Tag Archives: Sex and Purpose

Conflicts of Fitness: Islam, America, and Evolutionary Psychology

Get it on Amazon.com as a Kindle ebook or paperback.

Conflicts of Fitness: Islam, America, and Evolutionary Psychology by A.S. Amin is a highly original examination of the dynamics of gender and sexuality within Western societies on the one hand, and within Islamic societies on the other.

As someone who has been working on reconciling Islam and evolutionary theory and on developing a post-feminist theory of human sexual dynamics, I hardly expect most books to tell me anything I haven’t already heard or thought about, but this book manages it. It is a short and enjoyable read that sticks to the facts and does not try to force an interpretation on them, which will make it agreeable to people coming from differing backgrounds and ideological currents.

The author’s main thesis is that different societies have different reproductive climates designed to maximize reproductive success. In a short-term climate, like that of most of the United States, human evolutionary instincts drive men to do their best to have sex with as many women as possible while not caring very much about a woman’s virginity and past sexual experiences. As for women, the climate drives them to display sexual receptivity through makeup, dress and manners designed to encourage men to think of them in sexual terms.

On the other hand, in a very-long-term climate like Saudi Arabia, men maximize reproductive success not by trying to have as many short-term relationships as possible, but by maximizing paternity confidence. Saudi Arabian seek virginal women so that they can be assured their children are theirs, and they go to extremes to ensure this; marrying very young women and preventing women from leaving the house, getting an education or a career.

This way of looking at the problem of women’s status in extremely conservative Muslim societies is a breath of fresh air from all of the moralistic, emotional and melodramatic treatments the subject has so far received on the hands of ideologically-driven intellectuals and commentators. It is also good to find another Muslim who can think of these matters in scientific and largely apolitical terms. Almost all Muslim-written materials on gender and sexuality is stuffed with moralistic thinking. Either they are traditionalists and try to “fight off” the West, or they are modernists and embrace unscientific moralistic frameworks like modern gender philosophy, exchanging one highly biased framework for another, abandoning one that unfairly favors males and embracing one that unfairly favors females, and thinking they have gained something out of this.

Get it on Amazon.com as a Kindle ebook or paperback.

The topic of this book is close to my heart, as it has been a focus of my research for close to a decade, having recently published a book on it, Sex and Purpose. There are significant differences between our works. Amin’s book aims to be a scientific analysis that examines the problem without offering solutions. Mine is a highly opinionated work that takes evolutionary psychology for granted without bothering to offer citations, and a large focus of the book is offering a solution that bypasses modern feminist/post-modern thinking.

And while Amin’s book delves into a deep examination of Islam and gender politics, mine does not at all, since my book is not meant to have anything to do with religion directly.

A reader of Conflicts of Fitness or Sex and Purpose may wonder how a Muslim can write from an evolutionary perspective when Muslims do not generally accept the theory of evolution. Amin does not offer an explanation for this, focusing on his research topic without delving into this issue, leaving it to the readers to work it out. In my essay God, Evolution and Abiogenesis I explain how the Quran is compatible not only with evolution, but with abiogenesis as well.

Explaining Islam’s policy toward polygamy

Before reading this book, I had often thought of polygyny as a privilege granted men in order to deal with certain exceptional circumstances (such as having an infertile wife). Conflicts of Fitness explains that there is more to it than this, and that women, rather than men, are potentially the primary beneficiaries of polygyny:

  • If you have ten men and ten women, by allowing the most successful man to marry the two women, nine men are left to compete for the remaining eight women. These men will be forced to offer stronger commitment to these women in order to secure their hands in marriage, in this way creating a society where most relationships are highly committed.
  • Successful middle-aged men often strongly desire to use their wealth and success to build new families and have more children. In a monogamous society, such men are forced to divorce their current wives, or worse, cheat on them. In an Islamic society, a safe outlet is provided for these men, enabling them to keep their current wives (who, if divorced, would most likely be unable to marry again due to their old age), while also enabling them to create new families. While this is not ideal for the current wives, most would prefer it over being divorced. This also increases the options of younger women, since married men would compete for their hands in marriage. Polygyny is not a zero-sum game for women, and the overall benefits to women is almost certainly greater than the harm it does.

Most Western women and men empathize with the underdog when thinking of hypothetical situations, therefore they are unlikely to accept the above explanation, since they empathize with the poor woman who will suffer having to share her husband with another woman. The fact that she chooses this over divorce is not given attention since it goes against the “Islam is misogynistic” narrative.

For a Muslim who already believes in the Quran, the explanation is a good vindication of the policy, and it should help restrain scholars overeager to place strict restrictions on polygyny. In a society where marriage is by consent and where people are free to divorce whenever they want, polygyny will be self-balancing. Men will have to balance the fear of losing their present wife with their desire for a second one, meaning that the majority of men will be unlikely to abuse this right. My experience of Kurdish and Persian society proves this correct.

Explaining makeup

In a short-term reproductive climate, women signal their receptivity to short-term-style sexual relationships in various ways, one of which is makeup. One thing that makeup does is simulate the effects of sexual arousal:

It turns out that when a woman becomes sexually aroused, certain physiologic changes take place. Among these changes are dilation of the pupils and the blood vessels in the cheeks and lips.

