Re: Is warfare a means of insuring survival of the fittest?



On 2010-07-25, bobwilliams <mytbob@xxxxxxx> wrote:
It seems like the history of Homo Sapiens is one of constant and
continual conflict, inter tribal power struggles and wars.
One would think that after a hundred thousand years or so of losing so
many lives in adventures that hardly anyone enjoys, H.S would have
figured out that cooperation is a more pleasurable alternative to life
than conflict.
Do you suppose that our propensity toward competition and conflict is
something built-into or genome to insure survival of the "fittest"?
Bob Williams


Nicholas Wade discusses this question at some length in his book "Before
the Dawn". He finds close similarities between chimpanzee "warfare" and
that practised by human tribal groups.

I'm not sure that "hardly anyone enjoys" war; I think that many people
do, at least when they win. And there are good evolutionary reasons why
a propensity to fight would have an evolutionary advantage. In many
societies, e.g. the Yamamoto, men who are conspicuously successful as
warriors have more wives than others. Gengis Khan is supposed to have
had almost 500 wives and concubines, and it appears that 8 per cent of
men in the lands that formed part of the Mongol empire carry his Y
chromosome today - 16 million men.

But a tendency towards cooperation also exists in human society, and
Wade thinks this is now coming to deminate over warfare. He links this
with a tendency towards a more gracile skeleton in modern humans
compared with our ancestors in the Upper Palaeolithic.


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Anthony Campbell - ac@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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