherever we find ourselves, to worship God, to be kind and just, to follow His commandments as best as we can, and it is God who will establish us on Earth when He pleases:

God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will make them stewards on Earth, as He made those before them stewards, and He will establish for them their religion—which He has approved for them—and He will substitute security in place of their fear. They worship Me, never associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that—these are the sinners.14

We can, of course, be political activists and critics. We can constantly work toward social justice and the lifting of poverty. But instead of doing these by seeking power first, we do them without seeking power. We do what is right and just and kind toward everyone, and God, if He wishes, can give us power any time He wants.

Ibn al-Jawzi says in his Sayd al-Khaatir (“Quarry of the Mind”):

I reflected upon the envy that exists among scholars, and saw that its source is the love of the worldly life, because the scholars of the afterlife engage in love and do not envy others. What separates the two groups is that the scholars of the worldly life seek power and leadership in it, and they love to accumulate wealth and praise, while the scholars of the afterlife live in seclusion from these things, they fear them and have mercy toward those who are being tested by them.

Truly good and kind people, who fear God and take the afterlife seriously, do not seek power in my experience. Sometimes the right situation arises for a good person to rise and become powerful, as it happened with Saladin. Saladin wasn’t a revolutionary who grabbed power, or a politician. He became powerful as part of his job as a military commander, and one thing led to another until he became a powerful ruler.

The writer Frank Herbert says the following in Chapterhouse: Dune, and I find them true from all that I have seen:

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological
personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the
corruptible.

Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.

Scientific vs. Divine Explanations for Islam’s Decline: Islam, Christianity and Indo-European Genes

Islam’s great revolution in science and scholarship came from Sunni Persians. Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i, and Ibn Majah were all Persian. The first formal grammarian of the Arabic language was Sibawayh, a Persian. Some of the greatest names in Islamic history, such as al-Khawarazmi, al-Ghazali, Abu Sinaa, al-Biruni and Ibn Hayyan were Persian.

Persians are an Indo-European race, and to this day have continued their superiority in learning and scholarship over Arabs. In Iran over 70,000 books are published per year, compared to less than 20,000 per year in the entire Arab world.

It appears that historical events like the Mongol destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire, Shiite rule over Iran, and the centuries of conflict between the Persians and the Ottomans, caused Persian populations to shrink and become isolated, and in this way they fell out of the mainstream history of Islam. This might be the single most important historical reason for the decline of Islamic science.

Just as Islam lost its main source of Indo-European genes, Christianity acquired a tremendous new source in North-Western Europe. Christianity went through a similar process to that of Islam’s scientific rise, inspired by Greek philosophy and carried forward by religious thinkers like Thomas Aquinas. Christianity had far better access to Indo-European genes for many centuries compared to Islam, therefore the scientific revolution happened in Christendom. Christianity continued to ensure above-replacement fertility rates, Christian ideals continued to inspire and motivate people, and Indo-European genes supplied the high IQ needed for scientific progress.

This might be the scientific explanation for why Christianity overtook Islam after the Middle Ages.

A mistake many people make, both religious and irreligious, is that when they discover a scientific explanation for something, they start to think that it means that thing is not from God. But it is a principle of God that He will never allow us to have direct evidence of His existence, therefore when God does something, it is always through scientific means, or He makes it appear to be that way. God will not carry out miracles that can be recorded and published in YouTube. The only time that we will have direct proof of the existence of God and the rest of the Unseen is at the end of the world. When the pagans requested that they see an angel before they believe in God, God’s reply was this:

Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been settled, and they would not have been reprieved.15

If we ever had direct evidence of God’s existence, then there would be no need for faith in God. God does not want that to happen, therefore everything that happens to us must have logical scientific explanations. We can examine Islamic history to find out where things went wrong. But even if we discover every single cause and try to cure it, our success is not guaranteed.

The divine reason for the fall of Muslims is that they abandoned Islam in their hearts, while the scientific reason is the above. The divine reasons precede the scientific reasons. If we disobey God, God will bring about logical and scientifically-explainable reasons for our destruction. And if we obey God, and carry out our stewardship in the best manner possible, God will inspire us toward whatever will give us success and power in this world.

Today, mainstream Islam is again acquiring Indo-European genes in the form of European converts to Islam. As these people increase in number, just as the number of seculars and Christians dwindles, among them will come great scholars and scientists, and soon (within a lifetime or two) Muslims could be responsible for half or more of the West’s scientific output.16

Conclusion

As Muslims, our goal in life is not to acquire power, glory or supremacy in this world. Our goal is not to establish Paradise on Earth. We can appreciate technological and scientific accomplishments, and we can work toward them as part of our stewardship on Earth, but we must never lose sight of the fact that ultimately, everything we do is meant to serve God, and that a day will come when all of our worldly works will be destroyed as if they never existed.

In this world, we are stewards of a temporary farm, a farm whose Owner has promised to destroy in the end. We must never get attached to this farm, or seek its improvement or power over it as a goal in itself. We must never get attached to the idea of establishing a global power. Even if we establish one, it too can come and go like every other Muslim power in history. History will continue going in cycles, Muslims will rise to power, fall, and rise again. The only people who achieve success are those who fear God and serve Him in the best way possible. It is only the record of our deeds which lasts forever, everything else is temporary.

If Muslims are weak today, look again in 500 years, and they may be the strongest and most technologically advanced power on Earth. Look again in 1500 years, and they may again be weak,  oppressed and backward. It is God who gives and God who takes. If we are thankful and obedient, He will increase us and improve our station in life, and if we are ungrateful, He can always take it all away from us and subjugate us to others, like He did to the Andalusian Muslims.

Feelings, censorship and gender in science: Is it unfair to say that women backbite more than men?

This is a follow-up discussion in regards to what I wrote in Dealing with a porn addiction.

Brother I understand that you answered that question as best you could, no one should be shaming you because you are offering advice that you could have easily ignored. However I would just say that to just mention how women may backbite was insensitive and unnecessary. Imagine all the stigma us sisters face on a daily basis, everyday we have certain brothers telling us what we should and should not be doing whilst they engage in haram activities. (1)

So imagine when someone asks you about porn addiction that has nothing to do with women backbiting, and even then we are bought into it, I’m sure as an understanding brother you can see. Tomorrow if someone has a problem yet I say “Don’t worry it’s less of a sin as millions of Muslims especially men, don’t grow their beards to the proper length, you are no worse than them”, look how insensitive that seems. I hope I have not offended you brother, it is our duty to guide with kindness and openess

Thank you for your kindly phrased message. I understand what you are saying, and I’m sure you are right when you say you have suffered unjust criticism.

I have never considered women a class, like feminists imagine, separate from men. I consider them humans, my equals, and hold them to the same standards. I don’t walk on eggshells when I discuss men’s problems, and I will not start walking on eggshells when discussing women’s problem’s.

I consider you my equal, and that means we both should be free to speak our minds. You shouldn’t be silenced if you have a truth to speak just because it may hurt some men’s feelings, and I shouldn’t be silenced if I have a truth to speak just because it may hurt some women’s feelings.

It is certainly good manners to not bring up negative facts about someone in ordinary daily interactions. You do not call an overweight person fat even if it is true.

But if I’m trying to solve a technical problem, I expect people to put their feelings aside, to sit down like adults and to discuss the problem rationally, and that is what I was doing in my answer.

If I’m doing a scientific study on finding ways to reduce backbiting among women, would you call it insensitive? I’m sure many would, that it is somehow oppressive and unjust to focus on females, that if I discover a method that works well in preventing females from backbiting, I should shove it under the carpet in case some woman’s feelings is hurt, even if it will do them good in the long-term.

We cannot have progress if we are not allowed to speak our minds freely, if we have random no-go zones where we are not allowed to analyse things in case it hurts this group’s feelings, or that group’s, or that group’s. That’s censorship and regression, that’s not progress.

It is like saying I should not talk about the unhealthy effects of being obese because it will hurt obese people’s feelings. Should we just throw out all obesity-related research in case some obese person comes across it and has their feelings hurt?

I was helping put a mostly-male problem into perspective using a mostly-female problem, as an intellectual exercise. I consider women equals, not superiors and not inferiors, but equals, humans to be treated with the same standards, not to be treated like children, but treated equally, like I would treat any man, and I certainly never worry about hurting men’s feelings when I bring up facts that reflect negatively on them.

If men are unjustly criticizing you, I fully support your right to fire back at them and put them in their place. I defend your right to speak your mind. And I defend my right to speak my mind. We are not enemies, and we are not different species. We are both humans, and we can treat each other as such.

We do not achieve equality by enforcing double-standards where a male speaker is not allowed to say certain things in case it hurts women’s feelings. We achieve equality when no one thinks about their own sexual parts but can consider the problem and its solution rationally, like adults. The speaker says men have a problem with ignoring their wives? Fine, I will try to be a better husband. The speaker says that women have a problem with ignoring their husbands? Instead of getting offended that a person of the opposite sex is pointing out a fault, women can choose to benefit from it, “Fine, I will try to be a better wife.”

This is equality, where I am not forced to treat you like a “woman”, but like a human, and where I do not patronize and belittle you by censoring my speech in case it hurts your fragile feelings, but where I can treat you like I treat any man, expecting you to be intelligent and confident enough to accept it and roll with it.

These are my standards when it comes to public speech. In private one-to-one interactions, it is good manners to hide people’s faults, to not criticize, and to make them feel good about themselves. But in public, for example if I’m doing a scientific paper studying women’s psychology, I will not sugarcoat my findings just because it may hurt women’s feelings, in this case telling the truth takes precedence over being nice.

And as a nice person, I will never mock an obese person by calling them fat, and I will not let others do it if I can stop them. But I will happily continue researching the eugenics of obesity (how genes affect obesity, and how obesity affects future genes) like I currently do no matter how many obese people are offended by it.

In the same way, I will continue to be frank and straightforward when writing about women, since in my research writing, truth always takes precedence over being nice. But when dealing with women in my personal life, I will always be as kind, gracious and uncritical as is required by good manners, civility and Islam.

A reply from a reader

I feel you were wrong in saying that women do more backbiting. Not saying it is in itself true or false ( I really dont think they are any reliable studies) but I think it was completely unnecessary to say it the way you did. You could have said simply that many Muslim backbite it would have been enough. No need to drag women into it. Im not attacking you or anything just saying there might have been a better way to go at it.

If I were a woman and jokingly mentioned that fact, I don’t think anyone would be bothered. The only reason that it is “wrong” is that a male said it. And if I had mentioned a fact that reflected negatively on men, not women, I don’t think anyone would be bothered.

I have never bought into the Western nonsense of treating women like children to be pampered to. I like to treat them like my equals, which means that I speak my mind without bothering what type of sexual organs my listeners have. I consider you all the same, we are all humans.

So no, I don’t think I did anything wrong. Having a porn-watching problem is a mainly male problem, and having a backbiting problem is a mainly female problem. I have heard many women agree with both of these facts. Mentioning both problems together is a very useful intellectual exercise to help put the problem of porn-watching into context.

If I had mentioned a positive fact about women, you wouldn’t be upset. You are thinking like a politician, “he said something negative about my interest group without belonging to said group, which makes it automatically wrong.”

What you really want to enforce is that all men should be able to talk about women, as long as they stick to mentioning positive facts, as long as they maintain a parallel-reality of cotton candy and fluffy bunnies where no woman’s feelings can ever get hurt.

I prefer to speak my mind freely, and I prefer to treat women like adults. I never worry about hurting men’s feelings in my research writing / answers, and I will not start worrying about hurting women’s feelings.

If you disagree with this, that’s your right. I, however, will continue to be as I am, focusing on serving God, and having my allegiance only to truth. If people’s feelings get hurt when I mention a fact like how unhealthy obesity is or how Indians can never compete with the Chinese in innovation, at least not for the next 500 years or so, I’m sorry. I will never mock someone or say any truth that may hurt their feelings in private interactions. But on my blog, where I want to teach and guide people, I will speak the truth, and I will not self-censor my speech like a politician.

If this is unacceptable for you, if you’d like me to hire someone to review everything I say in case it may be considered discriminatory to one of a dozen interest groups, then you are in the wrong place. I have always been a free-speech and anti-Political Correctness activist.

You are right that I didn’t have to bring women into the discussion. It was a perfectly voluntary act on my part.

My mother and sister have a sense of humor and the last thing they would do would be to get upset over what I wrote. I think they have got things right. I treat all women like them, intelligent and confident in their femininity. And if I ever say something stupid or unjust, they will not let me get away with it but will correct my mistake, the way a man would do.

Of course, I won’t go around speaking negative things about women saying that they have to deal with it. That’s like calling overweight people fat, it is rude even if it is true. As I said, in private interactions, I do what good manners, civility and Islam require of me. And in my research writing or answers, I write frankly without bothering who gets offended.

I encourage you to open your heart, to see how an innocently made remark done in good faith and with the intention of helping someone should not be criticized just because a person of the wrong sex said it. Stop thinking like a Western politician and more like a fair-minded Muslim with a sense of humor.

You could say that context matters, that in that particular context it was wrong for me to mention women since I have many female followers whose feelings could get hurt. I disagree. It is my personality to be frank in my writing and to treat women the way I treat men, considering them really my equals instead of patronizing them by treating them like a protected minority.

What to do when your spouse is less religious than you

A question I received recently:

I am in my early twenties and have married a woman who comes from a Muslim family. After marrying her, I have found that religion is not very important to her. I had wished to marry a woman who was my equal in faith, so that we could create a faithful family together. I feel like I have made a mistake in marrying her, and I don’t know where to go from here. Why did God allow me to marry her?

My answer:

It is normal to start having doubts after marriage when you have no previous experience with it. Many ideas and assumptions about the other sex will be proven false or inaccurate once you are living the reality of marriage.

Women are generally more liberal than men and laxer when it comes to religion. I come from a conservative Muslim family but I’ve had trouble convincing close female relatives to stop engaging in negative gossip about people (i.e. backbiting, ghaibah). I know a woman who is a civil engineer (so she is educated and intelligent enough to know better), and even though she went to an Islamic boarding school where they recited Quran every night and sometimes stayed up all night for prayer, she continues to think it is her every right to gossip about people.

When dealing with women, always remember Imam al-Shafi`i’s saying: “Be harsh on yourself, easy on others.” You shouldn’t hold your wife to the same standards as yourself, and if she does the minimum that is requested of her by religion, you should be thankful for that.

I grew up knowing many great men in my extended family, highly religious, kind and observant men. But almost none of these men had wives who could match them in faith, and some had wives who only did the minimum and didn’t care about religion at all. This hasn’t stopped them from bringing up good religious families.

In a household, men and women are not equal when it comes to authority. The Quran gives men a degree of authority over women (Quran 2:228, 4:34), and perhaps part of the reason for that is that men are, in general, more observant and more conservative, though a minority of women can be found who are like this too. It is a man’s duty to keep standards high in his household, preventing lax behaviors like not praying, not fasting or eating what is not halal, though he must do this with love and kindness, not with authoritarianism:

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good advice, and debate with them in the best possible manner.”1

If your wife does the obligatory deeds (praying, fasting, etc.) and avoids haram (alcohol, interest, etc.), then this is the most you can expect of her, and leave it to her as a free-willed human being to make up her mind to do more if she wants. If she doesn’t do the obligatory deeds or engages in haram, then you have a clear right to give her an ultimatum, for her to come back to the Straight Path and do the minimum of what’s requested of her in Islam. If she doesn’t, then in effect she is refusing to do what the Quran asks of her, meaning that she is denying its truth, and in a way she is a non-believer. There is no obligation for you to stay married to her in such a case.

If she does the minimum required of her, then the Quran encourages you to be patient and to rely on God to steer your destiny for you. The Quran says in 4:128 that when a (devoutly Muslim) husband and wife are in disagreement, making peace is always the best option, and warns them to be wary of their ego’s greedy desire for better things.

One of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t like his wife. The Prophet told him to fear God and keep her, this advice of the Prophet to him is recorded in the Quran in verse 33:37. The companion (Zayd, the only companion mentioned by name in the Quran) ultimately decided to divorce her. So, while Islam teaches that a man should hold onto his wife, a man’s right of freedom of choice is respected.

A man’s role in life is to acquire worth, marry a woman, have children, take care of his family, and in this way continue Islamic civilization. For this to be successfully done, it is not necessary for the woman to be as religious as the man. Ideally, of course, that’s what we want, but in reality, the nature of men and the nature of women is different, and you will have a very hard time finding women who cares about religion as much as you do.

It is better to be practical. To be thankful for what God has given you and to try to make the best of it. Do your best to be kind, generous, patient and forgiving, rather than judgmental and demanding. Some men mistakenly try to force their women to become what they want, only to give up after years of futile effort. You must learn to trust God and leave it to Him to steer your destiny. If you do separate in the end, you should be able to say “I did my best to make things work, but it didn’t work out.”

I am not saying to be like a feather in the wind, going wherever life throws you. You must rather always face God, working to please Him. You must not face your wife constantly trying to change her. She is only a small part of the big picture. You are a servant of God and you were made to serve Him. He recommends that you try to make your marriage work even if you are not pleased with your wife. Since you are facing God and aiming to please Him, you will be kind, generous and non-judgmental toward your wife as long as she does the minimum that Islam asks of her. Whether you think she deserves this lenient treatment or not, you are not doing it for her, but for God, and you expect your reward from God.

Having an unsatisfactory wife is a difficult test since you might be thinking that maybe this is how things will be for the rest of your life. You do not want to be stuck with someone who doesn’t live up to your standards. You probably wish to get in charge of your destiny, get rid of her and get a far better woman in her place.

The problem with this is that 1. It is not your job to manage your destiny and 2. No matter how good the imaginary new woman is, assuming you can find her and marry her, you could run into new and unexpected problems that could make your life with her miserable, she may develop an illness, she may suffer an accident and go blind, she may have a bad family who constantly interfere with your life.

As a Muslim, you believe that God is the King of the universe, and that He has the power to do anything He wills. He had the power to prevent your marriage from taking place. He had the power to make you marry the perfect woman. But He didn’t. And today He has the power to swiftly end your marriage with little effort on your part, and He has the power to give you the type of woman you desire. But He doesn’t.

It is God who manages your destiny, taking you from one stage of life to another, testing you, helping you learn, helping you grow in wisdom, understanding and kindness. Your focus should be on God, He can take your life anywhere He wants, and He has the power to do it this instant if He wanted to. Since He is not doing it, that should tell you something. You must do your best in the current test you are in, you must follow His advice that trying to make your marriage work is better than separation, and the Prophet’s advice to fear God and hold onto your wife, and leave it to God to change your situation if and when He wants. You must expect only from God and ask only of Him.

You could of course ask, “What if this test is not intended for me? What if I will needlessly suffer for nothing?” If you put your focus on God, since you know that He has the power to take you out of any unwanted situation, then you will know that there is no such thing as needlessly suffering. If you keep your wife for the sake of God, God will reward you for it, both in this life and the next. And if He doesn’t want you to keep her, He will make it easy to separate.

If your marriage somehow naturally falls apart, with both of you, or at least you, trying your best to keep it together through non-judgmentalism, forgiveness and generosity, and you reach an agreement to separate without any negative emotions, without guilt and without fearing that you might be doing the wrong thing, then you can take that as a sign that God approves of the separation.

But if things go along normally, if things are good enough, if the thought of separation contains tremendous amounts of uncertainty, guilt and fear, then that is your sign that it is not time to separate, that if you were to work toward separation, you’d be going against the flow of the destiny God has chosen for you. You can do it, like Zayd did, since God respects your freedom. But it is better for you to accept it and do your best, constantly asking God for forgiveness and betterment. If you reject this test, God will give you an equally demanding test, because God will never stop testing you.

Until the day you die, if God loves you, He will constantly give you new opportunities to prove your patience, your generosity, your worth. If He gave you the perfect life, you’d have no opportunity to prove these things.

What I would do in your situation is this: I would do my best to improve myself as a Muslim, reading as much Quran as I can, praying tahajjud and constantly asking for God’s forgiveness. I would do my best to be kind and forgiving toward my wife no matter how distasteful I find her behavior. I would do more than what is strictly necessary to make the marriage work, for God’s sake, even if it displeases me to do this. I would always try to be the bigger person. I would put my focus on God, recognizing His power to change my wife and my life in any way He wishes, recognizing that all good things come from Him, not from my own efforts.

And if after all of this, I receive a clear sign that my marriage should end (she decides she wants divorce and is intent upon it), then I would do what is necessary in that situation. Maybe you will stay married to her for the next ten years, and after that separate to enjoy the type of life you desire. Or maybe in some years she will change into someone with as much faith as yourself, and then you may be glad that you stayed with her.

So my advice is the Prophet’s advice, peace be upon him: Fear God and keep her.

