Register | Sign In

Understanding through Discussion

EvC Forum active members: 52 (9178 total)
1 online now:
Newest Member: Anig
Upcoming Birthdays: Theodoric
Post Volume: Total: 918,104 Year: 5,361/9,624 Month: 386/323 Week: 26/204 Day: 2/24 Hour: 0/1

Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 11 of 438 (504477)
03-29-2009 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by onifre
03-29-2009 1:05 AM

And if you take history as an example, you would have to agree that in the last 6000 years society has become less aggressive toward one another - to include government punishment - and thus you can see how successful our species has been at procreating in the last 6000 years*.
I know you didn't feel like researching the numbers, but you really should have.
Tell me, how many ongoing conflicts are there right now? Those causing 1000 deaths/year number 7. Most aren't a decade old. There are 14 other conflicts ongoing that are causing less deaths per year. A plurality of those are less than a decade old.
The number of known wars in the 20th century is staggering. Approximately 215 (I screwed up the count, so +/- 5). Two wars per year! Are we really becoming less aggressive?
Shall we count the number dead? I'm not pulling a good rough figure figure yet, but hundreds of millions have died as a result of these wars or through state actions not necessarily related to war.
(I did manage to find this: What? Only 34,000,000 20th Century Battle-dead? | DemocraticPeace Blog).
We haven't gotten less aggressive. What we have gotten is a lot better at making sure infants survive. Infant mortality dropped from 126 to 51 (deaths per 1,000) from 1960 to 2001. We've also gotten a lot better at living longer. Currently, we have a global rate of 9.6. Compare this to a rate of 17 in 1900 in the US.
You can still be very aggressive and improve infant mortality and death rates, simply because most deaths aren't from battle, but natural causes or through shit we do to ourselves (such as smoking, thus lung cancer, or eating way too much salt, thus heart attack), or from accidents (41,059 people died from vehicular accidents in 2007 in the US). You can reduce these causes of death and still wage war and fight increasing number of conflicts and see the population increase.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by onifre, posted 03-29-2009 1:05 AM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Taz, posted 03-29-2009 5:30 PM kuresu has replied
 Message 16 by onifre, posted 03-29-2009 8:25 PM kuresu has replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 14 of 438 (504489)
03-29-2009 7:01 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Taz
03-29-2009 5:30 PM

But his point was more that it was because we were becoming less aggressive. Which isn't the case.
And that was my point.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Taz, posted 03-29-2009 5:30 PM Taz has not replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 20 of 438 (504501)
03-30-2009 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by onifre
03-29-2009 8:25 PM

Yet, not one in the US, Canada, Sweden, UK, etc. Where a less agreessive people reside.
Oh geez, how many wars is the US responsible for in the past century? How many wars have we actually fought in the past century? It doesn't really matter if we haven't had any wars within our own borders, because that does no measure non-aggression. It simply means no one is really capable of attacking us on our own land.
Are you familiar with the wars Britain has fought in? Has actually had to fight within her own borders?
Sweden's an anomaly, but they got awful close in WWII, and they were basically Hitler's dog in terms of troop transit and war goods until he was losing the war. Had they put up firmer resistance, Sweden would not have stood.
Of the places where these wars are taking place, how many are first world countries, have a lawful government, or even a structured government?
Actually, most of them. The most destructive wars were carried out by first world countries or countries that have structured government. Most wars are carried out by countries that have a structured or lawful government. Non-war mass deaths are generally carried out by the same. And they generally take place within those borders. Who was it, exactly, who dropped the A-bomb? Who was it who firebombed Germany and Japan? Who was it, exactly, who carried out the final solution? Who was it who carried out the purges around the world? Who was it who started WWI and WWII? Who, exactly, is responsible for the rape of Nanjing? Who was it who fought wars in the middle east concerning Israel? Who invaded Grenada? Who started the UK-Argentinian conflict? In the case of civil war, more often than not have a structured government is fighting against separatists or revolutionaries (which can lead to the breakdown of government).
This is because government has a monopoly on the means of violence within the state. If not government, than a quasi-governmental organization that fills the same role. But throughout history, the worst are started by those "less aggressive" countries. And actually take place within those countries.
Remember, you claimed that we were less aggressive in total, not that we simply weren't aggressive within our own borders (which is questionable itself: how many gun deaths do we have each year due to violence?).
So let me repeat: we are not any less aggressive than we were even a century ago, never mind 6000 years ago. If anything, we are more aggressive.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by onifre, posted 03-29-2009 8:25 PM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by anglagard, posted 03-30-2009 3:08 AM kuresu has replied
 Message 25 by onifre, posted 03-30-2009 8:42 AM kuresu has replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 26 of 438 (504522)
03-30-2009 8:55 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by anglagard
03-30-2009 3:08 AM

