We mean here real ancients, not just ancient Egyptians, Greeks or Romans –they are not ancient enough. With respect to the really ancient ones, we have come across headlines such as Inbreeding study reveals why humans don´t have sex with their relatives or Ancient Humans Knew Incest Was Gross and Built a Safety Net, and while reading the contents we couldn’t help remembering the quote “You know, of course, that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct” for the simple reason that it doesn’t make much sense.
Yet the issue is worth receiving some thought since the research those articles are commenting on was a “major” study, carried out by archaeologists and geneticists, published in Science and commented on by many major platforms. Here are the facts mentioned by the commentaries we have read.
According to the study, led by Cambridge University and the University of Copenhagen, early humans started to avoid inbreeding much earlier than we once thought. Genomic sequencing of four Upper Paleolithic humans who were buried together in present-day Russia about 34,000 years ago demonstrated they were no closer than second cousins, which co-author Eske Willerslev (Ph.D., fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge) says “goes against what many would have predicted”. This means that prehistoric humans developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks and deliberately sought partners beyond their families, which could partly explain why anatomically-modern humans proved more successful than other species, such as Neanderthals, which did not avoid inbreeding. Professor Eske Willerslev said in a statement:
What this means is that even people in the Upper Paleolithic, who were living in tiny groups, understood the importance of avoiding inbreeding. The data that we have suggest that it was being purposely avoided. This means that they must have developed a system for this purpose. If small hunter–gatherer bands were mixing at random, we would see much greater evidence of inbreeding than we have here.
Furthermore, according to the study, objects and jewelry found buried with the remains suggest they may have developed rules, ceremonies and rituals to accompany the exchange of mates between groups which perhaps foreshadowed modern marriage ceremonies. By comparison, genomic sequencing of a Neanderthal individual from the Altai Mountains who lived about 50,000 years ago indicated inbreeding was not avoided. It led researchers to speculate that an early, systematic approach to preventing inbreeding may have helped anatomically-modern humans to thrive, compared with other hominids.
Apart from archaeology and genetics, psychology is also interested. Evolutionary psychologists claim humans evolved a detector for avoiding sex with close kin –we learn from David Biello, who is writing about the team consisting of Debra Lieberman, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides of the University of California in his article Evolving a Mechanism to Avoid Sex with Siblings. These evolutionary psychologists hypothesize that some form of mental mechanism assesses cues which help us come up with an estimate of how related people are and ensure that the incest aversion be strong. However, according to the author Lieberman concedes that
…human behavior can be much darker than these surveys reveal; some experts have argued that as many as 3.5 million American women have been sexually abused by a sibling, though precise statistics are hard to come by due to the shame involved. But Lieberman, for one, is confident that this newly elucidated kin detection system must be malfunctioning in those cases.
Lieberman and her co-authors plan to continue to test this potential mechanism in order to find out how our minds evolved it to keep us from breaking the family taboo –and why most cultures so strongly forbid it.
We propose that this mechanism, in case it becomes established beyond doubt, be called “deep mind”. However, we doubt whether it could have evolved over the period of 15,000 years (a mere minute in terms of evolutionary clock) which elapsed between the Neanderthals, who practiced inbreeding 50,000 years ago, and modern humans, who avoided it as early as 35,000 years ago –according to the latest findings.
While doing some more reading we came across articles such as Why a Little Inbreeding Can be Good for You, Why Inbreeding Really Isn´t as Bad as You Think, Incest Not So Taboo In Nature or Inbreeding Shaped the Course of Human Evolution –at which point we gave up as it became clear that science in fact ignores why and how we have known for 35,000 years that we should avoid inbreeding. The only statement which evidently holds water is that based on DNA analysis it can be said that “Neanderthals” inbred while modern humans, surprisingly for science, did not, or at least avoided it.
When we read a headline such as Prehistoric Humans Knew Incest Was Bad 34,000years ago and even if we read what comes below, things apparently seem to make sense. After all, why should we suspect archaeologists and geneticists of misdemeanour or lack of professionalism? However, if the matter gets examined just a little more carefully, it turns out that nothing is as it seems to be. It is enough to type inbreeding or incest (you know where) to see that things are far from clear and research papers contradict or at least question one another. In fact it soon becomes rather obvious that science is always mistaken, and constantly needs to rectify and re-write itself. It is as if we were repeatedly told “we still don’t know but we’re working on it”, the result being that in each field we choose to have a look at, we find more questions than answers –if any.