And leave it to God to take care of your destiny. Trying to steer your destiny is a heavy and exhausting burden. Free yourself from that burden. Enjoy the life that God has given you, do your best, constantly ask for God’s forgiveness, and know that God can put you in a better place anytime He decides. If you want to speed this process up, you can do it through worship, asking for forgiveness, and avoidance of sin.

To improve your situation in life, raise your status in God’s eye, and He will do it for you better than you ever could. Trying to improve your situation in life through your own efforts, rather than through God, will always lead to new situations that are as equally difficult as the one you left.

Patience means to go against your desire for the sake of God. If you patiently keep your wife despite your wishes, you will be rewarded for your patience. Patience might possibly the greatest virtue of a believer. The angels commend the believers on their patience when they are about to enter Paradise, as the Quran describes in Surat al-Ra`d:

22. And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home.

23. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate.

24. “Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home.”

And do not try to push your wife to change for the better, or to buy her Islamic books, forward her Islamic articles or make her go to lectures hoping she will be better guided. Calling people to Islam should never be inflicted on people. They must seek Islam themselves.

It is God Who guides people, it is not people who guide people. Therefore no matter how hard we try or wish that someone was guided, our efforts and wishes may never come true.

You cannot guide whom you love, but God guides whom He wills, and He knows best those who are guided.2

God will not leave all the tests to you and neglect your wife. He will continue testing her too to help her grow and to guide her, but the stage she is in could be very different than yours, and the types of lessons she needs could be nothing like you imagine.

Leave it to God to guide her, He will do it in the best way possible.

Temporarily Curing ADHD / Chronic Fatigue With a Dopamine-Sensitizing 5-Hour Fast Followed by a Jolt of Dopamine

I was almost entirely unproductive for the first two weeks of Ramadan due to having to fast from 4 AM to 7:30 PM, which, for the non-Muslims reading this, means no food, no water, no caffeine and no supplements between these hours, which where I live means 15.5 hours of fasting.

As a contractor, if I can’t work, I cannot make money, so I urgently needed a way to get my productivity back. Regardless of how much caffeine I had after breaking my fast in the evenings, I felt unmotivated and unable to focus on my programming work.

After much experimentation, I discovered the solution. This solution enabled me to be extremely productive for the last two weeks of Ramadan, making up for all of the lost hours of work in the first two weeks.

Below is the solution I discovered, generalized to a non-Ramadan context so that anyone can use it. This is not a great long-term solution, but if you are desperate to feel productive, it is worth a try until you find something better.

1. Fasting for 5-8 hours after wake up

Do not eat or drink anything, especially no caffeine and no other supplements. This pleasure deprivation causes changes in the brain that make it possible to cause it extreme stimulation afterwards. Water might be OK, though in my case I didn’t have any water, feel free to experiment and comment below.

I rearranged my sleep schedule so that I started waking up somewhere between 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM, going to bed after 4 AM. If you are not doing an Islamic fast, rearranging the sleep schedule is not necessary.

I cannot say exactly how many hours are needed, but starting with a 5 hour fast would be a good idea.

The fast is really uncomfortable, naturally. You are depriving your brain of what it desires, making it feel bad so it can feel good later on.

2. Having a very small carb-heavy meal upon breaking the fast, another small meal 4 hours later

Upon breaking the fast, I would have half a slice of bread (45 calories) with jam and butter, and a cup of strong black tea with honey in it. The whole meal was probably about 200 calories.

Due to my pre-diabetes, I had to have 1000 mg of berberine, 300 mg banaba extract and 600 mg olive leaf extract. I also discovered 230 mg ALA made me far more energetic and prevented my usual post-meal dry eye.

About 4 hours after my first meal, I would have another similar meal, that would help me continue working for 2-3 more hours.

After that you can have your final meal of the day, which if too large would affect your sleep quality and your ability to be productive the next day. These days I’m trying a 600-calorie diet to cure my pre-diabetes, my goal is to love every last pound of unneeded fat that I have (perhaps 7 more pounds to go), so my last meal of the day, having it an hour or so before bed, was quite small, and carb-free.

3. Zinc and copper

I had 12.5 mg of elemental zinc from sulfate and 2.5 mg copper from copper glycinate. Both of these trace elements encourage neuronal excitation, making you feel more motivated. Too much causes excitotoxicity, therefore I do not recommend ever going above the above doses.

Zinc improves energy production and does something to the brain that makes it more receptive to dopamine, or at least it feels like that.

4. 120 mg L-Dopa with green tea

L-Dopa a supplement that increases dopamine in the brain. This is a dangerous supplement to use in the long-term, because it desensitizes your dopamine receptors by overfeeding them with dopamine. The green tea is needed to prevent L-Dopa’s negative side effects. I took half a teaspoon of matcha for this. This might be broscience, but there are a lot of people saying the green tea or green tea extract is necessary.

It is possible that the L-Dopa is not necessary. I took it because I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try it for two weeks until Ramadan ended. Now that Ramadan is over I have stopped taking L-Dopa and I seem to be going through withdrawal, confounded with also stopping tianeptine.

5. My usual stack from before Ramadan

I continued to take smaller doses of my supplements from before Ramadan. That meant 300 mg piracetam, 2 Perika, 1 carotenall on some evenings (not sure if I need this supplement), 25 mg tianeptine sulfate, 2 nettle root extract.

I have stopped taking tianeptine because I ran out of it, and I have felt very down for the past two days because of this, and perhaps also because of stopping L-Dopa. Tianeptine is a real thing and many people have reported it. I still love tianeptine and will probably order some more to use it occasionally. It is really good at making me productive after a night of bad sleep.

6. Protecting the liver

Earlier in the year I had some liver damage from high doses of vitamin A and from spirulina. I have continued to have very mild liver tenderness and sometimes pain after taking supplements. Tianeptine, piracetam and nettle root extract seem to be the biggest culprits.

For the above reasons, I started taking NAC regularly, and more recently stated milk thistle. These days I always take 1000 mg NAC and 1200 mg milk thistle every time I take supplements, and this has made liver pain a rare occurrence.

7. Caffeine

I would have many cups of coffee from breaking the fast until 4 hours later when I had my second meal. Normally I would stop taking caffeine 8 hours before bed, but on this program 4 hours before bed seemed to be good enough, perhaps due to the fact that I was taking tianeptine, which makes up for the effects of sub-par sleep.

8. Exercise

Exercising during the fast seemed to lead to better results afterwards. But I stopped exercising a few days into the program because it wasn’t strictly necessary, and because my low-calorie diet was making me feel really de-energized during the fasting hours.

Discussion

The goal of this program, as the article title says, is to deprive the brain of stimulation for a number of hours, then to give it a shock of dopamine-increasing substances, including a carb-containing meal with a sweetened drink. The contrast in dopamine between the fasted state and the fed state is sufficient to cause your (well, at least my) motivation skyrocket. In fact a few times I felt too stimulated, unable to focus on a single task because I kept wanting to write down an idea or a few paragraphs for one of the books I’m working on. Olive leaf extract seemed to help with focus.

Another thing that seemed to help with focus was working with all of the lights off (while wearing blue-light filtering glasses to protect the eyes). Working in the dark is an old focus trick I discovered years ago, but doesn’t always work, perhaps dopamine has to be high to begin with.

Long-Term Concerns

L-Dopa is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and has serious long-term side-effects. For this reason you must never rely on it. Too much of it causes dangerous recklessness and impulsiveness. If you feel a “buzz” from it, you’ve probably had too much.

Tianeptine has amazing effects, but the fact that it gives me liver pain, and the fact that it causes withdrawal, makes me hesitant about using it in the long-term.

Now that Ramadan is over, I’m working on developing a new program where I can do without most of the supplements I take. I’ve discovered that 2-minute bouts of intense weightlifting (deadlifting a 160 pound weight) bring back my motivation and ability to focus, work and write when nothing else can. What I plan to do is start doing these 2-minute bouts throughout the day and see what happens.

My Chronic Fatigue Treatment Program

For more details on my program please see my book Farewell Chronic Fatigue, now available on Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook format.

In this essay I will summarize the treatment program I have developed over the past 9 years to treat my chronic fatigue, which used to completely overshadow my life for months at a time, preventing me from getting anything done or taking any joy in life.

This is not a cure but a treatment, as the fatigue comes back if the treatment is stopped. I will categorize my treatments into “essential” and “optional” treatments. The essential ones are necessary for the treatment to work and cannot be dispensed with. The optional ones improve the effectiveness of the treatment program but can probably be skipped.

Essentials

1. Meal Time Management

The foundation of my program is to take in zero carbohydrate or protein calories until 3 PM (8 hours after my wakeup time). I spend the day drinking unsweetened black coffee with matcha (green tea powder) added to it as a creamer and as a source for l-theanine, the amino acid that prevents coffee jitters.

I only use organic coffee that I grind right before I make the cup of coffee. I cannot stand pre-ground store-bought coffees.

Oils are an exception. I drink tablespoons of MCT oil and walnut oil in the morning (and some people put coconut oil in their coffee), this will not affect the program.

2. The Feeding Window

I only eat between 3 PM and 5 PM, a two-hour feeding window. If I eat later than that, it affects my sleep quality and brings back my fatigue the next day.

3. Avoiding Sugar, Fruit Juice, Grains and other Simple Carbohydrates

I do not eat bread, anything made with wheat flour, rice or potatoes, fruit juice, sweet fruits or sugary things. In short, I avoid eating/drinking large amounts of high-glycemic foods. These foods keep my blood sugar high throughout the night, reducing my sleep quality and giving me fatigue the next day.

I do not avoid them religiously. I still have small amounts of fruit (such as an occasional apple). But I make sure to never have significant amounts of simple carbohydrates except on special occasions.

3. Carotenall

Carotenall is a source of carotenoid anti-oxidants (vitamin A-like substances). I have one upon wake-up. Without this, nothing else works.

Beta-carotene (which is commonly called “plant-based vitamin a” doesn’t work. Retinol (animal-based vitamin A) works, but I need extremely high doses of it (100,000 iu the night before to feel the benefits the next day), which is toxic to the liver.

Spirulina (a tiny sea creature high in vitamin A) also works, but it is toxic to the liver because it is always contaminated with other creatures that produce liver toxins. I received severe liver pain from spirulina, even though the brand I tried was a highly-rated organic one from Amazon.com. I tried a different brand (the Health Ranger) which prides itself on having clean and high-quality supplements, but even that gave me liver pain.

4. Nettle Root Extract

I have one capsule of Now brand nettle root extract (250 mg) in the morning upon wake-up. Nettle root extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory supplement. I do not know the specific reasons why it works, but it does, and my chronic fatigue treatment cannot work without it.

Do not confuse with nettle leaf extract. Do not use non-extracts, the supplement should say “extract”. I have tried multiple brands, only Now brand and Solaray brand have worked for me.

5. Perika

I take 3 Perika tablets upon wakeup. Perika is a high-quality extract of St. John’s Wort, it is what St. John’s Wort should be. I have taken St. John’s Wort but it doesn’t work for me, Perika does.

Perika is necessary to create a form of mild optimism / happiness that is conducive toward feeling motivated.

6. Caffeine With Proper Timing (Probably Essential)

I stop drinking caffeine 15 minutes before my meal time (i.e. at 2:45 PM). If I have caffeine with my meal or after it, this brings back some of my fatigue the next day.

Caffeine is an important part of my day. It might be possible to use the rest of the treatments mentioned while being caffeine-free. I haven’t tried it, so I cannot say whether it will work.

7. Berberine and Banaba (not Banana) Extract (Essential for Me)

These two herbal extracts together are essential for managing my insulin resistance, and without doing that, the worst of my chronic fatigue comes back. If you sweat an hour or two after eating and the sweat smells somewhat sweet, or you carry amount significant amounts of belly fat or cellulite, or your eyes get very dry after eating, you probably have insulin resistance (or some other insulin-related condition).

I spent four months of zero motivation and productivity from March 2014 to July 2014 until I discovered this combination. I take a supplement called GlycoX which contains 500 mg berberine and 25 mg banaba extract  per capsule. I take 2 with my 3 PM meal, and 2 more at 5 PM. Different people will need different amounts.

8. Copper and Magnesium (Possibly Essential)

I take 2.5 mg copper glycinate and 130 mg elemental magnesium (from magnesium citrate) in the mornings. Copper helps with will power (the ability to focus on whatever one wants to focus on at will), while magnesium helps promote calmness and reduce eye dryness.

Copper is pro-excitatory for neurons (makes them more likely to fire), meaning that if it is missing, one feels fatigue in the brain, while if there is too much, neurons fire too often (known as excitotoxicity), causing a feeling of being scatterbrained and unable to focus. I recommend being careful with dosages of copper, more is not necessarily better.

9. Vitamin D3, Zinc Sulfate and Vitamin K (Essential for Evening Productivity)

I take 2000 IU vitamin D3, 25 mg zinc sulfate and 5-15 mg MK4 (a form of vitamin K) with my 3 PM meal. In this way my mind feels active and desirous of learning throughout the night, enabling me to listen to new audiobooks (my eyes are too dry at night to use them to read). If I don’t take these, I lack the motivation and the ability to focus necessary for being interested in learning.

Zinc, like copper, helps with the ability for neurons to fire. Zinc also reduces oxidative damage and inflammation. 25 mg might be too much, I plan to test lower amounts. Too much zinc, like copper, causes excitotoxicity.

The MK4 is not essential for these benefits, but it is necessary to prevent organ damage that is caused by vitamin D3, due to the fact that it increases calcium levels in the blood. MK4 also has the additional benefit of reducing inflammation and helping with insulin sensitivity, in this way improving sleep quality.

There is a fad where people take very high doses of vitamin D3. Taking 5000 IU gives me kidney pain, therefore I recommend not taking more than 2000 IU. I took 5000 IU vitamin D3 for years seemingly without issue, perhaps the reason my kidneys hurt now if I have this much is kidney damage caused by it.

Optionals

1. Piracetam (Possibly Essential, Possibly Not)

Piracetam helps reduce inflammation in the brain and improves memory and processing speed. I take 290 mg upon wakeup and 290mg around 11 AM. This is a relatively low dose, as some people take many grams of it per day, but it seems sufficient.

After the liver damage I got form spirulina, piracetam would bring back some liver pain, therefore I reduced the dosage to 290 mg.

2. Tianeptine Sulfate

Tianeptine sulfate is an anti-depressant and brain enhancer. It has amazing powers of reducing feelings of stress, promoting calmness and reducing social anxiety. It gives me a sort of calmness that makes it easy for me to spend hours on a single task without getting bored. I take 25 mg in the morning and 25 mg around 11 AM.

3. Oils

I take a tablespoon of walnut oil (which is high in the Omega 3 oil alpha-linolenic acid) in the mornings, which helps with motivation and brain function, and also helps with my eye dryness. I also take MCT oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil and grape seed oil occasionally to experiment with them.

4. Melatonin

I take 250 mcg (0.25 mg) melatonin at bedtime, it helps improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue the next day. More is not better, taking 1 gram or 5 gram makes me wake up many times during the night and makes it difficult for me to fall back asleep.

The Social Factor in Chronic Fatigue

As I explain in detail in my book, I have discovered that social settings matter in chronic fatigue. If I don’t feel motivated, going to a coffee shop to work often brings back my motivation. Being surrounded by loved ones also reduces fatigue and increases motivation

There is a new theory of depression known as the Immune-Cytokine Model, which says that loneliness causes inflammation, designed to make us feel bad, to motivate us to go back to our loved ones, in this way ensuring that we do not spend time away from the safety of our families and tribes.

Ways of benefiting from these observations is to move in with your parents or another loved one if you can, to join meet ups and clubs (such as a martial arts club), to work outside (for this to work, you must be somewhere where you feel watched, if you feel entirely ignored by everyone, it doesn’t help, this is just how the brain works). Even getting a pet may help.

Things to Avoid

ALCAR

ALCAR (acetyl-L-carnitine) is a great supplement for managing blood sugar. Unfortunately, it causes a (pleasurable) feeling of laziness, where lying down and doing nothing is all I want to do. Taking any ALCAR today also seems to reduce my motivation the next day.

ALA

Alpha-lipoic acid (not to be confused with the omega 3 oil alpha-linolenic acid) is an anti-oxidant supplement that helps with blood sugar. It gives me neuropathy (pain in my fingers and toes), probably due to the fact that it removes minerals from the body, and it also gives me extreme depression and fatigue if I have too much of it, or if I have it on an empty stomach.

Islamic Terrorism as a Genetic-Cultural Selective Pressure on Muslim Populations

On the origins of Islamic terrorism, the dangerous loophole within Sunni Islam that enables it (hadith-primacism), and the powerful new Sunni Criterionist position, already adopted by millions of educated Muslims, that uses the Quran to cripple extremist ideologies.

The Western Origins of the Islamic Terrorism Germ

The United States invented modern Islamic terrorism in 1979 as part of its efforts to fight the Soviet Union’s influence in Central Asia, that all-important part of the world, control of which is necessary for any would-be world hegemon.

The groundwork had been laid by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that started out as a welfare and education society but grew too powerful for its own good. Its major political work was their helping in the war against an army of Jews eager to repeat the Hebrew Bible’s conquest of Canaan by systematically killing Palestinian men, women and infants1 in a poetic reenactment of the Book of Joshua.

From the perspective of Quranic law, the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the war against these terrorists was justifiable, as the Brotherhood wasn’t acting independently, unlike today’s Islamic terrorists. It was helping in a conflict that involved existing sovereign states (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, members of the Arab League). The Muslim Brotherhood’s war was exactly the opposite of conflicts launched by modern Islamic terrorists, it was an anti-terrorist force in the conflict, helping governments fight terrorists that were carrying out bombings and massacres, intent on terrorizing all Palestinians into leaving the territories that these Jews had decided belonged to them as God’s Chosen People.

The Brotherhood’s power grew to the point that it developed its own intelligence and covert operations arm, known as al-Jihaaz al-Sirri (The Covert Apparatus), which was involved in assassinations and bombings, such as the assassination of Ahmed El-Khazindar Bey, President of Egypt’s Court of Appeal, and Mahmoud El Nokrashy Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt, both in 1948. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, condemned both of these assassinations, but he had practically lost control over his organization, since powerful factions within it wanted violence, and they had the power to bypass al-Banna’s wishes.

The Egyptian intellectual Sayyid Qutb, well-known among Egypt’s intelligentsia and student of the famous Egyptian journalist Abbās Mahmūd al-Aqqād, reverted to Islam after a life of secularism and adopted the Brotherhood, while also, perhaps without realizing its true consequences, building the intellectual foundations necessary for the Brotherhood’s violent arm to carry out its insurgencies. If Sayyid Qutb’s highly partisan biographer is to be trusted2, his house was used as a meeting place for Gamal Abdel Nasser and his friends as they planned the 1952 July 23 Revolution in Egypt against the British occupation.

Once president of Egypt, Nasser wanted Qutb on his side, offering him high government positions, which Qutb always refused.3 Once he despaired of Qutb joining him, he started persecuting him and his associates, imprisoning him for a decade. Nasser ordered Qutb’s hanging on 24th of August, 1966, after a show trial. These events turned Qutb into the perfect martyr, a secular convert to Islam, a literary critic, a warrior for social justice, and a revolutionary who was stabbed in the back by Western-friendly seculars that he had supported into power.

The Brotherhood distanced itself from Qutb, going back to its early position of advocating peaceful activism (at least openly), but extremists around the world wishing for a resurgence of Islam continued to follow him as their primary source for both knowledge and for inspiration.4

By the 1970’s, the time was ripe for any would-be terrorist to launch his own holy war against whoever he disliked. The CIA jumped right into the action, training, arming and encouraging these terrorists as tools for protecting US interests abroad and fighting its major enemy, the Soviet Union. Operation Cyclone, conceived by the Jewish US foreign policy strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed and financed jihadi warriors in Afghanistan to use them as a buffer against Soviet influence from 1979 until after 1992, to the tune of $630 million per year in 1987.

What judgment to render on all this is a matter of perspective. Asked in 1998 if he had any regrets about having helped instigate Soviet intervention in Afghanistan5, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in many respects the god-father of Operation Cyclone, reacted with astonishment. “Regret what?” he replied. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?”

The interviewer pressed the point. Hadn’t subsequent rise of radical Islamism tranished that victory? Not in Brzezinski’s view. “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”6

Check out Edmonds’ interview with Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine: Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

This brilliant program to manufacture Islamic jihadists to fight America’s enemies resulted in the creation of Operation Gladio B, the United States program to train al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates, exposed by the FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

In her interview, Edmonds  insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times’ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001”, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.

“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.

Edmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”

In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.