The author refers to this facet of makeup-as-a-signal-of-sexual-receptivity in many places in the book. However, while this is highly informative, it is not the complete picture. In Sex and Purpose I provide the other part of the picture, I explain that makeup serves as an important axis for enabling women to get ahead of themselves and other women. Makeup enables a woman to enhance her apparent quality as a worthy mate by making herself look younger and healthier. In a long-term or somewhat-long-term climate, makeup helps a woman appear as a better substance compared to her competitors. This, however, runs the danger of sending the wrong signal, of appearing to be receptive to sexual advances, for this reason in a long-term climate, a woman has to walk a fine line between enhancing her looks (which helps her get the interest of more suitors wanting to marry her) and signalling sexual receptivity (which garners the attention of the wrong audience).

While Conflicts of Fitness entirely focuses on the short-term aspect of makeup, Sex and Purpose entirely focuses on its long-term aspect. In this way neither book’s theory is complete, and together they provide what is closer to a full picture.

Along these same lines, I have always told women that I prefer makeup I cannot see, since I have always had a long-term, “Victorian” mindset toward women. I like women to look beautiful, and makeup can help toward this. But I also think of women as long-term lovers and despise short-term sexual relationships (since they are anti-civilization as I will explain below), therefore if I see a glaring amount of makeup on a woman’s face, what I see is what Amin describes, that she is signalling short-term sexual receptivity, which is not something I find attractive in a woman.

Therefore to me, the ideal woman will care about her looks and will be able to enhance them, but without appearing to have done so. If she wears lipstick, it will be a color and texture that makes her lips look young and healthy without making any obvious modification to it.

Some Muslim women, confused by various differing influences, wear hijab on the one hand, while also wearing very heavy makeup on the other. This is such a glaring contradiction that it makes my eyes hurt. Her dress signals the fact that she is not sexually receptive, while her makeup is designed to signal sexual receptivity. It is, at its root, a very good indicator of the identity crisis that so many Muslims suffer from.

Of course, a woman is free what she wears and what she puts on her face. And people are free to respond to seeing her according to what their instincts tell them. You cannot send a signal on the one hand, and enforce a specific interpretation of that signal on people on the other hand. From an evolutionary perspective, heavy makeup signals sexual receptivity (that the woman is approachable). From a radical feminist perspective, this fact does not matter, what matters is whatever is going on inside the woman’s head. Not only does she have the right to wear whatever she wants, she also has the right to dictate how people interpret what she is wearing. She can expose most of her breasts while berating any man who dares to look at them. She can wear heavy makeup and complain if people, following their evolutionary instincts, interpret her makeup as meaning anything.

A large part of Sex and Purpose is dedicated to discrediting these and various other forms of irrationalist thinking present in radical feminist ideology. If a feminist is free in the interpretation she gives to people’s behaviors (which is a right that is always 100% reserved by feminists), then if equality is to be achieved, people, too, should be free in the interpretations they give to her behaviors.

If a man acts a certain way, feminists reserve the right to judge him for his behavior. Yet if she acts a certain way and a man reserves the right to judge her for her behavior, she considers this misogynistic. It is for this reason that many have called radical feminist ideology female solipsism, it is the belief that the female mind (or more likely, the feminist mind) is all that can issue valid judgments about reality, it is a woman’s nannying instinct taken to its most horrible extreme; mother always knows best, and every man is just a foolish little boy (and a potential rapist) to be told what to think and do for his own good.

The generational gap in reproductive strategies

The author mentions that an important reason for the strife that so often exists between teenage girls and their parents regarding dress and makeup is a generational gap in reproductive strategies. The parents grew up in a climate that was more long-term oriented than the present climate, and they want to enforce the mores of their outdated climate on their children, not realizing that the climate has changed, and that by preventing their daughter from dressing more skimpily or wearing more makeup or dating more freely, they are causing her to fall behind her peers.

Immigrants, especially Muslims, bringing up children in the West suffer a similar conflict. What should be done to handle this problem? The author does not say.

The fact that a highly leftist-oriented and activist mainstream media continuously pushes society toward a shorter-term reproductive climate, consequences be what they may, is not mentioned.

Should Muslims submit to the new climate, admitting that laxer standards are needed for their children, or should they fight off the West and try to keep isolated?

My creed, Quran-focused Islam, inspired by Sayyid Qutb and Ahmad Moftizadeh, offers the way to the solution. Islam should always be an application of the Quran over the modern world. Muslims living in the West, instead of trying to recreate their own mini-Arabia in Nashville, should go back to the Quran daily and ask its opinion on how they should live. This constant “going back to the Quran” leads to an Islam that can embrace or reject cultural practices as needed, responding to the environment and updating itself daily. Unlike Salafism, which tries to apply all Islamic texts to the modern world (trying to create the mini-Arabia mentioned), Quran-focused Islam only tries to apply the Quran, which is a highly simple and “lean” program, using the rest of the texts as helpers toward the Quran, rather than as goals in themselves.

This seemingly simple change in mindset changes everything, enabling Muslims to create a “Western” Islam that is truly and authentically Western. A Muslim Westerner, guided by the Quran, works daily to implement its priorities while remaining fully a citizen of the West, avoiding its evils and embracing its good (which, of course, is easier said than done).

