"Science" claims war as integral to human evolution: Scientifically weak and morally unfor


"In recent years, a piece in New Scientist asserted that warfare has “played an integral part in our evolution” and an article in the journal Science claimed that 'death in warfare is so common in hunter-gatherer societies that it was an important evolutionary pressure on early Homo sapiens.'"

Writes Dr. Barash: "The emerging popular consensus about our biological predisposition to warfare is troubling. It is not just scientifically weak; it is also morally unfortunate, as it fosters an unjustifiably limited vision of human potential." "Chimpanzees, we now know, engage in something distressingly akin to human warfare, but bonobos, whose evolutionary lineage makes them no more distant from us than chimps, are justly renowned for making love instead." "Yet peacemaking is, if anything, more pronounced and widely distributed, especially among groups of nomadic foragers who are probably closest in ecological circumstance to our hominin ancestors. The Hadza people of Tanzania have interpersonal conflicts, get angry and sometimes fight, but they assuredly don’t make war and apparently never have. The Moriori people, original inhabitants of the Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand, employed several methods (including social ridicule) that prevented individual disputes from escalating into group-versus-group killings. The Batek of peninsular Malaysia consider overt violence and even aggressive coercion to be utterly unacceptable, viewing themselves and their larger social unit as inherently and necessarily peaceful." "The problem with envisioning Homo sapiens as inherently and irrevocably warlike isn’t simply that it is wrong, but also that it threatens to constrain our sense of whether peacemaking is possible and, accordingly, worth trying." [[NY Times article (opinion piece) titled Are We Hard-Wired for War? by David P. Barash (an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington; author of Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science)]]

Barash, David P.. "Are We Hard-Wired for War?" The New York Times, September 28, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/opinion/sunday/are-we-hard-wired-for-w.... [verified 4/15/14]

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