As promised, I’ve just posted the slides of the talk I gave yesterday at York University (with some overnight modifications). You can get background with links for further background here. Somewhat bizarrely, Steven Pinker’s 2011 book was rocketing to the top of the Amazon best seller list due to a Bill Gates Tweet right when I was … Continue reading Pinker versus Taleb: A Non-deadly Quarrel over the Decline of Violence
Steven Pinker’s master work, The Better Angels of our Nature, found very long-term declines (going back to pre-history) in a broad array of violence indicators. The book is mercifully long although it doesn’t reach the lofty standards of the John Cage Organ Project. Those of us craving further fixes can briefly binge on the annual updates … Continue reading A Must Read: Steven Pinker Marks to Market
I’ve just posted a new paper with Stijn van Weezel on the decline-of-war debate. This is part of an ongoing discussion which involves such people as Steven Pinker, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Aaron Clauset. Here is our abstract: For the past 70 years, there has been a downward trend in the size of wars, but the idea … Continue reading A New Entry into the Decline of War Debate: Yes, there has been a decline
Hi. This is just a quick note to draw attention to a new blog post I’ve done with One Earth Future. My piece is a comment on an interesting new paper by Aaron Clauset which is part of the decline-of-war debate that has featured prominently on the blog.
When data are central to scientific discussions, as is typically the case, then the relevant data should be open to all. OK, we don’t have to be totally rigid about this. People may sink a lot of effort into building a data set so it’s reasonable for data builders to milk their data monopoly for … Continue reading Secret Data Sunday – Nassim Nicholas Taleb Edition
Significance Magazine is now hosting its final-exchange-of-letters on the future of war. Once again, it is Steven Pinker and I dueling with Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Pasquale Cirillo. You can judge for yourselves whether the four of us have hit a common groove. If you feel sad because you have not followed all the twists and turns of … Continue reading One Last Exchange of Letters in Significance with Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Correction. The first part of this post argues that an anomaly in a published graph is an error that has some substantive implications. However, an alert reader, Ben Prytherch, proposed a benign explanation for the anomaly. I checked with the authors of the graph and it turned out that Ben is right. So this is … Continue reading A New Graphical Manoeuvre (not Recommended)
I’m sure that this reminder of my article in Significance will awaken warm memories in many of you. In it, I used an article of Pasquale Cirrilo and Nassim Nicholas Taleb to help me make my case. I think that the Cirillo-Taleb paper is quite interesting. However, it is not in any way a shoot-down of … Continue reading Forecasting World War III – An Exchange of Letters
After hitting “publish” on my last post I decided to surf around a bit and quickly stumbled onto Steven Pinker’s response to John Horgan on war.. I’m happy to report that I don’t feel a need rush out any corrections/changes to my piece. But definitely read the Pinker piece which brings into play a wealth of … Continue reading Deep Roots Update
Something weird happened just when I stopped checking my favourite twiterati. First there was an article by John Horgan. Then suddenly there was this, this, this and probably much more, all saying that Horgan’s wrong about everything. Maybe enough is enough. Michael Shermer already has a good rebuttal to what Horgan wrote about war. Still, I … Continue reading Does the Deep Roots Theory of War Encourage Fatalism about War?