[…]

Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his  trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”

While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.7

The US tradition of spreading the American ideals of peace and liberty in the Middle East by funding and training Islamic terrorist groups continues to ISIS, also known as ISIL and Daesh.

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

After his talk Shea engaged in a debate with a source I very much treasure. The source later gave me the lowdown.

According to Saudi intelligence, Daesh was invented by the US government – in Camp Bacca, near the Kuwait border, as many will remember — to essentially finish off the Shiite-majority Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

It didn’t happen this way, of course. Then, years later, in the summer of 2014, Daesh routed the Iraqi Army on its way to conquer Mosul. The Iraqi Army fled. Daesh operatives then annexed ultra-modern weapons that took US instructors from six to twelve months to train the Iraqis in and…surprise! Daesh incorporated the weapons in their arsenals in 24 hours.

In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.

Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia.

True to form, at the end of the debate, Shea went on to blame Russia for absolutely everything that’s happening today – including Daesh terror.8

The Cognitive-Psychological Stress of Terrorism on the Muslim Mind

Terrorism is an extremely stressful phenomenon for Muslims. It uses Islamic rhetoric to justify acts that disgust and horrify most Muslims. For Muslims, the problem with terrorism, and the reason they still haven’t figured out what to do about it, is that it is something entirely new. We Muslims are like the American Indians who were exposed for the first to time to European germs they had never faced before when Columbus discovered the Americas. Most of these native Americans had no defenses against these germs, and so they succumbed to them by the millions. Our societies, too, have no defenses against terrorism-supporting extremist ideologies because terrorism was never a threat before.

Terrorism, this new European-incubated germ (if we think of Americans as Europeans, for their European genes and culture), forces two choices on the average Muslim just trying to get on with their life. The first choice is to renew their allegiance to Islam, to convince themselves that these terrorists aren’t acting according to the true version of Islam. This argument feels weak, but they don’t know anything better, so they try not to think about it too much and instead direct their hatred at terrorist groups such as ISIS, to absolve themselves of the guilt they feel. Some of the kindest and most admirable people they know are fellow devout Muslims, so while they cannot consciously tell what the fundamental difference is between Muslim terrorists and peaceful, devout Muslims, they know in their hearts that the difference exists.

The second choice is to entirely abandon Islam as something evil, outdated and barbaric. Every major terrorist attack renews the pressure on Muslims to take this choice, and many do. And from their newfound post-Islam position, they attack Islam as the embodiment of all that is evil in this world.

We are caught between a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that claims to be the only true version of Islam, and that provides the fuel that drives these terrorists into doing what they do, and a secularism that entirely abandons Islam. Evey new terrorist attack creates intense cognitive dissonance where we have to continually repeat to ourselves that this is not true Islam, hoping to preserve our faith until we can forget about the massacre and go on with our lives.

Terrorism is nothing but an intense genetic-cultural evolutionary pressure9. We are faced with two ways forward:

  • We remain in our present state of weakness, continuing to provide fertile ground for the FBI and the CIA to recruit terrorists among us and use them for their own purposes, becoming nothing but dehumanized tools of war among empires. More and more of us would feel pressured to abandon Islam, and in this way Islam fails and becomes extinct, as our children, deciding to be more enlightened than us, abandon Islam in favor of a secularism that feels much more sensible and civilized.
  • We evolve into a new type of Muslim population whose very foundations reject and cripple the terrorist ideology that has been so perfected by the peaceful and freedom-loving geniuses at the CIA.

If we are to evolve, this evolution has to happen at the level of our intellectuals, scholars and preachers, who are the midwives responsible for birthing Islam into the 21st century.

Hadith-Primacism: The Scholarly Pandora’s Box that Enables Terrorist Ideologies

The Islamic scholarly tradition is divided into two major turfs; the scholars of fiqh (jurisprudence, i.e. Islamic law), and the scholars of hadith (narrations relating to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his tradition). The scholars of fiqh, among whom are such giants of Islamic scholarship as Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Fakhradeen al-Rarzi, Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim support a rationalistic approach toward hadith, believing that even if a hadith narration’s chain of narrators is entirely trustworthy, if the narration’s content is not supported by the wider context of the Quran and hadith, then that narration is subject to doubt and skepticism, and that it cannot be used to derive any laws or principles.10

Their policy toward singular but authentic hadith narrations is summarized by the scholar al-Shashi as follows:

شرط العمل بخبر الواحد ألا يكون مخالفا للكتاب والسنة المشهورة.

The condition for applying a singular hadith narration is that it should not go against Scripture [the Quran] and the well-known Sunnah [traditions of the Prophet.]

The rationalistic approach toward hadith is taken further by Abu Hanifah, who writes:

ونبي الله لا يخالف كتاب الله، ومخالف كتاب الله لا يكون نبي الله، فرد كل رجل يحدِّث عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بخلاف القرآن ليس ردًّا على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا تكذيبا له، ولكن ردّ على مَن يحدث عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بالباطل، والتهمة دخلت عليه وليست على نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم. (أبو حنيفة، رسالة العالم والمتعلم)

The Prophet of God does not defy the Book of God, and whoever defies the Book of God cannot be a Prophet of God. Refuting any man who mentions a narration of the Prophet peace be upon him which goes against the Quran is not a refutation of the Prophet peace be upon him, and is not an act of calling him [the Prophet] a liar, rather, it is a refutation of someone who speaks falsehood regarding the Prophet peace be upon him, and the accusation [of speaking falsehood] is against that man and not the Prophet peace be upon him.11

The Hanbali scholar Ibn al-Jawzi advocates this principle when handling hadith:

فكل حديث رأيته يخالف العقول وأن يناقض الأصول، فاعلم أنه موضوع فلا تتكلف اعتباره.

Any hadith that you can recognize as going against reason or contradicting principles, then know that it is a fabrication, therefore do not consider yourself compelled to act by it.

The rationalistic approach toward hadith is supported by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself, in an authentic narration included by Ibn `Asakir in his Tareekh Dimashq (History of Damascus). The narrators of this narration all have many narrations in Sahih al-Bukhari, meaning that they satisfy the highest standards of hadith authentication:

إنها تكون بعدي رواة يروون عني الحديث، فاعرضوا حديثهم على القرآن، فما وافق القرآن فخذوا به، وما لم يوافق القرآن فلا تأخذوا به.

There will be after me narrators of hadith. Expose their narrations to the Quran; any of them that agree with the Quran, then follow those, and those that do not agree with it, then do not follow them.

Scholars of hadith, on the other hand, reject this rationalistic approach toward hadith in favor of their processes of authentication, which entirely focuses on the form of hadith and ignores its content. As long as the chains of narration satisfy their criteria, they accept the hadith as authentic, even if it goes against the Quran and common sense. As an example, the hadith scholar al-Nasaa’i considers this narration authentic, in which the Prophet says:

لا يدخل الجنة ولد زنا

One who is born to adultery does not enter Paradise.12

Ibn al-Jawzi, who as mentioned belongs to the fiqh group, rejects this narration, despite the authenticity of its chain of narration, using the following verse of the Quran:

وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى

No one carries the burden of the sin of another person.13

The modern hadith scholar Ibn Baaz (of whom I think highly when it comes to most things) uses authentic hadith narrations to prove that the earth isn’t round. There are many hadith-primacist scholars in Saudi Arabia who use authentic narrations to prohibit women from driving cars or using the Internet without a man’s presence.

There is an intellectual battle raging between rationalism on the one hand, and hadith-primacism on the other (giving primacy to hadith at the Quran’s expense), with hadith-primacist scholars often entirely ignoring the Quran and reason if they can find authentic narrations to back up their claims. As an example, hadith scholars continue to consider as authentic narrations from Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abdullah ibn Umar in which they mention the Prophet saying that a dead person can be punished for the weeping of their relatives on them, even though there is an authentic narration by Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, in which she refutes what Umar and Abdullah say using verses of the Quran, and saying that Umar has misremembered.

Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyyah reject an authentic narration of the Prophet (mentioned in Sahih Muslim) in which he describes the stages of the creation of the earth as seven days, saying that since the Quran says the earth was created in six days, this hadith must be false regardless of its authenticity. To hadith-primacist scholars this doesn’t matter; the narrators are trustworthy, so it must be true, even if it clearly contradicts the Quran.

Hadith-primacist scholars make up a loud minority among the scholarly tradition which viciously attacks anyone who dares to use rationalism and Quran-derived principles to justify skepticism toward particular narrations, since to them, once a narration has been given the stamp of authenticity, any questioning of it mounts to heresy.

By giving preference to hadith in their thinking and ignoring Quranic principles, hadith-primacist scholars create Islam’s Achilles’ heel; on the one hand, extremists can make up any interpretation of Islam they desire as long as they can find authentic narrations to support their views, and on the other, the rest of the population is prohibited from countering the views of these extremists using the Quran, because…all of the narrations these extremists use are perfectly authentic, and any attack on them amounts to an attack on the hadith-primacist scholars, the loud minority that is only too happy to assassinate the character of anyone who incurs their wrath.

It does little good that 500 scholars sign some declaration against terrorism, their feeble arguments can be trivially defeated by the seemingly bullet-proof reasonings of militant extremists, who are just as well-versed in the scholarly tradition. Our scholars continue trying to build anti-terrorism castles in the sand, incapable of withstanding the simplest attacks of extremists.

Once the hadith-primacist view is adopted and goes unchallenged, it becomes futile to mention verses like 5:32 that mention the infinite worth of human life, because there is always that one extremist who comes along and says “This verse is overruled by that [Quranic verse or hadith narration], so no, the infinite worth of human life only applies to Muslims, and even then, to a tiny minority of Muslims.” And if you mention a verse like 2:62 that promises paradise to pious Christians living today, they will always say “Nope, this is abrogated by 5:17, which says Christians are infidels.”

Hadith-primacism enables extremists to enforce almost any and all preconceived prejudices they may have on Islamic belief and practice, opening the way for terrorist bombings and massacres. All that an extremist needs to support terrorism is a few well-chosen hadith narrations that corrupt the Quran in a way that presents a view of the world as a battlefield between good and evil, and which presents all of humanity as infidels that can be destroyed at will if they get in the way of extending God’s rule.

The Criterion

The “Criterion” is one of the names that the Quran uses for itself14. The entire 25th chapter is known as al-Furqaan, “the Criterion”, and its first verse shows that this name refers to the whole Quran:

Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His servant, to be a warning to humanity.

Our scholars can never win the ideological war against terrorism as long as hadith-primacism goes unchallenged. Until our scholars develop sufficient courage to admit that the Quran is superior to hadith, and to admit that the Quran is the criterion by which we can judge all other texts, the loophole would remain wide open for extremist thinkers to encourage youth to carry out terrorist atrocities.

Stoning: Over 1000 Years of Rejecting the Quran

The hadith-primacist view is so dominant that to this day only a handful of scholars can be found who give precedence to the Quran’s principles on sexual crimes over hadith. One such scholar is the great Egyptian Islamic scholar Muhammad Abu Zahra (d. 1974), who in a 1972 conference rejected the punishment of stoning, saying that he had kept has view secret for 20 years in fear of the backlash he would receive if he made it public.

The Quran’s overall philosophy is that when faced with two evils, one must choose the lesser evil. No one, except a sadist, enjoys hurting others, even if it is justified. For the crime of adultery (people cheating on their spouses), the Quran prescribes a punishment that will be explained. But first it is important to understand why punishment is necessary.

Islam’s view is that adultery is a matter of men’s, women’s and children’s rights. Islam wants to make adultery unthinkable within a devout Muslim society. By removing people’s freedom to cheat on their spouses, Islam creates a better freedom. It creates a society that is free from the stress and damage of flirtation, cheating and seduction. Husbands and wives can go about their days confident in the knowledge that their families are stable and that there are no threats to their family lives, either from lecherous men or seductive women.

From a men’s rights perspective, being harsh on adultery means that men can be sure children born to their wives are their own. They are also freed from the intense stress and turmoil of having to deal with a wife who is talking to other men behind their backs.

From a women’s rights perspective, it means that women can be sure there are no other women, anywhere, at all, eager to take their husbands away from them, and thus they can be confident that their social status and the father of their children is not threatened by other women.

From a children’s rights perspective, it means children are spared the turmoil and damage caused by either of their parents cheating on the other, and the possible divorce and broken family life that would come from it.

Punishing adultery harshly is the lesser evil that prevents the greater evils mentioned above. Islam doesn’t shy away from dealing with such matters, the way modern Christians do. Letting adultery go unchecked doesn’t mean it will not do damage. It just means the problem will continue to grow until more and more families break apart and birth rates go below replacement rates (i.e. the society starts to shrink in the long term) as people shy away from marriage and family life due to the cynical attitude promoted by rampant infidelity and sex outside of marriage.

Before we talk about the punishment, note that Islam places stringent requirements on proving adultery. Four witnesses to the act of copulation are necessary, it is not sufficient to find a man and woman naked in a room together. Only someone who shows the most flagrant contempt for society’s rules by carrying out adultery (or other sexual acts) in the view of many witnesses will be subject to this law, and even then, only if the witnesses are forthcoming and the case goes to court.

Also note that Islamic law is not something that is forced upon people, it is something that people democratically choose as their own law. Non-Muslims wouldn’t be subject to it, though in a multi-religious society, Muslim-majority cities and states would have the right to banish non-Muslims who commit mortal sins like adultery, as otherwise there would be a loophole allowing non-Muslims to run brothels in Muslim cities, the way the Jews did all over Christian Europe in the 19th century.15

For the crime of adultery, the Quran prescribes a hundred lashes:

The adulteress and the adulterer—whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God’s Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment. [Quran 24:2]

While flogging someone for a crime would seem uncouth and barbaric to the modern Western reader (who also can’t bear to watch a cow slaughtered, yet eats beef), Muslims voluntarily choose it as an acceptable punishment in certain cases because it is far more efficient than imprisoning people. Prisoners require food and care, which is a great waste on society, and a crime against the children and elderly who far more deserve that food and care. Instead of spending $50,000 caring for an imprisoned adulterer for a year, they are administered 15 minutes of public shaming and then let go, and if the money exists that was to be used for the care of prisoners, it would go toward helping the poor and the needy instead, who far more deserve it.16

Note that due to the rarity of adultery in a Muslim society, and the difficulty in proving it, actually floggings would be extremely rare. An entire country might only see a case or two in a decade. These would be ceremonial events, similar to the execution of traitors in the US, where the individuals in a society voluntarily choose to reassert that standards of manner and custom are being preserved. If flagrant adultery goes unpunished, within a decade or two the nature of the society would easily transform into a typical Western one, where people are cynical about marriage and relationships, and where birth rates are always below replacement.

Devout Muslims would never be guilty of adultery. The punishment is for freeloaders who want to enjoy the fruits of Islam (faithful wives and husbands, basic income, peaceful cities and very low crime rates) while flaunting their contempt for its rules. Such people are a threat to an Islamic society’s long-term survival, and they are dealt with as such. The flogging makes a lesson out of such people, teaching that they cannot enjoy the fruits of Islam while working to destroy the very foundations that enabled such fruits to exist in the first place.

If flogging seems unkind, it should, because it is meant to be unkind. It is an evil meant to prevent a greater evil. All that Islam asks of people, if they want to avoid this punishment, is to not have sex outside of marriage in the view of witnesses. And if someone really wants the right to have sex outside of marriage in the view of witnesses, they are free to leave Islam and enjoy this privilege.

To this day, the scholarly tradition has defended the idea of punishing people for leaving Islam, some even recommending the death penalty. This, above all, is a demonstration of the critical need for rationalism within the Islamic tradition, because the Quran says “There is no compulsion in religion,”17, and forcing people to stay Muslim is just as much compulsion as forcing people to become Muslims. Even a child should be able to see this, but thanks to the authoritarian doctrine of hadith-primacism, scarcely a scholar can be found with the spine and intelligence to support the Quran’s principle of religious freedom against apostasy-punishing hadith narrations.

While flogging is what the Quran prescribes for adultery, hadith narrations mention accounts of the Prophet ordering the stoning of adulterers, in accordance with Jewish law18 (at the beginning of his rule in the city of al-Madinah, the Prophet appears to have followed Jewish law if no Quranic law existed that could handle a particular case). So of course, our scholars follow the view of hadith instead of the Quran, considering stoning a valid punishment. Today, even Western-educated converts to Islam can be found who defend stoning.

Verse 4:25 of the Quran says this regarding women born to slavery:

When they are married, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half that of free women.

How exactly do you administer half a stoning to someone? Stoning is meant to be a form of execution, how do you half-execute someone? Would the Quran be foolish enough to prescribe a punishment that could never actually be applied in real life? The verse makes perfect since if it referred to the Quranic punishment for adultery, flogging.

As if that wasn’t sufficient evidence against stoning, the Quran goes on to supply this verse:

Those of your women who commit fahishah [“wantonness”, an umbrella term that includes adultery along with other sexual crimes], you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they testify, confine them to the homes until death claims them, or God makes a way for them. 19

If the punishment for adultery is execution by stoning, then what could this verse be talking about? How could God make a way for someone He Himself commands to be executed? This reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s novel Pyramids, in which a woman is sentenced to death for refusing to volunteer to be sacrificed.

From the Quranic point of view the point of the verse is clear. It is telling Muslims to be better than Christians, who as late as the 20th century would disown and throw out women who were convicted of adultery, along with their children, to become prostitutes and beggars. The verse requires that the woman’s family, clan, or tribe, instead of disowning her, should continue to care for her as one of their own. As is usual with the Quran’s system of checks and balances, this burden (of caring for an undesirable criminal) comes with added powers. The family is allowed to prevent the woman from going out until they age and die, or until “God makes a way for them”. This second clause provides for various possibilities in dealing with adulterers:

  • For adulteresses and unmarried women who have sex outside of marriage, they can be confined to their homes by the family, as the verse suggests, until they show repentance and agree to abide by Islamic society’s rules. There are fatwas (official rulings) by many respected scholars (Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, Dr. Nizar Rayyan, Dr. Ali al-Sartawi) that require a husband to keep a cheating wife as his wife if she shows repentance. Once she is found to have truly given up the thought that sex outside of marriage is OK, then she is allowed to re-enter society. By giving the Muslim family the power to prevent such women from going out, the law closes an important loophole that would exist otherwise. If the family didn’t have this power, a woman could practice prostitution while having the legal power to force her family to accommodate her and provide for her. The law requires adulteresses to decisively choose their fates (repent or leave Islam), instead of existing within legal gray zones.
  • As mentioned, such people have the option of leaving Islamic society to live as non-Muslims, if they do not believe in repenting and re-entering Islamic society. By renouncing their Islamic duties, they also renounce their Islamic privileges (their families would no longer have any duties toward them), such as guaranteed basic income for women, and the earnings of the wealth and speculation tax (zakat earnings), though they would still have all basic rights and duties that the government’s constitution enforces for all of its citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim.
  • If there is an overseas nation that offers to accept all adulterers and adulteresses as refugees, they can be sent to that nation.
  • A male who is known to promote adultery (a lecherous person who constantly seeks to seduce women and is convicted of sexual crimes multiple times) or engages in prostitution (such as by running a brothel) can be banished using laws against the spreading of corruption.

The Quran goes on to supply this verse, laying down marriage rules for adulterers:

The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress shall marry none but an adulterer or an idolater. That has been prohibited for the believers. 20

If the punishment for adultery is execution by stoning, what could be the point of talking about marriage? While if the punishment is flogging, then the verse makes sense. The Quran is forbidding marrying an adulterer until they have shown clear repentance. And those who haven’t and will not show repentance, those cannot ever be married by Muslims.

The Quran itself contains sufficient evidence to nullify stoning once and for all. But our scholars, blinded by their education, continue to support the barbaric Jewish punishment. Luckily, Muslim rulers, the scholars of fiqh, and the Muslim populace, have often been very sensible regardless of the things written in books of law21, so that the cases of actual stoning in Islamic history are just a handful.22

For sexual crimes, the Quran never prescribes execution. That is a corruption introduced by the hadith-primacist tradition. No, it even ensures the rights of the adulteress, preventing her family from casting her out.

We can be thankful that we already have respected scholars who have taken steps toward restoring the Quran’s status as Islam’s principal authority, such as the Egyptian scholars and Azhar University professors Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 199623) and Yusuf al-Qaradhawi24, widely known and highly respected figures in modern mainstream Islam in the Middle East. One of the important works in this field is al-Ghazali’s revolutionary 1989 book al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyyah baina Ahlal Fiqhi wa Ahlal Hadeeth (“The Prophetic Tradition Between the People of Jurisprudence and the People of Hadith”), in which he clarifies the division between the scholars of fiqh and scholars of hadith and calls for abandoning hadith-primacism in favor of rationalism.

