War Is Not Inevitable

| 7/10/2009 3:52:01 PM

War, Not Inevitable

People assume that war is inevitable, and that war always has been and always will be a part of the human experience. Science is now proving that is wrong. “A growing number of experts are now arguing that the urge to wage war is not innate,” John Horgan writes for the New Scientist, “and that humanity is already moving in a direction that could make war a thing of the past.”

War is an effect of lifestyle more than any innate warring tendencies, according to some anthropologists. Brian Ferguson of Rutgers University thinks that war first seeped into human culture when we stopped our nomadic lifestyle and shifted to a more settled, agrarian way of life. Individual aggression has always existed, but group warfare is more of a response to environmental conditions, like scarcity, rather than any innate biological need.

Atomic bombs, high-tech weaponry, and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan could lead people to think that society is getting more war-like, but experts believe that humans are actually moving toward a more peaceful world. Violent deaths were far more likely when people fought with clubs and spears than they are today. “Most conflicts now consist of guerilla wars, insurgencies and terrorism,” Horgan writes. Experts have called these more recent conflicts, “the remnants of war.”

Source: The New Scientist

Image by Jayel Aheram, licensed under Creative Commons.

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