These include situations in which resource competition is high: Whether in politics left versus rightreligion heaven versus hell, Christianity versus Islam, theism versus atheism, etc.
In all well-studied species, status within the group is achieved by the ability to cooperate and to fulfill social functions relevant to the structure of that group. There is good reason to believe this reflects a real genetic or innate tendency to solve problems with violence.
Perhaps, like chimpanzees, ancestral men fought to establish dominance by killing rivals from other groups, thus securing greater reproductive success. So two years ago, 20 scientists from 12 nations gathered in Seville, Spain, to hammer out a statement on the issue.
But genes also predispose humans to cooperation and altruism. It is also false. Yet from Chagnon onward, there has been a palpable degree of tension between those who hold opposing viewpoints. By the same token, there is abundant evidence that at the level of societies, people are quite capable of renouncing war, since numerous societies have done just this.
Join her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter ZoeWeil. The human propensity for lethal violence against "out-group" members has deep evolutionary roots. Similarly for gravity before and after Newton, space-time before and after Einstein, and so forth.
In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker elegantly charts what he sees as a decline in violence, from the frightening 15 percent of violent deaths in nonstate societies down to 3 percent of deaths attributed to war, genocide, and other human-made disasters in the 20th century—a period that includes two world wars.
But, the authors note, for evolutionary ancestors of the primates and apes, the figures were higher. Moreover, there are other nonhuman primates, including mountain and lowland gorillas, as well as bonobos previously called pygmy chimpanzees that are notably nonviolent; and bonobos are no less closely related to human beings than are chimpanzees.
The belief, he maintains, functions as a kind of pseudoscientific version of the doctrine of original sin. But for sociobiologists, this was a prime example that supported their theories. If we accept that violence is inherent, says Fuentes, we start to accept unpleasant behavior as inevitable and indeed natural in ourselves and those around us.
A prerequisite, however, is that people free themselves from the cynical, self-deceiving, and indeed scientifically unsupportable presumption that our species is biologically doomed to unceasing violence.
What does all this mean for a future without war? There is a story, said to be of Cherokee origin, that speaks to this matter, and to our shared responsibility.
At the same time, social psychologists have documented what seems to be an innate disposition of humans to classify individuals into in-group and out-group members that can form the foundation for divisions leading to conflict.
Among the arguments one sometimes hears are these: As one Inuit elder related to the anthropologist Franz Boas: Within such a society, not surprisingly, the intellectual traditions that support the view that aggression is more a function of nature than nurture — such as the writings of Freud, Lorenz and the sociobiologists — have found a ready audience.
But there is more to it than that. Or to notice that we can be both cooperative and competitive simultaneously. Yet those seeking biological explanations see themselves as getting to the core of the issue in order to answer this question.
Today the basis for out-groups can take any form, including nationality, religious sect, ethnic background or political affiliation, none of which were important in our evolutionary history.
In the case of aggression, where the existence of such a drive is dubious to begin with, our ability to choose our behavior is even clearer. While cannibalism, for example, is sometimes thought of as aggression, it might represent a religious ritual rather than an expression of hostility.
Researchers have also been discovering that people are biologically predisposed to violence through experiments with animals. The problem is that most people are unaware of this Are humans naturally violent consensus.
As for our primate cousins, according to primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University, their behavior has been cherry-picked to suit a more violent narrative for humanity.
Writing in the journal Naturethe team of researchers from four Spanish institutions sought to unpick the evolutionary contribution to lethal human violence by looking at how commonly a range of different mammals kill members of the same species.
They tend to prevent conversation and expansion of our thinking; to constrain examination of what is possible and the search for what is actually true; and to encourage us to dig in our heels and shore up evidence for our side, rather than remain open to a variety of perspectives.
War is biologically possible, but it is not inevitable, as evidenced by its variation in occurrence and nature over time and space. Biologists believe that early humans as well as chimpanzees faced resource competition, whereas bonobos had less resource scarcity, which allowed a species-specific capacity for peaceful intergroup relations to evolve.I believe that humans are not naturally violent without external stimulus, however they naturally respond violently to aggressiveness.
Aggression and anger might be natural instincts, but aggressive tendencies do not necessarily indicate innate violence.4/4(1). Are Humans Innately Aggressive? By Alfie Kohn. Pour lire cet article en français, cliquer ici.
Sigmund Freud tried to cure Viennese women of their neuroses, and Konrad Lorenz made his reputation studying birds, but the two men shared a belief that has become lodged in the popular consciousness.
Pinker has previously argued that humans engage in lethal violence as a “natural condition,” but that deaths from such violence have decreased with the rise of modern societies with sophisticated institutions and laws.
But the idea has proved controversial. The new research is likely to add further fuel to the debate. Jan 19, · The idea that human behavior is driven by genes makes many people uncomfortable, and nowhere is the dispute more bitter than when discussing the biological underpinnings of violence.
The war of ideas over violence and human nature has raged since the s, when philosopher Thomas Hobbes first speculated that the "natural. In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker elegantly charts what he sees as a decline in violence, from the frightening 15 percent of violent deaths in nonstate societies down to 3 percent of deaths attributed to war, genocide, and other human-made disasters in the 20th century—a period that includes two world wars.
But concerning such matters the connection between expectation and reality becomes complex, because of the risk that theories of human nature feed directly into people being liable to modify their behavior (although not their ‘nature’) as a result.Download