The Muslim Westerner’s mindset toward the West’s short-term reproductive climate is not reactionary, the way the Salafi reaction always is, it is instead  constructive. It does not seek to reject, it seeks to use it to build something new. Muslim men and women, following the Quranic program, live and marry and construct their own Western society that proudly rejects everything it considers inferior and happily embraces everything it considers beneficial. Instead of trying to live in an “intellectual ghetto”, as Tariq Ramadan calls it, they live in the center of the Western intellectual tradition, reforming it, critiquing its weaknesses, calling for betterment, and freely defining new ways of life, exactly the way the intellectual elite throughout the ages have always done, defining new ways of life for themselves often at odds with the wider society.

Parents, instead of trying to restrict their “out of control” daughters, share the program with their daughters, and let the daughters themselves be evangelists of the program. I have seen this phenomenon in many Quran-focused families around me. Unlike in Saudi, where a daughter has to be held in a physical and intellectual cage for her own good, in such families the daughter is given the program and is expected to love it and follow it of her own free will. She becomes an activist social critic, rather than fearful and victim-minded minority.

Teenagers are by nature selfish and short-term minded (I used to be one myself), therefore parental management is still necessary. If Muslim adults don’t attend Western-style parties, neither should their children. The topic of bringing up children in a discordant climate would require its own book, and it is not something I have focused on so far. Perhaps this would the subject of some future work of mine.

Approaching Muslim women

I have seen some Western non-Muslim men wonder how you go about approaching a Muslim woman (i.e. “hitting on her” to see if she is interested in a relationship), since the way they dress often signals unapprochability. The answer is that you don’t approach Muslim women (at least not the vast majority). The author gives an evolutionary explanation for this. Muslim women seek long-term partners, which requires deep knowledge of the man before any contact is made. It is for this reason that parents, relatives and friends are often heavily involved in planning and executing marriages.

Approaching a Muslim woman, telling her she is beautiful and that you find her really interesting will most likely upset and offend her, since you are offering her exactly what she does not want; a relationship based on a short-term sexual attraction, and because being seen talking to a random man can harm her reputation.

Westerners, and some liberal Muslims, think these facts show that Muslims are out of touch or backward, and that they must be “better-educated”, “liberated”, “integrated”, “assimilated” and a whole lot of other euphemisms referring to the belief that Muslims should stop being Muslims and act more like non-Muslims for their own good.

The Quran requires that Muslims implement long-term reproductive strategies in their lives, meaning that for Muslims to remain Muslims, short-term reproductive behaviors can never be normalized. A Muslim woman who has a PhD and is attending a conference is not going to respond positively to some non-Muslim man’s pick-up line no matter how well-educated and liberated she is, if she is a devout Muslim. This is because in effect the man is calling her to abandon her chosen way of life. For her, sexual relationships are long-term matters that require the critique and approval of her family, relatives and friends, since Islam teaches her to think of herself as a member of a community, and to respect the opinions of her relatives and the authority of her parents.

If a man is interested in her, instead of approaching her directly, he does it in a manner that shows his respect for the Muslim community and her family, and that shows his long-term interest in her, by having a friend or relative approach a friend or relative of hers.

Of course, this is not always an option, sometimes a direct approach is the only one possible, for example for a Muslim man and woman studying at the same college but knowing nothing else about one another, and having no one to mediate for them. This is one of the many scenarios that shows the superiority of Quran-focused Islam, since it teaches that instead of trying to implement traditions as if they are binding commandments, it teaches them to follow the Quranic principles (which say very little about courtship), leaving it to the man and woman’s conscience to intelligently follow it.

Islam, women, careers and divorce

The book analyzes the significant relationship between reproductive climates and attitudes toward women having careers. In a short-term climate, men cannot be relied on as providers, since they are interested in independence and short-term sexual relationships. In a long-term climate, men can be relied on, since men have no option but to be providers, in order to be able to attract the love interest of females.

This means that in a short-term climate, a career can be essential to a woman’s survival, while in a long-term climate, it can be largely irrelevant. Western women may look down on or feel sorry for Muslim women for not having careers, while Muslim women may look down on or feel sorry for Western women for being forced to have careers in order to survive.

Men who like to follow a short-term sexual strategy (having sex with widely available women) will promote women’s “liberation” and will hate the idea of women being “locked away” within their families, inaccessible to them. For such men, it can be extremely frustrating to live in a society that limits the availability of women, and they will do everything in their power to bring about change, to “free” these women, to discredit the “backward” patriarchs, to get these women out of society’s protection and into their own hands.

This conflict between different sections of Muslim societies is analysed in detail, and it proves informative in explaining the conflicts existing in these societies between modernists and traditionalists.

In his analysis of Islamic thought as it applies to the topic, the author’s methods and ways of thought are close to mine, which was a pleasant surprise. He refers to some of my favorite scholars while also maintaining a critical eye toward their opinions. He makes many references to the UCLA professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, someone largely unknown to me until reading this book, an unknown treasure whose books I now plan to read.

Reviewing many of the Qur’ānic verses used to justify women’s restricted access to divorce, he concludes that the full implications of these verses have not been fully considered and intimates his opinion that Islam gives women the same access to divorce as it does to men. However, Abou El Fadl seems somewhat troubled that his opinion is in disagreement with the majority of Muslim jurists throughout Islamic history. The question becomes, is the majority opinion the result of the unequivocal evidence found in the sources of Islamic law, or a manifestation of the reproductive climates in which those opinions were formulated?