One of the reasons for this deplorable state of affairs is that all scientific research is sustained by two pillars of gigantic proportions, namely evolution and the strongest possible rejection of the idea of an external Agent. Any suggestion or hypothesis to the contrary will be branded as un-scientific and thus immediately extirpated. Such firmness would be accepted with difficulty without the job carried out by the Royal Society of London for the Promotion of Natural Knowledge, created by royal charter in 1662, and the Académie des Sciences of Paris, formed in 1666. Through the incessant diffusion of “scientific method” these two societies and many others which followed propagated the idea of a spontaneous universe, governed by precise laws, which would be in due time discovered and controlled by men of science, venerable members of those societies, giving rise eventually to a new universe, perfectly adapted to their interests. However, the very fact of substituting man for Allah made it absolutely necessary to provide a clear explanation of all the phenomena taking place in our universe, existence and creation in general. Yet the effort to uncover the facts behind those phenomena and provide an explanation brought about nothing but frustration and more questions, the constant re-thinking of science and history, one example of it being the studies we are commenting on.
Admittedly, the Akademia, originated by the Royal Society of London and the Académie des Sciences of Paris as already mentioned, has taken every possible step and made every possible effort to ensure that we give up any idea of looking for answers outside of the “evidence” provided by their papers but if one really wants to find out the truth about our existence and, more importantly, about our end, such a quest is not only commendable but absolutely necessary.
Society of the Upper Peleolithic as investigators imagine it.
On taking into consideration myths, legends and books that were allegedly “revealed” and which mention creation of universe and our own, we are bound to find clear parallelisms. The studious will try to find chronological order –who copied whom; who was the first, the original. These issues, however, are irrelevant since what all of those transmissions carry is the universal prophetic message. Sometimes this message has been transmitted through prophets and messengers; and sometimes, when the prophetic current had temporarily submerged itself in the tunnels of history or was suppressed by powers that be, myths and legends have transported it in the form of allegories, with interpolations and additions that distorted partly the original content. Myths especially conserve the basic structure of the reality they describe. There is but only one message –the prophetic message that descends as part of the general register or book of recitations. At times, however, the absolute truth gets mixed up with philosophical theories, shamanic cosmological visions or, at present, with scientific “evidence”, the final result being a pot-pourri of suppositions and vague or subjective interpretations of a creative process that no human being witnessed.
The very idea that mankind owes its existence to monkeys or apes, and ultimately bacteria, is, simply put, preposterous. No organism can evolve from another. Rather, life emerged in successive phases, which to western scientists appeared to be evolutionary processes. However, the first microorganisms did not “evolve” from non-organic substances nor did eukaryote cells “evolved” from prokaryote ones. On the other hand, the idea that mankind was originated by one pair of human beings –a male and a female (biblical Adam and Eve) is baffling at best. Statistically speaking it is impossible, whereas from the point of view of genetics it would have ended in disaster after several generations of the inevitable inbreeding. That’s why the best text we can read and examine in order to understand creation we see in our daily experience here on Earth, ourselves included, is the Qur-an, in which we are constantly asked to observe, investigate and reflect.
(20) Travel the Earth and see how the creation started. You will re-surge in the Hereafter in the same way. Allah has power over all things.
Qur-an 29 – al Ankabut
One obvious and easy everyday observation is that of a patch of land, apparently dead, which comes to life after it has rained because in its interior it contained seeds of all living beings, life encapsulated in a single cell, vivified and brought to life by rainwater. This is exactly what happened when it all started. The surface of the Earth was apparently dead but when the “fertilizing water” fell on them, the seeds were activated. They came to life in a humid earth, a kind of mud. Another sort of water activated other seeds, other stem cells. It happened time after time, following a precise and necessary order, with the nutrients always preceding the entity that needed them. The whole set of bacteria and algae, plants and animals, and countless other organisms, aided by winds, rains and volcanic eruptions will conform the habitat propitious for the appearance of first human beings –the bashar, called hominids by contemporary science.
(6) He created you out of a single nafs (entity). Then He brought out of it its mate…
Qur-an 39 – az Zumar
The fertilizing water activated the seeds, and they will be activated in the same way of the Day of Resurrection.
(28) Your creation has been and your resurrection will be but like that of a single nafs (entity).
Qur-an 31 – Luqman
We shall go through the same process we went through the first time, that of parthenogenesis. This is how the first clot or embryo was formed.
(26) We have created man –insan– from a mould of dry clay, extracted from a mass of mud.
Qur-an 15 – al Hijr
Every creature living on earth has come out of earth –the first plants, the first animals and the first human beings. Not so the second generation. All of them carried their own reproductive system, in case of human being feminine and masculine. The Qur-an calls the first men bashar (hominids in present-day scientific terminology), from the root bashara, meaning the one who has skin. These first human beings were, almost certainly, not promiscuous. They formed families with one or more females, always the same.
(17) Allah has produced you from the earth –أَنْبَتَكُم– in the same way he produced plants. (18) Then he will make you return there and raise you forth once again.
