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War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man.At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease – the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences.
Hobbes’ infectious meme is certainly among the most famous phrases ever penned in the English language, and it shows no sign of fading.
Indeed, his dismal view of human nature is still being enthusiastically spread by neo-Hobbesian presidents, pundits and professors.
Pinker offers a certain kind of evidence in support of his interpretation.
In an argument reminiscent of the misleading mess he presented in The Blank Slate, he offers eight “hunter-gatherer” societies to use as a base-line for rates of death in war that are meant to reflect mortality rates typical of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
— Mark Twain Barack Obama is certainly no imbecile, but like most of us, he has been badly misinformed about just how innately warlike our species really is.
For reasons having nothing to do with scientific accuracy, Hobbes’ dire sloganeering about the misery of pre-civilized human life echoes down the centuries.slaking their ravenous thirst with the hot blood of victims and greedily devouring livid writhing flesh.”Please pass the potatoes.When not gorging on the hot blood and writhing flesh of their prey, our ancestors were apparently after each other.Let us just look at the quality of the evidence Pinker presents—sparse and cherry-picked though it may be.Fry dug up the original ethnographic sources Pinker used for his data on war deaths among foragers.Wild gorillas violently abduct females to mate with them.” (Emphasis is in the original.) Each of the great apes is mentioned in support of the deep roots of rape thesis except the one that could call the thesis into question: bonobos. Anthropological and Archaeological Evidence Sadly, neo-Hobbesian discussions of anthropological and archeological findings are just as biased as their forays into primatology.Leaving aside the difficulty of defining rape in nonhuman species unable to communicate their experiences, rape has never been witnessed among bonobos in decades of observation. I have written elsewhere about Pinker’s penchant for distorting data to suit his poorly-hidden political agenda in The Blank Slate and a widely-seen TED talk he presented in 2007.To save space, we will let Pinker slide on the question of how representative eight contemporary cases could be of the general hunter-gatherer experience 20,000 or more years ago.Let us also set aside the fact that he has once again mislabeled horticultural societies as hunter-gatherers as well as the absence of any methodological rigor in his selection of these particular examples.It is hard to say which leg of this stool is the wobbliest, so we will take them in order.Space constraints allow only a few, representative examples of the slip-shod reasoning that plagues each element of the neo-Hobbesian narrative, but you will soon get the idea.