For me, as someone belonging to the Quran-focused school, the matter of divorce rights for women is a long-solved problem. A woman should have full rights to divorce, because ethically, this is almost certainly crucial for ensuring the fairness of the marriage system. A man is given a degree of authority over his wife in his household. To ensure that this authority does not lead to abuse and tyranny, a woman must always retain the right to leave. Preventing her from leaving is going to greatly reduce her bargaining power in the relationship.

I also support the opinions of the Salafi scholars al-Albani and Ibn Baaz in requiring a formal procedure for a man to divorce his wife, requiring him to stay with her for one menstrual cycle without having sex before the divorce is considered official. I believe that allowing a man to perform a permanent triple divorce by uttering a sentence is a highly damaging and anti-social and defeats the purposes of Islamic law.

The desire to make it difficult for a woman to leave a marriage is an instance of the same patronizing and nanny-ing behavior that scholars show in wanting to make it difficult for Muslims to leave Islam, and both policies are equally counterproductive in my opinion.

If jurists say that letting a woman leave will cause all kinds of social ills, instead of taking their hypothesis for granted, we must question it and ask them for statistical evidence. Are there devout Muslim societies where women can easily get a divorce? Are such societies more likely to accomplish the aims of Islamic law in spreading justice and preventing tyranny, or more likely to accomplish the opposite?

Instead of blindly following tradition, the Quran-focused school teaches that we must boldly question all traditions, and if a scholar ever recommends anything that we find irrational or unjust, we must demand from them extraordinary evidence, because they are making an extraordinary claim; that the Quran supports something irrational or unjust.

Reproductive climates and the practice of fiqh

Fiqh refers to Islamic jurisprudence, the field of discovering the best possible practical applications for the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah (the Prophet’s traditions ﷺ). One of the main theses of the book is that the reproductive climate affects the way men interpret Islamic principles.

According to Amin, in very-long-term climates like Saudi Arabia, paternity confidence is one of the prime directives in the minds of the scholars, so that they support nearly everything that can in some way restrict a woman from cheating on her husband and make her a better reproductive object.

Egyptians have a less long-term climate, so that their scholars are willing to make concessions to women’s freedom even if they acknowledge that in certain circumstances these granted privileges may lead to less paternity confidence.

Amin’s thesis is that reproductive climates affect the derivation of fiqh, leading to differing rulings (fatwas). This is one of the main conclusions of the book, that Muslim men prefer different interpretations of Islam based on their reproductive climates. To Saudi Muslim men, it is “obvious” that women should be restricted for everyone’s good, while to (cosmopolitan) Egyptian Muslim men, it is “obvious” that women should have more freedoms. A man’s reproductive strategy affects his values and makes him prioritize certain things over others, leading to a type of Islam that fits his own reproductive goals.

This scientific analysis of the derivation of fiqh is important and very much needed in order to separate what is truly Islamic from what is merely cultural within the rulings of the scholars. A new field can be launched, the (evolutionary) sociology of fiqh, that studies these matters.

The limitation of his evolutionary psychology approach is that it treats humans as genetic creatures, so that he studies how manifestations of genetically-driven instincts affect psychological behavior. To me this is only half of evolutionary psychology, although I know that many evolutionary psychologists limit themselves to this.

Humans are not genetic creatures, but genetic-cultural creatures, genes affect culture and culture affects genes. This adds a layer of complexity to human psychology that, if ignored, leads to incomplete theories. Thus the Egyptian toleration for less paternity confidence is not necessarily a consequence of the reproductive climate, it might be a cause of it. Perhaps the cultural appreciation of Egyptians for human rights led to a toleration for a shorter-term reproductive climate, so that this ideal was given priority over the concern for paternity confidence.

A piece of evidence in support of it being culture that affects scholarly opinion toward paternity confidence is that higher IQ Muslim nations (Egyptians, Iranians, Turks, Malaysians) have higher appreciation for our modern romantic ideals than lower IQ nations like Saudi.

IQ is largely genetic (i.e. not cultural), but its consequence is a culture that appreciates various intangible ideals, whose consequence, in turn, is a re-interpretation of religion that tolerates a laxer reproductive climate, since this is more likely to achieve those ideals.

Having a high IQ does not mean that a person will be a nice, idealistic person. Rather, a high IQ population, after accepting certain teachings (Western/Christian philosophy, the Quran, Sufism), ends up becoming something of a humanist.

A low IQ population, given the same teachings, will mostly focus on its form and ignore its content (ideals). Thus low IQ Muslims and Christians are often obsessed with appearances, socialization and ritual, while it is the high IQ Muslims and Christians who bother to read deeply into the texts and reach sweeping conclusions from them.

It is, therefore, my hypothesis that when Islam is given to a high IQ population, the result is a humanist Islam, as is so well seen in modern Egypt. While when Islam is given to a low IQ population (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan), the result is a focus on texts (naql, its extreme example being Wahhabism) and negligence toward the Quran’s humanist teachings.

While the author’s focus on reproductive concerns within the practice of fiqh is useful and enlightening, it is an incomplete view of the system. Genetics can lead to certain cultural (by “cultural”, I mean everything that’s not genetic) behaviors, which can then come back and influence reproductive behaviors, leading to highly complex feedback loops.