The Quran: Ender of Terrorist Ideologies

Once we reject hadith-primacism and put Islam’s focus back on the Quran, it becomes practically impossible to justify terrorism on the one hand, and it becomes trivial to defeat extremist intellectuals and their ideologies on the other. The only cases in which violent conflict is justified in the Quran are in matters of statecraft, when a Muslim government had to deal with threats around it. In the Quran, there is not a single justification for groups of Muslims taking the law into their own hands and carrying out terrorist attacks.

In fact, the Quran advocates the exact opposite. It tells Muslims to follow the example of the prophets,

Those are the ones to whom We gave the Scripture and authority and prophethood. But if the disbelievers deny it, then We have entrusted it to a people who are not therein disbelievers. Those are the ones whom God has guided, so from their guidance take an example. Say, “I ask of you for this message no payment. It is not but a reminder for the worlds.”25

The major predecessor of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran is Prophet Moses (whose name is mentioned over 130 times, versus 5 mentions of Muhammad’s name). Moses, this rightly guided prophet that Muslims are encouraged to follow, had about 600,000 Israelites under his guidance in Egypt26. Did he encourage this army to launch a war against the Pharaoh, this killer of infants and enemy of God?

No, instead, he asked them to be patient in their suffering, without raising a hand against their oppressors:

127. The chiefs of Pharaoh’s people said, “Will you let Moses and his people cause trouble in the land, and forsake you and your gods?” He said, “We will kill their sons, and spare their women. We have absolute power over them.”

128. Moses said to his people, “Seek help in God, and be patient. The earth belongs to God. He gives it in inheritance to whomever He wills of His servants, and the future belongs to the righteous.”

129. They said, “We were persecuted before you came to us, and after you came to us.” He said, “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy, and make you successors in the land; then He will see how you behave.”

130. And We afflicted the people of Pharaoh with barren years, and with shortage of crops, that they may take heed.

131. When something good came their way, they said, “This is ours.” And when something bad happened to them, they ascribed the evil omen to Moses and those with him. In fact, their omen is with God, but most of them do not know.

132. And they said, “No matter what sign you bring us, to bewitch us with, we will not believe in you.”

133. So We let loose upon them the flood, and the locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and blood—all explicit signs—but they were too arrogant. They were a sinful people.

134. Whenever a plague befell them, they would say, “O Moses, pray to your Lord for us, according to the covenant He made with you. If you lift the plague from us, we will believe in you, and let the Children of Israel go with you.”

135. But when We lifted the plague from them, for a term they were to fulfill, they broke their promise.

136. So We took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the sea—because they rejected Our signs, and paid no heed to them.

137. And We made the oppressed people inherit the eastern and western parts of the land, which We had blessed. Thus the fair promise of your Lord to the Children of Israel was fulfilled, because of their endurance. And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had built, and what they had harvested.27

In the Abraham chapter of the Quran, Moses tells a story of previous prophets in his effort to encourage the Children of Israel to be patient:

11. Their messengers said to them, “We are only humans like you, but God favors whomever He wills from among His servants. We cannot possibly show you any proof, except by leave of God. In God let the faithful put their trust.”

12. “And why should we not trust in God, when He has guided us in our ways? We will persevere in the face of your persecution. And upon God the reliant should rely.” 28

The Quran encourages the Prophet to be patient in the face of the persecution he used to receive (for 13 years, in fact, even as his following continued to grow), and to follow the examples of the prophets before him, instead of becoming a terrorist and using his army of followers to violently take over his small city:

So be patient, as the messengers with resolve were patient, and do not be hasty regarding them. On the Day when they witness what they are promised, it will seem as if they had lasted only for an hour of a day. A proclamation: Will any be destroyed except the sinful people?29

The entire Quran is a call for peaceful resistance against oppressors. If you think otherwise, I encourage you to read the Quran 50 times in the original Arabic, like I’ve done, and then explain to me tell me how it is otherwise.

The Quran, among many other things, also acts a military manual for Muslims, since war requires law, and the Quran is the primary source for Islamic law. Casual readers of the Quran will be shocked at the numerous descriptions of violence it contains, not realizing that the Quran has to act like a military manual, and that every modern military has a similar manual containing descriptions of cases where killing can be done legally, and cases where it cannot be done.

Christians critics of Islam ignore the far more violent Old Testament, whose God approves of stoning30, killing innocent children for their father’s sins31 burning people alive, and killing hundreds of thousands of women and infants alongside men to make room for Israel32

When the Old Testament’s violence is mentioned by Muslims, the usual reply is that all Abrahamic religions are equally violent and horrible, so we should abandon them all. But the Quran has nothing to do with the evil and genocide in the Old Testament. An example of a “violent” verse of the Quran is this:

You will find others who want security from you, and security from their own people. But whenever they are tempted into civil discord, they plunge into it. So if they do not withdraw from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and execute them wherever you find them. Against these, We have given you clear authorization. 33

This verse legalizes using deadly force against tribes who occasionally attacked the Prophet’s state when they saw an opportunity for gain, but who publicly declared allegiance to the Prophet to protect themselves from punishment34. A law was needed to deal with these people, and this verse provides that law. These people are publicly given a choice: Withdraw, offer peace, and restrain yourselves from violence, or continue doing what you do. If they agree to the verse’s offer, then they will be left alone, but if they break their word one more time like they’ve done countless times in the past, the law legalizes a decisive attack on them to end the menace once and for all.

A favorite passage of the Quran for Islam’s detractors is the following, from its second chapter:

190. And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love the aggressors.

191. And kill them wherever you overtake them, and expel them from where they had expelled you. Oppression is more serious than murder. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. If they fight you, then kill them. Such is the retribution of the disbelievers.

192. But if they cease, then God is Forgiving and Merciful.

193. And fight them until there is no oppression, and worship becomes devoted to God alone. But if they cease, then let there be no hostility except against the oppressors.
35

These “violent” verses rule that if a group attacks a Muslim state and conquers a part of it, then the state is allowed to launch a counter attack until the conquerors are entirely defeated and their laws and practices banished. They rule that, for example, if a conqueror takes up a part of Malaysia, and establishes a new constitution and official religion there, then, during the same conflict, once Muslims retake the land, they are required to restore Malaysia’s constitution and religious practices there (while respecting the right of individuals to choose their own religion, as ruled by 2:256). If the Muslim peasantry had been forcefully converted to another religion, they would be asked to embrace Islam again, and perhaps they will be offered gifts and support in return for converting back to Islam. Those who personally prefer the new religion will be left alone.

A fair-minded reader will see that these verses are actually placing limitations on violence instead of promoting it, by requiring that only aggressors be fought, and that if aggressors cease and offer peace in good faith, Muslims should accept their offer. Naturally, an enemy could abuse this law by offering peace when the war gets too hard for them, only to start it again once they are ready for another go. Other verses deal with such cases.

The Quran, taken as a whole, contains far more calls for patience, peace and co-existence than for violence, so that when it legalizes violence, it is always done as a matter of last resort, when all other avenues have been explored.

The United States government, compared to the type of government advocated by the Quran, is frankly Stone Age barbaric. In violation of the Quran’s laws, it arms, finances and trains terrorist groups that carry out wholesale slaughter throughout the world. It props up evil dictatorships throughout the world when it fits its interests. It finances bloody coup d’états against peaceful governments when it wants, like it did in Iran in 1953, Iraq in 1963, Ghana in 1966, Greece in 1967, the Dominican Republic in 1971, Fiji in 1987, Albania in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001 (the Afghan government asked for proof of Osama’s complicity in 9/11 before handing him over), Iraq in 2003, and Ukraine in 2014.36

America’s Christians will naturally absolve themselves of their government’s sins, since to them, atrocities that are far enough removed are not atrocities. They may even complain about what their government is doing abroad, just as they continue voting for the same congressmen and women who enabled and continue to enable their government’s worldwide campaign of terror. Who cares if their local congressman supports murdering millions to further the US government’s worldwide power grab, he is a nice Christian man from Kentucky!

And then certain Christian evangelicals have the audacity to talk about how the Quran is violent. Teach us about the way of Christ, of turning the other cheek, just as your chosen congress continues to support bombing our countries, financing murderous terrorists and assassinating the best of our leaders. Help us out of our barbaric ways with your civilized bombs!

Islam Evolves

And say, “The truth has come, and falsehood has withered away; for falsehood is bound to wither away.” —The Quran, 17:81

If today’s Muslim intellectual leaders are not brave enough to clean up Islam and reject the practice of discarding the Quran in favor of hadith, then their versions of Islam will not survive the terrorism germ. Their followers will either abandon Islam or move on to better versions of it.

From a Darwinian genetic-cultural perspective, it is guaranteed that Islam will adapt in such a way that makes terrorism nearly impossible, the question is not whether the adaptation will happen, the question is who will be brave enough to enable this adaptation, who will dare to go out of their comfort zones, put their careers on the line, and go against the millennium-old bureaucracy to rebuild Islam with the Quran at its foundation?

This evolutionary process has already progressed a great deal among the educated Muslim classes, who, supported by a few brave scholars, will eventually bring down hadith-primacism The good thing is that no one owns Islam. Time is the ultimate judge of truth and falsehood.

In an ecological system, germs and predators carry the important function of ensuring the fitness of species by killing off weak specimens and ensuring that species remain in a permanent state of renewal. The germ of terrorism, and the predation of the CIA and other evil Western organizations on Muslim populations, while causing great evil, also cause the creative destruction of Islam’s weaknesses, forcing our scholars to re-evaluate their practices and purify Islam from the rust it has accumulated over the centuries, so that a version of Islam can emerge that is fresh, relevant, more civilized than Judaism and Christianity, and capable of surviving the foreseeable future.

17. He sends down water from the sky, and riverbeds flow according to their capacity. The current carries swelling froth. And from what they heat in fire of ornaments or utensils comes a similar froth. Thus God exemplifies truth and falsehood. As for the froth, it is swept away, but what benefits the people remains in the ground. Thus God presents the analogies.

18. For those who respond to their Lord is the best. But as for those who do not respond to Him, even if they possessed everything on earth, and twice as much, they could not redeem themselves with it. Those will have the worst reckoning; and their home is Hell—a miserable destination.

19. Is he who knows that what was revealed to your from your Lord is the truth, like him who is blind? Only those who reason will remember.

20. Those who fulfill the promise to God, and do not violate the agreement.

21. And those who join what God has commanded to be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread the dire reckoning.

22. And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home.

23. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate.

24. “Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home.”37

Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Introduction

There is a surprising amount of confusion among the religious, even among clerics and scholars, when it comes to understanding why evil exists and why God stands aside when so much suffering happens throughout the world. I’ve heard nothing but lame excuses and naive, illogical reasoning from them when they try to justify the existence of evil.

Most of us express wonder when we see some horrible catastrophe happen, or when we see evil individuals, companies and institutions wield so much power. Some people even go so far as to blame God for the evil things that exist in this world, since if God had desired, He could have prevented such things from existing or happening in the first place. Others take this even further, using the existence of evil as proof of God’s non-existence. How can a good and supposedly all-powerful God stand by while so much evil happens? Where is our God?

I cannot follow a self-contradictory, unpredictable and illogical God, which is what God is as taught by many teachers of religion. Since I do not fit the criteria for becoming an atheist (being intelligent enough to reject the incoherent religion taught by my parents and teachers, but not intelligent enough to fix these incoherences and find my own path to God), what I have done throughout my life is to go back to Scripture and re-invent God based on its teachings, getting rid of all the cultural baggage that has entered into common religious belief to go back to the focus of all religion: The understanding and worship of God.1

There are good, perfectly logical explanations for these things, deep explanations that elucidate the purpose of this universe, our place in it, and our relationship with God, and through this give us perfectly good reasons for the existence of evil.

Why Evil Exists

What is the point of the existence of this world anyway? Many mistakenly think that the purpose of this world is to be a permanent residence where people judge whether God exists or not. They think that they can gauge God’s “level” of existence by the things that happen around them, so that given the right set of events, they will decide He is alive and active, and given others, they will decide He doesn’t exist, because if He existed, the world wouldn’t be the way it is.

A friend said that he once went on a trip abroad, and before he left, he asked God to protect three things that were most important to him in his life. During his trip, he lost all three, which included the dying of loved ones, and this made him decide that God doesn’t exist. He is a Buddhist now.

The above case is an example of earth-centric thinking, that considers this world a goal in itself. This is the core mistake that leads to millions of people misunderstanding, even disliking, God. That is a mistake because this world is nothing besides a testing hall where humans can freely choose to do as they like, to prove their worthiness of God’s approval or wrath. This world is not meant to be a permanent residence.

Most religions teach that an end of the world is coming. Regardless of religion, the universe is on track to become a dark, lifeless mass as the stars and galaxies die out. Everything is going to end, and what remains is the record of our deeds, kept by God. Even if we manage to create the greatest empire on earth, or write the most wonderful novel, none of our accomplishments will last.

One day the universe will shut down as if it never existed, and on that day what significance can our achievements have? This world is not meant as a permanent home of peace, but as a test. And a test requires that the possibility of failure should exist. If all humans acted according to God’s wishes, evil would not exist. But since God has given humans the freedom to disobey Him, they have the ability to do evil.

God is good, and evil is the absence of goodness, the same way that darkness is the absence of light. If God is Light, we cannot blame Him for the darkness we encounter when we turn away from Him, distance ourselves from Him, and act against His wishes.

Why didn’t God make the universe a place of wholesome goodness lacking in the possibility for evil? Because if evil could not exist, humans wouldn’t truly be free beings.

To be free, humans require the freedom to act against God along with the freedom to act for His sake. God wants to give humans perfect freedom to act and grow, so that they can be the best or the worst they want to be. Since humans have the freedom to act against God, and since to act against God is to create evil, humans have been given the freedom to create evil.

God did not make this world a perfect place because that is not its purpose. Imagine if you were a maker of creatures. If the creatures you made were controlled by their nature to do exactly what you put in them to do, they could never be truly your friends. They would be subservient robot-like machines that cannot help doing whatever you put in them to do.

But imagine if one day you wanted something more. You wanted to make creatures that could truly be your friends. The only way to have a true friend is to create a creature that can choose whether to be your friend or not. And so, you make creatures with free will, who can act according to whatever they wish, rather than according to your programming. Some of these creatures will choose to be your friends, others will ignore you, others will choose to be your enemies. They may fight among themselves, doing much evil to one another, and blaming you, their creator, for the evil they do, when in truth they should blame themselves, for they are the ones choosing to act the way they do. They have the freedom to be good, and many of them choose to be good, but some of them  choose to be evil instead.

The only thing we can blame God for is His creating us and giving us the freedom to be evil. This is a pointless blame. This is our reality and our fate, we cannot escape it. We have been thrown into this game regardless of our wishes, a game that forces us to choose to be either good or evil. We can debate the ethics of forcing people to choose between good and evil. But at the end of the day, we are forced to play this game. There is no dropping out.

Our Creator has done this to us, possibly against our will2, but we cannot get hung up over this fact, because our future holds something very important: Either eternal reward, or eternal punishment. Blaming God will not help our future. It may make us feel better now to hate God as so many do, but by making us think badly of God, this will reduce our chances of future success. The future is coming whether we want it to or not, and we have the power to make it a good or a bad future.3

Not all evil is done by humans. Droughts, floods and other natural disasters can cause much evil and suffering, and we can lose loved ones through car accidents and illnesses. Why doesn’t God prevent these things from happening if He loves us? Because, in order for the testing hall that is this world to be a true and consistent place of testing, God shouldn’t interfere with the functioning of nature4. The laws of nature should behave in such a way that makes sense even without reference to God. If we were as intelligent as we are, and yet we saw that nothing bad ever happened on earth, no car accidents, to illnesses, nothing, that everyone died in old age of natural causes, then this would be undeniable evidence of the existence of a higher power that protects humans.

God wants us to have the possibility of being atheists. It is one of God’s self-imposed rules that it should be impossible to directly detect His existence. And that requires that the functioning of this world should make perfect sense according to predictable scientific laws.

God wants us to believe in Him without seeing Him or knowing that He truly exists, because if it were possible to prove His existence, it would reduce our freedom to act against Him. God wants our universe to seem to make perfect sense without any necessity for His existence. This way we are given the freedom to discover Him and His Scriptures, and through our knowledge and conscience, we gain the ability to either follow His way or disbelieve in Him. Once we are given this knowledge, there is no turning away from the choice between good and evil.5

God wants our test to be a perfect test, in which we have perfect freedom to be good or evil. This would allow us to take credit for our actions. If God’s existence were proven, we’d be turned into slaves who cannot help but do as He says. We’d become merchants who act in our best interests by following God’s commandments. This is not what God wants. God wants us to be honored creatures who befriend Him not because we are forced to, but because we choose to. This is what gives worth to our friendship.

There is little honor in an employee acting according to his or her boss’s wishes, this is the expected behavior. While even this amount of obedience to a boss justifies reward, so that even if we had proof of God’s existence, we could still be rewarded for obeying Him6, God wants to take us beyond this boss-employee relationship. He wants to raise us to the status of honored friends, who act out of love and friendship, and out of our own efforts toward remembrance of God, rather than acting out of practical compulsion.

God wants us to be the servant who continues to love and serve his master, even though the master goes away for years, decades. What incredible honor and reward can await such a servant who faithfully loves and serves his absent master for 50 or 60 years, until he dies, even though the master never returns?7

God, by creating the possibility for the existence of true friendship between Himself and the humans He created, had to also create the possibility for the existence of true enmity between Himself and them. He wanted friends, but He knew that they couldn’t truly be called friends unless they had the option to be His enemies.

The evil done by humans on Earth is a doing of humans when they act against God, it is not a doing of God, therefore humans should be blamed, not God. And the evil done by nature is nature’s own doing, caused by the rules of physics, and God does not want to interfere with it because constant interference with nature would cause His existence to become apparent. It is necessary for disasters and accidents to be possible, as these prove to us the validity of nature’s rules, and allows the atheist the freedom to use these to prove that God doesn’t exist.

God and Nature shall always be apart, or seem to be apart, so that each one appears to function without the other. This is necessary, as this is what enables humans the freedom to choose between faith and disbelief, between good and evil. The world needs to make perfect, logical sense without having to refer to God in our thinking. It should be possible for us to believe that the world functions on its own without anything supernatural existing, this is what gives us the freedom to believe and disbelieve in God.

We need to be able to believe that the Master is absent. This is when the true nature of the servant comes through. Bad servants start to misbehave as soon as the Master looks away, and if the Master is away long enough, they entirely give up serving Him. They will start to loot His property and defile His name. But the good and honorable servant, even as he sees all of this happen, continues to have love and loyalty toward his Master. It makes no difference to him even if the Master never comes back. He keeps the remembrance of his Master in his heart, and he admonishes and encourages himself to continue to be the best servant he can be.

The world, the way it is, gives us the perfect opportunity to be this honorable and admirable servant. If evil did not exist, and if bad things did not happen, then there would have been no way for such servants of God to exist. We’d instead all be lowly and menial servants who never had a chance to disobey, and thus never had a chance to prove our loyalty toward God.

A world without evil and disaster would be a dysfunctional testing hall that cannot differentiate between the best and the worst of us. Without evil and disaster, God’s existence would be so clearly visible to us that most of us would cower in front of Him. A few people might be found who are daring enough to disobey God even in such circumstances, but the majority of people would kneel before God as they would before a great emperor, regardless of whether they had any loyalty toward Him.

A world that seems to be ruled by the cold, harsh laws of nature, and that completely hides the existence of God from our eyes, gives us the perfect opportunity to prove our loyalty to God. This world, with all of its problems, is the perfect testing hall, because of the problems it has.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

I will get around the metaphysical complexity of defining good and bad people by saying that a good person is anyone the reader thinks does not deserve to suffer, while a bad person is someone who does not deserve God’s protection.

Why good people suffer has already been mostly answered. If bad things never happened to good people, this would act as a proof of God’s existence and the invalidity of nature’s laws. If all good people lived to old age and died of natural causes, this would be easily detectable by even the simplest analysis.

There are religious people who wrongly think that if you are truly faithful, you will never suffer anything bad. When they see bad things happen to people, they try to find the reasons why the sufferers themselves are responsible for the suffering that has come upon them.

But disasters are a natural part of life, and it should affect good and bad people equally, or at least it should seem to do so. God does not want to be seen, so it should be impossible to detect miracles happening to save good people.

The suffering of good people proves that nature’s laws are real. If nothing bad ever happened to good people, but only happened to bad people, the fact would act as a proof of God’s existence, and this is what God does not want in this world. God wants us to follow Him and serve Him of our own free will, without any compulsion or strong inducement.

There would be millions, maybe billions, more believers if avoiding suffering was as simple as believing in God and serving Him. But these believers would be tantamount to fair-weather friends, who are on the bandwagon of faith only for their own immediate, short-term interest. They wouldn’t be loyal friends of God.

