[ExI] Human evolution model (was Iranian riots)

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Wed Jul 15 00:07:09 UTC 2009

At 02:59 PM 7/14/2009, Stathis wrote:

(Keith wrote)

>?To keep humans out of going to war, delta
> > income/population must be positive or at least not negative for 
> all segments
> > of the population.
>This seems like a good explanation and is consistent with the
>observation that most of the time increasing prosperity correlates
>with decreasing religiosity (although this doesn't seem to apply to
>the US and the Middle east oil states).

Re the US.

If you look carefully at these two, they also fit.  While the average 
income has not fallen much the bulk of what used to be the middle 
class in the US fell into lower income status in the past few 
decades, corresponding with out sourcing (or automating away) most 
manufacturing jobs.  The class who dropped in income are the ones who 
fueled the growth and political activities of the religious right.

Confounding this is the *other* way people get into the war 
psychological state, being attacked.  The US *was* attacked and 
through modern communications the effect on the US population was 
very large.  One effect (because it benefited genes in the EEA) of 
being in "war mode" is to make people stupid (or stupider).  This 
includes the leaders.

Re the Middle east

If you look at the economics leading up to the rise of Islamic 
fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia there were lots of confounding 
factors, but (I think) the most important one was a population 
doubling combined with a drop in oil prices by half.  This 75% drop 
in per capita population income was probably a major factor in 
pushing a number of "warriors" into the 9/11 events.

The hard one for me to account for was the US Civil war because there 
the economics situation was doing ok at the time.  What I finally 
realized was that *anticipation* of hard time a-coming was also trips 
the detectors, and they were right.  The economy of the South was 
based on slaves.  It could be said that it took 100 years for the 
economy to recover.

It was clear that slavery was going away if they stayed in the 
Union.  If they had not attacked the North, chances are the South 
would still be a separate country, but people in war mode are stupid 
so there was little chance of them not attacking.

>However, alternative
>explanations are possible. For example, religion exists as a
>side-effect of the tendency to adopt group customs and beliefs
>(however silly they may be), which has obvious benefits in building
>community cooperation. When people are wealthier and better-educated,
>they are just as keen to belong to a community, but they can't help
>seeing through the silliness and therefore find other things to bind
>them together.

It's a good idea, but I don't think it can be backed up by the data 
unless you apply it to a population average.  As far as I know, the 
tendency to be hooked into a religion is not strongly correlated to 
wealth.  The wealthy tend to belong to different churches of course.


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