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Hypothesis for the reason for the anti-dog Muslim bias.

Reader comment on item: Resisting Islamic Law
in response to reader comment: Appreciater of dogs

Submitted by Doc Tater (United States), Feb 25, 2008 at 11:38

Hi, again, jennifer.

Good comments!

I'm going to try and answer your question.

It has been stated that humans could not have accomplished what we accomplished, as a race, had it not been for the 40,000 year friendship between humans and dogs. Dogs surrendered their predatory wolf traits in return for the survival advantage of living in and around human settlements, and humans enjoyed the survival advantage of having the canines' terrific sense of smell, vision, and hearing to warn them of danger and guide them to food.

I just adopted an Austrailian Shepherd/Labrador mix, really just a big puppy, and one of the first nights I had him out on a leash he led me to a car that had gone off the road and come to rest with the lights off and the motor silent, with a silent occupant in the car. It was dark and foggy and cold, and I had no idea there was somebody down there in the fog who needed assistance. The dog knew, and kept pulling me toward the accident until I got close enough to see what was there. From over a hundred yards away he knew there was something important there, but I had to get within 10 yeards before I could detect it. He did most of the work, but I had to sense that he was onto something and go along with his lead. We worked together pretty well, having only known each other a week or so. We were able to work as a team.

As recently as the settling of the American colonies, families would bring their mountain cur squirrel dogs with them on their westward trek, carrying the puppies while their children walked, because the dogs could guarantee something for the family larder. My own mountain cur can bark a squirrel out of a tree, and the squirrel drops to the ground where he can harvest it. I've seen him do it! I thought he was being silly at first, barking at a treed squirrel as though he was going to bark the squirrel out of a perfectly safe tree, until he did it. I think the first mountain cur squirrel dogs in the southern US region came with De Soto.

If I recall the history, over the first 20,000 years or so of dogs and men living in a mutually advantageous harmony, there was a westward migration of dogs and men from northern Asia and northern Europe that went all the way to the west coast of north America, then back eastward across Europe and back into Asia. Among other things, this would explain why the earliest archeological remains of humans in the northwest coast of North America are Caucasian remains, resembling today's northern Europeans, not native north American or Asian remains.

At any rate, raising dogs and living with dogs requires a certain capacity for intuitively understanding behavioral psychology, and understanding that dogs are different than people. Dogs are dogs, and they do dog things. You can't yell at a dog, and expect him to understand you. The dog bonds with you according to your capacity for being calm and strong in your leadership of your "pack", and according to your caring for the dog in ways that matter to the dog. The dog responds to you in training in response to your effectively teaching the dog what you expect from him, and rewarding him for his successes. Not everyone can do it. It also takes foresight and planning, of the same sort that enables some people to imagine what might be over the next horizon and then head for that horizon and reach it. It has to do with a capacity for using language and thought in a uniquely adaptive manner that facilitates interpersonal cooperation. You see that in northern people, who live closer to the poles. Such people survive harsher environments than people in the tropics, and have to survive annual seasonal weather changes that would defeat people living in the tropics.

I think that the people who came to live closer to the poles had the capacity to live cooperatively with dogs in the same way that they were able to develop more complicated technologies and more complex languages and cultures that supported more highly performing social groups, and sustained all that from generation to generation. The people who came to live with dogs were also the people who prized intellectually curiosity, inventiveness, and foresight.

The earlier, more primitive ancestors of the people who came to live closer to the North Pole never were capable of all that, and today are largely Muslim. Islam is quite effective at organizing large numbers of people who otherwise can't cooperate in groups larger than clans and tribes. Islam takes advantage of people who display the more primitive human traits, and gives them all an official excuse for only knowing the contents of part of one book. Islam doesn't punish people who lack intellectual curiosity, who cannot excel at secular knowledge for the sake of secular knowledge; it applauds them as being good Muslims.

Some people are just too stupid and mean to raise dogs and train them well, so that the dogs are happy and the people are happy too. I think that sort of stupidity is common in the Muslim world. It's sort of like the stupidity that enables rich Arabs to buy expensive cars and appliances, but prevents the entire Muslim world from being able to build and maintain expensive cars and appliances. It this weren't the case, Arabs and North Africans would have designed and manufactured the world's best air conditioners long ago, and they'd be getting along just fine with dogs.


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