Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Veritas Aequitas
Posts: 5838
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 am

Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

In his 2011 book,
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,
Steven Pinker argued with relevant data and posited violence has declined significantly at Present since from the past years.

While Steven Pinker did not focus on any moral progress, I personally believe there is moral progress in correlation to the decreased in violence since the past years.

This supposedly moral progress is due to the unfoldment of the activeness of the "programmed" inherent moral functions and moral facts inherent in ALL humans.

Steven Pinker's claim that violence has decreased on the past years is very counter-intuitive to the majority of people but he has the data and facts. He explained why it is so hard to believe violence has indeed decreased;
First I have to convince you that violence really has gone down over the course of history, knowing that the very idea invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger.

Our cognitive faculties predispose us to believe that we live in violent times, especially when they are stoked by media that follow the watchword “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The human mind tends to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which it can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age.1

No matter how small the percentage of violent deaths may be, in absolute numbers there will always be enough of them to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from the actual proportions.
Preface
  • CONTENTS
    Chapter 1 - A FOREIGN COUNTRY
    Chapter 2 - THE PACIFICATION PROCESS
    Chapter 3 - THE CIVILIZING PROCESS
    Chapter 4 - THE HUMANITARIAN REVOLUTION
    Chapter 5 - THE LONG PEACE
    Chapter 6 - THE NEW PEACE
    Chapter 7 - THE RIGHTS REVOLUTIONS
    Chapter 8 - INNER DEMONS
    Chapter 9 - BETTER ANGELS
    Chapter 10 - ON ANGELS’ WINGS NOTES REFERENCES INDEX ALSO BY STEVEN PINKER
If you are not convinced read Pinker's books and offer your counter arguments.

Pinker is not pulling statements out of the air, he provided loads of data to support his claims.
Veritas Aequitas
Posts: 5838
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 am

Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Here are the list of data provided by Pinker to support his argument;

LIST OF FIGURES

1–1 Everyday violence in a bodybuilding ad, 1940s 25
1–2 Domestic violence in a coffee ad, 1952 26

2–1 The violence triangle 35
2–2 Percentage of deaths in warfare in nonstate and state societies 49
2–3 Rate of death in warfare in nonstate and state societies 53
2–4 Homicide rates in the least violent nonstate societies compared to state societies 55

3–1 Homicide rates in England, 1200–2000: Gurr’s 1981 estimates 60
3–2 Homicide rates in England, 1200–2000 61
3–3 Homicide rates in five Western European regions, 1300–2000 63
3–4 Homicide rates in Western Europe, 1300–2000, and in nonstate societies 64
3–5 Detail from “Saturn,” Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch (The Medieval Housebook, 147 5–80) 65
3–6 Detail from “Mars,” Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch (The Medieval Housebook, 147 5–80) 66
3–7 Percentage of deaths of English male aristocrats from violence, 1330–1829 81
3–8 Geography of homicide in Europe, late 19th and early 21st centuries 86
3–9 Geography of homicide in the world, 2004 88
3–10 Homicide rates in the United States and England, 1900–2000 92
3–11 Geography of homicide in the United States, 2007 93
3–12 Homicide rates in England, 1300–1925, and New England, 1630–1914 95
3–13 Homicide rates in the northeastern United States, 163 6–1900 96
3–14 Homicide rates among blacks and whites in New York and Philadelphia, 179 7–1952 97
3–15 Homicide rates in the southeastern United States, 1620–1900 98
3–16 Homicide rates in the southwestern United States and California, 1830–1914 104
3–17 Flouting conventions of cleanliness and propriety in the 1960s 112
3–18 Homicide rates in the United States, 1950–2010, and Canada, 196 1–2009 117
3–19 Homicide rates in five Western European countries, 1900–2009 118

4–1 Torture in medieval and early modern Europe 131
4–2 Time line for the abolition of judicial torture 149
4–3 Time line for the abolition of capital punishment in Europe 150
4–4 Execution rate in the United States, 1640–2010 151
4–5 Executions for crimes other than homicide in the United States, 1650–2002 152
4–6 Time line for the abolition of slavery 156
4–7 Real income per person in England, 1200–2000 171
4–8 Efficiency in book production in England, 1470–1860s 172
4–9 Number of books in English published per decade, 147 5–1800 173
4–10 Literacy rate in England, 162 5–1925 174

