[ExI] Human Warfare is learned behaviour - not evolutionary

ddraig@pobox.com ddraig at gmail.com
Fri Aug 21 12:55:46 UTC 2020

On Fri, 21 Aug 2020 at 22:33, William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> I did not Google it, but long ago I read about a relationship between food
> availability and birth rates.  The naive assumption is that the more food
> you have, the more optimistic you are about the future, the more babies you
> have.  And it is exactly opposite.  Theis counters the notion that foreign
> aid will just make the overpopulation worse, usually made by conservatives.

I read "Cannibals and Kings" years ago, it is an old book, so it might be
out of date. But a couple of things are mentioned there which might be
relevant.  The first was that human societies, in isolation, tend to wind
up in a status where the birthrate keeps pace with the available food, and
resources are not consumed beyond a sustainable level.  When this community
comes into contact with another community, both groups then proceed to use
up all available resources to out-compete each other.  The other point was
that while conflict is an age-old part of human life, warfare, as in
organised conflict between large groups, did not exist before agriculture.
Agriculture produces large surpluses of food, and can sustain more people
than hunter-gatherer society can, and also requires a large population *for
a brief period of time* to gather the harvest.  This large population and
an essentially idle population outside of harvest time results in warfare.

I guess it comes down to how you define warfare.  Violence is something all
humans do, but warfare - as defined as large-scale and organised mass
violence - seems to be relatively new.  But, like I said, this information
is quite old.


  ddraig at pobox.com              ddraigbot / NSO / Connery
our aim is wakefulness,  our enemy is dreamless sleep
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