The world should occasionally give the faithful the impression that God has abandoned them. This is the true test of faith. Once all blessing seems to have gone from our lives, that’s when we look inside our hearts to find God again. If we weren’t true believers, if we only believed in God to ensure our own worldly good, then there would be no God in our hearts. We’d lose faith and abandon religion once we had the impression that God has abandoned us, like millions do.

But as for the truly faithful, when life gives us the impression that God has abandoned us, we continue to believe in God and to do our best to protect our faith. If our Master seems absent, it does not mean He has gone away forever. Only a dishonorable servant would start to act as if the Master is dead once He is gone away for a month or two. Those of us who truly believe in God, who love Him and want His friendship, and who have accepted to be His servants for eternity, will not abandon serving Him, regardless of what hardship and loneliness comes our way.

By the morning brightness

And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,

Your Lord has not taken leave of you, nor has He detested [you].

And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].

And your Lord is going to give to you, and you will be satisfied.

Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?

And He found you lost and guided [you],

And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.
[Quran 93:1-8]

The possibility of good people suffering something horrible is nothing but an extension of these facts of life; the need for a proof of nature’s laws, the necessity for some suffering to prove one’s faith and virtue. God can inflict the greatest suffering on His most beloved servants, as He did with Abraham when He asked him to slaughter his beloved son, and as He did was Jacob in allowing him to believe, for years on end, that his most beloved son was dead, as this is how the greatest friends of God are raised to the highest ranks.

There can never be virtue without suffering. A virtuous act is one where we overcome our natural tendencies for the sake of God, and attaining virtue always has an element of suffering in it, small or great. A rich person who, out of love for God, refuses to practice usury to further enrich himself or herself, is doing a virtuous thing. Their suffering is that they watch their fellow rich men and women practice usury and see their wealth increase exponentially, while their own wealth increases slowly and is subject to far more risk.

And someone who attains virtue by working for a charitable cause, or by giving money to the poor, is also subject to a mild form of suffering (what economists would call “opportunity cost”), as they lose time and money that could have been used for something pleasurable.8

The possibility of good people suffering does not mean that blessedness in this world does not exist. As in the story of Joseph, God will allow suffering to happen, followed by periods of ease and enjoyment, followed by more suffering, until His servant is raised to the highest possible status. God will not leave his faithful servants abandoned alone to be entirely subject to the cold, harsh laws of nature, though it is necessary that it should appear so, so that God’s existence will not become apparent. The Quran says:

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, and who is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.
[Quran 16:97]

Besides reward in the afterlife, the verse promises a good worldly life. The word used in the verse to mean “good” is tayyib, which can also be translated as “wholesome”. God will have a hand in the lives of good people, ensuring that despite the disasters they suffer, they will end up having wholesome, blessed lives. This, of course, cannot be proven, in accordance with God’s plan. But it can be seen in little things for those of us who have faith. The lives of believers seem to have more purpose. Their life stories seem better arranged and guided. This of course cannot be proven to an atheist, and it doesn’t have to be.

On the other hand, for disbelievers, people who knowingly rebel against God even though they believe in Him in their hearts, the Quran has this to say:

But whosoever turns away from My Remembrance, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. He will say: “My Lord, why have you summoned me as a blind person when I was sighted?” He will say: “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; that is why you have been forgotten this Day.”
[Quran 20:124-126]

This verse, similar to the previous one, implies that there are worldly consequences for having (and in this case, not having) faith. Those who knowingly reject God will have a “narrowed down” life, also translated as “straitened” and “constricted”. Similar to how the lives of good people are blessed despite their hardships, the lives of evil people are constricted despite their joys and pleasures.

To put it another way, the general theme of a believer’s life is blessedness, while the general theme of a disbeliever’s life is constrictedness, a feeling of being oppressed by life. Both will enjoy periods of joy and periods of suffering, but through submitting to God, believers are blessed by God and are freed from many of the constraints of life, while disbelievers are, in general, and not very detectably, made to submit to the harshness and coldness of nature.

There will be a hidden hand of God that shields and guides the believer, while there is no such shield and guide for the disbeliever, and the world, itself a servant of God, treats them the way they like to be treated, as if God does not exist.

God could inspire us to always make the right choices in order to avoid all that is bad and to always gain what is good. But, besides making God’s existence apparent, this would reduce the value of our friendship with Him. A true friend of God is the one who keeps his faith in Him during difficulties, while a fair-weather friend of God is the one who only loves and worships God during times of peace and plenty, and whose faith is shaken whenever something bad happens to them (and plenty of such believers do exist).

The matter of ranks of God’s chosen friends in the afterlife is important, because it decides a person’s status in the afterlife for all of eternity. God does not want most of us to leave this world without having proven how good of a friend of God we are. That, in fact, is the main purpose of this world: To distinguish our ranks, from the very best of us to the very worst.

Some people die before they can prove themselves to God, for example infants. God allows this to happen because infant deaths are required by the laws of nature. And as for the poor infant, while their death is a tragedy in this life, in the afterlife God can choose to give them great reward without them having worked for it, since God’s generosity is not limited. He may also give them a higher status in the ranks of His friends than their parents as a reward for the parents, while also raising the status of the parents who kept their faith during the ordeal. A truly just God will not let an infant’s death go to waste.9

There are a thousand ways in which God can preserve eternal justice while allowing tragedies like infant deaths to happen, since this life is no more than a mere flicker compared to the eternity of the afterlife, and everything that happens here will one day be nothing more than a pale memory when a person has spent millions of years enjoying the rewards of the afterlife, close to family and friends and close to God.

Suffering is a natural part of a believer’s life. God does not ask us to stoically control our emotions, never letting any suffering show, to prove that we are faithful. Jacob was a prophet of God, and yet he cried so much after his son was believed dead that his eyes turned blind. There is no shame in sadness. God does not ask us to be super-human, but to keep faith alive in our hearts as we are subjected to life’s joys and sorrows.

Isn’t it Unkind for God to Punish His Creatures?

Think of God as Light. By staying close to Him, by following His commandments, we ensure our eternal good. No one is perfectly close to Him, each person is at some degree of distance. Eternal punishment is only for those who knowingly stray so far away from the Light that they knowingly wallow in complete darkness. Anyone who stays within the merest flicker of Light may gain God’s forgiveness and eternal reward.

Eternal punishment is necessary because that is the only way of ensuring that evil-doers don’t get away with their evil deeds. Many Jews (and Christians too) have become corrupted by the idea that they are God’s chosen children and that no matter what they do, they will eventually be forgiven. This is a highly dangerous thing to believe, because once you believe that you will never be punished eternally, then you can get away with anything. If you are an Israeli settler, who cares if you take over other people’s lands with violence. You are God’s Chosen, and you will be forgiven.

Once the idea of eternal justice is corrupted, then from that all evil follows. Even if people believe in an afterlife, if they think that there will be a limit on their punishment term, that they will burn for a thousand years and then will be freed to enjoy life for the rest of eternity, then many of them will not find it so bad to devolve utterly into sin, since they will eventually get away with it.

To preserve justice, people should not be able to get away with their crimes. During their lifetimes God gives them thousands of opportunities to repent and become better people. God believes that a human lifetime is sufficient to distinguish good people from bad, that it contains enough opportunities for humans to prove whether they deserve eternal good or eternal punishment. Every hour of every day contains opportunities for us to change, for better or for worse, and these small changes mount. There is a Light in this world and we can choose to either walk toward it or away from it every hour of every day. Every time we take a step away from it, we do it in the full knowledge that we have the chance to take a step toward it instead.

If we spend all of our lifetimes walking away from the Light by knowingly doing evil, we shouldn’t be surprised when one day we find ourselves in total darkness, hopeless of ever finding the Light again. It was our own choices that brought us here. For years and decades we had the option to turn back and walk toward the Light again, our consciences kept reminding us that we still had a chance to return to God, that God’s door was wide open to us, but instead we decided to keep walking away, chasing our shadow instead of chasing the Light.

Once a person falls into total darkness through their own choices, there will no longer be a point to extending their lives to let them come back. This is what Scripture claims, that once a person is totally surrounded by their evil deeds, they will never come back toward the Light. There is a point of no return, meaning that a person who crosses this point, even if given a lifetime of a hundred thousand years, it will not make a difference in their fate.

In fact, the Quran claims that such evil people, even if taken to the afterlife and shown all of the signs of God’s greatness, then brought back to earth, they will continue to be evil. Among some Christians there is the belief that people, no matter how bad, can be made to become good through education and reformation. The Quran, always unabashedly realistic, has a more satisfactory view, that guidance can only be had with God’s blessing, that even if someone fully understands God and believes in Him, they can still choose to be evil. The Quran goes beyond this, saying that once a person fully devolves into evil, not only will they become unreformable, but that God will actively prevent any reform, because they’ve done sufficient evil to seal their fate (as in the case of the Pharaoh of Egypt in the story of Moses).

If you could but see when they are made to stand before the Fire and will say, “Oh, would that we could be returned [to life on earth] and not deny the signs of our Lord and be among the believers.”

But what they concealed before has [now] appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars.

And they say, “There is none but our worldly life, and we will not be resurrected.”

If you could but see when they will be made to stand before their Lord. He will say, “Is this not the truth?” They will say, “Yes, by our Lord.” He will [then] say, “So taste the punishment because you used to disbelieve.”

Truly, they have lost, those who deny the meeting with God , until when the Hour [of resurrection] comes upon them unexpectedly, they will say, “Oh, [how great is] our regret over what we neglected concerning it,” while they bear their burdens on their backs. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.

And the worldly life is nothing but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear God, so will you not reason?
[Quran 6:27-32]

The average person might be a sinner, but they do not fight against God every chance they get, and at the time of death they will likely possess enough light to be eligible for God’s forgiveness.

What are some examples of people who deserve eternal punishment? Usurers and their central bankers, who knowingly enslave millions to an evil, unnatural type of debt to enrich themselves, who orchestrate economic bubbles and bursts to reap trillions of dollars in profit while destroying the livelihoods of millions of families, and who plunge countries like the US into war after war, knowing that hundreds of thousands of innocent people will be killed, just so that they can earn their trillions financing these wars. A just God will not let these people go unpunished, and their punishment will not be something they can laugh at, it will not be a slap on the wrist like the US government gives to the usurers at Goldman Sachs every year when they are caught manipulating markets and destroying parts of the economy to enrich themselves. It will be something that will make them cry every single day for eternity.

I will not believe in a God who lets these people get away with the immense evil they do.

Conclusion

People make the mistake of considering this world their permanent home. They become attached to its blessings and disasters, and they think they can judge God based on what happens in their lives. But this world is nothing more than a tool for distinguishing God’s true friends from His fair-weather friends, and distinguishing these from His true enemies.

This world is nothing more than a preparation for the eternity of the afterlife. We would be wise not to become attached to its ups and downs, and to know that these are the days given to us by God in which we can prove ourselves to Him.

***

I originally published this essay as a short ebook on Amazon in 2015. I’ve decided to publish it for free here on my website, after thoroughly rewriting it, so that more people may (hopefully) benefit from it.

Why the Banks are So Powerful and Why the Bible and the Quran Forbid Usury: Charting How Interest Creates Obscene Wealth Inequality

Imagine if in 1913 the real economy of the US had $100 billion in capital, while the banks and money-lenders had only $1 billion. Given everyday economic circumstances, by 2017, the wealth of the real economy would have grown to $2163 billion (with a 3% economic growth rate). Meanwhile, the wealth of the banks and money-lenders during the same period would have grown from $1 billion to $3806 billion. Starting at only 1% of the wealth of the real economy, within just over 100 years, the financial sector grows to 175% the size of the real economy.

This is the heart and soul of usury; the reason why banks are so powerful, and the reason why usurers have been hated with visceral hatred throughout history. The usury sector uses the law to enforce an alternate reality where their profits grow faster than the real economy. If they were honest investors, their money would be directly invested into the economy, so that their wealth would grow (and shrink) with the real economy. But through the hateful invention of usury, they create an alternate reality where their wealth always grows faster than the real economy.

The chart assumes a relatively low business loan interest rate of 5%, and a high delinquency rate of 6.75% (the highest recorded by the St. Louis Fed between 1987 and 2016), and a high (usurer-unfriendly) reserve ratio of 33% (the lower the reserve ratio, the faster the wealth money-lenders grows, as they earn more interest on their capital).

Wherever the usurers take control of an economic system, within a short span of time their wealth grows so that they own most of the economy; its largest companies, its real estate market, its mainstream media, its academia. In the United States, through neo-liberal usurer economics, they have entirely shut down any honest examination of the evils of usury. Through their control of the media, interest and usury are taken for granted, and the mostly-Christian peasant class of the West is made to think of mortgages as an “investment”, rather than a tremendous risk that enslaves them to debt.

Usury is evil because, on a macro scale, it passes off most risks to the borrower, and most profits to the lender. When a usurer lends money at 5% interest to a town’s businesses, some of these businesses will make a profit, and some will make a loss. If the town’s economy grows at 3% during the year, it means some businesses made a profit on the money they borrowed, and some made a loss, so that on average there was a profit of 3% and a loss of 2%. To the usurer, none of this matters. He gets to charge 5%, pretending that the economy grew at 5%, so that after the year passes, he ends up with close to a 5% profit, while the town ends up with a profit of 3%. This gives him an annual profit advantage of 2%. Within just a few years his profits grow so fast that he will afford to buy up more and more of the town’s land, housing and businesses, until he gains near-total control of the town’s economy, and manages to extract rent and profit from every nook and cranny of it. Below is a chart of this process over 20 years, assuming both the money-lender and the townsfolk have $10 million at the beginning.

The chart only shows the money-lender’s wealth growth from his interest income. But as his wealth grows, he will invest the surplus wealth into buying up land, houses and business, so that his real wealth growth would be quite larger after 20 years.

The usurers at the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and the Chicago School of Economics would have you believe that the above situation is unavoidable, that it is just a fact of life, and that if you dislike money-lenders for their profiteering and rent-seeking, you are just hating them for their wealth.

What is never mentioned is that there is a way for the wealthy to invest their wealth without creating wealth inequality and giving themselves such an obscene advantage over the population, and that method is simply honest investment, what I call Socratic Finance, as Socrates mentions it in Plato’s Republic. It is to make the lender and the borrower share in their fair portion of risk and gain.

How is this magic performed? By prohibiting the charging of interest, as it used to be the law of England (look up the 1552 AD Act Against Usury of King Edward VI). According to the 1599 Geneva Bible Notes (written by John Calvin and other Puritans),

To the bankers and money changers. Usury or loaning money at interest is strictly forbidden by the Bible, (Exo 22:25-27; Deu 23:19-20). Even a rate as low as one per cent interest was disallowed, (Neh 5:11)1

When the charging of interest is prohibited, money-lenders are prevented from increasing their wealth exponentially, without regard to the actual economy. They are made to invest in the real economy, and to share in its profits and losses. If the town’s money-lender cannot practice usury, and has $10 million in wealth compared to the town’s $10 million, he would be forced to spend his money investing in the real economy by buying businesses or starting new businesses, creating jobs in the process, and raising wages, as he has to compete with other business for available talent. Some of these endeavors would make a profit, and others would make a loss. If the town’s economy grows at 3%, and if his investments are spread throughout the town’s economy, then he would make a 3% profit along with the town, so that after a year, he wouldn’t be any more richer or poorer than the rest of the town as a whole. Everyone’s wealth would increase equally, so no income inequality is created.

If he wants to invest his money to finance housing, instead of using the corrupt practice of mortgaging, he would offer up houses on a rent-to-own basis.

In a normal mortgage, a person is made to carry the burden of a $300,000 loan while the money-lender continues to own the house. In the case of default, the money-lender gets the house back, sells it, and if it sells for less than the outstanding loan amount, he goes after the borrower for the rest of the principal. Most mortgage defaults happen during times of financial crises, when people lose jobs, and when houses lose value. If the home was mortgaged at $300,000, during a crisis it would sell for only $200,000. If the buyer had paid $20,000 of the principal off, they would lose the house, and still owe $80,000 to the usurer.

But Socratic home financing is a world apart from this. If a person gets a Socratically-financed home, and then is unable to make payments, the investor gets the house back and sells it, and the home-buyer gets his principal share of the house back. If he had paid off 20% of the principal, he would get 20% of the house’s sale price. In a Socratically-financed home, the buyer always gets some money back in the case of default, as there is no loan involved, it is real ownership transfer of the house. In the previously mentioned case of the $300,000 house, the buyer would get $40,000 back after foreclosure, instead owing $80,000.

Over the past 400 years, most Christians have continued the tradition of being utter disgraces to the name of Christ, so that today even the Vatican funds its operations through usurious lending. Even the Amish practice usury.

If but a probable suspicion arose
of a man to occupy that filthy trade
He was taken for a devil in the likeness of a man.
But good Lord, how is the world changed?

That which infidels2 cannot abide, Gospellers allow,
That which Jews take only of strangers
and will not take of their countrymen for shame,
That do Christians take of their dear friends
and think for so doing they deserve great thanks.

Thomas Rogers (Anglican theologian, ca. 1555-1616)

Today’s usurers try to absolve themselves from their sins, and whitewash their actions, through the practice of philanthropy. Almost every wealthy usurer is described as a “philanthropist” on Wikipedia. They gain billions by squeezing the life out of the economies that play host to them, using usury to drive a wedge into the economy and extract rent from it, then spend a few hundred million funding hospitals, museums and universities, and lo and behold! They are philanthropists, not utter disgraces to the name of humanity and to all that is good and holy. It is to this usurer trick of philanthropy that Rabbi Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire from 1891 to 1911, refers when he says:

No amount of money given in charity, nothing but the abandonment of this hateful trade, can atone for this great sin against God, Israel and Humanity.

Forecasting the World’s Top 50 Most Powerful Countries in 2035 Using the HQI

The following table is a list of 50 countries that are predicted to have the most economic, technological and military power in the world by the year 2035, according to HQI theory. The projected power of the United States is set to 100 to make it easy to compare other countries with it. China’s projected power is 251.6, meaning it will be more than double as powerful as the United States in 2035.

The 2035 populations are projected based on the average of a linear regression of population growth rates between 1995 and 2015. If a country’s population growth rate was 3% in 1995 and 2% 2015, it is assumed that in 2035 the population growth rate will be 1%. The average of the 2015 and 2035 growth rate is taken (1.5%), and this is recursively applied 20 times to arrive at the 2035 population. This is somewhat crude but good enough for our purposes.

The HQI is the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index, a measure of a population’s capacity for intellectual achievement and technological innovation, by taking into account a country’s scientific output and real (Smithian) economic growth. China’s HQI is 856 while the HQI of the United States is 1372, meaning each Chinese citizen adds a relative value of 856 to China’s economy, while each American citizen adds a value of 1372. The HQI indicates the “quality” (as opposed to quantity) of the human capital of a country.

By multiplying a population’s count by its HQI, we arrive at a number that indicates the total power for innovation in the population as a whole. In 2035, India will have more people than China (1.52 billion versus 1.46 billion), but since China’s HQI is higher (i.e. since its population is of higher genetic-cultural quality), its power and might will be consequently larger. In fact, China will be five times more powerful than India in 2035, and 2.5 times more powerful than the United States. It will be the most powerful country in the world by a wide margin.

Iran gets an advantage over Russia due to its higher economic growth, fast growing population, and its higher scientific output per capita (25% higher than that of Russia). However, many of Russia’s recent troubles have been due to economic warfare from Wall Street, therefore it is highly unlikely that it will ever be less powerful than Iran. As the HQI is updated over the next few years, Russia’s numbers should improve significantly.

Qatar and Saudi’s high HQI numbers are largely due to their importation of foreign scientists to carry out research in their universities and are not indicative of native capabilities.

It is unlikely that Germany will be less powerful than the United Kingdom in 2035. The HQI of the UK is inflated by the UK’s higher output in the “soft” sciences. Germany actually outdoes the UK in many important scientific fields, such as energy, engineering, physics, astronomy, mathematics and chemical engineering. The UK is superior in medical research.

South Korea produces far more science per capita than Japan, and its economy is growing fast. Both of these factors go toward its much higher HQI compared to Japan (1627 vs. 605). South Korea’s actual advantage may be smaller, and it seems unlikely that it will actually be more powerful than Japan.