5–1 Two pessimistic possibilities for historical trends in war 191
5–2 Two less pessimistic possibilities for historical trends in war 192
5–3 100 worst wars and atrocities in human history 197
5–4 Historical myopia: Centimeters of text per century in a historical almanac 199
5–5 Random and nonrandom patterns 205
5–6 Richardson’s data 205
5–7 Number of deadly quarrels of different magnitudes, 1820–1952 211
5–8 Probabilities of wars of different magnitudes, 1820–1997 212
5–9 Heights of males (a normal or bell-curve distribution) 213
5–10 Populations of cities (a power-law distribution), plotted on linear and log scales 214
5–11 Total deaths from quarrels of different magnitudes 221
5–12 Percentage of years in which the great powers fought one another, 1500–2000 224
5–13 Frequency of wars involving the great powers, 1500–2000 225
5–14 Duration of wars involving the great powers, 1500–2000 226
5–15 Deaths in wars involving the great powers, 1500–2000 227
5–16 Concentration of deaths in wars involving the great powers, 1500–2000 227
5–17 Conflicts per year in greater Europe, 1400–2000 229
5–18 Rate of death in conflicts in greater Europe, 1400–2000 230
5–19 Length of military conscription, 48 major long-established nations, 1970–2010 256
5–20 Military personnel, United States and Europe, 1950–2000 257
5–21 Percentage of territorial wars resulting in redistribution of territory, 165 1–2000 259
5–22 Nonnuclear states that started and stopped exploring nuclear weapons, 194 5–2010 273
5–23 Democracies, autocracies, and anocracies, 194 6–2008 279
5–24 International trade relative to GDP, 188 5–2000 286
5–25 Average number of IGO memberships shared by a pair of countries, 188 5–2000 290
5–26 Probability of militarized disputes between pairs of democracies and other pairs of countries, 182 5–1992 294

6–1 Rate of battle deaths in state-based armed conflicts, 1900–2005 301
6–2 Rate of battle deaths in state-based armed conflicts, 194 6–2008 301
6–3 Number of state-based armed conflicts, 194 6–2009 303
6–4 Deadliness of interstate and civil wars, 1950–2005 304
6–5 Geography of armed conflict, 2008 306
6–6 Growth of peacekeeping, 194 8–2008 314
6–7 Rate of deaths in genocides, 1900–2008 338
6–8 Rate of deaths in genocides, 195 6–2008 340
6–9 Rate of deaths from terrorism, United States, 1970–2007 350
6–10 Rate of deaths from terrorism, Western Europe, 1970–2007 351
6–11 Rate of deaths from terrorism, worldwide except Afghanistan 200 1–and Iraq 200 3– 352
6–12 Islamic and world conflicts, 1990–2006 366

7–1 Use of the terms civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights in English-language books, 194 8–2000 380
7–2 Lynchings in the United States, 188 2–1969 384
7–3 Hate-crime murders of African Americans, 199 6–2008 386
7–4 Nonlethal hate crimes against African Americans, 199 6–2008 387
7–5 Discriminatory and affirmative action policies, 1950–2003 390
7–6 Segregationist attitudes in the United States, 194 2–1997 391
7–7 White attitudes to interracial marriage in the United States, 195 8–2008 391
7–8 Unfavorable opinions of African Americans, 197 7–2006 392
7–9 Rape prevention and response sticker 400
7–10 Rape and homicide rates in the United States, 197 3–2008 402
7–11 Attitudes toward women in the United States, 1970–1995 404
7–12 Approval of husband slapping wife in the United States, 196 8–1994 409
7–13 Assaults by intimate partners, United States, 199 3–2005 411
7–14 Homicides of intimate partners in the United States, 197 6–2005 411
7–15 Domestic violence in England and Wales, 199 5–2008 412
7–16 Abortions in the world, 1980–2003 428
7–17 Approval of spanking in the United States, Sweden, and New Zealand, 195 4–2008 436
7–18 Approval of corporal punishment in schools in the United States, 195 4–2002 438
7–19 American states allowing corporal punishment in schools, 195 4–2010 438
7–20 Child abuse in the United States, 1990–2007 440
7–21 Another form of violence against children 441
7–22 Violence against youths in the United States, 199 2–2003 443
7–23 Time line for the decriminalization of homosexuality, United States and world 450
7–24 Intolerance of homosexuality in the United States, 197 3–2010 452
7–25 Antigay hate crimes in the United States, 199 6–2008 454
7–26 Percentage of American households with hunters, 197 7–2006 467
7–27 Number of motion pictures per year in which animals were harmed, 197 2–2010 469
7–28 Vegetarianism in the United States and United Kingdom, 198 4–2009 471

8–1 Rat brain, showing the major structures involved in aggression 498
8–2 Human brain, showing the major subcortical structures involved in aggression 502
8–3 Human brain, showing the major cortical regions that regulate aggression 503
8–4 Human brain, medial view 504
8–5 The Prisoner’s Dilemma 533
8–6 Apologies by political and religious leaders, 1900–2004 544

9–1 Implicit interest rates in England, 1170–2000 610
9–2 The Flynn Effect: Rising IQ scores, 194 7–2002 652

10–1 The Pacifist’s Dilemma 679
10–2 How a Leviathan resolves the Pacifist’s Dilemma 681
10–3 How commerce resolves the Pacifist’s Dilemma 682
10–4 How feminization can resolve the Pacifist’s Dilemma 686
10–5 How empathy and reason resolve the Pacifist’s Dilemma 6
Veritas Aequitas
Posts: 5838
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 am

Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Here is a Summary of Pinker's approach in supporting his argument;

The Better Angels of Our Nature is a tale of
Six Trends,
Five Inner Demons,
Four Better Angels, and
Five Historical Forces.

