Hunter gatherer violence

September 2021 Forums General discussion Hunter gatherer violence

Viewing 15 posts - 271 through 285 (of 308 total)
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  • #109814
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I didn't follow this thread but I saw this in today's papers:http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/easter-island-prehistoric-warfare-did-not-bring-about-collapse-rapa-nui-populations-1544165Don't even know if the Easter Islanders were hunter-gatherers but the findings seem to refute one view of "human nature".

    #109815
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    People following this thread might find this article of interesthttp://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/08/the-return-of-the-brutal-savage-and-the-science-for-war/

    Quote:
    Despite the growing mythology, the archeological record reveals very little evidence of past violence …Researchers Jonathan Haas and Matthew Piscitelli  found “but a tiny number of cases of violence in skeletal remains.”… The archaeological record before 10,000 years ago, they conclude, in fact “shows that warfare was the rare exception.”…Much of the other “proof” for the brutal savage advanced by Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, and other champions of Chagnon, is rife with the selection and manipulation of facts to fit a desired conclusion…False claims that killing is a proven key factor in our evolution are used to justify, even ennoble, the savagery inherent in today’s world.
    #109816
    LBird
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone quote wrote:
    …“proof” … is rife with the selection and manipulation of facts to fit a desired conclusion…

    I've been saying for years here that this is 'the scientific method'.The sooner we accept that this is 'science', and begin by presuming that revealing one's own 'desired conclusion' (ie. one's ideological starting point) is the correct method, the better for science.As I've said before, regarding this thread's content, start from 'peace-bands' and 'war-bands' (for example), and the 'proof' will flow.This is how all science works, including physics.The 'disinterested scientist' with a 'neutral method' to produce 'objective Truth' is itself a ruling class idea, a bourgeois myth.Hello, alan.

    #109817
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    alanjjohnstone quote wrote:
    …“proof” … is rife with the selection and manipulation of facts to fit a desired conclusion…

    I've been saying for years here that this is 'the scientific method'.The sooner we accept that this is 'science', and begin by presuming that revealing one's own 'desired conclusion' (ie. one's ideological starting point) is the correct method, the better for science.As I've said before, regarding this thread's content, start from 'peace-bands' and 'war-bands' (for example), and the 'proof' will flow.This is how all science works, including physics.The 'disinterested scientist' with a 'neutral method' to produce 'objective Truth' is itself a ruling class idea, a bourgeois myth.Hello, alan.

    Nurse, Nurse, he's out of bed again!!!!

    #109818
    Young Master Smeet
    Participant

    This is an interesting precis:https://theconversation.com/have-humans-always-gone-to-war-57321

    Quote:
    But chimps demonstrate that war without civilisation does exist in a species similar to our own. Not only that, but similarities can be seen between chimpanzee and human hunter-gatherer warfare. For example, in both species, an imbalance of power and risk-averse tactics are often a feature of attacks: a group of chimpanzees will assault a lone rival, and hunter-gatherer groups avoid pitched battles in favour of guerrilla warfare and ambushes.

    It's a valid question, I think, to ask whether ambush and murder are war, even when carried out by groups.  I'd have thought we would call it war when the defending party stands and fights (and dies) en masse.Actually, the abstract of the article linked to above does state: "When self-sacrificial war practices are found in humans, therefore, they result from cultural systems of reward, punishment, and coercion rather than evolved adaptations to greater risk-taking."I've not time to read the article now, but it's on Pubmed so it should be free to air.  here's the abstract in full, which sounds like it makes sense:

    Quote:
    Chimpanzee and hunter-gatherer intergroup aggression differ in important ways, including humans having the ability to form peaceful relationships and alliances among groups. This paper nevertheless evaluates the hypothesis that intergroup aggression evolved according to the same functional principles in the two species-selection favoring a tendency to kill members of neighboring groups when killing could be carried out safely. According to this idea chimpanzees and humans are equally risk-averse when fighting. When self-sacrificial war practices are found in humans, therefore, they result from cultural systems of reward, punishment, and coercion rather than evolved adaptations to greater risk-taking. To test this "chimpanzee model," we review intergroup fighting in chimpanzees and nomadic hunter-gatherers living with other nomadic hunter-gatherers as neighbors. Whether humans have evolved specific psychological adaptations for war is unknown, but current evidence suggests that the chimpanzee model is an appropriate starting point for analyzing the biological and cultural evolution of warfare.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22388773

    #109819
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Not just humans, but chimps too have the ability to reach and form peaceful solutions and alliances. Why imply that only humans do this and the "others" (i.e. chimps and other animals) don`t, whereas one is quite happy to attribute similarity where the negative (i.e. warlike) behaviour is concerned?Sagan points out an amusing fact: that, like chimps, the Romans and the Hebrews cemented political alliances by holding one another`s testicles.

    #109820
    stuartw2112
    Participant

    "Sagan points out an amusing fact: that, like chimps, the Romans and the Hebrews cemented political alliances by holding one another`s testicles."It's how arguments in the Socialist Standard Editorial Committee are settled too. Fact.

    #109821
    Young Master Smeet
    Participant
    John Oswald wrote:
    Not just humans, but chimps too have the ability to reach and form peaceful solutions and alliances. Why imply that only humans do this and the "others" (i.e. chimps and other animals) don`t, whereas one is quite happy to attribute similarity where the negative (i.e. warlike) behaviour is concerned?

