“A big difference between them and us, the difference that explains why we dominate the planet.”
“However, to our surprise, we found that the percentages of war deaths were best predicted not by state- or nonstate-hood but by population size, for both chimpanzees and humans.”
The chimp comparison is completely meaningless in this context. 200,000 is very relatively small “state” population in humans, and it’s pretty much the *entire* population of chimps left in Africa – I don’t have easy access to individual chimp group populations, but I expect that the graph is non-linear, and at very low numbers the error rate is probably very high (and this article doesn’t actually come with any charts or data. the published version is behind a paywall so can’t check that)
“Given all this, the current global population trends aren’t encouraging. Countries and cities are getting bigger, which should, theoretically, lead to larger overall war losses (even if the percentages are smaller).”
Sorry, but this is idiotic. If we drop the population of the globe to a thousand people, the overall war losses will never exceed 1,000, a fraction of what it is now – but that is completely meaningless. Lower percentages are what we want. Given a 1-in-10,000 or 1-in-100,000 chance to be killed in war, which would you pick?
“But even more worrisome is the fact that population growth is soaring, particularly in areas with historically unstable politics.”
What does this have to do with the previous sentence? What does it have to do with anything? PPopulation has been soaring in “areas with historically unstable politics” since WW2, so what?
“Given the math — and the daily news about the tense relationship between the U.S. and North Korea (as just one example), along with the unfettered combativeness of Trump and Kim Jong-un — a third World War seems plausible.”
This is a true statement, arguably, but how does it follow from anything you’ve written before? And why “Hildebolt and I will not be surprised if this month the Doomsday Clock is set at least one minute closer to midnight than it now stands — and thus, closer to the extinction of Homo sapiens than it has ever been.” when everything you’ve mentioned above is year-old news?
“The statistics tell us that we should stop national populations from booming”
Wait, what? You have shown exactly zero proof so far that higher populations increase chances of war. They increase total war *deaths*, true, but this is a *completely irrelevant statistic*.
“Of course, the solutions for world peace are complicated. The statistics tell us that we should stop national populations from booming and prevent a growing mass of intelligent people from inventing new things like ever-more-deadly weapons. Neither seems particularly realistic. But one thing we can do is stop characterizing people who recently lived in small hunting and gathering groups as inherently more violent than those from state societies.”
Ok, I’m sorry, I have to resort to profanity now. What the actual fuck? How is “stop characterizing people who recently lived in small hunting and gathering groups as inherently more violent” a “solutions for world peace”? Do you even proofread what you write?
“On the one hand, man is akin to many species of animals in that he fights his own species. But on the other hand, he is, among the thousands of species that fight, the only one in which fighting is disruptive … . Man is the only species that is a mass murderer, the only misfit in his own society.”
What is not taken into consideration is this:
In non-states, most of the warfare is primitive and people are mostly killed in one-on-one confrontations. However, in state societies, that’s not the case. Case in point, United States, killed more than 100,000 people with two bombs in Japan without losing one soldier in those particular incidents.
Technology is helping state societies to mask their violent nature and hide it from public. A drone pilot sitting in his Florida office, kills people on a daily basis while he will go to a bar in the evening.
Why does everyone always revert to the Cuban Missile Crisis? It is often the most disastrous things that happen that no-one sees coming. Mutually Assured Destruction probably played a part. The CMC was a game of poker that had the Russians blinking first and nobody wanting to press the button.
The one time that in my opinion was worse than the CMC was the time a Soviet officer refused to push the button even though a computer malfunction detected 7 missiles being launched towards the USA. That could have been the start of WW3.
Maybe that is the way it will be in the future, a random series of events that takes mankind to the brink and beyond.
Stanislav Petrov is still my hero.
All explainable via “Behavioral Sink”, a phenomena studied since the ’50s. Essentially, as population density increases, so too does deviate behavior, even when aqueduct resources exit. Deviate behavior and density increase till population crashes.
We’re no where near self destruction. Why? Because Nuclear War is bad for Business, and the World Bankers will not allow it!
When a billionaire says everything is hunky-dory, then everything is hunky-dory, people! I don’t care about a bunch of scientists or their dusty old clock! Now put on them-there big big smiles, Americans, because things are better than ever! Ever!
Sayin’ My Freakin’ Prayers
Did we forget the most tense crises encountered during the Cuban missle crises? One wrong move, WWIII and humanity is sayonara baby!!!
Although I think you went easy on Pinker, thank you for smashing that revamped, manifest destiny, great white hope speech he called “research”. I would naturally think that hundreds of years of warmongering from western civilizations as well as the violent enforcement of the Christian religion aimed at so-called “uncivilized” people, would show exactly who is the more violent civilization. I mean, HELLO….racism, colonialism, trans-atlantic slavery?? Is he also confused about where and how that began?
I could not agree with you more Dray.
The message of this article was not anti-white you racist.
Oh yeah…its all about slavery…..yawwwwn
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