Six Trends (chapters 2 through 7).
To give some coherence to the many developments that make up our species’ retreat from violence, I group them into six major trends.

The first, which took place on the scale of millennia, was the transition from the anarchy of the hunting, gathering, and horticultural societies in which our species spent most of its evolutionary history to the first agricultural civilizations with cities and governments, beginning around five thousand years ago.
With that change came a reduction in the chronic raiding and feuding that characterized life in a state of nature and a more or less fivefold decrease in rates of violent death.
I call this imposition of peace the Pacification Process.

The second transition spanned more than half a millennium and is best documented in Europe.
Between the late Middle Ages and the 20th century, European countries saw a tenfold-to fiftyfold decline in their rates of homicide.
In his classic book The Civilizing Process, the sociologist Norbert Elias attributed this surprising decline to the consolidation of a patchwork of feudal territories into large kingdoms with centralized authority and an infrastructure of commerce.
With a nod to Elias, I call this trend the Civilizing Process.

The third transition unfolded on the scale of centuries and took off around the time of the Age of Reason and the European Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries (though it had antecedents in classical Greece and the Renaissance, and parallels elsewhere in the world).
It saw the first organized movements to abolish socially sanctioned forms of violence like despotism, slavery, dueling, judicial torture, superstitious killing, sadistic punishment, and cruelty to animals, together with the first stirrings of systematic pacifism.
Historians sometimes call this transition the Humanitarian Revolution.

The fourth major transition took place after the end of World War II.
The two-thirds of a century since then have been witness to a historically unprecedented development: the great powers, and developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another.
Historians have called this blessed state of affairs the Long Peace.2

The fifth trend is also about armed combat but is more tenuous.
Though it may be hard for news readers to believe, since the end of the Cold War in 1989, organized conflicts of all kinds— civil wars, genocides, repression by autocratic governments, and terrorist attacks—have declined throughout the world.
In recognition of the tentative nature of this happy development, I will call it the New Peace.

Finally, the postwar era, symbolically inaugurated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has seen a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals.
These spin-offs from the concept of human rights—civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights—were asserted in a cascade of movements from the late 1950s to the present day which I will call the Rights Revolutions.

Five Inner Demons (chapter 8).
Many people implicitly believe in the Hydraulic Theory of Violence: that humans harbor an inner drive toward aggression (a death instinct or thirst for blood), which builds up inside us and must periodically be discharged.
Nothing could be further from a contemporary scientific understanding of the psychology of violence.
Aggression is not a single motive, let alone a mounting urge.
It is the output of several psychological systems that differ in their environmental triggers, their internal logic, their neurobiological basis, and their social distribution.

Chapter 8 is devoted to explaining five of them.
Predatory or instrumental violence is simply violence deployed as a practical means to an end.
Dominance is the urge for authority, prestige, glory, and power, whether it takes the form of macho posturing among individuals or contests for supremacy among racial, ethnic, religious, or national groups.
Revenge fuels the moralistic urge toward retribution, punishment, and justice.
Sadism is pleasure taken in another’s suffering.
And ideology is a shared belief system, usually involving a vision of utopia, that justifies unlimited violence in pursuit of unlimited good.

Four Better Angels (chapter 9).
Humans are not innately good (just as they are not innately evil), but they come equipped with motives that can orient them away from violence and toward cooperation and altruism.
Empathy (particularly in the sense of sympathetic concern) prompts us to feel the pain of others and to align their interests with our own.
Self-control allows us to anticipate the consequences of acting on our impulses and to inhibit them accordingly.
The moral sense sanctifies a set of norms and taboos that govern the interactions among people in a culture, sometimes in ways that decrease violence, though often (when the norms are tribal, authoritarian, or puritanical) in ways that increase it.
And the faculty of reason allows us to extricate ourselves from our parochial vantage points, to reflect on the ways in which we live our lives, to deduce ways in which we could be better off, and to guide the application of the other better angels of our nature.
In one section I will also examine the possibility that in recent history Homo sapiens has literally evolved to become less violent in the biologist’s technical sense of a change in our genome.
But the focus of the book is on transformations that are strictly environmental: changes in historical circumstances that engage a fixed human nature in different ways.

Five Historical Forces (chapter 10).
In the final chapter I try to bring the psychology and history back together by identifying exogenous forces that favor our peaceable motives and that have driven the multiple declines in violence.

