Saturday, November 26, 2016

Humans Are All the Same Species! No. 3 in my New Series of Mythmaker Posts

DNA: Humans are all the same species!
From Pixabay

I had decided to review some of my notes on who the Mythmakers were before I wrote about the Precepts, but this distressing upsurge of racism and bigotry during the campaign and after the Presidential election made it seem imperative to touch on that subject first.  Suddenly we’ve once again received a license to hate the unlike, a really ominous phenomenon.  Who would have thought the progress made during the last half-century was so fragile?
I’ve touched on this subject before in one of my earlier posts (You Say Alien and I Say Extraterrestrial) and I’m going to begin by quoting from that piece:

“‘Alien’ carries a lot of unfavorable connotations.  If you look it up in, it means a person who has been estranged or excluded; and as an adjective, it can mean "unlike one's own, strange" and also "adverse, hostile, opposed."  Of course, it also means an extraterrestrial.  What gets me is that we have so many aliens living among us right now -- all those human beings who moved without permission from one geographical unit of the Earth to another.  How can a member of our own species be an alien?  Why should being from inside another nationalistic boundary make such a person "estranged, excluded, strange, adverse, hostile, opposed, unlike one's own"?  Why should stepping across an imaginary line alienate a person from his or her fellow human beings?
“On my future Earth there are no nationalistic boundaries.  Earth is united and while administrative regions exist, freedom of movement is universal.  No passports, no visas. One currency.   If you come from Scandinave and you want to work in Ostrailia, all you have to do is buy a ticket on a flyer, disembark, find a place to live, and go to work.  People may be encouraged to move to certain parts of the planet in order to equalize the distribution of the population, but nobody is forced to do that.” 

Now I’m going to present the last three Mythmaker Precepts (nos. 18, 19, and 20):

No. 18: There are creatures on this planet who speak, form symbols, and share emotions; these may be called human.
No. 19: The humans of our planet are all the same species; therefore they should care for one another and avoid the destruction of their own kind.
No. 20: Since humans share their genetic heritage with all the bio-organisms of this planet, they should always seek to preserve life.

And then I’m going to quote from Part One of The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars.  In this scene fifteen-year-old Robbin Nikalishin has made an unfortunate mistake and is being counseled by Prf. Alise Doone, the head of the Humanities Dept. at Epping Science Academy and his moral philosophy teacher.

“The final three Precepts deal with the basic evolutionary nature of the human being.  Which do you think epitomizes what the Mythmakers were trying to say?”
Robbie took a deep breath, desperately dredging his brain.  “The last one, I suppose.  About how humans should always try to preserve life because they share their genetics with all creatures.”
“Well, that awareness is central to the survival of our planet, of course.  But it’s Number 19 that takes precedence – The humans of our planet are all the same species; therefore they should care for one another and avoid the destruction of their own kind.  Until Earthers accorded this reality an emotional acceptance, they were doomed to oppose each other along racial and ethnic lines.
 “And you should also keep Number 18 in your mind: There are creatures on this planet who speak, form symbols, and share emotions; these may be called human.  The entire thrust of the Mythmaker philosophy is about what it means to be human.  Keep that in your mind, Robbie.  It may not mean so much to you right now, but possibly it may at some later point of your life.”

This passage encapsulates what I’m trying to say here.  I put the salient points in bold face and I’ll stress this one again:


Anybody who has been acquainted with me for a while has seen that statement pop up on a FaceBook post or elsewhere.  Here’s the definition of a species from Wikipedia : “A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which two individuals are capable of reproducing fertile offspring, typically using sexual reproduction.”  There are various ambiguities related to this definition, which are discussed in the Wikipedia article, but for our present purposes, let’s accept this definition given above. 

HUMANS ALL SHARE THE SAME DNA.  Any human can breed with any other human. 

It doesn’t make sense for groups within the same species to try to destroy each other.  While animals of the same species do kill each other at times, their basic motivation is to ensure the survival of their species.  Therefore, they kill to gain mating rights, to protect territory, and to ensure food resources.  Some primates do mount internecine group attacks, but again it’s to protect territory.  Humans, however, practice mass killings of their own kind all the time and the motivation can be for territory or food resources (hardly ever to acquire mating rights, at least in our modern times; courtship is more an individual matter in our species), but the most common motivations are to acquire power, to gain revenge, and (most unfortunate of all) to forcibly spread their religious beliefs.  Animals never kill for revenge, they don’t give a fig about gods, and they don’t organize wars (except for some insect species, certain ants, for example).
Humans evolved to be different from other animals.  Supposedly we acquired a mind capable of reasoning out our difficulties and resolving them through language and empathy (Precept No. 18). The minute differences in DNA that exist among the various races and ethnic groups of humans are inconsequential; WE’RE ALL THE SAME SPECIES.  I have predicated the Mythmaker ethic on an innate ability of the human consciousness to recognize and act upon the fact that peace and cooperation are better than conflict and destruction at structuring a world where our species can ensure its survival and even thrive. 
But first we have to get past the outer shell of our fellow humans.  Dogs and cats differ widely in appearance, but they all recognize each other as a fellow dog or fellow cat instinctively, regardless of color or hair length or size.  For some reason human beings have a hard time getting past the outer shell and appreciating what’s on the inside.  Skin color, eye or nose shape, hair texture – these characteristics are of no value in determining a person’s worth.  Yet the fear of the unlike – fear of the alien – seems to be part of humanity’s genetic makeup.  I suppose this also had something to do with survival when we were evolving, but it’s essential for present-day humanity to rise above this misperception and learn how to subdue this instinct.

