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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mathematics put an end to three centuries of dispute about the nature of human hate

In a philosophical debate, ongoing at least since Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, suddenly intervened mathematics. Experts from Spain wondered whether people’s inclination to cruelty and violence, sometimes amounting to murder their own kind, a part of human nature as a biological species, or a kind of side effect of civilization. According to scientists, closer to the truth was the first option, even though their results can be interpreted in a different way.

photo: morguefile.com

Initially, the researchers led by Professor Marcos Mendes of the University of Madrid suggested that if people in the past were “noble savages,” which subsequently ruined civilization, apes should be kinder than other mammals, because they are genetically close to people, but really complex communities did not create. If the closest “relatives” of people also burns with hatred, it can be considered a part of human nature, and the development of civilization — on the contrary, the process made man kinder than he was originally.

The researchers analyzed information on more than four million deaths of people, apes, and other animals, as living today, and existed in prehistoric times. Only the researchers collected information on 1 024 species of 137 families. As it turned out, in General, mammals rarely kill their own kind — only 0.3 percent of all their deaths happen for this reason. However, the ancient people, apes and their ancestors in this background were shown to be more cruelty — a violent death from his own fellows among them perished 2 percent, 1.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. According to researchers, this evidence in favor of the fact that increased aggression is a trait that has evolved in people in the process of evolution and long before the advent of civilization in the modern sense of the word.

However, civilization, judging by the assembled experts data not immediately made people good: the relatively early stages of its establishment was forced almost a third of all deaths. However, in the long term, experts say, progress has made man less aggressive than in the past, he dictated the nature.

Although the work of scientists published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, not all experts considered the arguments of the authors are quite convincing. In particular, some experts have expressed doubt that today it is possible to gather reliable statistics about the percentage of violent deaths among ancient people and extinct animals, and the more objectively to compare it with the statistics modern.


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