The Leviathan, a state and judiciary with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, can defuse the temptation of exploitative attack, inhibit the impulse for revenge, and circumvent the self-serving biases that make all parties believe they are on the side of the angels.
Commerce is a positive-sum game in which everybody can win; as technological progress allows the exchange of goods and ideas over longer distances and among larger groups of trading partners, other people become more valuable alive than dead, and they are less likely to become targets of demonization and dehumanization.
Feminization is the process in which cultures have increasingly respected the interests and values of women.
Since violence is largely a male pastime, cultures that empower women tend to move away from the glorification of violence and are less likely to breed dangerous subcultures of rootless young men.
The forces of cosmopolitanism such as literacy, mobility, and mass media can prompt people to take the perspective of people unlike themselves and to expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them.
Finally, an intensifying application of knowledge and rationality to human affairs—the escalator of reason—can force people to recognize the futility of cycles of violence, to ramp down the privileging of their own interests over others’, and to reframe violence as a problem to be solved rather than a contest to be won.

As one becomes aware of the decline of violence, the world begins to look different.
The past seems less innocent; the present less sinister.
One starts to appreciate the small gifts of coexistence that would have seemed utopian to our ancestors: the interracial family playing in the park, the comedian who lands a zinger on the commander in chief, the countries that quietly back away from a crisis instead of escalating to war.
The shift is not toward complacency: we enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to reduce it, and so we should work to reduce the violence that remains in our time.
Indeed, it is a recognition of the decline of violence that best affirms that such efforts are worthwhile.
Man’s inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization.
With the knowledge that something has driven it down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect.
Instead of asking, “Why is there war?” we might ask, “Why is there peace?” We can obsess not just over what we have been doing wrong but also over what we have been doing right.
Because we have been doing something right, and it would be good to know what, exactly, it is.

Many people have asked me how I became involved in the analysis of violence.
It should not be a mystery: violence is a natural concern for anyone who studies human nature.
I first learned of the decline of violence from Martin Daly and Margo Wilson’s classic book in evolutionary psychology, Homicide, in which they examined the high rates of violent death in nonstate societies and the decline in homicide from the Middle Ages to the present.
In several of my previous books I cited those downward trends, together with humane developments such as the abolition of slavery, despotism, and cruel punishments in the history of the West, in support of the idea that moral progress is compatible with a biological approach to the human mind and an acknowledgment of the dark side of human nature. 3
I reiterated these observations in response to the annual question on the online forum www.edge.org, which in 2007 was “What Are You Optimistic About?”
My squib provoked a flurry of correspondence from scholars in historical criminology and international studies who told me that the evidence for a historical reduction in violence is more extensive than I had realized.4 It was their data that convinced me that there was an underappreciated story waiting to be told.
Belinda
Posts: 4679
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Belinda »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:38 am Here is a Summary of Pinker's approach in supporting his argument;

The Better Angels of Our Nature is a tale of
Six Trends,
Five Inner Demons,
Four Better Angels, and
Five Historical Forces.

Six Trends (chapters 2 through 7).
To give some coherence to the many developments that make up our species’ retreat from violence, I group them into six major trends.

The first, which took place on the scale of millennia, was the transition from the anarchy of the hunting, gathering, and horticultural societies in which our species spent most of its evolutionary history to the first agricultural civilizations with cities and governments, beginning around five thousand years ago.
With that change came a reduction in the chronic raiding and feuding that characterized life in a state of nature and a more or less fivefold decrease in rates of violent death.
I call this imposition of peace the Pacification Process.

The second transition spanned more than half a millennium and is best documented in Europe.
Between the late Middle Ages and the 20th century, European countries saw a tenfold-to fiftyfold decline in their rates of homicide.
In his classic book The Civilizing Process, the sociologist Norbert Elias attributed this surprising decline to the consolidation of a patchwork of feudal territories into large kingdoms with centralized authority and an infrastructure of commerce.
With a nod to Elias, I call this trend the Civilizing Process.

The third transition unfolded on the scale of centuries and took off around the time of the Age of Reason and the European Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries (though it had antecedents in classical Greece and the Renaissance, and parallels elsewhere in the world).
It saw the first organized movements to abolish socially sanctioned forms of violence like despotism, slavery, dueling, judicial torture, superstitious killing, sadistic punishment, and cruelty to animals, together with the first stirrings of systematic pacifism.
Historians sometimes call this transition the Humanitarian Revolution.

The fourth major transition took place after the end of World War II.
The two-thirds of a century since then have been witness to a historically unprecedented development: the great powers, and developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another.
Historians have called this blessed state of affairs the Long Peace.2

The fifth trend is also about armed combat but is more tenuous.
Though it may be hard for news readers to believe, since the end of the Cold War in 1989, organized conflicts of all kinds— civil wars, genocides, repression by autocratic governments, and terrorist attacks—have declined throughout the world.
In recognition of the tentative nature of this happy development, I will call it the New Peace.