Country Projected 2035 Population HQI Relative Economic, Technological and Military Power in 2035
1 China 1,464,562,493 856 250.46
2 United States 364,631,940 1372 100.00
3 India 1,520,438,646 162 49.24
4 United Kingdom 79,223,389 1818 28.79
5 Germany 93,984,408 1218 22.88
6 Australia 31,623,131 3561 22.51
7 France 72,157,368 1165 16.80
8 South Korea 50,400,996 1627 16.39
9 Canada 42,699,016 1859 15.87
10 Brazil 225,917,248 332 14.99
11 Japan 117,049,007 605 14.15
12 Iran 100,194,389 626 12.53
13 Italy 61,510,122 945 11.62
14 Spain 44,357,325 1277 11.33
15 Turkey 101,374,566 479 9.70
16 Russian Federation 149,971,486 312 9.35
17 Switzerland 10,987,401 3910 8.59
18 Poland 37,352,026 1120 8.37
19 Netherlands 18,189,750 2238 8.14
20 Taiwan 22,039,541 1717 7.56
21 Sweden 12,588,464 2775 6.98
22 Saudi Arabia 43,095,570 768 6.61
23 Nigeria 312,375,890 97 6.05
24 Singapore 5,924,284 4823 5.71
25 Malaysia 36,376,961 756 5.50
26 Israel 10,953,808 2410 5.28
27 Egypt 132,313,330 198 5.23
28 Belgium 12,642,382 2058 5.20
29 South Africa 70,569,040 292 4.12
30 Iraq 68,203,001 295 4.03
31 Norway 6,858,738 2925 4.01
32 Austria 10,735,422 1859 3.99
33 Czech Republic 11,684,419 1569 3.66
34 Pakistan 272,264,022 66 3.59
35 Denmark 6,374,946 2812 3.58
36 Mexico 152,508,904 110 3.37
37 New Zealand 6,972,004 2352 3.28
38 Hong Kong 7,811,688 1997 3.12
39 Qatar 4,879,996 2815 2.75
40 Argentina 50,278,252 253 2.54
41 Finland 5,873,345 2034 2.39
42 Portugal 8,783,800 1359 2.39
43 Thailand 68,077,965 174 2.37
44 Chile 21,146,173 535 2.26
45 Ireland 5,233,086 1959 2.05
46 Indonesia 314,805,429 29 1.84
47 Romania 19,228,586 475 1.83
48 Colombia 55,052,245 163 1.80
49 Greece 8,774,644 934 1.64
50 Algeria 58,570,388 129 1.51

Please see my essays on the HQI and the 12-Year Min-Max Average for the fine print regarding how the above numbers were calculated. Most of the data is from the World Bank. Taiwan’s population growth rate was taken from Worldometers.com as it is missing from the World Bank data.

Below is the same table with the nitty-gritty details exposed, and with seven bonus countries at the end.

Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population 1995 Population Growth Rate 2015 Population Growth Rate 2035 Projected Population Growth Rate Projected Annual Population Growth Rate (Mean of 2015 & 2035 Rates) Projected 2035 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI Relative Power in 2035
1 China 416,409 1,401,586,609 1.1 0.5 -0.1 0.2 1,464,562,493 10.5 856 250.46
2 United States 567,007 325,127,634 1.2 0.8 0.4 0.6 364,631,940 0.5 1372 100.00
3 India 123,206 1,282,390,303 1.9 1.2 0.5 0.9 1,520,438,646 7.1 162 49.24
4 United Kingdom 169,483 63,843,856 0.3 0.8 1.4 1.1 79,223,389 -0.6 1818 28.79
5 Germany 149,773 82,562,004 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.7 93,984,408 -0.8 1218 22.88
6 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.4 31,623,131 3.0 3561 22.51
7 France 103,733 64,982,894 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 72,157,368 -0.1 1165 16.80
8 South Korea 73,433 49,750,234 1.0 0.4 -0.3 0.1 50,400,996 3.6 1627 16.39
9 Canada 89,312 35,871,283 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.9 42,699,016 0.1 1859 15.87
10 Brazil 61,122 203,657,210 1.5 0.9 0.2 0.5 225,917,248 3.7 332 14.99
11 Japan 109,305 126,818,019 0.4 -0.1 -0.7 -0.4 117,049,007 -0.4 605 14.15
12 Iran 39,727 79,476,308 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.2 100,194,389 5.0 626 12.53
13 Italy 95,836 61,142,221 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 61,510,122 -1.7 945 11.62
14 Spain 79,209 47,199,069 0.2 -0.1 -0.5 -0.3 44,357,325 0.3 1277 11.33
15 Turkey 39,275 76,690,509 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.4 101,374,566 2.3 479 9.70
16 Russian Federation 57,881 142,098,141 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.3 149,971,486 0.4 312 9.35
17 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 0.7 1.2 1.7 1.5 10,987,401 1.0 3910 8.59
18 Poland 37,285 38,221,584 0.1 0.0 -0.2 -0.1 37,352,026 4.2 1120 8.37
19 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 18,189,750 0.0 2238 8.14
20 Taiwan 34,011 23,381,038 0.8 0.1 -0.7 -0.3 22,039,541 4.5 1717 7.56
21 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.3 12,588,464 0.4 2775 6.98
22 Saudi Arabia 17,529 29,897,741 2.6 2.1 1.6 1.8 43,095,570 5.9 768 6.61
23 Nigeria 5,112 183,523,432 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.7 312,375,890 18.2 97 6.05
24 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 3.0 1.2 -0.7 0.3 5,924,284 7.3 4823 5.71
25 Malaysia 23,414 30,651,176 2.5 1.4 0.3 0.9 36,376,961 3.0 756 5.50
26 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 2.7 2.0 1.3 1.6 10,953,808 3.7 2410 5.28
27 Egypt 14,800 84,705,681 1.9 2.1 2.4 2.3 132,313,330 4.5 198 5.23
28 Belgium 29,180 11,183,411 0.2 0.5 0.8 0.6 12,642,382 0.7 2058 5.20
29 South Africa 17,409 53,491,333 2.2 1.7 1.1 1.4 70,569,040 2.0 292 4.12
30 Iraq 1,793 35,766,702 3.1 3.2 3.4 3.3 68,203,001 27.8 295 4.03
31 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 0.5 1.1 1.8 1.5 6,858,738 1.2 2925 4.01
32 Austria 21,818 8,557,761 0.2 0.8 1.5 1.1 10,735,422 -0.1 1859 3.99
33 Czech Republic 20,759 10,777,060 -0.1 0.3 0.6 0.4 11,684,419 1.0 1569 3.66
34 Pakistan 10,962 188,144,040 2.5 2.1 1.7 1.9 272,264,022 4.6 66 3.59
35 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 6,374,946 -0.6 2812 3.58
36 Mexico 18,417 125,235,587 1.9 1.3 0.7 1.0 152,508,904 0.2 110 3.37
37 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.5 1.9 2.3 2.1 6,972,004 1.3 2352 3.28
38 Hong Kong 14,710 7,313,557 2.0 0.9 -0.2 0.3 7,811,688 3.1 1997 3.12
39 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 1.2 2.9 4.6 3.7 4,879,996 14.9 2815 2.75
40 Argentina 11,815 42,154,914 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.9 50,278,252 2.2 253 2.54
41 Finland 17,551 5,460,592 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 5,873,345 -1.5 2034 2.39
42 Portugal 21,159 10,610,014 0.4 -0.5 -1.4 -0.9 8,783,800 -0.8 1359 2.39
43 Thailand 11,632 67,400,746 0.9 0.3 -0.2 0.1 68,077,965 3.4 174 2.37
44 Chile 10,347 17,924,062 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.8 21,146,173 2.5 535 2.26
45 Ireland 11,370 4,726,856 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 5,233,086 1.1 1959 2.05
46 Indonesia 6,280 255,708,785 1.5 1.2 0.9 1.0 314,805,429 5.5 29 1.84
47 Romania 13,053 21,579,201 0.0 -0.4 -0.8 -0.6 19,228,586 0.7 475 1.83
48 Colombia 7,500 49,529,208 1.7 0.9 0.2 0.5 55,052,245 4.3 163 1.80
49 Greece 16,616 11,125,833 0.5 -0.6 -1.7 -1.2 8,774,644 -1.7 934 1.64
50 Algeria 5,171 40,633,464 1.9 1.9 1.8 1.8 58,570,388 3.8 129 1.51
51 Serbia 6,540 9,424,030 -1.4 -0.5 0.5 0.0 9,490,218 3.0 663 1.26
52 Tunisia 6,228 11,235,248 1.9 1.0 0.1 0.5 12,525,418 2.2 493 1.23
53 Hungary 9,478 9,911,396 -0.1 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 9,408,537 -0.8 653 1.23
54 Viet Nam 4,092 93,386,630 1.6 1.1 0.5 0.8 109,194,988 6.4 55 1.20
55 Slovakia 6,271 5,457,889 0.3 0.1 -0.1 0.0 5,463,349 2.7 1068 1.17
56 Morocco 4,079 33,955,157 1.5 1.3 1.1 1.2 43,445,867 5.0 134 1.16
57 Ukraine 8,868 44,646,131 -0.8 -0.4 0.1 -0.1 43,369,074 -1.4 129 1.12

 

Measuring Economic and Military Potentials of World Nations with the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index (HQI)

Introduction

What is the biggest predictor of a country’s scientific output, industrial capacity and military prowess? It is not geographic size. For instance, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are huge compared to Israel and Switzerland, yet Israel and Switzerland far outdistance them in all measures of intellectual, technological and military attainment.

It is not population. India’s 1.28 billion people are close in number to China’s 1.4 billion. And India has been a West-connected capitalist country since its independence in 1947, while China only started in the 1980’s. Yet China far outstrips India in all measures of technological and military power.

It is not natural resources. Russia has vastly more natural resources than Germany. Yet Germany’s economy is many times that of Russia, and its scientific output is double that of Russia, even though Russia’s population is close to double that of Germany.

The most important predictor of a country’s power and accomplishment is the nature of its population. A country’s most precious natural resource is its citizens. It is the genetic makeup of a population, enabled by supportive cultures, institutions and infrastructure, that predicts the country’s military-industrial power and capacity for innovation.

The book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by the professors Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen makes a powerful argument for the importance of IQ in predicting a country’s power and prosperity, with IQ being a highly heritable (genetically-mediated) trait. While some of the data they use is not reliable, the general force of their argument is undeniable. The data used by Adam Smith and Charles Darwin were none too reliable either, but that didn’t stop their theories from being world-class accomplishments.

IQ is not everything. Japan’s IQ is in the same league as Germany and Sweden. Yet Swedes produce four times more science per citizen than the Japanese (measured in scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals). Germans produce double the amount of science per citizen than the Japanese. An argument can be made that Japan’s infrastructure has yet to catch up with that of Western Europe. But Japan has had more than enough time (seven decades, in fact) to catch up. And a look at Japan’s infrastructure shows that they might even be ahead of Western Europe when it comes to infrastructure.

The factors that lead to Japan’s low accomplishment relative to Western Europe could be other genetic factors not widely studied. One factor could be Japan’s low testosterone levels compared to Europe, with testosterone being a significant contributor toward the drive for accomplishment1. Another factor could be aging. An aging population is going to be less productive than a younger one. Another factor could be non-genetic; for example cultural practices and ideals, although these factors are not independent of genetics and should be considered together with genetics2.

The Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index

The HQI, short for the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index, takes account of both genetic and cultural factors to accurately predict a country’s real scientific, economic and military potential. It is a measure of the quality of human capital, a nation’s most important natural resource, and provides a single number that can be used to compare the quality of the human capital of different nations.

The math of the HQI will be explained below. For now, I will offer certain examples from it to illustrate the concept. Ukraine has an HQI of 129, while Russia’s HQI is 311. This means that a Russian citizen adds 2.6 times more value to Russia’s economy and scientific output than a Ukrainian citizen adds to Ukraine’s economy and scientific output. The quality of Russia’s human capital is 2.4 times that of Ukraine’s human capital. Even if Russia and Ukraine had exactly the same population (let’s say each had a population of 150 million), Russia would still be 2.4 times as powerful as Ukraine. Today, Russia’s population is 3.15 times as large as Ukraine’s (143.5 million vs. 45.49 million). Multiplying this by the 2.4 times HQI advantage, we arrive at a factor of 7.59. Russia is, or will be, 7.59 times as powerful as Ukraine when both countries reach their near-full development potential, perhaps in the next 30 years.

China’s HQI is 855. India’s is 162. Even if both countries had the same population, China would still be 5.2 times as powerful as India once both countries reach their near-full development potential.

The HQI uses two data points as predicting variables:

  1. Scientific papers per capita, which refers to the number of scientific papers published in a year by the nation, divided by its population. This measures the intellectual capacity of the nation’s population.
  2. Real economic growth rate. When a nation’s economy is growing fast (such as that of China), it shows that the nation’s institutions and infrastructure haven’t reached their full potential. The economic growth rate is used to correct for this fact. For instance, China’s papers per capita is only three times that of India’s. But China’s real 12-year average annual economic growth rate is 10.5%, while India’s is 7%. This means that the economic and scientific potential of China’s human capital has significantly more room to grow than India’s, as will be further illustrated down below.

The (real) economic growth rate of a nation expresses elasticity of human potential for a given nation. If growth is faster, improvements in infrastructure and institutions lead to big gains in the human potential of the nation, i.e. that the human potential of the nation is being held back by infrastructure and institutions, and that as these improve, so will the output of the nation’s human capital.

A slow economic growth rate indicates one of two things:

  1. The nation has reached close to its full potential, so that its human capital is already working at its full capacity. This is the case with slow-growing developed nations like Japan and the Netherlands.
  2. The quality of the nation’s human capital is so low that while theoretically there is much room for growth given the nation’s circumstances, that growth is being held back by human capital that’s not capable of achieving it. This is true in the case of various African and Latin American countries that have everything they could possibly need for growth, except a population that’s actually capable of said growth.

The history of colonization shows the importance of the genetic and cultural factors that go into the HQI. Any nation that becomes colonized by a high HQI population will quickly grow to reflect the home population’s intellectual prowess rather than the native population’s destitution. This has been true in the United States, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

The most recent example comes from Israel. When Israel was colonized by Ashkenazi Jews that had been selected for high IQ in Europe during their 2000 year stay there3, Israel’s economy quickly grew to reflect a developed European nation, rather than a typical Middle Eastern one. It grew even above Eastern European nations, though it doesn’t seem likely it can surpass Germanic nations, as it has already had all the time and help it needs to achieve this.

The Mathematical Model

For any given nation and year, this is how the HQI basis number is calculated:
With a being the number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles published in the year, b being the 12-year min-max average of economic growth4 for that year and the preceding 11 years, and c being the population of the nation in that year.

China published 416,409 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers in 2015. Its annual economic growth rate was 10.545 for the period 2004-2015 inclusive. And its population in 2015 was 1,401,586,609 (1.4 billion). The equation to calculate the HQI basis number thus becomes:

This results in a number of 0.001162729158. Since this is not a user-friendly number, the numbers for all nations are all multiplied by the arbitrary value of 735853.761, which gives an HQI of 1 to the lowest HQI country. This provides an easy-to-follow ground to which other countries can be compared. China’s HQI thus becomes 855.59. This means that a Chinese citizen adds a value to China’s economy that is 855.59 times greater than the value added by a citizen of the lowest HQI country to their respective economy (which happens to be the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Raising the number of a country’s scientific papers to a power of (1 + its economic growth rate) is a mathematical trick that models both of these scenarios:

  1. Scientific output growth that continues at the rate of the country’s past 12-year economic growth rate for the next 11 years.
  2. Scientific output growth that starts off at the country’s average past 12-year economic growth, and then slows down by 6.95% every year over the next 30 years.

The assumption here is that a country’s scientific output will continue growing at the rate of the country’s economic growth over its past 12 years. This may seem a strange assumption, since a country’s future growth cannot be assumed to follow at the same rate as its past growth.

In fact, the correct assumption is that its economic growth will be quite lower. But what we are modeling here is not economic growth, it is growth in scientific output, whose future growth follows along the lines of a country’s past economic growth.

An example will make this clear. South Korea’s GDP grew from $771 billion USD in 2004 to $1.14 trillion in 2015 (all in 2000 dollars), a growth of about 48%. During the same period, its scientific output rose from 31182 papers in 2004 to 69469 papers in 2015, a growth of 122%, more than double its economic growth.

The growth in South Korea’s scientific output from 2004 to 2015 is actually similar to its GDP growth from 1989 to 2003 ($332 billion to $735 billion, a growth of 122%).

In short, scientific output is a lagging indicator of a country’s development, due to the amount of past investment necessary for its growth. No matter how much a country invests into increasing its scientific output, the tangible fruits of said investment will be over a decade in the future. The exception being countries like Saudi Arabia who rapidly increased their scientific output by importing foreign scientists.

India’s scientific output grew from 33031 papers in 2004 to 113144 papers in 2015, a growth of 242%. During the same period, its inflation-adjusted GDP grew from $0.971 trillion to $2.03 trillion, a growth of 109%. The growth in its scientific output was more than double the growth in its economic output.

Its growth, in fact, was similar to its GDP growth from 1981 to 2003. The reason for its slow economic growth over this period may have been its low-effectiveness gene-culture (low IQ, etc.), and its low urbanization rate accompanied by its vast size, that meant it took far longer than South Korea to build the infrastructure and institutions necessary to support effective scientific research.

This phenomenon of scientific growth growing far faster than economic growth can be seen throughout the world. Needless to say, a more rigorous study of the relationship between scientific output and past economic growth can be done. But we can take it as a general rule that past economic growth predicts future scientific output growth.

China’s Coming Supremacy

Raising China’s 2015 scientific paper count of 416409 to a power of 1.105 (1 + its annual economic output growth over 2004-2015) results in 1620204, or 1.62 million. What this means is that once China reaches close to its full economic potential (perhaps after 2030), it will be producing about 1.62 million scientific papers every year. Compare this to the 567000 scientific papers published by the United States in 2015, which, according to the same HQI calculation, will grow to 606000 during the same period. In other words, in the next 20 or more years, China’s scientific output will be 2.67 times as large as that of the United States.

While this may sound controversial to someone who has been wooed by the nascent racism of neocons, globalists and central bank usurer economists in their propagandizing the idea that the US can somehow maintain a permanent technological edge over China, that despite China’s enormous growth and a scientific output that is closely approaching that of the United States, that there is something wrong with the Chinese that will forever keep them as second-class citizens on the world stage, to someone who understands the history of Japan and South Korea’s growth, and who understands the realities of the gene-culture, this conclusion of China’s approaching supremacy is merely stating the obvious.

Using the HQI for Comparative Study of Gene-Cultures and National Potentials

Below is a list of the world’s highest HQI nations (the full list is at the end), for the reader’s viewing pleasure, and to help you follow along the rest of the essay.

Rank Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI Predicted Scientific Output at Near-Full Potential (2035 and After)
1 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 7.32 4823 36,824
2 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 1.01 3910 43,774
3 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 2.99 3561 115,764
4 Iceland 1,365 336,728 2.41 3549 1,624
5 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 1.17 2925 20,445
6 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 14.88 2815 8,991
7 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 -0.65 2812 21,633
8 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.41 2775 36,556
9 Monaco 129 38,320 1.64 2683 140
10 Luxembourg 1,692 543,261 1.51 2564 1,893
11 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 3.71 2410 25,938
12 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.25 2352 14,693
13 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 -0.03 2238 51,239

While the Qatari population have a higher IQ, and are more liberal, than most other Arab populations (perhaps with the exception of Lebanese Christians), their high HQI is strongly a result of their importation of foreign scientists on the one hand, and their fast growing oil revenue on the other, the latter funding the former.

Germanic nations have the highest HQI in the world. Switzerland and Iceland, with their relatively low immigration rates, show the high productivity of Germanic genes and cultures. Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand and the Netherlands, with their Germanic roots, follow along the same lines.

The table shows how the HQI can be used to compare the genetic-cultural quality of any two countries. Iceland’s HQI of 3548, divided by the 2238 HQI of the Netherlands, results in a 58% advantage for the Icelandic people. Icelandic people are 58% more capable and productive than Netherlanders, and if the two countries had the same population, Iceland would be 58% more powerful militarily, technologically and economically.

Israel’s high HQI is influenced by its high economic growth, a large portion of which comes from its cozy relationship with the United States (US intelligence agencies, for example, are reliant on many Israeli technology companies). It’s highly unlikely that its population is more capable than that of the Netherlands or New Zealand. This shows that the HQI is not immune to aberrations, similar to all other methods, as reality is full of aberrations caused by disasters, sanctions, wars and political changes.

But regarding Israel, the HQI shows one very important result: Israel is already close to its full scientific potential. Over the next 30 years or so, its scientific output can grow from 18040 papers to 21631. No great improvement can be expected from Israel, and given its precarious political situation, even this much growth may not be possible, though stranger things have happened.

