Evolution: A new theory of Violence and War

By on January 10, 2019

An unmissable conversation between Richard Wrangham, Harvard Professor of Biological Anthropology and the evolutionary behavioural scientist Professor Tamás Dávid-Barrett on “The Goodness Paradox: How Evolution Made Us Both More and Less Violent” – Richard Wrangham’s new book which is set to be as important and revolutionary a book as Gun, Germs and Steel, the Language Instinct, The Black Swan or Thinking Fast and Slow.

It may not always seem so, but day-to-day interactions between individual humans are extraordinarily peaceful. That is not to say that we are perfect, just far less violent than most animals, especially our closest relatives, the chimpanzee and their legendarily docile cousins, the Bonobo. Perhaps surprisingly, we rape, maim, and kill many fewer of our neighbours than all other primates and almost all undomesticated animals.

But there is one form of violence that humans exceed all other animals in by several degrees: organized proactive violence against other groups of humans. It seems, we are the only animal that goes to war.

In this conversation Professor Richard Wrangham will explore this paradox at the heart of human behaviour. Drawing on new research by geneticists, neuroscientists, primatologists, and archaeologists, he will show that what domesticated our species was nothing less than the invention of capital punishment which eliminated the least cooperative and most aggressive among us. But that development is exactly what laid the groundwork for the worst of our atrocities.

Join us for this major talk which will revolutionize our understanding of humanity at Conway Hall Wednesday 16th January 2019.

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Culture | Evolution: A new theory of Violence and War