Finally, the postwar era, symbolically inaugurated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has seen a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals.
These spin-offs from the concept of human rights—civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights—were asserted in a cascade of movements from the late 1950s to the present day which I will call the Rights Revolutions.

Five Inner Demons (chapter 8).
Many people implicitly believe in the Hydraulic Theory of Violence: that humans harbor an inner drive toward aggression (a death instinct or thirst for blood), which builds up inside us and must periodically be discharged.
Nothing could be further from a contemporary scientific understanding of the psychology of violence.
Aggression is not a single motive, let alone a mounting urge.
It is the output of several psychological systems that differ in their environmental triggers, their internal logic, their neurobiological basis, and their social distribution.

Chapter 8 is devoted to explaining five of them.
Predatory or instrumental violence is simply violence deployed as a practical means to an end.
Dominance is the urge for authority, prestige, glory, and power, whether it takes the form of macho posturing among individuals or contests for supremacy among racial, ethnic, religious, or national groups.
Revenge fuels the moralistic urge toward retribution, punishment, and justice.
Sadism is pleasure taken in another’s suffering.
And ideology is a shared belief system, usually involving a vision of utopia, that justifies unlimited violence in pursuit of unlimited good.

Four Better Angels (chapter 9).
Humans are not innately good (just as they are not innately evil), but they come equipped with motives that can orient them away from violence and toward cooperation and altruism.
Empathy (particularly in the sense of sympathetic concern) prompts us to feel the pain of others and to align their interests with our own.
Self-control allows us to anticipate the consequences of acting on our impulses and to inhibit them accordingly.
The moral sense sanctifies a set of norms and taboos that govern the interactions among people in a culture, sometimes in ways that decrease violence, though often (when the norms are tribal, authoritarian, or puritanical) in ways that increase it.
And the faculty of reason allows us to extricate ourselves from our parochial vantage points, to reflect on the ways in which we live our lives, to deduce ways in which we could be better off, and to guide the application of the other better angels of our nature.
In one section I will also examine the possibility that in recent history Homo sapiens has literally evolved to become less violent in the biologist’s technical sense of a change in our genome.
But the focus of the book is on transformations that are strictly environmental: changes in historical circumstances that engage a fixed human nature in different ways.

Five Historical Forces (chapter 10).
In the final chapter I try to bring the psychology and history back together by identifying exogenous forces that favor our peaceable motives and that have driven the multiple declines in violence.

The Leviathan, a state and judiciary with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, can defuse the temptation of exploitative attack, inhibit the impulse for revenge, and circumvent the self-serving biases that make all parties believe they are on the side of the angels.
Commerce is a positive-sum game in which everybody can win; as technological progress allows the exchange of goods and ideas over longer distances and among larger groups of trading partners, other people become more valuable alive than dead, and they are less likely to become targets of demonization and dehumanization.
Feminization is the process in which cultures have increasingly respected the interests and values of women.
Since violence is largely a male pastime, cultures that empower women tend to move away from the glorification of violence and are less likely to breed dangerous subcultures of rootless young men.
The forces of cosmopolitanism such as literacy, mobility, and mass media can prompt people to take the perspective of people unlike themselves and to expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them.
Finally, an intensifying application of knowledge and rationality to human affairs—the escalator of reason—can force people to recognize the futility of cycles of violence, to ramp down the privileging of their own interests over others’, and to reframe violence as a problem to be solved rather than a contest to be won.

As one becomes aware of the decline of violence, the world begins to look different.
The past seems less innocent; the present less sinister.
One starts to appreciate the small gifts of coexistence that would have seemed utopian to our ancestors: the interracial family playing in the park, the comedian who lands a zinger on the commander in chief, the countries that quietly back away from a crisis instead of escalating to war.
The shift is not toward complacency: we enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to reduce it, and so we should work to reduce the violence that remains in our time.
Indeed, it is a recognition of the decline of violence that best affirms that such efforts are worthwhile.
Man’s inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization.
With the knowledge that something has driven it down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect.
Instead of asking, “Why is there war?” we might ask, “Why is there peace?” We can obsess not just over what we have been doing wrong but also over what we have been doing right.
Because we have been doing something right, and it would be good to know what, exactly, it is.

Many people have asked me how I became involved in the analysis of violence.
It should not be a mystery: violence is a natural concern for anyone who studies human nature.
I first learned of the decline of violence from Martin Daly and Margo Wilson’s classic book in evolutionary psychology, Homicide, in which they examined the high rates of violent death in nonstate societies and the decline in homicide from the Middle Ages to the present.
In several of my previous books I cited those downward trends, together with humane developments such as the abolition of slavery, despotism, and cruel punishments in the history of the West, in support of the idea that moral progress is compatible with a biological approach to the human mind and an acknowledgment of the dark side of human nature. 3
I reiterated these observations in response to the annual question on the online forum www.edge.org, which in 2007 was “What Are You Optimistic About?”
My squib provoked a flurry of correspondence from scholars in historical criminology and international studies who told me that the evidence for a historical reduction in violence is more extensive than I had realized.4 It was their data that convinced me that there was an underappreciated story waiting to be told.
Thank you for the details about Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined"2011.