Changes in HQI Reflect Fundamental Genetic-Cultural Changes in a Nation

Far more interesting than a country’s economic growth is HQI growth. The HQI itself is a measure of growth potential, HQI growth means growth in the growth potential. When a nation climbs toward a peak in achievement, economic growth refers to this climb. HQI growth refers to an increase in the height of the peak, a removal of constraints that prevent a nation from reaching the heights reached by other nations.

China’s 2015 HQI was 6.4% lower than its 2010 HQI. This means that between 2010 and 2015, there were some forces in effect that reduced China’s genetic-cultural fitness, or economic fitness, so that while it continued to grow fast, its predicted near-full potential decreased. This was mostly caused by a large drop in the number of scientific papers published by China in 2015. I have contacted SCImago to find out whether this change was due to changes in their paper counting methodologies or whether it was due to a real drop in China’s output. If it was a real drop, maybe it was due to China’s best and brightest aging and retiring, or due to growing practice of usury creating a Western European-style of stagnation faster than expected, or due to some unknown dysgenic effect.

From 2010 to 2015, Ethiopia’s HQI increased by 173%. This is a very, very good sign. It means that there are genetic-cultural changes that are improving the nation’s future potential, or that there are bottlenecks that are being overcome. Not only is the nation climbing toward the peak, the peak itself is growing. Perhaps it is due to improvements in nutrition and health care, or beneficial cultural changes, or both. The actual beneficial change is probably smaller.

Poland has been Europe’s favorite backwater since at least Adam Smith’s time. What does the HQI tell us about what is going on in there? From 2010 to 2015, Poland’s HQI increased by 21.9%. There are forces at work in Poland that are increasing its population’s genetic-cultural fitness, so that whatever we believed Poland’s maximum growth potential to have been in 2010, in 2015 that maximum growth potential was 21.9% higher.

The HQI of the United States decreased by 12.3% from 2010 to 2015. This means that there are forces at work reducing the genetic-cultural fitness of America’s average citizen. One simple explanation could be the increase in immigration from lower HQI nations, who increase the population of the US without significantly increasing its economic and scientific output. Keeping population constant, the HQI still decreased by 8.9%, therefore immigration might be only causing a 3.4 percentage points of this dysgenesis.

Germany’s HQI increased by 0.2% from 2010 to 2015, meaning that no interesting structural change happened. These numbers are from before the recent migrant crisis, whose presence is sure to bring down Germany’s HQI.

Japan’s HQI fell 15.7% from 2010 to 2015. Not only is the nation coming down the peak (through its negative economic growth), the nation’s peak is also decaying.

Russia’s HQI increased by 31.1% from 2010 to 2015. Even though its economic growth was low (0.36%), its scientific output greatly increased during this period, from 38878 papers to 55500. Russia’s seeming low GDP growth is largely due to economic warfare from Wall Street. Its scientific growth shows its true economic fitness.

Why Scientific Output is Important

The HQI uses scientific output as the most important indicator of a nation’s genetic-cultural fitness. There are many good reasons for this, the two most important being:

  1. Producing science requires that a nation be prosperous enough to afford having a class of society who dedicate most of their time to research. And that prosperity can only come from high genetic-cultural fitness for most countries, excepting a few oil states that can afford to import scientists.
  2. Producing science requires very high intellectual capacity and drive for accomplishment (perhaps most importantly IQ and testosterone). If a nation’s population is incapable of producing science, they will be equally incapable of producing high-tech military equipment and industrial innovation, necessary for a nation to increase its power.

A nation’s scientific output is a very good indicator of its fitness. If a nation’s economy is growing fast, by raising the scientific output to the power of its real economic growth, the HQI gives the nation a fair chance at proving itself. China’s scientific output per capita is quite low compared to that of the United States. But its real economic growth is much higher. We can safely assume that China’s per capita scientific output is going to grow at a rate similar to its past economic growth.

The Bottleneck Effect in the Growth of Scientific Output

India’s example shows that there might be a bottleneck effect in the growth of scientific output in large and highly undeveloped nations. As mentioned, India’s scientific output grew by 242% from 2004 to 2015, similar to its economic growth from 1981 to 2003. 12 years of scientific output growth were equal to 23 years of past economic growth. While in the case of South Korea, its 2004 to 2015 scientific growth was roughly similar to its economic growth of the 12 years preceding that.

India may have already overcome the bottleneck. Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Philippines and Vietnam probably haven’t yet, and this probably partly accounts for their low HQI’s.

For a large, undeveloped and already low-HQI nation (low IQ, bad law enforcement, etc.), building the prosperity and infrastructure necessary for doing science takes far longer than it takes a smaller and higher HQI nation. Decades of education, infrastructure building and perhaps most importantly, urbanization, are needed before a country’s scientific output momentum gets going.

List of 203 Sovereign States by Human Potential

Below is a table of 203 sovereign states sorted by HQI, from highest HQI to lowest. Note that the HQI number shows the genetic-cultural quality of each individual citizen within that nation, not the nation’s power. While each additional Singaporean citizen adds a value of 4822 to the economy of Singapore, each additional US citizen adds a value of 1372. Since the genetic-cultural quality of Singaporeans is so much higher than the genetic-cultural quality of US citizens, what the HQI shows is that if Singapore had the same number of citizens as the United States, it would 3.5 times as powerful as the United States, as each individual citizen adds so much more to its power and productivity. Singapore’s real superiority is probably lower, as it is mostly its fast economic growth, aided by its geo-political situation, that’s contributing to its high HQI.

The HQI for certain nations, such as Indonesia and North Korea, are clearly inaccurate due to their exclusion from the world’s scientific community. The HQI of Indonesia and many former Central Asian Soviet states should increase considerably as they start to adopt Western scientific practices.

Please see below the table for the fine print regarding the numbers.

Rank Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI
1 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 7.32 4823
2 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 1.01 3910
3 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 2.99 3561
4 Iceland 1,365 336,728 2.41 3549
5 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 1.17 2925
6 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 14.88 2815
7 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 -0.65 2812
8 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.41 2775
9 Monaco 129 38,320 1.64 2683
10 Luxembourg 1,692 543,261 1.51 2564
11 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 3.71 2410
12 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.25 2352
13 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 -0.03 2238
14 Belgium 29,180 11,183,411 0.68 2058
15 Finland 17,551 5,460,592 -1.55 2034
16 Hong Kong 14,710 7,313,557 3.12 1997
17 Liechtenstein 102 37,461 -0.40 1967
18 Ireland 11,370 4,726,856 1.09 1959
19 Canada 89,312 35,871,283 0.13 1859
20 Austria 21,818 8,557,761 -0.09 1859
21 Slovenia 5,428 2,079,085 -0.43 1851
22 United Kingdom 169,483 63,843,856 -0.60 1818
23 Taiwan 34,011 23,381,038 4.53 1717
24 South Korea 73,433 49,750,234 3.61 1627
25 Greenland 125 57,275 0.05 1610
26 Czech Republic 20,759 10,777,060 1.02 1569
27 United States 567,007 325,127,634 0.51 1372
28 Portugal 21,159 10,610,014 -0.77 1359
29 Macao 819 584,420 3.20 1278
30 Spain 79,209 47,199,069 0.30 1277
31 Estonia 2,620 1,280,227 -2.23 1264
32 Germany 149,773 82,562,004 -0.77 1218
33 France 103,733 64,982,894 -0.08 1165
34 Grenada 140 106,694 3.33 1138
35 Poland 37,285 38,221,584 4.23 1120
36 Cyprus 1,789 1,164,695 -0.51 1088
37 Slovakia 6,271 5,457,889 2.67 1068
38 Malta 559 431,239 0.75 1000
39 Italy 95,836 61,142,221 -1.74 945
40 Greece 16,616 11,125,833 -1.67 934
41 Saint Kitts and Nevis 62 55,376 1.83 889
42 Croatia 5,533 4,255,374 -1.12 869
43 China 416,409 1,401,586,609 10.55 856
44 Saudi Arabia 17,529 29,897,741 5.90 768
45 Malaysia 23,414 30,651,176 2.95 756
46 Brunei Darussalam 366 428,539 1.03 668
47 Serbia 6,540 9,424,030 2.97 663
48 Hungary 9,478 9,911,396 -0.81 653
49 Lithuania 2,973 2,998,969 -1.86 629
50 Iran 39,727 79,476,308 5.02 626
51 Japan 109,305 126,818,019 -0.41 605
52 New Caledonia 171 263,147 3.75 580
53 San Marino 22 31,802 3.26 563
54 Seychelles 59 93,754 3.79 540
55 Chile 10,347 17,924,062 2.50 535
56 Latvia 1,503 2,031,361 -1.23 498
57 Tunisia 6,228 11,235,248 2.17 493
58 Bermuda 43 65,578 0.13 485
59 Palau 14 21,291 -0.22 481
60 Turkey 39,275 76,690,509 2.27 479
61 Romania 13,053 21,579,201 0.70 475
62 Lebanon 2,076 5,053,624 5.60 464
63 Montenegro 316 621,556 2.50 432
64 Dominica 37 72,680 2.90 416
65 Bulgaria 3,441 7,112,641 1.73 410
66 United Arab Emirates 3,858 9,577,128 2.30 358
67 Uruguay 1,208 3,429,997 4.39 354
68 Macedonia 814 2,109,251 3.01 347
69 Barbados 128 287,482 0.83 341
70 Russian Federation 57,881 142,098,141 0.36 312
71 Jordan 2,313 7,689,760 5.45 338
72 Oman 1,461 4,157,783 3.56 335
73 Brazil 61,122 203,657,210 3.70 332
74 French Polynesia 122 282,764 0.11 319
75 Kuwait 1,327 3,583,399 1.84 311
76 Iraq 1,793 35,766,702 27.77 295
77 South Africa 17,409 53,491,333 2.03 292
78 Argentina 11,815 42,154,914 2.17 253
79 Bahrain 344 1,359,726 5.20 252
80 Georgia 1,067 4,304,540 4.28 246
81 Armenia 953 2,989,467 -0.14 232
82 Andorra 24 80,950 -0.26 216
83 Fiji 231 892,727 1.95 212
84 Trinidad and Tobago 285 1,346,697 5.03 207
85 Egypt 14,800 84,705,681 4.49 198
86 Cuba 1,760 11,248,783 6.76 191
87 Bosnia and Herzegovina 756 3,819,684 2.95 177
88 Thailand 11,632 67,400,746 3.39 174
89 Guam 36 169,885 3.00 174
90 Colombia 7,500 49,529,208 4.28 163
91 Belarus 1,554 9,259,666 3.78 163
92 India 123,206 1,282,390,303 7.08 162
93 Azerbaijan 676 9,612,580 17.29 160
94 Botswana 410 2,056,370 1.11 157
95 Panama 485 3,987,866 8.46 151
96 Tuvalu 2 9,916 2.01 150
97 Mauritius 208 1,253,581 3.57 148
98 Kazakhstan 2,062 16,770,447 5.95 142
99 Libya 352 6,317,080 21.21 142
100 Costa Rica 720 5,001,657 3.88 137
101 Cayman Islands 11 59,967 -0.20 134
102 Morocco 4,079 33,955,157 5.00 134
103 Ukraine 8,868 44,646,131 -1.35 129
104 Algeria 5,171 40,633,464 3.75 129
105 Puerto Rico 660 3,680,058 -0.79 125
106 Namibia 286 2,392,370 6.15 125
107 Albania 406 3,196,981 4.32 121
108 Bhutan 82 776,461 10.04 121
109 Mongolia 298 2,923,050 8.01 118
110 Vanuatu 34 263,888 4.84 112
111 Palestine (West Bank & Gaza) 475 4,548,815 6.18 112
112 Mexico 18,417 125,235,587 0.21 110
113 Marshall Islands 7 52,993 0.88 99
114 Nigeria 5,112 183,523,432 18.20 97
115 Ecuador 1,418 16,225,691 4.25 88
116 Bahamas 46 387,549 -0.39 86
117 Federated States of Micronesia 12 104,460 -0.51 83
118 Moldova 348 3,436,828 1.71 82
119 Antigua and Barbuda 10 91,822 0.67 81
120 Ghana 1,531 26,984,328 8.97 81
121 Aruba 12 103,889 -2.26 80
122 Gabon 174 1,751,199 1.72 80
123 Jamaica 305 2,813,276 -0.77 76
124 Congo 388 4,671,142 3.59 76
125 Belize 32 347,598 2.69 74
126 Swaziland 106 1,285,519 2.38 68
127 Sri Lanka 1,255 21,611,842 6.27 67
128 Pakistan 10,962 188,144,040 4.64 66
129 Cape Verde 35 508,315 6.95 65
130 Solomon Islands 43 584,482 4.10 63
131 Gambia 157 1,970,081 1.36 63
132 Peru 1,813 31,161,167 5.10 63
133 Suriname 38 548,456 5.38 62
134 Venezuela 1,473 31,292,702 7.55 60
135 Maldives 22 357,981 7.57 57
136 Viet Nam 4,092 93,386,630 6.40 55
137 Samoa 13 193,228 0.76 50
138 Kenya 2,215 46,748,617 4.32 49
139 Tonga 7 106,379 -0.20 48
140 Saint Lucia 11 184,937 3.25 47
141 Cameroon 1,116 23,393,129 4.09 47
142 Senegal 691 14,967,446 4.22 45
143 Uganda 1,270 40,141,262 7.03 38
144 Laos 226 7,019,652 7.81 36
145 Benin 409 10,879,828 4.30 36
146 Kiribati 5 105,555 1.51 36
147 Guyana 34 807,611 2.53 34
148 Nepal 922 28,440,629 4.73 33
149 Malawi 519 17,308,685 5.75 32
150 Zambia 432 15,519,604 6.76 31
151 Burkina Faso 508 17,914,625 5.81 30
152 Indonesia 6,280 255,708,785 5.49 29
153 Ethiopia 1,691 98,942,102 11.11 29
154 Tanzania 1,261 52,290,796 6.56 28
155 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4 109,374 2.15 28
156 Bolivia 290 11,024,522 5.08 26
157 Rwanda 278 12,428,005 7.92 26
158 Paraguay 182 7,032,942 5.04 25
159 Kyrgyzstan 142 5,707,529 5.23 24
160 Syrian Arab Republic 502 22,264,996 5.07 23
161 Equatorial Guinea 17 799,372 12.91 23
162 Zimbabwe 552 15,046,102 -2.88 23
163 Bangladesh 3,011 160,411,249 6.06 22
164 Cambodia 317 15,677,059 6.67 22
165 Philippines 2,091 101,802,706 4.39 21
166 Papua New Guinea 156 7,631,819 6.48 21
167 Togo 156 7,170,797 3.56 19
168 Lesotho 43 2,120,116 5.09 18
169 Uzbekistan 426 29,709,932 8.46 18
170 Sierra Leone 112 6,318,575 6.20 17
171 Guinea-Bissau 37 1,787,793 3.77 17
172 Timor-Leste 23 1,172,668 4.25 16
173 Niger 169 19,268,380 18.20 16
174 Côte d’Ivoire 386 21,295,284 3.16 16
175 El Salvador 135 6,426,002 0.39 16
176 Sudan 597 39,613,217 4.66 15
177 Guatemala 243 16,255,094 3.42 13
178 Mali 239 16,258,587 3.18 13
179 Mozambique 299 27,121,827 8.06 13
180 Nicaragua 100 6,256,510 1.74 13
181 Tajikistan 107 8,610,384 7.05 13
182 Liberia 63 4,503,439 4.92 13
183 Djibouti 13 899,658 4.59 12
184 Yemen 297 25,535,086 4.38 11
185 Dominican Republic 116 10,652,135 5.81 11
186 Madagascar 278 24,235,390 1.56 9
187 Honduras 92 8,423,917 2.07 9
188 Mauritania 35 4,080,224 8.92 9
189 Comoros 8 770,058 1.95 8
190 Haïti 112 10,603,731 0.01 8
191 Sao Tome and Principe 2 202,781 6.19 8
192 Central African Republic 41 4,803,082 3.45 7
193 Guinea 106 12,347,766 2.35 7
194 Angola 83 22,819,926 12.50 5
195 Myanmar 181 54,164,262 10.42 4
196 Chad 38 13,605,625 16.86 4
197 Eritrea 29 6,737,634 3.86 4
198 Burundi 42 10,812,619 1.42 3
199 Afghanistan 74 32,006,788 11.27 3
200 North Korea 52 25,155,326 1.85 2
201 Turkmenistan 9 5,373,487 9.85 2
202 Democratic Republic of the Congo 75 71,246,355 5.92 1

The economic growth rate data comes from my essay The 12-Year Min-Max Average. Please see this essay for technical details on how the numbers were calculated.

Only “citable” scientific documents are counted, citable documents are generally higher in quality and more important than non-citable ones. However, citable and no-citable documents tend to rise and fall together, so that including non-citable documents shouldn’t have a significant effect on the HQI numbers.

Population data comes the United Nations and the World Bank. Scientific output data from SCIMago. Economic growth data from the World Bank and Trading Economics.

* A country’s GDP growth rate could be said to somewhat take into account its population growth, since when all other things are equal, growth in population results in economic growth. However, this will only apply to a stagnant economy whose only increase or decrease is a result of population change rather than

The 12-Year Min-Max Average: A Simple Method for Calculating Real, Legitimate Economic Growth and Canceling Out Central Bank Manipulations and other Noise

Introduction

Through continually expanding the money supply with money-printing and fractional reserve banking, central bankers and their commercial banker buddies are able to create the impression that an economy is growing when no actual growth takes place. No, even when an economy is tangibly falling apart, they can continue to publish numbers showing that the economy is “growing”.

The sophism of the modern neoliberal usurer economists has made the word “growth” lose most of its meaning. I will hereby define growth in the unfashionable Smithian way, as an increase in the amount of goods and services afforded by a population. In other words, economic growth equals an increase in prosperity.

Economic growth has nothing to do with an increase in GDP that comes from monetary expansion. That is merely a recalculation of the size of an economy, as necessitated by a currency that continually loses its value.

Basics

A method for calculating real, Smithian economic growth that cancels out the effects of inflation, derivatives and possibly the majority of the rest of a central banker’s card tricks is to take a two-point 12-year min-max average of a country’s GDP growth rate. While this sounds insanely complicated, it’s actually pretty simple:

To find out China’s real economic growth from 2004 to 2015 (inclusive), find the year with the highest economic growth and the year with the lowest economic growth over the 12 year period, then average the two numbers. Over the 2004-2015 period, China’s highest economic growth was 14.7%, in 2007. Her lowest economic growth was 6.9%, in 2015. To find her real economic growth:

14.7 + 6.9
__________ = 10.8
    2

China’s GDP in 2004 was $1.9417 trillion. According to the above calculation, her economy grew at an annual rate of 10.8%, meaning that in 2015, her true GDP would be $5.999 trillion.

According to the above, China’s real economy in 2015 was three times as large as its 2004 economy. This finding is remarkably close to the 3.3 times growth of GDP from 2004 to 2015 predicted by PPP calculations ($5.7 trillion to 19.4 trillion).

Since the dollar is not a reliable store of value (due to the Fed’s money-printing and the pervasive and universal practice of usury which creates an artificial limit on the money supply by concentrating it in the hands of the wealthiest), the $5.999 trillion number for 2015 doesn’t mean much of anything, unless we compare it to the 2004 number of $1.94. The result, as mentioned, is that the 2015 number is three times larger, meaning the 2015 economy was three times as large as it used to be in 2004.

Another way of thinking of the above graph is to draw a rectangle with the country’s highest and lowest economic growth rates at opposing corners, then taking the midpoint of the height of the rectangle:

Extending the calculation to other countries, I will start with India:

Over the 2004-2015 period, India’s lowest growth rate was in 2008 at 3.89%. Its highest growth was in 2010 at 10.26%. Averaging the two results in 7.075%.

In 2004, India’s GDP was $0.7215 trillion. An annual growth rate of 7.075% results in a 2015 real GDP of $1.53 trillion, meaning its economy grew by a factor of 2.12. Both nominal and PPP calculations say its economy grew by a factor of 2.7. The 2.12 is quite believable to me, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Moving on to the United States, the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, is great at cooking up growth numbers. The 12-Year Min-Max method cuts through their nonsense like a hot knife through room-temperature butter:

America’s highest GDP growth was in 2004, at 3.79%. Its lowest growth was in 2009, at -2.78%. Averaging the two, the result is a miserable annual growth rate of half of a percent. America’s GDP in 2004 was $12.27 trillion. According to this calculation, its real 2015 GDP was $12.97 trillion, which fits the feelings of America’s population and its honest economists, excepting the usurer class and its sophistonomists. America’s 2015 economy was only 5% larger than its 2004 economy from an honest, Smithian point of view. During the same period, its population grew 9.77% larger, meaning the wealth or income of America’s average citizen actually fell during the period. The pie grew by 5%, the pie eaters grew by 9.77%.

