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Fascinating discussion between Steve Pinker and Robert Kaplan: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25752052
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Nope, more wars than ever. Last 10 years was the most violent since 1940's. The last 100 years puts the previous 5,000 years to shame in the amount of wars and people killed.
 
I haven't yet watched the video but pinker often introduces the metric 'likelihood of dying a violent death' and he claims that statistics show this number has fallen since the second world war.
 
Because WW2 was such an outlier I don't think it is a fair metric.
 
If you take the Middle East out of the equation the world is more peaceful and the Middle East has by far the most Religious population.
 
That is a fair point, but in that region war has become the norm.
 
Have y'all read Pinker's book on the topic?
 
I'm ca. 25% into Pinker's book. It's a fascinating read, and the evidence supporting his claim turns out to be overwhelming. Don't be fooled by how counterintuitive his claim may seem at a first glance.
 
Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking Fast and Slow points out to some of the judgement error we make which Pinker carefully pointed at during his rebuttal.
 
Did Pinker reference Kahneman & Tversky? S1 v S2? Sorry, I guess I should watch the video.  : )
 
No, he simply noted some of the judgmental mistakes Kaplan is doing. He wouldn't need to have read anything from them, he seems experienced enough to know a lot about those.
 
Okay, curious. K&T are influences of Pinker. Like the latter; not so much the former.
 
John: Actually Pinker points out in his book that WWII wasn't such an outlier.
 
No marauding hoards in my neighborhood, nor falling bombs, no religious inquisition types hanging about.... 
 
I haven't popped out to the street to watch an execution in decades.
 
Thanks for posting this +Sam Harris. Really enjoyed Pinker's polite disarming of Kaplan's unscientific Realist arguments.

Realist IR has never had sound footing, yet it continues to be the dominant mode of thinking behind international tensions. See for example the quietly growing tensions between US and China, and the military buildup and positioning by both sides in the Pacific. Hillary Clinton recently even openly stated at a Pacific nations meeting that their agenda was based in "realpolitik". Awkward.

During the parts where Kaplan wasn't entertaining himself with his Realist fantasy, I think the substance of the talk came out as the recognition of the tangible benefits from institution building over the past century. It seems we can, with some degree of statistical certainty, credit the past century's progress towards peace to democracy and liberal internationalism.

Though I think the bigger story going forward may well be the benefits to be reaped from Feminist IR. Which ironically, Kaplan did mention.
 
Ah masculinists do have same motivations often as much as any 'group'. It is all about that social hierarchy at the base. So politics, religion, and of the like do such things as stereotype and follow for such ways.
 Even altruism is but a survival instinct besides acts o violence. This altruism thing can be shown of evolution just based on a simple mathematical equation.
Some how when some one thinks they are being brave and good in any moral one must think twice for all cause and effect of things.
 
+John Biaggio , you also have to take into consideration the fact that the world population grew like 100 times since ancient times.

So of course more people are going to die in wars, but proportionally speaking, not even WW2 can hold a candle to a prehistoric tribal war, where one tribe would kill all the males in another tribe and steal all their women.
 
Sex, altruism, and violence all wrapped together in social hierarchy of human nature. Can it be avoided in creation of law and morals?
 
I've read pinker's book and would agree the evidence seems overwhelming)
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