The data is impressive in quantity and quality. I especially liked the comparative studies of brains. studies of brains.

I have as you might expect objections.

There have been reports from admittedly morally backward places in China, India, and elsewhere of new levels of violent rape against women and children; and animals especially dogs, and wild elephants and rhinoceros.

Violence against the natural environment continues via capitalist enterprises in the Amazon rainforest and the oceans to name only two localities. Commercial enterprises continue much as ever they did but on a vastly increased scale and those enterprises favour profits over life and health. In other words 'violence' needs to be defined for the purpose of showing it has decreased or otherwise. It is simplistic to confine the definition of violence to visible physical attacks on others' bodies. The UK has just decreased its foreign aid budget and as a result millions of women and children will not be educated; violence is subtle.

The following is factual: Finally, the postwar era, symbolically inaugurated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has seen a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals.
These spin-offs from the concept of human rights—civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights—were asserted in a cascade of movements from the late 1950s to the present day which I will call the Rights Revolutions.
However poaching, puppy farming, factory farms of pigs, fowls, cattle and other species even dogs, has increased in size, and also sophistication of their infrastructures so that horrendous animal transports now take place regularly.

Dictatorships have increased in number from the USA(arguably)to include China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Gulf States,Sudan, Myanmar, Egypt.These are not all newcomers to dictatorship but as you see from the info in the link I posted below dictatorships tend to thrive commercially. Civilisation is an uphill struggle, and so it's unwise to be optimistic about any decline of violence.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 6713001145

https://www.un.org/en/un75/new-era-conf ... d-violence
Veritas Aequitas
Posts: 5838
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 am

Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Belinda wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:15 am Thank you for the details about Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined"2011.

The data is impressive in quantity and quality. I especially liked the comparative studies of brains. studies of brains.

I have as you might expect objections.

There have been reports from admittedly morally backward places in China, India, and elsewhere of new levels of violent rape against women and children; and animals especially dogs, and wild elephants and rhinoceros.

Violence against the natural environment continues via capitalist enterprises in the Amazon rainforest and the oceans to name only two localities. Commercial enterprises continue much as ever they did but on a vastly increased scale and those enterprises favour profits over life and health. In other words 'violence' needs to be defined for the purpose of showing it has decreased or otherwise. It is simplistic to confine the definition of violence to visible physical attacks on others' bodies. The UK has just decreased its foreign aid budget and as a result millions of women and children will not be educated; violence is subtle.

The following is factual: Finally, the postwar era, symbolically inaugurated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has seen a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals.
These spin-offs from the concept of human rights—civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights—were asserted in a cascade of movements from the late 1950s to the present day which I will call the Rights Revolutions.
However poaching, puppy farming, factory farms of pigs, fowls, cattle and other species even dogs, has increased in size, and also sophistication of their infrastructures so that horrendous animal transports now take place regularly.

Dictatorships have increased in number from the USA(arguably)to include China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Gulf States,Sudan, Myanmar, Egypt. These are not all newcomers to dictatorship but as you see from the info in the link I posted below dictatorships tend to thrive commercially. Civilisation is an uphill struggle, and so it's unwise to be optimistic about any decline of violence.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 6713001145

https://www.un.org/en/un75/new-era-conf ... d-violence
Before you comment you should have taken into account the following reminder from Pinker as in the OP.

Steven Pinker's claimed that violence has decreased since the past years is very counter-intuitive to the majority of people but he has the data and facts. He explained why it is so hard to believe the trend of violence has indeed decreased;
OP wrote:First I have to convince you that violence really has gone down over the course of history, knowing that the very idea invites skepticism, incredulity, and sometimes anger.

Our cognitive faculties predispose us to believe that we live in violent times, especially when they are stoked by media that follow the watchword “If it bleeds, it leads.”

The human mind tends to estimate the probability of an event from the ease with which it can recall examples, and scenes of carnage are more likely to be beamed into our homes and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age.1

No matter how small the percentage of violent deaths may be, in absolute numbers there will always be enough of them to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from the actual proportions.
Preface
It is critical the human mind focus on what is CURRENT since the past is over and gone.
But in this case what we are talking about a trend from the past to the current/ present, thus we have to take into account all the relevant data and statistics.

Most of the countries you claimed to be dictatorship are governed by democracy.
Where the countries are ruled by dictators' obviously they are mild in violence compared to those of Hilter, Japanese Government, Stalin, Pol Pot and various dictators [the Roman Emperors, Genghiz Khan, Napoleon, etc.] of the past.
Even without data, one can intuitively infer from general knowledge, the dictators of the pasts were many times more violent than the current ones especially when we have the United Nations, International Court of War Crimes, etc. to put pressure to deter violence to a lesser level than the past.