I vote for modern democracies within the last 100 years being less likely to start wars or engage in genocide, perhaps you would like to argue otherwise in the appropriate thread.
Perhaps the only law in political science that holds relatively true: democracies do not fight wars and such against other democracies in modern history.
We (the democracies) just aim our sights elsewhere. And most of the current conflicts aren't fought by even one democratic participant. It's just the democratic starter that's done the most damage in current and ended conflicts (as in, just how many people are we directly or indirectly responsible for killing in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places? how many people has the second tuareg rebellion killed?)
So when oni says that we (whether the US, the West, or the World) are getting less aggressive, I have to point out that the 20th century is the bloodiest on record in total deaths and has a high, if not highest, rate of conflict in history. And that it's not just third-world nations doing it. In fact, the US has fought in more wars in the 1900s than from 1600-1899. I find it facetious to claim we are getting less aggressive simply because we're not killing the native americans or ourselves any more.
When you ask who the "we" is I refer to, I meant humanity. So unless the chinese are no longer human (ah, good 'ole WWII, Korea, and the "gook"), they are included. I guess I should have made that more clear.
I did not mean to drag this thread off-topic like this, and if someone wants to start a thread on it, I'll gladly participate.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by anglagard, posted 03-30-2009 3:08 AM anglagard has not replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 28 of 438 (504524)
03-30-2009 9:10 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by onifre
03-30-2009 8:42 AM

However, would you really label this person aggressive?
He could very well be. Not because he joined the military, but because people have aggressive tendencies. And if he is killing people, at that moment he is being aggressive, whether or not he generally isn't.
you would not say that they are aggressive just for the sake of being aggressive, would you?
Um, Bush? Rumsfeld? Cheney? What about the whole doctrine of flexing our muscle just so everyone knows we still have some fight left in us?
But that's beside the point. If you resort to war to settle an issue, you are being aggressive. If you resort to violence, you are being aggressive.
A soldier at war, who joined for a GI Bill, but is now unloading a 50cal. on a building is not being aggressive, he is in survival mode.
A young kid in an inner city who has no other means to make money, that he can see for himself, is not being aggressive for the sake of it, he too is in survival mode.
Both are certainly being aggressive. Because that is one of the ways for them to survive, which you rightly point out. But that doesn't mean they are not being aggressive.
And your examples can go back in time. Those in Napoleon's army probably weren't there because they wanted to be there but had to be. Those who fought with Sargon to create the sumerian empire were probably in similar situations. So if they've just been doing what they had to all along, how have we gotten any less aggressive?
I think you have confused aggression with neccessity.
Not really. Aggressive actions may be necessary or unnecessary. WWI was an aggressive action that was unnecessary. WWII may very well be an aggressive action that was necessary. The Iraq war is an aggressive action that was unnecessary. The Afghanistan war may be an aggressive action that was necessary.
My original counter-point again: we have not gotten any less aggressive over the past 6000 years. We have just gotten better at protecting lives from deaths.
I still haven't seen anything which really counters my counter-point. I hope I'm not simply being dense here.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by onifre, posted 03-30-2009 8:42 AM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by onifre, posted 03-30-2009 1:13 PM kuresu has not replied
 Message 31 by dronestar, posted 03-30-2009 4:34 PM kuresu has replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 34 of 438 (504554)
03-30-2009 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by dronestar
03-30-2009 4:34 PM

But I kinda agree with Oni, when circumstances involve fear or survival, man will be moved to be more aggressive. If true, man hasn't changed much at all, has he?
Um, I never really disagreed with this point Oni made. He just didn't make that to begin with. I disagreed with his premise that we are becoming less aggressive, which while true in certain circumstances doesn't hold up over all (no wars in the US, for example, but a hell of a lot fought by us; we are less aggressive inwardly than outwardly; there are more wars and conflicts this century than the last, and it's been growing for several centuries)
And yes, we've gotten a lot better at killing people in wars, but our ability to save lives from war-deaths has improved more (as well as non war-deaths), or else the 200 million plus dead would have quite possibly put a dent in the population growth (similar perhaps to the bubonic plague?). As well, we would see a lot more deaths if we hadn't gotten so good at repairing the body. In the civil war, you were more likely to die of disease than battle. Today, it's the opposite. In the civil war, losing a limb very possible meant losing your life. Today, you can lose a lot of your body and somehow survive. Imagine if we fought those 200 plus conflicts without modern medicine, how many would be dead. Actually, I think we might not have seen so many conflicts, because there's wouldn't have been enough people to fight!
In pre-WWI days, how many men would have taken to destroy 100,000 people of Hiroshima
And how many times has the atomic bomb been used in war? Twice. So yes, it can kill a lot of people at once, but most other cases of mass-death are of the dumb tech variety. I don't think those 450,000+ dead in sudan died of smart weapons, but a bunch of people raping and pillaging, with support from the government in materials and supplies (I'm counting aircraft as dumb tech, simply because flying is easy compared to building a nuclear weapon or a so-called smart bomb). We can kill a lot of people with the old techniques just fine; the smart weapons allow us to do it more efficiently, and some smart weapons just aren't used fortunately.
So I think we can certainly use the number of dead as a gauge for how violent and aggressive we are, so long as we keep in mind that the total population has exploded in the last 60 years alone (so when comparing the causalities of the civil war, of which there are roughly 1 million, to the casualties of the iraq war, of which there are roughly 35,000 US casualties, we should keep in mind the US population in 1860 was 31.4 million and today is close to 300 million).
This is the reason why I think we should discount just death counts to track aggression in today's world.
You know, I made mention of the 200+ conflicts of the last century. That's independent of the number of deaths. So even if those conflicts all caused very few deaths, that's still a huge number of conflicts, essentially unprecedented.
Can we perhaps get back to the topic, which you know, is morality and evolution?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by dronestar, posted 03-30-2009 4:34 PM dronestar has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Taz, posted 03-31-2009 3:43 AM kuresu has not replied