Dress codes for slave women

Amin mentions the fact that jurists have tolerated laxer dress codes for slave women compared to free women. According to his theory, this is a sign of the fact that since a slave woman is a short-term mate (more of an object of desire than reproduction), a short-term mindset toward her was tolerated, some jurists going as far as allowing her to show her breasts in public. Since paternity confidence was not a concern, the amount of skin a slave woman showed was not much of a concern.

This behavior is also seen in Arab and Indo-Pakistani men living in the West who have sexual relationships with Western women without caring much about the woman’s past sexual experience or the way she dresses, but once they go on to seek a wife, they look for women who offer maximal paternity confidence by being virgins who dress modestly.

In both of the above situations, a double standard is maintained depending on the purpose of the woman in question. While the dress codes of slave women have no practical relevance to the modern practice of Islam, from a sociology of fiqh perspective, the matter provides a useful insight into the thinking processes of jurists, showing how personal biases and reproductive goals affect the way Islamic sexual morality is interpreted.

It should, however, be noted that part of the justification for this double standard for the dress codes of free vs. slave women is verse 33:59 of the Quran:

O Prophet! Tell your wives, and your daughters, and the women of the believers, to lengthen their garments. That is more proper, so they will be recognized and not harassed. God is Forgiving and Merciful.

A common interpretation of “so they will be recognized” is that so that it will be known that they are free women and not slaves (as mentioned in al-Tabari’s tafseer). This clearly provides justification for tolerating different dress codes for different classes of women.

Another Persian scholar, al-Razi, interprets this verse as saying that virtuous women should dress more conservatively if there is a chance they will run into uncouth strangers, so that those strangers may recognize them as virtuous women and not women open to flirtation. This interpretation is far more satisfactory in my opinion and prevents the use of the verse as justification for having double standards regarding different classes of women.

Short-term reproductive climates versus civilization

The most significant missing topic in Conflicts of Fitness is an analysis of the long-term consequences of short-term climates, which perhaps cannot be done without bringing politics and morality into the discussion, and therefore perhaps this is why the author avoided it. It is my belief, expressed in detail in Sex and Purpose, that short-term reproductive climates are inherently anti-civilization.

A man needs to feel integrated into his society, to feel as a part of its rises and falls, in order to be invested in its long-term welfare. Short-term climates turn men into societal satellites who dip into it when it benefits them, but who are ultimately free to move on and leave it for somewhere else where the grass is greener. Men no longer think of building a better world for their grandchildren, but of earning enough money to attract the most sexually desirable mates as quickly as possible, to have no-strings-attached sex as often as they can, and to continue to maintain a fulfilling life that maximizes pleasures and minimizes burdens.

In such a climate, the economy is “financialized”, everything is about short-term returns, and anyone who invests his money expecting returns 20 years from now on is considered hopelessly old-fashioned. The entire economy starts to function on the short-term sexual mindset; take as much pleasure as you can, give as little back as you can. Men financially rape and plunder, women worship power and privilege and offer themselves up for sale to the highest bidder.

What would be the fate of the country in 2100? Who cares? Maximize money and orgasms.

Individuals can talk about sustainability, anti-consumerism and charity. But expecting such things to be taken seriously in a short-term reproductive climate is like expecting a tree to grow on Mars, and therefore all movements that promote these things are going to be largely incapable of doing anything against the general flow of history toward ever more short-term decisions that damage and destroy civilization’s foundations. This process is slow and subtle, and therefore goes widely unnoticed.

The ideals of civilization are all long-term; a respect for truth, fairness and sustainability. A short-term climate will always act as an incentive to abandon these ideals in favor of short-term interests (personal power and profit). It is for this reason that today very few scientists are willing to state politically incorrect scientific facts. In this short-term climate, the scientists and intellectuals that rise to the top are not those that are best at unbiased factual analysis or contributing to civilization, but those who are best at being fashionable through doublespeak, cherry picking of facts and avoidance of sensitive topics.

In short-term climates, the parasites raise to the top. The lender class (the bankers and their friends, nearly every member of the super-rich), who through interest extract profit from the economy at the expense of everyone else, end up owning most of the country’s economy, real estate, publishing and media, and use their immense wealth and power to continually push society toward reflecting their short-term-oriented rape-and-plunder mindset, and part of this is the promotion of sexual freedom. They do not necessarily do this out of malice, it could just be the human desire for short-term gain.

On the one hand, there is civilization and what it needs to stay alive; a thriving population that respects its long-term ideals. On the other hand, there is the short-term climate and its love for the wide availability of other people’s money and daughters. A Manhattan billionaire would absolutely hate to be forced to sit in his office without having easy access to attractive and sexually receptive women, therefore it is a central aim of the billionaire mindset to promote sexual freedom. 99 out of a 100 billionaires probably feel a strong revulsion for anything that threatens their supply of sexually available young women, the way they feel a strong revulsion for anything that threatens the profits they extract from society.

I admit that an objective analysis of these phenomena would be needed to show beyond reasonable doubt that short-term climates are inherently anti-civilization. For now, it is a general conclusion that I have reached over the years, and the facts of the modern world and history both seem to strongly support this theory. The only place where a short-term climate can sustain civilization is the minds of science fiction writers.

What does Islam select for?

All societies select for something. —Greg Cochran
All policy is eugenics.1 —Ikram Hawramani

Another relevant and highly interesting topic that is not covered by the book is the effects of reproductive climates on genes. For example, in a society that practices polygyny for long enough, the sex ratio will likely correct itself so that slightly more women than men will be born.

