Pinker versus Taleb: A Non-deadly Quarrel over the Decline of Violence

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

A Must Read: Steven Pinker Marks to Market

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

A New Entry into the Decline of War Debate: Yes, there has been a decline

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

One Last Exchange of Letters in Significance with Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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

Does the Deep Roots Theory of War Encourage Fatalism about War?

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?