For the Sake of Learning: War and Mankind

I have to pass on a very interesting article from Scientific American.

That article has some very interesting thoughts, backed up with some things we know about tribal societies, about why men engage in war. Those things are worth thinking about.

This blog post is written to encourage you to read that article, but I have to make a comment about assumptions and left vs. right-wing politics, too.

Politics and Assumptions

If you read my blog, you’re probably Christian and you probably lean towards the right politically. This means that for the most part, you don’t notice the untestable and unprovable assumptions behind right-wing thinking.

It also means that the assumptions behind left-wing thinking seem incomprehensible, perhaps even stupid, to you, despite the fact that they’re little different than your own assumptions.

As far as I know, there’s nothing in the article I linked to that is overtly left-wing, but it has the "feel" of left-wing assumptions that I find pretty annoying.

It starts with the assumption that…

Science Knows Everything

I say that because it begins by saying that war was invented 15,000 years ago.

It was?

Exactly how does anyone know that? They found abandoned tanks or a buried explosive dated to 13,000 B.C.?

If two tribes got in a war with each other, each tribe having probably a maximum of 50 or 100 people, then exactly what traces would they have left of their war?

Remember, written history only goes back to the Sumerians in 6,000 B.C., so there are no writings discussing war from 15,000 years ago.

The Scientific Method: Leaving All Options Open

If I’m going to talk about science, then I should be scientific myself. That means having an open mind.

Maybe, just maybe, there is some way to know whether tribes engaged in war 15,000 years ago. Someone figured out that ingenious trick, and I just don’t know about it yet.


The reason I know they didn’t is because scientists still debate whether Homo sapiens put an end to Homo neanderthalensis due to conflict.

Fighting that puts an end to an entire race of humans is war.

If science is wondering whether there was war between modern humans and Neanderthals, which would have happened 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, then they don’t know that there was no war until 15,000 years ago.

Not Living in the Real World

Another left-wing habit that bugs me is not living in the real world.

I don’t know how many left-wingers have told me that homelessness is the product of a bad economy and that up to 50% of the people living on the streets are family men who can’t find a job.

That’s ridiculous. No one who says that gives a hoot about homeless people.

They’re like most fundamentalist Christians are with the Bible. Such Christians heap praise on the Bible and sometimes idolize it, but they don’t actually listen to it. Even so, many left-wingers, especially those in education, say really nice things about homeless people, but they don’t actually pay any attention to them.

If you spend any time with homeless people, then you know that they are not simply out of work family men. They are drug or alcohol addicts, mentally ill, or simply fed up with society and not desiring to live in it.

Statistics say that family men really are about 50% of homeless people. Those same statistics say that most family men are homeless for an average of 3 days.

Yes, that’s right; 3 days.

That’s because America has homeless shelters that help those interested in having a job and living in a house to do so. The organizations that help people do that are good at it, and they are in contact with people willing to help. Almost everyone that actually wants to be helped, and who isn’t shipwrecked by addictions, is helped.

So, back to the article I linked to …

It ends by saying that mankind has already invented a means to resolve conflicts peacefully … the United Nations.

What has the United Nations resolved peacefully? Are they mediating the talks between Israel and Palestine, or is the United States?

You can say the US is not doing a good job with that. Perhaps they’re not, but the U.N. isn’t even involved.

They are involved in Africa. That’s wonderful. I think it’s great they’re trying to do something.

But they’re completely failing. African nations are not less violent, less prone to civil war, or less prone to tribal warfare due to U.N. involvement.

The U.N. is a nice thought, but it us utterly useless unless there are nations that are already committed to peace. Thus, the U.N. is not an invention for peace. You must already have peaceful people and peaceful nations for the U.N. to play any part in creating or maintaining peace.

Education and Peace

As a side thought, having studied history and visited several 3rd-world countries, I can tell you what does work. Education and prosperity work. Educate most of the citizens of a nation, and that nation will be more peaceful. It’s government will also be less tyrannical because their people will not put up with tyranny. Tyrannical governments have to promote ignorance in the populace at large.

Hmm. This is a Christian blog, and there’s nothing very Christian about anything I’ve written above.

Truth, however, is truth, and since Jesus Christ is Truth, it is good for Christians to look at what’s real.

Speaking of which, you should go read that article on war.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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