As I explain in my essay The Gene-Culture, any study of humans that entirely focuses on genes, or entirely focuses on culture, is going to be incomplete, because it focuses on one force while ignoring its equally important companion force.

A study of religious policies toward gender as entirely reproductive strategies, while highly informative, is incomplete. Thinking in terms of centuries and millennia, rather than in terms of individual generations and societies, will bring into focus the importance of religion as a gene-modifying force; Islamic culture will rewrite genes by selecting for certain characteristics and against others, the same way that genes (and reproductive strategies) affect our practice and interpretation of Islam, causing us to focus on certain aspects of Islam (and ignore others at times).

Islam rewards and promotes self-restraint, which is strongly associated with IQ, therefore high IQ people will get a favorable treatment under Islam compared to lower IQ people who have difficulty with self-restraint. A woman who has a reputation for being “wild” is going to be passed up by men in favor of women who have a reputation for restraint. A man who does not have the long-term planning capacity to get a degree and a good career is going to be passed up by women in favor of men who have such capabilities.

Short-term climates create winner-take-all realities where a few attractive men get to have sex with a great number of women, as Conflicts of Fitness studies in detail, while the less sexually attractive and shy “nerdy” men are going to find it very difficult to have sex.

The Islamic system prevents this reality from existing. It punishes the womanizing “alpha males” by forcing them into long-term relationships where they have to make do with one, two or at most four women. And since many of these “alpha males” will not have the money to take care of too many women at the same time, they will often be forced to make do with just one or two women. This means that the rest of the women will not have access to these men, so that they are forced to settle for less attractive men.

In an Islamic society, similar to Japanese society 100 years ago, the majority of men will be able to marry, including shy and nerdy ones who are totally incapable of using charisma to attract women. This fact of Islamic societies may be a significant contributor to the high fertility rates that devout Muslim societies enjoy.

The system may slowly increase IQ by enabling nerdy men to pass on their genes, instead of turning nerdy-ness into an evolutionary dead-end. The explosion of European innovation over 1000 years ago may have been partly caused by Christianity’s spread, enabling nerds to marry and reproduce, while before that, it is possible that they had a winner-take-all system where men who fitted the warrior archetype left the most offspring, and those who did not were less likely to survive and pass on their genes. This, however, is a big speculation.

As for today, throughout all sexually open societies (Western Europe, South Korea, Japan), nerdy men seem to feel isolated, purposeless and shunned by their societies, since short-term sexual climates always reward the alpha male archetype. This may cause a long-term dysgenic effect that decreases IQ, along with decreasing fertility rates in general.

Conclusion

Conflicts of Fitness is a worthy contribution in the best tradition of Western civilization, an effort to arrive at the truth without concern for political considerations. Many Islamic books quickly become tiresome as the author tries to signal their virtue and belonging to the Islamic establishment, and many Western books suffer from exactly the same thing; authors virtue-signalling and using doublespeak and the cherry-picking of facts to please crowds at the expense of the truth.

Conflicts of Fitness avoids these ills and provides much food for thought that will hopefully help in the goal of reforming Islam while avoiding infecting it with new Western diseases. The book should also contribute toward the equally important goal of rescuing the Western tradition from the clutches of irrationalism.

Man’s Masculine Role and Woman’s Feminine Role in Family and Civilization

As has already been covered, man’s job in his family is to create the peace and space within which his woman and children can be happy and carefree.

This page that you are viewing contains the whole of chapter 21 of my book Sex and Purpose, available on Amazon.com as a Kindle ebook and paperback.

A human is a two-bodied organism. The male’s job is to reshape and maintain the external environment within which successful procreation can happen. The female’s job is to create the internal environment within which successful procreation can happen.

A man builds the civilization or nest, the woman inhabits it and builds the children inside her. Similar to the way a queen bee takes care of procreation while the rest take care of going out to gather resources,  building the colony and defending her, a woman takes care of procreation while the man takes care of providing for her, building what is needed by their civilization and defending her and it.

Those are the fundamental genetic instincts that drive humans. Since humans are highly complex creatures, they can create various differing arrangements that do not always reflect the form/substance distinction between a man and his woman. But regardless of what civilization it is you are looking at, you will see the above realities operating underneath everything else.

A man’s focus is external, he is always interested in the other, in the environment, in ideas, in machines and structures. A woman’s focus is internal. She is interested in herself and her relationship with the world, in maintaining herself, her children and her relationships with her man, her relatives and everyone else.

Whenever we are looking at a man and woman who have sex regularly, we are looking at a single creature that works for its own good, each body doing what is necessary for the whole.

Man fulfilling his masculine purpose. Boat Builder by John George Brown (c. 1904)

Since a man’s focus is external, he doesn’t care too much about his relationships. He wants to reach a stable, reliable relationship with his woman, something that is achieved best if she is young and he has regular sex with her, so that a deep emotional bond is maintained. Once this is achieved, he wants to be free to do what is necessary to improve his family’s situation in the world. He does not want what he calls relationship drama, because it reflects an inefficiency within the internal structure of his family, which is not his specialty. It is for this reason that men generally do not like romantic novels and films. Men want to find the perfect woman and be bonded with her ever after. It is the “ever after” they are interested in, the things they can accomplish once everything is working. While for a woman, it is not the ever after that is so much her interest as the process of getting there.

