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Boats, Hematite, War

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:52 pm
by john
All -

This has been cooking at the back of my cognitive stove for a long time.

Is the practise and spread of warfare contiguous

With the geographical spread of early, earlier, and earliest humans?

Like boats, like hematite?

I don't know the answer,

But the question has bothered me for a long time.

This is the latest that triggered this thread;

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... ?full=true

I can't help but think of that 60's ballad,

"The Universal Soldier."

The essential bifurcation I'm looking at is this:

Is the practise of war

A genetic mandate

Or a societal mandate,

Or some combination of the two?

Those who are interested, let fly.


hoka hey

john

Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:12 pm
by kbs2244
I go with social.
The story is just another attempt to say we are not responsible for our actions.
“I can’t help it I am (alcoholic, homosexual, beat my wife, overeat, am a pedophile, or whatever), it is in my genes.”
We are not animals. We are humans.
We can change the way we believe, the way we think, and the way we behave.
War is just an easy way out for those that do not want, or fear the consequences, of a better way.
Now, that being said, it is very true that overwhelming force is the only way to stop some who refuse to even try a better way, or refuse to live up to agreements reached in other ways.

Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:27 am
by Ishtar

These ideas emerged at a conference last month on the evolutionary origins of war at the University of Oregon in Eugene. "The picture that was painted was quite consistent," says Mark Van Vugt, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Kent, UK. "Warfare has been with us for at least several tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years." He thinks it was already there in the common ancestor we share with chimps. "It has been a significant selection pressure on the human species," he says. In fact several fossils of early humans have wounds consistent with warfare.
I'd be interested to know how the researchers know that "warfare has been with us for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years". It doesn't say in the article.

I hope they're not going by myths like the Rig-veda, which Michael Witzel and others used to misread as examples of Aryans fighting indigenous Indians. Even the Trojan wars, I'm now beginning to think, are mythical ... and the battles in the OT.

And there is still no proof that we descend from a chimp common ancestor, despite the journalist glibly accepting it as fact.

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:04 am
by curious01
I think 'warfare' as it were, falls back to millions of years. Our primate relatives, the chimps, practice their own version of semi-organized (more of a follow-the-leader) warfare on neighbors and individuals. Our more recent ancestors had to become organized as they learned to think ahead to the future, and at some point started planning events with the advent of some kind of simple communication.

Posted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:43 pm
by Rokcet Scientist
Ishtar wrote: And there is still no proof that we descend from a chimp common ancestor, despite the journalist glibly accepting it as fact.
That would be Toumai's granddaddy. About 8 million years BCE. He'll turn up.

As for warfare. That's competition. A very basic, primitive, violent urge, of course. It comes with population pressure in patriarchal (= machismo) societies. It is one of the inevitable consequences. Chimps wage war against neighboring tribes. Bonobos don't. Bonobos – a matriarchal society – say: "Fuck 'm!". And rarely shed blood.

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:10 am
by Minimalist
I don't like the term "war" in this instance. It implies some sort of organization or purpose.

Two guys can have a fight without having it be a war.

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 6:59 am
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:I don't like the term "war" in this instance. It implies some sort of organization or purpose.

Two guys can have a fight without having it be a war.
Two guys have a fight. Two groups have a war!

Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:02 am
by Minimalist
Depends on the size of the groups involved. Two groups of teenagers having a rumble is not "a war."

Still, people are killed in fights.

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 6:50 am
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:Depends on the size of the groups involved.
So define what size groups fighting constitutes a war...
20? 200? 2,000? 20,000? 200,000?
Two groups of teenagers having a rumble is not "a war." Still, people are killed in fights.
I don't think 'killing' is required to speak of a war. Violence, of any kind, between groups (>2} is enough, imo.

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 9:03 am
by Minimalist
It is a question of scale. The Roman historian Livy was guilty of this when he gave the title of "wars" to what must have been little more than rock and stick throwing riots between mud hut villages.

"Warfare" implies some sort of plan whereas "violence" can break out at a soccer match....and frequently does.

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 2:31 pm
by Rokcet Scientist
If the mud hut village (a group) that introduces violence has the intention (a 'plan') to destroy the other mud hut village, it is a war.
Whether they succeed is moot.

Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 3:55 pm
by Minimalist
The Romans did precious little "destroying" of other Latin villages. The genius of their success was their ability to assimilate them.

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 7:51 am
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:The Romans did precious little "destroying" of other Latin villages. The genius of their success was their ability to assimilate them.
OK, I'll rephrase:
If the mud hut village (a group), that introduces violence, has the intention (a 'plan') to destroy the other mud hut village('s culture), or 'milk' it, it is a war.
Whether they succeed is moot.

Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 9:31 am
by Minimalist
A point I addressed above.
"Warfare" implies some sort of plan

Simply, one cannot look at a skull that has been caved in and conclude that the person was killed in a war. He may have gotten drunk and insulted some other guys wife.

Posted: Sun May 17, 2009 6:07 am
by Rokcet Scientist
Minimalist wrote:A point I addressed above.
"Warfare" implies some sort of plan
Simply, one cannot look at a skull that has been caved in and conclude that the person was killed in a war. He may have gotten drunk and insulted some other guys wife.
Or poked her.