    We have to be careful with how we look at things.  I remember talking to someone,a nd there was an issue in primatology about one type of Ape (might have been gorillas).  During a confrontation between males, one would go over to a child, and pick it up.  Some saw this as a type of hostage taking, but the counter suggestion was that the ape just wanted a cuddle, something to take away the bad feelings of cofnrontation.  the effect was the same, that of terminating the show-down: intention is har to read in non-linguistic species.

    #109822
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

     "During a confrontation between males, one would go over to a child, and pick it up."Perhaps another proverbial example of contesting politicians kissing babies in election campaigns? 

    #109823
    Dave B
    Participant

    It is quite common in several ape species when things kick off amongst the group for the males to pick up any infant ape handy; but as I understood it was for protection of the cowards, or not wanting to get drawn in to general fracas, like the proverbial diving under the table in a pub fight. The protecting the baby syndrome does in another context perhaps seem to enter into human culture as well; eg Kuwaiti-first Iraq war babies in incubators, Belgium babies on bayonets and they did it again recently with Assad barrel bombing maternity wards etc. Although I don’t think we can or should compare most of our evolution to apes. What we do know is that we evolved out of a very rare and thinly scattered species of co-operative groups struggling against the environment and not other groups or even space. For instance the archaeological/chemistry stuff that has come out of the Stonehenge recently indicates that people from all over Britain were congregating there for a Glastonbury style, bring your own pigs, festival; not to knock shit out of each other. Isotopic data on animal bones found on the site indicate that it came from all over the UK and as far north as Scotland. The general war ideology has and still does infect archaeological analysis, eg the imperial Saxon invasion trashing the indigenous Romano- Celts. That now looks like bollocks as well and scientific facts seem to suggest that it was more of a ‘cultural’ invasion with the indigenous population switching away from hierarchal Romano- British economic system- ruling classes to the then more communistic like Germanic system of primitive communism. Taking a very reductionist non chimp Darwinian perspective wars between social and herd animals are very rare; ants are they only ones that do it, occasionally, in the way we would 'understand' it. Most violence is over sexual competition which is sometimes sorted out by who does the best ‘moon dance’.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o42C6ajjqWg There does seem to be a general correlation to increased size of the male over the default size of the female re the natural battling for male sexual access etc. The ‘natural’ difference between size of the sexes in humans alone would seem to indicate that ie aggression, was not an important part sexual selection. There are some interesting examples with the birds eg Emu’s? were the males raise and look after the young and the women fight over the men. There are some ducks that do it as well.

    #109824
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    "Sagan points out an amusing fact: that, like chimps, the Romans and the Hebrews cemented political alliances by holding one another`s testicles." – "It's how arguments in the Socialist Standard Editorial Committee are settled too. Fact"I`ve suspected that for some time!

    #109825
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    John Oswald wrote:
    "Sagan points out an amusing fact: that, like chimps, the Romans and the Hebrews cemented political alliances by holding one another`s testicles." – "It's how arguments in the Socialist Standard Editorial Committee are settled too. Fact"I`ve suspected that for some time!

    that pre supposes that the Editorial Committee have balls

    #109826
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Actually it presumes they are men, which has not always been the case

    #109828
    Bijou Drains
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    Actually it presumes they are men, which has not always been the case

    Good point, well made, you certainly have my …… in your hands

    #109829
    Hud955
    Participant

    I'm not at all convinced by arguments from related species.  Apart from the fact that the conclusions you come to depends very much on whether you draw your observations from chimps or bonobos, the argument from genetic relatedness is itself a poor one.  It isn't the percentage of genes you share with another species that matters, it is which genes.  A tiny genetic change can make huge differences across the genome if the genes affected are those that turn other genes on and off.  Once this is acknowledged, it becomes clear that the phenotypical distance of the human species from chimps and bonobos and the other apes is enormous.  If, for instance, anthropologists are right and the social relationships of the earliest human beings around 200,000 years ago are mirrored in existing hunter gatherer groups then our earliest social relationships are light years away from those of our nearest ape relative, or any of the apes come to that.We are the only ape whose social relationships are based on trust.  And that has enormous consequences for our social behaviour.  Drawing simple parallels with chimps just doesn't make sense.  We are the only ape, for instance,  in which males provision the females and take a share in child rearing.  We are the only ape that has whites to our eyes, which enables us to 'read' others and see ourselves as others see us. We are the only ape which has voluntary control over our tongue in vocalisations.  Other ape calls are genetically controlled and invariant.  A chimpanzee for instance has no choice but to make food or predator calls given the right stimulus.  We have choice in our communications.   Our adaptation therefore is for enormously greater social complexity.   Add to that, the size of our brains is not only way above that of chimps, its rate of growth, as we can assess it through the fossil evidence, was colossal and unprecedented. The prevailing theory at the moment is that we accepted the costs of this very energy expensive enlarged brain to allow us to negotiate all the complex relationships we enter into as human beings. No other ape has such a brain because no other ape needs it.Trying to identify genetically determined human behaviour by reference to related species seems to be clutching at straws.  

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