She is designed to enjoy working to get there, meaning she enjoys the work of romance, the work of catching the right guy to join his already-built or being-built kingdom.

A man, on the other hand, is designed to enjoy the work of building civilization, rather than the work of getting her, because to him building civilization is getting her. Evolution promises them if they build the right civilization, she will come into it, inhabit it and build his children inside her, end of story.

For a woman, that is the end of her procreative goal. She has acquired her nest, and everything else from there should be plain sailing. For a man, it is just the start. Once he has her impregnated, that’s when his most important task starts, to work to grow and sustain and expanding civilization.

A man doesn’t want to watch a film about how a woman ends up getting the right man to impregnate her. He wants to watch a film that starts from there. He wants to watch a man who already has his seed inside the perfect woman, who then goes about the world doing interesting things, being involved in the action of building, defending and maintaining civilization, whether as a spy, scientific genius or detective.

A man’s job, therefore, is to be a creator, a builder, a protector and a maintainer, who perfects his work and continuously works to increase his status, while ensuring the wellbeing of those who are in his care.

A woman’s job is to ride with him through all of this, providing him with a warm and sweet home he can always come back to, so that he can feel that it is all worth it. A man who knows the perfect woman is lovingly waiting for him at home is going to be highly effective and motivated at whatever he does. He feels appreciated, and he feels like his life is going in the right direction.

Evolutionarily, a woman likes to think of his man as someone who is out there doing cool things for both of them. A man likes to think of his woman as inhabiting his home, that is all she has to do. He will be most effective at doing his evolutionary job when he knows he can go home to a woman who is ready to complete him. Every man’s dream is to go home after work to a woman who loves him and willingly embraces him. Once he has this in his life, he will feel that he has everything a man could ask for.

There is, therefore, an evolutionary distribution of labor between a man and woman. A man’s labor is outside the home, he is supposed to suffer stress and damage outside and come home to be made whole again. A woman’s labor is inside the home, she is supposed to protect his children inside her and remain safe from the troubles of the world, so that healthy and happy children can be born to the both of them and be raised by them.

In this way, this two-bodied organism reproduces and raises its young.

In the modern world we can create complicated artificial arrangements that go against the above, since people mistakenly think it is fairer if both sexes carry exactly the same responsibilities and duties. A man who washes dishes and changes diapers, and a woman who works outside the home, are considered admirable for going against their genetics.

But when a man and woman are not taught otherwise, they always revert to their genetic roles, because it has the momentum of millions of years of evolution behind it. A 50-year-old ideological movement stands zero chance of undoing it or overcoming it. It will forever be like a fish swimming against the current of a river.

While there is nothing wrong with a man helping out in the home, and it is in fact an admirable and worthy thing if he has nothing better to do, it is an incredible waste of resources for a woman to make her husband work inside the home if he is a lawyer who could be making $200 an hour doing his job instead.

Men, due to their testosterone and abstract brain, have a higher earning potential, as is admitted even by feminists. Men intentionally choose high-paying fields like mathematics and petroleum engineering when women absolutely hate the very idea of these fields. Women would rather study in low-earning but comfortable fields like English and psychology.

While some people think this is the sign of an intentionally unfair system created by men that should be dismantled, it is actually the sign of an unfair arrangement created by evolution. Men are interested in accomplishment, i.e. in watching the last minute of the romance movie, while women are interested in process, in watching the whole movie.

Intellectual women are more like men, in that they enjoy abstract topics, although generally if it is not to the same creepily obsessive degree as men, spending until 4 AM awake to finish solving some mathematical problem that is not going to earn them any money to solve, or staying awake that long to finish a stage in a video game.

House Builders by Frank Dicksee (1880)

In their families, intellectual women prefer men who treat them like equals intellectually, not just as an inhabitant of their home to be fed and had sex with. They want more from life than just process, than just enjoying life, getting pregnant and raising children. They generally want to be somewhere in the middle between the masculine and the feminine evolutionary roles, enjoying family life, but also doing more.

Like a man, they too want accomplishment. In the Victorian era, they did this by forming clubs, writing novels and travel journals, and being involved with charities. Today they do it by having careers or doing the Victorian things mentioned.

Some of these women become feminists, thinking that this is the right way for all women to be, failing to realize that humans are on a spectrum, the gender role they prefer is somewhere between masculine (accomplishment-oriented) and the feminine (process-oriented). There are women who are perfectly happy to take care of their men’s homes, to have regular sex, get pregnant and raise children, without wanting to do anything more besides these. They want to enjoy the process of life, and there is nothing wrong with this. Such women are not worthless, this is how the majority of women have been throughout history, they must be loved and admired for being an essential part of humanity’s history and survival.

Other women are still in the feminine zone, but closer to the masculine side, so that they want both process and accomplishment.

Others are in the masculine side, tomboys who do not enjoy feminine things but masculine things, and who like to have careers and accomplishments. Unfortunately some of these women are highly misogynistic, and the staunchest feminists are generally among them, because they discard the majority of women and their interests as worthless and stupid. Since they are so masculine themselves, they think that all women should be like them. Like the most sexist men, they think that there is something lowly and disgusting about a woman’s process-centered life, that there is something blameworthy if a woman plays her evolutionarily feminine role too well, the role she is designed to enjoy and do best.