Member (Idle past 2621 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006

Message 38 of 438 (504574)
03-31-2009 6:24 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by anglagard
03-31-2009 4:32 AM

Re: I Call BS, Plain and Simple
All this talk about how modern humans are somehow 'more evil' than their ancient counterparts is simple bullshit that probably comes from residual effects of self-hate preached by false interpretations of religion and apparently, and unconsciously, continued by false interpretations of history among some so-called atheists.
Who's said this?
I'm only aware of stating that if anything we (the world) are becoming more aggressive. I'm not aware of equating aggressiveness
with evil.
abe: I figured the death rate by taking the midpoint between the low and high estimate of deaths, with some rough rounding. I don't think I rounded all that consistently, either.
If I have, please point it out.
As to whether or not democracies are being just as aggressive or more aggressive, I surely don't need to show you a list of the wars the US has been in since 1775, right? Of course, no political scientist would classify the early US as a modern democracy (I don't think that really happens until the 19th amendment, if not later thanks to voter-discrimination).
Of the death list, 10 out of 18 are from before 1900. 7 from before 1800. Maybe I'm just interpreting it wrong, but that suggests to me that even if, say, the Taiping rebellion, the An Shi rebellion, the mongol conquests, and the manchu conquest of China a ton of people, the 20th century into today has been a more consistent and quicker killer. Those 10 conflicts are spread over 1680 years, or 1478 if you remove the 1800s deaths. The remaining 8-11 (including the 1800s) are from 95 years to 205 years.
So pre 1900, such massive conflicts arose every 168 years. Pre 1800, every 211 years. Post 1800, every 19 years. Post 1900, every 12 years. So maybe we're simply killing less per war/conflict, just having them more often?
What are the death rates?
An Shi took 7 years to kill 33-36 million people. ~5,000,000 dead/year.
Mongol conquest: 265 years to kill 30-60 million people. ~170,000 dead/year.
Manchu conquest: 46 years, 25,000,000 dead. ~540,000 dead/year.
Taiping rebellion: 13 years, 20-30+ million dead. ~1,930,000 dead/year.
Conquest of Timur: 36 years, 7-20 million dead. ~375,000 dead/year.
Napoleonic Wars: 11 years to kill 3.5-16 million. ~900,000 dead/year.
Thirty Years War: 30 years to kill 3-11.5 million. ~242,000 dead/year.
Yellow Turban Rebellion: 21 years to kill between 3 and 7 million.
~240,000 dead/year.
French Wars of Religion: 36 years to kill 2-4 million. ~84,000 dead/year.
Shaka's conquest: 12 years, 2 million dead. ~167,000 dead/year.
That finishes out all the non-20th or 21st century conflicts. What's the death rate for us?
WWII: 6 years, 40-70 million dead. ~9,300,000 dead/year.
WWI: 4 years, 19-59 million dead (why does it include the spanish flu?). ~9,750,000 dead/year.
Russian civil war: 4 years, 5-9 million dead. ~1,750,000 dead/year.
Second Congo War: 5 years, 3.8-5.4 million dead. ~920,000 dead/year.
Korean War: 3 years, 2.5-3.5 million dead. ~1,000,000 dead/year.
Vietnam War: 16 years, 2.495-5.02 million dead. ~235,000 dead/year.
Afghan Civil War: 30 years, 1.5-2 million dead. ~58,000 dead/year.
Iraq War: 6 years, ~91,000 to 1.2 million dead. ~108,000 dead/year.
So who are the most efficient killers?
An Shi Rebellion
Taiping Rebellion
Russian Civil War
Korean War
Second Congo War
Napoleonic Wars
Manchu Conquest
Conquest of Timur
Thirty Years War
Yellow Turban Rebellion
Vietnam War
Mongol Conquest
Shaka's Conquests
Iraq War
French Wars of Religion
Afghan Civil War.
Of the top 5, 2 happened before 1900.
Of the top 10, 5 happened before 1900 (4 before 1800).
It doesn't seem as if we're killing more people per year in each individual conflict than what's outside of historical norm. So we're killing the same number of people, just doing it more often. Maybe this is possible because there are more of us that can be killed.
Edited by kuresu, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by anglagard, posted 03-31-2009 4:32 AM anglagard has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Stagamancer, posted 03-31-2009 2:19 PM kuresu has not replied

Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:

Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024