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This View of History Webinar: A Conversation With Peter Turchin

This webinar features evolutionary anthropologist and author Peter Turchin discussing his new book “Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth“. Ultrasociety chronicles 10,000 years of human history from an evolutionary perspective, shows how warfare paradoxically caused us to become the greatest cooperators on earth, and begins to point the way toward a future without war. Peter is joined by Dan Hoyer, Project Manager of the Seshat Historical Databank, and David Sloan Wilson, This View of Life Editor in Chief and President of the Evolution Institute.

Slides from the presentation are available [here].

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  1. Prof. Emeritus Ferrel Christensen says:

    I may have missed something (Turchin’s accent is thick), but is the thesis merely about cultural evolution (meme selection) or biological evolution (gene selection)? If the former, it seems not highly contentious but also not very important. But if the latter, it seems very implausible. For one thing, it would mean that individuals from 20th-century forager or chieftain societies would have been unable to fit into modern society–which seems empirically false.

    • Rory Short says:

      It is about meme selection and I do not agree that this presentation is unimportant. My sense is that every possible means of educating the wider society of the reality that the development of human societies is amenable to evolutionary analysis and thus the possibility that evolutionary theory could be successfully used in planning our future social development.