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Is violence really “embedded in our DNA”?

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Like flaky therapists claim? If it is, then the embedded genes are not very evenly distributed among humans.

From Josh Gabbatiss at Sapiens:

The 2015 paper that resulted from Carrier’s research showed that a buttressed fist, one with the thumb closed against the index and middle fingers, provides a safer way to hit someone with force. Given that none of our primate cousins have the ability to make such a fist, Carrier and his co-authors propose that our hand proportions may have evolved specifically to turn our hands into more effective weapons. The research is just the latest in a string of studies Carrier has conducted to define “a suite of distinguishing characteristics that are consistent with the idea that we’re specialized, at some level, for aggressive behavior.” Through experiments with live fighters as well as with cadaver arms, he and his colleagues have reimagined our faces, hands, and upright posture as attributes that evolved to help us fight one another.

Carrier’s conclusions have proven contentious: Critics argue that just because a buttressed fist protects the hand during a punch doesn’t mean the hand evolved that way for this specific reason any more than the human nose evolved to hold up glasses. But people’s discomfort with Carrier’s hypothesis goes beyond this critique. The work is sensitive because it tackles a controversial question: Are humans biologically designed for violence, or are violence and war cultural phenomena?More.

Both, probably, but why do people think that primate apes—or other animals— are necessarily less violent than humans?

See also: Human origins: The war of trivial explanations

There’s a gene for that… or is there?


“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

It's the violent plants that I can't stand. I'd kill them all if I could. Especially the green ones. Mung

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