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Letter: Born to fight

It was with great sorrow that I listened to news reports of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) militants invading city after city in Iraq.

The ISIS intent is to create a Sunni state across two countries. Ten years ago, I noted that these Muslims have been fighting each other for several thousand years. And they keep fighting each other. These tribes have never been able to coexist peacefully.

Religion has never stopped their willingness to kill each other, even though they all claim to be Muslim. You may think it absurd or ridiculous, but to me, the willingness to ruthlessly kill and slaughter each other may be genetic.

Recently published findings in Nature Neuroscience presented the revelation that when we experience a traumatic event, our DNA changes and phobias and anxiety are passed on to descendants. This is referred to as “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.”

I contend that having such DNA-modifying experiences over the past thousands of years has resulted in tribes that will never be able to live without hating and fighting; they need an enemy. This latest ISIS campaign should not result in the United States being drawn back into combat in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.

I believe that these Islamists must fight each other because it is encoded into their genetic makeup, and there is no way of putting an end to their need for war.



Legacy Comments12

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Ten years later, Walt Carlson has, through ignorance of history, repeated his own mistake. Islam was founded around the year 600. The conflict between Sunni and Shia dates back about 1350 years, significantly less the "several thousand" he claims. As a broader point, longstanding conflict and ideological bloodshed is hardly unique to Muslims. The Crusades and the Protestant Reformation each spawned centuries of bloodshed. The oppression of Africans in the Americas was justified for centuries by whites claiming there was something in the nature of black people. Tribal warfare has existed for as long as there have been tribes. The history of humanity is bloody, and full of people seeking to prove that "The Other" is more savage than themselves. In these matters, one should tread cautiously and with humility before making such pronouncements.

Gee, O&M, what historical mistake did I make ten years ago?? I know that Islam was founded by Muhammed around 650, but are you saying they weren't battling each other before then?? Africans were not included in this discussion. Read a book titled 'The Dawn Warriors', the thesis of which is that as man evolved those tribes with larger brains totally destroyed those with smaller brains and that is how the human brain came to large as it is. Then along came religion to dampen the need to kill all neighboring tribes. In the case of Muslims, their DNA has been altered, I contend, because of their continued tribal battles and results in too many extremists overly willing to kill, regardless of what their religion teaches.

I think the US has already stirred up a hornet's nest in the Middle East using 9/11 has an excuse and we don't need to go back there. But I think this DNA excuse is ridiculous. If this is true, then human beings are no different than animals and have no control over our own destiny. I was always taught that prejudice and hate have to be taught from birth and I believe that.

But Tillie . . . man IS inherently violent. We're the only animal on the planet that wages war on members of our own species(dolphin fights and chimp/bonobo clashes aside.) As long as man has inhabited the planet we've had war, famine, drought, depletion of resources, etc. The solution to EVERY major problem that the world faces is the same: WE NEED FEWER HUMANS ON THE PLANET.

I agree Hunter, but the way to get less people is not by killing each other off. Man is inherently violent, but there are many other human traits that can offset the violent nature of man.

And I agree with you Tillie . . . but I'm kinda at the point where the end justifies the means. Any means necessary to get that number on the balance sheet down.

Of course, here in the US, prejudices have to be 'taught'. But, how do you explain a 'tribe' of Muslims called Sunni ALWAYS hating another tribe of Muslims called Shiite?? Read the bottom article on today's front page. These Muslims, who pray five times a day to Allah, as required by the Koran, took a Muslim cleric (Imam) and his aides to kill them. Note that the Koran requires that a Muslim NEVER kill another Muslim. DNA is not an excuse, it is an explaination!!

Prejudices in this country are not "taught", generally they are formed through the behavior and actions of others. Islam has never gone through reformation, that is one issue and the other issue is DNA, they are really savages.

Because children are taught at their mother and father's knees. The Shites are taught to hate Sunnis and visa versa from the day they are born. it is no different than the Irish Catholic and the Irish Protestant. In the 70's a group of mixed Irish children were brought to the US and learned to live together away from the hate influences they were brought up with and they learned about each other. And they were not the monsters they had been taught each other was.

Correct Walt, "Savages" are "savages", you can take the radicals out of the 12th century but you can't take the 12th century mentality out of the radicals. I do disagree with you on not getting involved. The troubling part of this is that the leadership of Iraq is akin to the Nazi's before WWII without the cultural enlightenment or religious reformation of other faiths. Unfortunately, they act like they live in the 12th century but they have the technology of the 21st century.

Odd, the same was said at various times about the Viet Cong, the "Red Chinese", the Russians, the Huns, the Indians, the....

I guess that decapitating innocents, killing children and raping and killing women does not bother you are cause you to want to intervene and stop the violence. It speaks volumes about your moral compass.

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