Daily Archives: 09/14/2011

Should we call for a ban of the burka?

France is calling for a ban of the burka and I was asked to sign a petition to support it. It took me some time to decide whether I would support it or not, but  on balance I concluded that a ban on wearing the burka would be reasonable  for the reasons I will  present bellow.

Most of the reasons for or against have been based on cultural and sociological grounds, but my reasons are based on evolutionary and biological grounds.

  1. Like it or not we humans are primates. Whether you’re a Muslim , a Christian or an atheist, you are still a large naked, wrinkled primate. Primates are animals that rely very much on facial expressions for communication. Any postio0n of your eyebrows, , the wrinkles and crinkles  of your forehead  and around your mouth all have a job. Communicate states of mind.
  2. We, as other primates have also evolved subconscious mechanisms to detect cheats.The evolution of the complexity of language provide a backcloth to be creative liars, but the traces of our faces are a give away.  Unless you are a pathological psychopath, when you lie you are aware that you are not saying the truth, and the discrepancy between your awareness of non-truth telling and whet you know, is expressed in tiny  signals through your face. Signs that you cannot control, unless you are a pathological liar or very well trained as a politician. Politicians that  believe their own lies  are very convincing. In order to lie well, one must first  undergoing self-deception.
  3. Now, the burka covers this facial features, making it unfair for the recipient of the message. The person under the burka can be lying through her teeth, and we will never know, because we have no means of reading her miniscule facial cues. It is a disrespect towards the interlocutor, which through  showing his/her face is giving an advantage in this communication game to the wearer of the burka.
  4. The injustice is not towards those who choose to wear the burka, but against those who have no choice as to read the facial signals of the one that wears the burka
  5. It is therefore my right  to refuse to communicate with a person covering her face as I am not getting all the necessary signals during humans communication and I am in disadvantage.
  6. On this premises, and purely on biological grounds I argue to support the banning of the burka.