The links you presented are not in a the context of a trend of violence [weighted] since >500 years ago and longer.

Where morality is concern, I am limited it to violence related to human only but extended with concerns for non-humans and the environment.

My point is,
I agree with "Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased" re a progressive trend since 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500 years ago to the present.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Over all, this is a less brutal age. But we now have newly -forged varieties of violence.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:20 pm Over all, this is a less brutal age. But we now have newly -forged varieties of violence.
How long is this "age"? Since Vietnam? Or Korea? Or WW2? How sure are we that we have detected a permanent trend?

In human history, there is a steady correlation between increased technological means for war and violence, on the one hand, and an exponential increase in the number of maimed and dead. The sword has killed many more than the club, but gunpowder far, far more than both. And the last century was by far the bloodiest in all of human history.

So has our technology increased in regard to our ability to do violence, or are we less able to do violence than we were in the 20th Century? I suggest we have capability to build things the last century never dreamed of...missiles with warheads many times the power of previous ones, drones, robotic tanks, new disease agents, and so on. We haven't used most of these new weapons yet....

What's the reason for your confidence that we won't? It seems to me that the new war technologies only exist because of the prospect they will be used. Why haven't we "beaten all our swords into plowshares," if the age of permanent peace and happiness is now upon us?

Or are we only experiencing a brief calm before the real storm? :shock:
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Belinda »

Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:01 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:20 pm Over all, this is a less brutal age. But we now have newly -forged varieties of violence.
How long is this "age"? Since Vietnam? Or Korea? Or WW2? How sure are we that we have detected a permanent trend?

In human history, there is a steady correlation between increased technological means for war and violence, on the one hand, and an exponential increase in the number of maimed and dead. The sword has killed many more than the club, but gunpowder far, far more than both. And the last century was by far the bloodiest in all of human history.

So has our technology increased in regard to our ability to do violence, or are we less able to do violence than we were in the 20th Century? I suggest we have capability to build things the last century never dreamed of...missiles with warheads many times the power of previous ones, drones, robotic tanks, new disease agents, and so on. We haven't used most of these new weapons yet....

What's the reason for your confidence that we won't? It seems to me that the new war technologies only exist because of the prospect they will be used. Why haven't we "beaten all our swords into plowshares," if the age of permanent peace and happiness is now upon us?

Or are we only experiencing a brief calm before the real storm? :shock:
Northern Europeans are personally less brutal approximately correlating with universal basic education, and increased awareness among the more enlightened clergy and teachers. This increased awareness was partly due to better literacy which resulted in substantially more people reading novels such as those by Charles Dickens and Anna Sewell.
Iberia unfortunately has clung to the popular entertaining corrida.Regarding brutality to animals you may note I have been discussing popular entertainments not rich men's sports such as the field sports.

Please also note personal brutality towards other men is indicated by cruelty to animals.

When responding to posts it is well to try to understand the spirit of the message then one is less likely to misapprehend the details.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:09 pm
What's the reason for your confidence that we won't? It seems to me that the new war technologies only exist because of the prospect they will be used. Why haven't we "beaten all our swords into plowshares," if the age of permanent peace and happiness is now upon us?

Or are we only experiencing a brief calm before the real storm? :shock:
Northern Europeans are personally less brutal approximately correlating with universal basic education,
No, universal basic education has been in place for at least a decade and a half. Everybody who went to Vietnam, or Korea, or WW2 had a basic education. So that changed nothing at all. Moreover, the Holocaust was committed by the most technologically-advanced and educated European nation of the time.
This increased awareness was partly due to better literacy which resulted in substantially more people reading novels such as those by Charles Dickens and Lady Wentworth.
How effective were these novels in preventing any wars? Which did they prevent?

Is it not possible you're merely "fiddling while Rome burns," or living in, to pardon the expression, "a fool's paradise"? I don't mean you're a fool...I mean the idiomatic expression that signifies a polyanish trust that all will work out well.

Again, how do you know this isn't the calm before a very, very big storm?
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:18 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:09 pm
What's the reason for your confidence that we won't? It seems to me that the new war technologies only exist because of the prospect they will be used. Why haven't we "beaten all our swords into plowshares," if the age of permanent peace and happiness is now upon us?

Or are we only experiencing a brief calm before the real storm? :shock:
Northern Europeans are personally less brutal approximately correlating with universal basic education,
No, universal basic education has been in place for at least a decade and a half. Everybody who went to Vietnam, or Korea, or WW2 had a basic education. So that changed nothing at all. Moreover, the Holocaust was committed by the most technologically-advanced and educated European nation of the time.
This increased awareness was partly due to better literacy which resulted in substantially more people reading novels such as those by Charles Dickens and Lady Wentworth.
How effective were these novels in preventing any wars? Which did they prevent?

