[extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 16 18:31:36 UTC 2007

On Thu, 15 Mar 2007 12:05:35 -0400, Keith Henson <hkhenson at rogers.com>  

> War and the human propensity to make babies are parts of the same  
> picture.

Of course everything about human culture is related to just about  
everything else about human culture, but I'd really like to find a better  
statistic than global-war-per-capita, one that would better isolate the  
historical human propensity to make or fall victim to war, where war is  
defined in the post hunter-gatherer sense (i.e., wars orchestrated by  
large and relatively stable societies with some kind of geo-political  

One such statistic might be  
'wars-in-progress-per-year-per-war-capable-nation-state'. Has that  
statistic declined consistently and substantially over, say, the last 5000  
years? I would certainly guess it has but then on the other hand I don't  
believe I've ever seen statistics that quantify or prove it.

By the way, I subscribe to Foreign Policy magazine, and you and others  
here might be interested to know that the March/April edition contains an  
editorial related to war and EP by our own Robin Hanson (Robin's name  
seems to turn up everywhere :). The editorial concerns the claim by  
Kahneman and Renshon that cognitive distortions may be supporting hawks  
over doves, and that nations or their political leaders may be inclined to  
over-estimate the threats posed by potential enemy states. Robin argues it  
would be a mistake to assume necessarily that the supposed bias is  


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