Lately, I’m not so sure whether I was right about the fundamental ability of humanity to discern what the Mythmakers called the Right Path.  We have made progress at eliminating discrimination based on race and ethnicity, but too much of that has been just lip service and political correctness.  What we must do now is achieve that emotional acceptance of the fact that among humans there are no aliens!


 That is my mantra, and I will keep repeating it as long as I can utter words.

Links to other posts in this series:


  1. I agree. We are all one species and should try and live together instead of fighting and killing and destroying the planet. So number 20 is the one that I most identify with. All life is precious and when a species becomes extinct because of mankind and his selfishness towards the environment, it is wrong and I despair.

    1. I know you deal with environmental subjects in your books, Nikki. And No. 20 is certainly one of the important Precepts. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Well said. I am probably going to get in trouble for saying this... but I believe the introduction of religion into human society is what causes (caused) problems. Maybe the whole idea of warring humans is a cultural issue? I'm not sure. The Native American tribes battled one another to prove their strength and manhood. Imperialism did much the same thing. Divide and conquer... The Buddhists believe we are all the same family. You must be kind to others because who knows who was a relative in a past life. There are so many more admirable human qualities we could embrace. Another theory is that of history repeating itself. Evil does win sometimes (as we are now seeing sweep across our world). You bring out great ideals we all should think about. Unfortunately, those who should think about them most won't read this. Excellent thoughts, Lorinda. <3

    1. Thanks for the insightful comment, Colleen! You and I can get into trouble together because my feelings about religion are the same and I'll be dealing with this in later posts. Buddhism probably comes the closest to my Mythmaker ethic, because Buddhists don't really believe in a god the way most religions do. And truly, we don't learn from history. This fits with another Mythmaker Precept that I'll get to later. And yes, most of the people who should think about these things won't read this. But I've decided it's my duty to get on the stick and get my ideas out there.

    2. I am Buddhist, and use many of the philosophies in my book, The Heart Stone Chronicles - The Swamp Fairy, which I will publish in January 2017. I am drawn to your Mythmaker precepts. It is always a joy to find a forward-thinking mind. <3

    3. So you're a Buddhist! Interesting! I call myself a spiritual humanist - I've given up belief in any particular god, but I don't consider myself an atheist, which is an absolutist term for being a complete materialist. I like to leave room for possibility that there is something out there besides scientific facts. We just can't ever know what it is. I've had exchanges with some writers who are atheists and who say they don't like fantasy because of the magic component. I wrote a post on that awhile back - you might be interested in it.

    4. It won't let you click on the URL above. Anyway, you can find the post under the label Atheism.

    5. Atheism is just saying the claim for a god is unconvincing. Nothing more, just that.

    6. I can accept that definition, Neil. But you know the term "angry atheist." Some atheists are just as bigoted as religionists, and really scorn people who believe in a god. You don't do that.

    7. Theism is the belief in a god, a-theism refutes that claim. Not scorns, just responds as being unconvinced. That's the current definition.

    8. Well, I just don't relate to the term atheist. I prefer humanism - I think the connotations are more positive.

  3. To my mind, religion may have started as a means to understand why things happen outside our control.
    A river flooded and drowned someone because they'd angered the River God for example, or someone upset the Mountain God, so that God sent an avalanche or erupted to show that anger, and so on.
    However, religion soon evolved as a means to control others, using priests to tell the people about the Gods, their rules for humans, and punishments for disobedience.
    Judging people by their skin colour or other features, such as dwarfism, or shape of eyelids, or even by their beliefs, seems to be very deeply ingrained into humans, so I suspect it was originally a survival mechanism that ensured we bred only with those like ourselves in most respects - I.e. What we considered as normal.
    Unfortunately, the recent progress towards a more enlightened way of thinking was (and still is) in a fragile, embryonic state easily overcome by the power of our innate suspicion of those different from ourselves.
    I hope the enlightenment way persists through this latest attack on it and gains enough power to enable us to overcome our baser natures.
    And that enough enlightened people continue to exist (and persist) so that the extremists (in every sense of that word) are controlled to minimise the amount of damage they can do.

    1. That's a very well thought out statement, Chris, and I agree with you wholeheartedly! I particularly agree with your first sentence. People had no concept of science, but they needed some way to account for all the strange things they saw around them, so they invented gods.

  4. Don't expect those who need it the most to read what you have so neatly and logically described. I'm actually beginning to believe humans are divided into subspecies (not different races). One subspecies is from the branch of the evolutionary tree which primarily evolved the physical form. The other (or there may be many) evolved intellectually. While the subspecies can breed (like a dog and a wolf), it is rare since like takes to like, not the alien (as you point out).

    1. I don't expect it, but as I said in my reply to Colleen Chesebro above, I've decided it's my duty to get my ideas out there. Your idea about human subspecies may have a certain truth to it!

  5. Also, your definition of atheism isn't accurate. I know some very spiritual atheists; they're called humanists. There's only one criteria for atheism: No belief in gods.

    1. Yes, I agree, Marva - I'm a humanist. I call myself a spiritual humanist. Therefore, I'm not an atheist, I fit more in the agnostic category. I just don't know. You can't know about something you can't perceive with your senses or with scientific study. But you can speculate, and therefore I can write fantasy.