Is it not possible you're merely "fiddling while Rome burns," or living in, to pardon the expression, "a fool's paradise"? I don't mean you're a fool...I mean the idiomatic expression that signifies a polyanish trust that all will work out well.

Again, how do you know this isn't the calm before a very, very big storm?
Personal brutality is not longer the norm within civilised societies. Violence is hidden among the cruel excesses of capitalism including colonial wars such as you mention.Violence is often concealed as fear of the foreigner so that walls are built to exclude the other, the foreigner, or lock up him and his children in camps.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:22 pm Personal brutality is not longer the norm within civilised societies.
Well, except for abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, burning cities, rampant pornography and sex slavery...what were you saying? :shock:
Violence is often concealed as fear of the foreigner so that walls are built to exclude the other, the foreigner, or lock up him and his children in camps.
The Holocaust was perpetrated on native and resident Jews, many of whom had been in place for centuries.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:28 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:22 pm Personal brutality is not longer the norm within civilised societies.
Well, except for abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, burning cities, rampant pornography and sex slavery...what were you saying? :shock:
Violence is often concealed as fear of the foreigner so that walls are built to exclude the other, the foreigner, or lock up him and his children in camps.
The Holocaust was perpetrated on native and resident Jews, many of whom had been in place for centuries.
Personal brutality has not been the norm in northern Europe or the US or Canada for many years. The crimes you list are not examples of personal brutality. Personal brutality is hands-on like when policemen are brutal to members of the public. Personal brutality is not the norm . and these policemen are brought to justice.

Similarly with people who own sex slaves. Such activities are not considered to be normal in the developed countries I list, and are actually criminals. Note that personal brutality is not the same as state legitimated violence. I doubt if Trump enjoys bear baiting, yet he takes immigrant kids away from their moms and locks them up.

I agree with you there are plenty of extant evils including the ones you list; this is not my point. My point is that in civilised developed nations personal brutality is not only widely regarded as immoral but is also criminal. The evils you list are activities of a minority of criminals , and if you ask around this forum you will find everybody agrees with you these are evils.

The violence that is permitted wears the disguise of respectable economic growth, except for those white collar criminals who are outed. Even so, there are people who do not understand that white collar crimes are violence against individuals who are powerless to protect themselves.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:04 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:28 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:22 pm Personal brutality is not longer the norm within civilised societies.
Well, except for abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, burning cities, rampant pornography and sex slavery...what were you saying? :shock:
Violence is often concealed as fear of the foreigner so that walls are built to exclude the other, the foreigner, or lock up him and his children in camps.
The Holocaust was perpetrated on native and resident Jews, many of whom had been in place for centuries.
Personal brutality has not been the norm in northern Europe or the US or Canada for many years. The crimes you list are not examples of personal brutality.
Yeah, actually, they are. Brutality is always personal. Nobody but a person ever does it, and the victims sure take it personally.

It's funny...I thought you'd try to sell the line that alleged "police brutality" is systemic brutality. But you actually recognized it as "personal." That's good, because systemic brutality, like systemic racism, is nothing but a Leftist myth.
Similarly with people who own sex slaves.
...he takes immigrant kids away from their moms and locks them up.
Ah, but you've got that wrong. You don't know who their "mom" or "dad" is. Are you going to believe it on faith? And if you're wrong, what happens to the children on the other side of the border?

How do you tell the difference between a child who is legitimately with an adult and one who is in the clutches of a drug runner, illegal migrant, sex trafficker or coyote? Do you want such children left in the adult population? Why would you want them incarcerated in a population that is verified certainly to contain many such abusers?

The right thing to do is to separate the kids and genetically screen those that are not biologically related to the adults in whose custody they are found. Anything else is appallingly inhumane.

But you don't have to worry about that, do you? Because the impulse to violence is over, apparently.... :shock:
I agree with you there are plenty of extant evils including the ones you list...
Right.

So I asked you how you are so certain that the impulse toward violence has not just gone underground, creating a calm before the storm? You didn't answer. I didn't expect you to, because I already know you don't know. You're just hoping.
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

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it wasn't violence

it was manifest destiny

utopia

-Imp
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Re: Violence Has Decreased There4 Morals Increased?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Belinda wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:20 pm Over all, this is a less brutal age. But we now have newly -forged varieties of violence.
True there are different forms of evil and violence, but the basic consequences their pain and sufferings to all human is the same [physiologically and psychologically] within human nature.
E.g. there would be no great difference in the intensity of pains suffered by a person burned on the stake 10,000, 2000 years ago in comparison to a modern man suffering the same torture.

But note the book mentioned [..I agree..] that it is instinctual for humans that the current evil, violence and the pains and feelings toward them is always greater than the past experiences. This has survival values.
However if we are to talk about trends and comparisons we need the relevant data for all the times concerned.
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