Wednesday 16 September 2009

Sex and War

This is a book review I originally wrote for my blog at Reuters AlertNet on 16 September 2009, which also appeared in much shorter form in the European Voice.


Biology is not destiny. But it sure explains a whole lot of human activity, as Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden describe in their book, Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World (Benbella Books, 2008), which I strongly feel is a must read for anyone dealing with conflict prevention and resolution today.

Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, share more than 98 per cent of our DNA, and many of our social, and antisocial, behaviours. Most disturbingly, we are perhaps the only two species that deliberately torture and kill their own kind. The evolutionary success of genes that enhance team aggression by small groups of males on others, both male and female, have bequeathed both species' descendants a dark side.