Qur-an 71 – Nuh
Verse 17 is quite explicit. It clearly informs us that we were produced from the earth in the same way that plants were –anbatakum –أنبتكم, the form which means to germinate, to make grow. It is not an analogy or a metaphor, but a piece of information that should be understood literally.
However, the bashar lacked fuad, the device capable of interrelating their experiences with cognitive abilities through the use of a conceptual language, as reflected by consciousness. In a word –they could not communicate with their Creator. Bashar is a human mechanism, a device, unable to read the “consciousness” programme. The only thing they could achieve was a type of primitive shamanism, promoted by the jinn and by their own astonishment at creatures whose nature they did not understand and found frightening, as well as by certain animals and atmospheric phenomena. Therefore, it will be necessary to update this mechanism so that it becomes capable of understanding the transcendental programme for which the universe has been originated. This update will be called insan (modern human being in the present-day terminology) –a bashar equipped now with fuad and capable of reading the consciousness program, capable of communicating with their Creator, of worshiping him, of understanding the phases through which he must pass; human beings aware of their death and post-mortem life… a complete living entity. He is the final stage of the life in dunia (this world) but projected into Ajirah (Hereafter). These successors will develop with the passage of time promiscuity and other anomalous forms of sexuality which will bring about in their descendants “the disease” (this last conclusion was reached by Samuel Hahnemann in his postulates on homeopathy). However, in so far as human beings, the bashar were perfectly capable of inbreeding with the insan.
(60) We have decreed death to be your common lot, and we are not to be frustrated (61) from changing your forms and creating you again in forms that you know not. (62) You have always known how you were created the first time. Why then do you not take heed?
Qur-an 56 – al Waqiah
Verse 60 refutes the modern dream, sometimes mixed up with theories that pretend to be scientific, of immortality, which has not ceased to pester man from his very beginning. Man does not want to die and all his research is focused on making his cells stay alive indefinitely. Today this dream is best, or rather worst, represented by the efforts of pharmacological industry, which result in all sorts of drugs and stimulants allegedly combating aging. Meanwhile, genetics promises immortality in no time at all, as soon as the gene responsible for death is discovered.
At the same time, death is presented in this verse not as punishment, but as part of the plan of Allah –the only door that will enable our passage to another reality. Moreover, the transition to another reality through death will allow us to be transformed into a form and state that we neither know nor can imagine. The way we are in this world precludes us from dwelling in the Garden or suffering the punishment of the fire (as the case may be), the fact which refutes the concept of some sort of incorporeal soul or spirit leaving our body at the moment of death.
We could ask ourselves now why the insan, the modern man, was not created directly without having to go through the bashar, hominid, stage. The answer is found in our own everyday observation. Everything that exists, organic or inorganic, living entities or mineral entities, has been going through successive phases. Such is the first premise on which the creation of Allah is based. The other premise is that those phases be indications through which we can trace the creation back to its origin and see how it came to be and ponder how it could have been in case the creative process had stopped at one of those stages and was not followed by the next one. It could have been like that, but it has occurred in the best possible way.
Thus the insan, modern humans, originated a new domain, human, different from that of animals, vegetables or minerals. But they will never be left alone or uncared for.
(36) We said: Leave all of you! There will be enmity among you. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time. (37) Then Adam received from his Lord certain words. He once again accepted him.
Qur-an 2 –al Baqarah
It is possible that these “certain words” received by Adam were basic instructions on how to face life outside the Garden in which he and his community had lived until then. It is possible that among these instructions was the one pertaining to sex and choice of partners which implied avoidance of inbreeding. But there was also a promise of something even more important:
(38) And when there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows my guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Qur-an 2 –al Baqarah
Man was at first surrounded by malaikah (angels, but not exactly), then by prophets and revealed books. It was these multi-ontological entities that taught man to use fire, mud and iron; to build boats; to differentiate beneficial elements existing in nature from those which are harmful, and to make use of both; they warned him against the whisper of the shaytan and taught him righteousness and medicine, and why inbreeding should be avoided; they pointed to the sky and its constellations and revealed how to measure time and divide it in years, months, weeks and days; they initiated him in agriculture and construction, and in everything else he needed to establish societies and live in an environment destined for him that would have been desperately hostile had it not been for the tools and knowledge with which he was provided.
All this teaching, contained in the prophetic narrative, will be systematically forgotten by man, leading him to adoration of entities with which he once lived and from which he has received wisdom and guidance. It is sheer forgetfulness, the origin of shamanism and idolatry. It eliminates the Agent and deifies the intermediaries. Ultimately, it makes man maintain that he had bacteria for ancestors, and now he, their descendant, is analyzing those bacteria’s DNA.