Predictably, Japan is even more of a trainwreck than the United States.

Over the 2004-2015 period, Japan’s high point of growth was in 2010 at 4.71%. Its low point was in 2009, at -5.53%. Averaging the two, the result is an annual growth rate of -0.41%, meaning its economy actually shrunk by that amount every year. This is well in keeping with a stagnant economy and an aging and shrinking population count. Japan’s GDP in 2004 was $4.65 trillion. According to this economic shrink rate, Japan’s GDP in 2015 was $4.45 trillion, 4.3% smaller than in 2004.

Why 12 Years

The average length of a central-bank induced asset bubble cycle is 8 years (think the late 2000 and 2008 crashes). 12 years is a cycle and a half. The 2004 to 2015 window, as an example, captures the recovery from the last crash, and our current “recovery”, providing a rich picture of what brought us here. If we look at two cycles (2000-2015 inclusive), the data will be skewed by the previous cycle’s peak, which is quite irrelevant today. If we look at only one cycle (2008-2015), we will lose historical context that is still relevant today (the period that lead to the 2008 crash).

A market cycle and a half makes for a relevant and informative picture of most periods of a country’s economic history. The idea of using a market cycle and a half comes from John P. Hussman, manager of the billion-dollar Hussman Funds mutual fund.

Why It Works

The 12-year min-max average takes a realistic look at the nonsense factor within an economy and takes it out. It shows how much of an economy is a house of cards, and how much of it is real.

The basic idea is that it measures the psychology of an economy’s participants. Crashes happen when a very large number of investors wake up and realize they’ve all made big fools of themselves by outbidding one another in buying highly overpriced assets, thinking that they would be able to sell them for even higher. This moment of realization happened in 1929, 2000 and 2008, and will probably happen in late 2017.

After a crash, central banks use monetary easing to motivate investors to bid up the prices of assets. This creates a growing atmosphere of euphoria that increases spending in the economy and creates years of apparent growth. When the next crash inevitably comes, the atmosphere changes from one of euphoria to one of fear and panic. The market sobers up like a drunkard out of drink. In this year of sobriety, investors often underestimate the market’s worth. This acts as an antidote to the overestimation of the market during euphoric years. This is what happened in March 2009.

The momentum of an economy that’s truly expanding cannot be reversed by a financial crisis. It can slow a little, but it will continue growing, as China, India and Bangladesh’s numbers show. When we average out the years of most euphoria and least euphoria in a fast-growing economy, we still get a high rate of growth, because the growth is real, it is not entirely based on the feelings of investors.

But how does investor feeling affect GDP? The blaze of euphoria caused by monetary easing and fanned by complicit mass media makes it easier, and more likely, for businesses to borrow and expand their activities, regardless of supply-and-demand considerations. Overvalued corporations find it easy to convince lenders to give them large loans. The wealthy from around the country open their wallets and outbid each other in investing their wealth in all kinds of business activities in fear of being left behind.

In stagnant economies like the those of the US, Japan and Western Europe, it is by and large the feelings of investors that drive economic expansion and recession.

Measuring Crashiness

One obvious difficulty with choosing only two points on a 12-year growth graph is that growth is cumulative. A 3% growth at the beginning of the period could mean a trillion dollars increase, while at the end of the period it could mean two or three trillions.

Regardless of where the low point is on the graph, it shows that it is possible, within that economy, to lose this much value. It shows that a great amount of volatility exists within the economy, so that even if in recent years the growth numbers have all been good, if there is one big crash year on the 12-year graph, it tells us that a similar crash is in the future.

The cumulative effect doesn’t take away from the idea, the idea contains it within itself. No matter how much growth we’ve had in recent years, a crash can take most of it away, as it is farther in the future, so that its percentage effect is going to be larger than the effect of the growth of the previous years.

The PPP GDP per capita of the United States over the 12-year period  (denominated in 2005 international dollars) illustrates this. In 2004 it was $48,597. Five years of “growth” later, it was $48,557 in the 2009 crash. The crash easily outweighed all the previous years of growth. In 2015, the number had grown to $52,549, and the coming crash can easily take it back close to square one again.

The 12-year min-max average shows the “crashiness” of an economy. And since there is always a bigger crash in the future, measuring a country’s greatest year of growth against its worst year of growth makes a lot sense.

Honesty requires that I admit I came up with these reasonings for why the 12-year min-max average works after I had discovered it. I needed a reliable way of comparing the true economic momentums of different countries for the HQI, the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index that I will announce later, and among the methods I tried out, this one brilliantly fit the true states of many economies I have studied.

List of Countries by Real 12-Year Annual GDP Growth

Below is a list of 203 sovereign states along with their real economic growth from 2004 to 2015 according to the 12-year min-max average. The countries are sorted by population.

The number I’m most skeptical of is Germany’s. Germany has appeared to grow fast in recent years. The 12-year min-max average says its growth has actually been negative 0.77% (i.e. that the next crash will wipe out all of its recent growth). This is possible, and only history will tell.

Russia gets a 0.36% growth rate. I expect its rate will be shown to be quite higher after the next crash, as it puts the 2008 crash behind, and what remains will be its recent real economic growth rate that cannot be wiped out by a crash.

Please see the fine print at the end of the table regarding certain corrections I’ve made.

Country Population Real 12-Year Annual GDP Growth Rate (2004-2015)
China 1,401,586,609 10.545
India 1,282,390,303 7.075
United States 325,127,634 0.505
Indonesia 255,708,785 5.49
Brazil 203,657,210 3.7
Pakistan 188,144,040 4.64
Nigeria 183,523,432 18.195
Bangladesh 160,411,249 6.055
Russian Federation 142,098,141 0.36
Japan 126,818,019 -0.41
Mexico 125,235,587 0.205
Philippines 101,802,706 4.39
Ethiopia 98,942,102 11.11
Viet Nam 93,386,630 6.4
Egypt 84,705,681 4.485
Germany 82,562,004 -0.77
Iran 79,476,308 5.02
Turkey 76,690,509 2.265
Democratic Republic of the Congo 71,246,355 5.915
Thailand 67,400,746 3.385
France 64,982,894 -0.075
United Kingdom 63,843,856 -0.595
Italy 61,142,221 -1.735
Myanmar 54,164,262 10.415
South Africa 53,491,333 2.025
Tanzania 52,290,796 6.56
South Korea 49,750,234 3.605
Colombia 49,529,208 4.275
Spain 47,199,069 0.3
Kenya 46,748,617 4.315
Ukraine 44,646,131 -1.35
Argentina 42,154,914 2.17
Algeria 40,633,464 3.75
Uganda 40,141,262 7.025
Sudan 39,613,217 4.655
Poland 38,221,584 4.23
Canada 35,871,283 0.13
Iraq 35,766,702 27.77
Morocco 33,955,157 4.995
Afghanistan 32,006,788 11.27
Venezuela 31,292,702 7.545
Peru 31,161,167 5.095
Malaysia 30,651,176 2.95
Saudi Arabia 29,897,741 5.895
Uzbekistan 29,709,932 8.46
Nepal 28,440,629 4.73
Mozambique 27,121,827 8.06
Ghana 26,984,328 8.965
Yemen 25,535,086 4.38
North Korea 25,155,326 1.85
Madagascar 24,235,390 1.56
Australia 23,923,101 2.985
Cameroon 23,393,129 4.085
Taiwan 23,381,038 4.53
Angola 22,819,926 12.5
Syrian Arab Republic 22,264,996 5.065
Sri Lanka 21,611,842 6.27
Romania 21,579,201 0.695
Côte d’Ivoire 21,295,284 3.16
Niger 19,268,380 18.195
Chile 17,924,062 2.5
Burkina Faso 17,914,625 5.81
Malawi 17,308,685 5.745
Netherlands 16,844,195 -0.035
Kazakhstan 16,770,447 5.95
Mali 16,258,587 3.18
Guatemala 16,255,094 3.415
Ecuador 16,225,691 4.25
Cambodia 15,677,059 6.67
Zambia 15,519,604 6.76
Zimbabwe 15,046,102 -2.88
Senegal 14,967,446 4.22
Chad 13,605,625 16.855
Rwanda 12,428,005 7.92
Guinea 12,347,766 2.35
Cuba 11,248,783 6.76
Tunisia 11,235,248 2.165
Belgium 11,183,411 0.675
Greece 11,125,833 -1.67
Bolivia 11,024,522 5.08
Benin 10,879,828 4.295
Burundi 10,812,619 1.42
Czech Republic 10,777,060 1.02
Dominican Republic 10,652,135 5.805
Portugal 10,610,014 -0.77
Haïti 10,603,731 0.01
Hungary 9,911,396 -0.81
Sweden 9,693,883 0.405
Azerbaijan 9,612,580 17.285
United Arab Emirates 9,577,128 2.3
Serbia 9,424,030 2.965
Belarus 9,259,666 3.78
Tajikistan 8,610,384 7.05
Austria 8,557,761 -0.09
Honduras 8,423,917 2.07
Switzerland 8,238,610 1.005
Israel 7,919,528 3.705
Jordan 7,689,760 5.45
Papua New Guinea 7,631,819 6.48
Hong Kong 7,313,557 3.12
Togo 7,170,797 3.56
Bulgaria 7,112,641 1.73
Paraguay 7,032,942 5.035
Laos 7,019,652 7.81
Eritrea 6,737,634 3.855
El Salvador 6,426,002 0.39
Sierra Leone 6,318,575 6.195
Libya 6,317,080 21.205
Nicaragua 6,256,510 1.735
Kyrgyzstan 5,707,529 5.225
Denmark 5,661,723 -0.645
Singapore 5,618,866 7.32
Finland 5,460,592 -1.545
Slovakia 5,457,889 2.67
Turkmenistan 5,373,487 9.85
Norway 5,142,842 1.17
Lebanon 5,053,624 5.6
Costa Rica 5,001,657 3.88
Central African Republic 4,803,082 3.45
Ireland 4,726,856 1.085
Congo 4,671,142 3.585
New Zealand 4,596,396 1.25
Palestine (West Bank & Gaza) 4,548,815 6.175
Liberia 4,503,439 4.915
Georgia 4,304,540 4.28
Croatia 4,255,374 -1.115
Oman 4,157,783 3.555
Mauritania 4,080,224 8.915
Panama 3,987,866 8.46
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,819,684 2.945
Puerto Rico 3,680,058 -0.785
Kuwait 3,583,399 1.84
Moldova 3,436,828 1.705
Uruguay 3,429,997 4.39
Albania 3,196,981 4.32
Lithuania 2,998,969 -1.86
Armenia 2,989,467 -0.14
Mongolia 2,923,050 8.01
Jamaica 2,813,276 -0.765
Namibia 2,392,370 6.15
Qatar 2,350,549 14.875
Lesotho 2,120,116 5.09
Macedonia 2,109,251 3.005
Slovenia 2,079,085 -0.43
Botswana 2,056,370 1.105
Latvia 2,031,361 -1.225
Gambia 1,970,081 1.36
Guinea-Bissau 1,787,793 3.765
Gabon 1,751,199 1.715
Bahrain 1,359,726 5.195
Trinidad and Tobago 1,346,697 5.025
Swaziland 1,285,519 2.375
Estonia 1,280,227 -2.225
Mauritius 1,253,581 3.565
Timor-Leste 1,172,668 4.245
Cyprus 1,164,695 -0.505
Djibouti 899,658 4.585
Fiji 892,727 1.945
Guyana 807,611 2.53
Equatorial Guinea 799,372 12.905
Bhutan 776,461 10.035
Comoros 770,058 1.95
Montenegro 621,556 2.5
Solomon Islands 584,482 4.1
Macao 584,420 3.2
Suriname 548,456 5.38
Luxembourg 543,261 1.51
Cape Verde 508,315 6.95
Malta 431,239 0.75
Brunei Darussalam 428,539 1.03
Bahamas 387,549 -0.39
Maldives 357,981 7.57
Belize 347,598 2.69
Iceland 336,728 2.405
Barbados 287,482 0.825
French Polynesia 282,764 0.11
Vanuatu 263,888 4.84
New Caledonia 263,147 3.75
Sao Tome and Principe 202,781 6.185
Samoa 193,228 0.755
Saint Lucia 184,937 3.25
Guam 169,885 3
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 109,374 2.145
Grenada 106,694 3.33
Tonga 106,379 -0.2
Kiribati 105,555 1.505
Federated States of Micronesia 104,460 -0.505
Aruba 103,889 -2.26
Seychelles 93,754 3.785
Antigua and Barbuda 91,822 0.67
Andorra 80,950 -0.26
Dominica 72,680 2.895
Bermuda 65,578 0.13
Cayman Islands 59,967 -0.2
Greenland 57,275 0.05
Saint Kitts and Nevis 55,376 1.83
Marshall Islands 52,993 0.875
Monaco 38,320 1.64
Liechtenstein 37,461 -0.4
San Marino 31,802 3.255
Palau 21,291 -0.22
Tuvalu 9,916 2.01

For Iran, ignored the 2012 crash, as it was a political event. Used the 2008 crash instead, as it was a shared world event. For Brazil too due to 2015. For Iraq 2014 due to CIA-ISIS. For Venezuela, 2009 was used due to recent mismanagement. For Syria, 3.23 lowest growth from 2010 was used, due to start of the Syria v. CIA war in 2011. For Yemen, ignored numbers from 2011 due to the crisis, used lowest number from 2006.

Data for New Caledonia taken from Trading Economics (World Bank data missing).

Monaco’s highest growth rate taken from World Bank (14.58 for 2007). Lowest number (-11.3 for 2009) missing from World Bank, taken from Trading Economics.

Data for Greenland after 2009 is missing. Used 2009 number as lowest growth rate (-5.41), and 2007 number as highest growth rate (5.51).

No reliable annual growth data for French Polynesia. Assumed a top growth of 4.42 and a bottom growth of -4.2, as hinted at by the CIA World Factbook.

For Sierra Leone, ignored 2013 and 2015 numbers, as they were aberrations caused by the mining sector’s boom and collapse.

For Liechtenstein, top and bottom growth numbers were taken from Trading Economics as World Bank seemed inaccurate and missed the years after 2009.

Guadelope, Cook Islands, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Anguilla, Martinique, Réunion, Gibraltar, American Samoa, US and British Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and French Guiana not included as GDP growth rate is not. It is possible that the World Bank counts them toward their parent states, couldn’t verify this.

Faroe Islands not included as GDP growth rate data is unavailable.

Data for North Korea, Guam and Cayman Islands’ GDP growth rate taken from Trading Economics as World Bank doesn’t provide them.

For the Central African Republic, numbers after 2012 are ignored due to the civil war there. Used 2004’s GDP growth rate as the top number (5.99) and 2005 as the bottom (0.91).

For Eritrea, ignored 2008 GDP growth low as it was caused by US sanctions. Used 2006 low instead (-0.97).

Somalia is not included in the World Bank data, and other available data is none too reliable due to the fact that the country is a war zone. Decided not to include the country as no useful conclusions can be drawn from the data.

No reliable data found for Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru, Mayotte, and Western Sahara, so omitted them.

The Gene-Culture

The phrase “gene-culture” expresses the idea that there is no such thing as a culture independent from genes, or genes independent from culture. It enables a researcher to think of human evolution in accurate, realistic terms. At a population level, it is not individual humans, or specific genetic backgrounds, that are most relevant to natural selection, it is the gene-culture.

Examples of gene-cultures are WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), Lebanese Christians, the Amish, Malaysian Muslims, and Ashkenazi Jews.

In order for children to grow up, prosper, and reproduce, in addition to requiring healthy and capable genes, they require healthy and capable cultures. They need a culture where there is rule of law, where there is sufficient social support to overcome the fear of the financial risk posed by having children, and where there is sufficient knowledge and health care to feed, clothe and care for these children.

The reproductive prosperity of a population relies on both genes and cultures. The two are inseparable. And when either of them is unfit, reproductive fitness is diminished.

The Japanese are extremely fit genetically. Intellectually they have the capacity to provide sufficient food and care for their offspring. But their culture is unfit. The reproductive fitness of their genes doesn’t make a difference when the culture part is unfit; the gene-culture as a whole becomes unfit and fails to reproduce effectively.

What is unfit about Japanese culture is the fact that they fully embraced the West’s neo-Liberal Usurer Economics, which, through the Risk-Profit Differential, constantly pushes the nation’s wealth into the hands of the super-rich, increasing poverty among the lower classes, and causing stagnation in the middle class.

Any culture that is not resistant to usury will eventually suffer stagnation, declining birth rates and population shrinkage. This is happening in most, if not all, of the developed world.

Just as a population that is genetically prone to a plague can be wiped out by it, a population that is culturally prone to usury will be wiped out by it.

The idea of the gene-culture enables us to view matters of cultural (economic and religious) practice in Darwinian terms. Just as a harmful genetic mutation reduces a population’s viability, a harmful cultural mutation (in the case of Japanese, embracing Western-style usury) reduces the population’s viability.

The idea of the gene-culture also contains the important implication that culture affects genes and genes affect culture. Among animals, genetic fitness is the most important factor in their survival, most animals have negligible cultures (exceptions being higher primates like orangutans). Humans, however, due to their intellectual complexity, are extremely reliant on culture, so that culture makes up about half of the picture when it comes to examining a population’s reproductive fitness.

In the above chart, I’m counting the material environment in which the genes exist toward the gene side. The contribution of culture toward the reproductive fitness of humans varies a great deal from environment to environment, and the average amount of its contribution might be less than 50%.

Imagine a hundred Japanese middle class families in Tokyo adopting a hundred Haitian children from soon after birth. The children will grow up in a Japanese world, learning Japanese customs and ideals. But they do not have Japanese genes. Victorian romantics and modern proponents of “environment is everything” (junk 20th century social scientists, which is nearly all of them) would imagine that these children would grow up and make perfect Japanese citizens who will only be held back by racism.

What actually happens is that their Haitian genes will mutate Japanese culture, so that no matter how hard they try to be authentically Japanese, there will be clear manifestations of differences in their understanding and application of Japanese culture (which is not a bad thing, it is a simple fact of biology).

But the most interesting thing is the children of these children. These children will create a Creole Japanese culture that will seem quite foreign to the average Japanese. It will have aspects of Japanese culture and Haitian culture, even if the children and their parents know nothing about Haiti and its people. Haitian culture is partly a result of its population’s genetics. And if this population is made to grow up in Japan, these genes will ultimately show through, tearing Japanese cultural conditioning apart and creating something new and interesting out of it.

An interesting expression of the gene-culture came from Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia’s president, the Wall Street-friendly drunkard Boris Yeltsin, took off all of Russia’s defenses and threw it to Wall Street’s fattest and ugliest usurers, who, in just a few years, managed to plunge the country into the worst demographic disaster in its history. Russia started to resemble a third-world backwater rather than a proud Euro-Asiatic country. Regardless of the genetic fitness of Russia’s population, removal of its cultural defenses against usury destroyed its reproductive fitness.

Once Vladimir Putin took over, he kicked out the usurers and started the process of repairing Russia’s cultural fitness through reviving the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian industry. The usurers, in turn, launched an all-out financial and propaganda war on him from Wall Street that has continued to date. Regardless of Wall Street and Washington’s chest-pumping, Russia has continued its demographic recovery. Christianity is back on the rise, culture is flourishing, life expectancies increase and technological innovation grows.

The above is, of course, a gross simplification of what happened in Russia. But to the gene-culture this is not an issue, since the gene-culture is a high-level construct that enables researchers to examine human history from a Darwinian perspective. No facts are ignored or thrown out to fit reality into the theory (as is done by junk sociologists on the one hand, and certain evolutionary psychologists on the other), as the theory encompasses all facts. Dysfunctions in politics are affected by, and affect, the gene-culture. Russia’s gene-culture leads to Czars, Arab and African gene-cultures lead to dictators, and Western Europe’s present gene-culture leads to usurer-controlled democracies. Cultures select for genes and genes select for cultures.

The gene-culture also sheds light on the effects of feminism. Feminism reduces fertility in many ways, such as encouraging women to spend their most fertile years working to enrich the usurer class. A gene-culture that is not immune to feminism will be infected and mutated by it, so that its reproductive fitness decreases. Meanwhile, gene-cultures that are immune to feminism will not be harmed by it, and will reproduce faster than the infected populations. This process will naturally eliminate feminism from any large population that contains a significant minority gene-culture that is resistant to feminism.

The gene-culture could also be called the gene-meme, or geme for short. But this gets too technical and only social scientists would understand it. I chose “gene-culture” since it is easier to imagine and comprehend. By “culture” I mean everything carried by a human population apart from genes and epigenetics. This includes language, religion, law and political institutions.

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