BOOK REVIEW Name: Conflicts of Fitness.Islam, America and Evolutionary Psychology

BOOK REVIEW
Name: Conflicts of Fitness.Islam, America and Evolutionary Psychology
Author: A.S. Amin
ISBN-13 # 978-1483442846
Publisher: Lulu, lulu.com
Available from Lulu and Amazon; Price $11.99
Disclaimer: I have a slight conflict of interest in reviewing the book “Conflicts of Fitness”; May be a little more than slight. The author is my son.
If you are looking for a book that takes a very clinical – sometimes too clinical – and a Darwinian look at things like love, courtship, marriage, divorce, pornography, feminism, polygyny, women’s role in Islam and even hip hop lyrics, you need to read this book.
The title is not very catchy nor indicative of the book’s contents; the subtitle clarifies it a bit but it’s the introduction that clarifies the “fitness” in the title; it refers to “reproductive fitness.”
 The book starts with a defense of Islam’s allowance of polygyny – a risky venture, especially nowadays – on the basis of maximizing a society’s reproductive fitness. It has you assume some unreal assumptions about mating possibilities in an imaginary village that most readers may find too far fetched. But the basic scientific arguments regarding polygyny that the author makes cannot easily be dismissed as nonsense or medieval; the author infers that it  just happens to be one of the traditions that like any other traditions like monogamy, “serial monogamy”, polyandry has its plusses and minuses.
The book then goes on to explain other aspects of Islam that are usually criticized in the non Muslim world – like veiling, early marriage, women’s reduced access to divorce, women’s subordination etc. – on the basis of reproductive fitness and “reproductive climate”. Again, very few would like those practices in Islam – the author even looks at these issues from the angle ” Is it Islam or is it Muslims”  and seems to infer that it is more Muslims than Islam – but the scientific arguments offered for those practices’ defense cannot easily be denied.
The author then compares the cultural differences between the Muslim world and the West, again from the point of view of reproductive fitness. He describes the advantages and disadvantages of each system taking examples of feminism, late marriages, no marriages, serial monogamy, cultural and generation gaps and uses a lot of hip hop lyrics to explain the West’s method of achieving reproductive fitness. Some readers may find some concepts repeated too many times but given the novelty of the author’s hypotheses and the possible difficulty to grasp them by a person without a scientific background , the repetition may be justified.
If your knowledge of philosophy is limited to Aristotle, Aquinas and Kant etc.,  you’ll become  familiar with more contemporary “philosophers” like Jay-Z, 50 cent and Tupac Shakur after reading this book. The author has used many of their lyrics to explain his points and you’ll become familiar with words like “wifey”, “humpin'” etc.
All in all it is an easy and informative read, a fairly short book that can be finished in one sitting; but it’s possible you may want to read it a second time, as I did.
Shoeb Amin

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