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A Species At War Essay

564 words - 3 pages

Is it men who that bring out the worst in war, or war that brings out the worst in men? War is a common occurrence throughout today’s society, but what is war? Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian soldier and German military theorist, who stressed many of the moral and political aspects of war, defined war as organized conflict between two groups, one or both groups hoping to dominate the other. “War is not merely a political act,” he said “but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means,".
Scientists were quite confident that humans were the only species to fight wars, until the 1970’s. Researchers from the Jane Goodall Center in Tanzania saw a group of male chimpanzees ambush and kill several chimps from another ...view middle of the document...

Though, one must look at how precise humans plan and are able to create tools for war, being capable of killing hundreds of thousands at once with the drop of a single atomic bomb.
Is war a more recent phenomenon? Research suggests that ancient hunter gather societies would partake in warfare. In fact, the first recorded war dates back 2700 B.C. It was fought between Sumer and Elam. War between humans dates back even before this, first accounts could only be made when writing was invented. Lawrence Keeley estimates 95% of primitive societies fought wars.
Behavioral genetics, attempts to explain what we do and who we are in genetic terms. It began with the English polymath Francis Galton, who in 1883 coined the term "eugenics" to refer to his proposal that genes can control behavior, and be turned on and off. Twins make excellent subjects for these studies. When looking at a common behavior, research from Sir Francis Galton shows twins are 55% likely to share this trait. Well, fraternal twins are only 23% likely to share the trait. Well, an adopted child has a mere 11% chance.
Is war not genetic, but purely a cultural invention? David Adams, a retired director for the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, says yes. He once gave his students a challenge. In the United States today, children quarrel over toys. His students returned after a month of research, and confronted him. Their results, we’re conflicting. In some societies, children play with objects, but they leave them for a later time. They do not own them. “It’s a Western invention,” he says. Even if we are naturally not war like, we did need to compete for resources. One simply has to face the fact that as long as there are individualistic ideas, property, and the need to control, there will be war. So, does war bring out the worst in men, or do men bring out the worst in war?

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