Thus you have career women who think their mothers are worthless and stupid because they failed to “do anything with their lives”, content to be feminine women doing feminine things. There is nothing a feminine woman has to “do with her life” other than being a woman. If she is closer to the feminine end of the spectrum, this is what she enjoys and values. She is process-centric, not accomplishment-centric. To her the greatest accomplishment is to live every moment fully and to see his man and children celebrated, not to have a bunch of meaningless-to-her trophies on her shelf. Her job is to make everyone else’s accomplishment possible, and she takes complete pride in that, knowing that her husband and children’s accomplishments are a job well done…by her.

We must learn to celebrate this type of woman, this woman that many feminists consider worthless and embarrassing for her lack of masculine trophies. It is our job to defend her from the non-stop slander she suffers by domineering feminists. She doesn’t have to do anything to prove herself worthy besides fulfilling her evolutionary role, of being there for her family. That is sufficient honor for her. Feminists can keep their stupid degrees and jobs, she doesn’t want any of that. She wants to enjoy being with her children, seeing them grow and become worthy members of society.

Instead of ignorantly deciding that there is only one right type of woman that should exist, we must instead acknowledge that women are on a spectrum, and each type of woman enjoys a type of life specific to her. It is her job to determine what it means to have a worthy life. It is none of a feminist’s business to tell her. Such a woman is closer to a woman’s feminine function, of being there for her family, than a career woman is. A career woman who has to leave her infant in the care of potentially abusive caretakers is not doing the world any favors. She is subjecting her child to people who have no reason to love him or her, who may grow up feeling abandoned and uncared for, and who may not prosper. This is not something to celebrate, but something to condemn. It is a child’s right to be brought up by their mother. Studies may eventually show that it is nothing short of child abuse to subject one’s child to the unloving care of others.

These women do not need a degree or career to be loved and considered worthy. Mother Love by Walter Langley (early 20th century)

A family woman who has no greater accomplishment than supporting a husband and children who accomplish things is greater and more admirable than a career woman who brings up a psychologically scarred child, and whose husband feels abandoned and ignored. A man and woman together create a single organism. What kind of organism is this? An ineffective one.

At any rate, women should be free what they do with their lives, and they should be considered equally worthy, whether they choose careers or homemaking. I am not against women having careers, I am against subjecting children to daycare. I cannot say what the perfect solution is, or if there is one. A woman could marry early, when she is most attractive and most capable of capturing the hearts of the highest quality men, then once her children reach puberty, she could start seeking intellectual accomplishments. Although a woman who really wants to have intellectual accomplishments may not enjoy this type of life.

Or perhaps the best way is for a woman to seek intellectual accomplishment until she gives birth, at which point, with the help of her heightened feminine hormones, she can enjoy homemaking for a number of years, and once the children grow up, she can then go on to again do intellectual work.

I am not one to tell what a woman should do with her life, because I firmly believe in her basic humanity, her right to do what she wants with her life. What I am saying here is that there is nothing inherently admirable about having a career, and there is nothing deplorable about a woman being perfectly content with being there for her family. Both of these cases are evolutionarily mediated. It is the height of ignorance and stupidity to make moral judgments on either type of woman, considering one inherently more admirable, when both are the products of their genes and millions of years of evolution. This is discriminating against someone for the way their genes made them, it is exactly the same as discriminating against people for having black skin.

This discussion has its converse. A man may born closer to the feminine side than the masculine side, and may enjoy process more than accomplishment. These men are made fun of for being “nancy boys”. It is equally discriminatory to chide such men for not seeking accomplishments than it is to chide women for seeking accomplishments. In both cases, a person is discriminated against for not seeking their assigned gender roles.

Unlike feminists, I do not believe there is anything wrong with gender roles. They exist not because of an artificial, man-made patriarchy, but due to millions of years of evolution. Most women are feminine, most men are masculine. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this means most women will be process-oriented, most men accomplishment-oriented. The traditional gender roles come from these facts, and there is nothing wrong with these roles. This is how the majority functions.

What is wrong is when a short-sighted and ignorant society castigates someone for not acting like everyone else. Realizing the unfairness in this is what makes some people mistakenly say that gender roles are artificial constructs. They are not. They are genetic realities. No matter how hard we try to stamp them out, they will always come back, because they are genetically mediated.

If there is nothing wrong with a woman not living up to traditional men’s expectations by refusing to be a homemaker, there is nothing wrong with a man not living up to traditional women’s expectations by refusing to be an accomplished man. Career women abandon traditional gender roles by seeking careers, and what is known as a “nancy boy” can also abandon traditional gender roles by not seeking a career.

While the modern world has moved to a place where there is a place for any woman who wants to abandon traditional gender roles, there is no such place for a man (unless he enters a homosexual relationship). Everyone laughs at him for being weak and wimpy, for not being a man, for being needy, for being like a woman. And almost no one sees that there is something wrong with this.

Such men are not the topic of my research, so I cannot say what should be done regarding them or what they should do. I merely want to point out that they are the opposite of a career woman, but what defines them is that they do not want careers. They instead have the process-oriented homemaker instinct, and society has no interest in them or place for them. They are supposed to either “man up” or die. One thing such men can do is to get testosterone injections, since testosterone is an extremely powerful substance that can rewrite their very bone structure and make them feel like an ordinary man. What they can do besides this I cannot say.