Are we living in the least violent times in history?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by litewave, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. BlindNsect Registered Member

    It seems so self-evident that societies are less violent now.
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  3. ejderha Exhausted Registered Senior Member

    This is a good subject, but not because of the question posed, but because, everybody would reply according to understanding of violence in their own country and culture.

    What's violence? What was violence thousands of years ago? What's violence now?

    Murder is the first action comes into mind. So it's violent to murder someone. Mass killings and genocides are the most horrid ways of it. It happened in every period of history, in every nation. No exceptions. Now, we are supposedly living in the period of human history, called hypermodernity which suggests, -shortly- the ultimate usage/manipulation of science and technology. Human Rights has never been this fought for, developed and praised. Now everybody has knowledge of human rights, no matter if they don't support it. What did this change?

    We are letting people die nevertheless. By "Letting" I don't mean wars and terrorism only. We are letting people die everyday, because they can't pay health insurance, because they can't make money enough to set an accepted "normal" life. Isn't that violent? You don't need weapons and wars to murder people. If you care only about "yourself", only about your own life style, you are letting people die. And that's murder in my opinion. When the gap between the poor and the rich becomes this big, eventually the former starts to die like flies from one end. And in my opinion that's murder at its peak.
    Genghis Khan,Atilla or any ancient barbaric moving tribes didn't know any better, because they didn't have any of the concepts regarding human life. But we do.

    As I wrote at the beginning of my reply, we are actually measuring our own concept of violent to some other known ones to feel if anything changed. The other knowns ones being the result of any national history designed by every country to teach their children. Meaning; justifying and glorifying their own actions.

    And add this with wars and terrorism. We are much more violent than ever, in 21st century. Because, now we know, we have the knowledge it's more horrible. Supposedly also the people we vote for to direct us. But it's getting worse.
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  5. deicider got omnicidead Registered Senior Member

    We are less violent than ever.Did not read the article,cause none really needs to,its common sense.
    It doesnt need to much thought,just look back at history and compare.Almost everything(social,politics,science etc) is better than 50 years ago,100,300,500,and so on.
    People that are saying violence is at its highest are people that watch too much news,theists,watch scifi movies,listen their "philosophical" buddies,no clue of history etc...
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Using today's more sophisticated tools to examine the bones of our Stone Age ancestors, anthropologists have discovered that violence was the leading cause of death in the Mesolithic Era. In fact more than half of adult skeletons show signs of death at the hands of other people. So we've certainly come a long way since then.
    The murder rate in medieval European cities was roughly one hundred times greater than it is today, even in the USA.
    My wife was a social worker for most of her career and she will tell you that the screed about the "crisis" among our poor people is nothing more than anti-American propaganda. The only people in this country who don't get medical care are the crazies: the ones who make a choice to drop out of the system and then become very adept at avoiding encounters with the authorities. We both spent many years working at a public hospital and I can assure you that no one is ever turned away. The doctors and nurses take people in and start treating them, and it's up to the accountants and the social workers to figure out who's going to pay for it. She had patients who came up from Mexico for kidney dialysis. Their doctors told them, "You'll die before you get it here. There aren't enough dialysis machines in Mexico for anyone except the most rich and powerful citizens. Go to America and walk into any public hospital and they'll hook you up immediately."
    You've been spending too much time listening to Al Jazeera. America simply is not like that. Only in the most dysfunctional inner-city neighborhoods like (ironically) Washington DC will you find people who can't get medical care. And that's not really because they're poor, it's because our government is so screwed up that it can't do anything right.
    Yes we still have wars, but their scope is dramatically less than in the past. Since WWII only two wars have killed more than a million people. And one was in the Congo which can hardly be called "modern." WWII killed sixty million people, a full three percent of the planet's population. Today we have the luxury of weeping over conflicts with six-figure body counts.

    As for terrorism, it's statistically insignificant as a cause of death and only dishonest political machinations can keep so much attention focused on it. I doubt that terrorists have ever killed ten thousand people in one year.

    Drunk drivers kill a hundred times, a thousand times, more people than terrorists. Where's your outrage over that? Why aren't you joining my campaign to have breathalyzer ignition interlocks installed in all new cars so we can stop drunk driving in ten years without even having to arrest anybody?
  8. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    Jane Goodall's Chimpanzees of Gombe had a crime rate and murder rate far higher than modern humans do.

    I think we are basically just like Chimpanzees and have their emotional drives but we have a little more logic, more self deception, more ritual, more superstition and more political correctness/etiquette. People can knock political correctness all they want but it is probably the political correctness that keeps our crime rate lower.

    Massachusetts from 1650 to 1700 had a crime rate much higher than modern times if you count what Native Americans and Europeans did to each other.
  9. Scaramouche Registered Member

    The human population has never been this large before. Indeed it tripled and more over the last 80 years or so.

    Much of the world is at war in one way or another. That problem has always been with us.

    People beating wives, mugging each other, slapping kids around, fighting in pubs, et cetera. That problem has also always been with us.

    Given the sheer number of humans existing today compared to the past, even if the frequency per capita of any given type of violence was lower for some reason, the number should still be higher.
  10. iHaveNoIdea Verified User Registered Senior Member

    Hey look

    Look at the comments on the 1st person's link. It's all about sure kill the niggers, the monkeys people, those dumb asses. It's true they're responsible for a lotta crime. I mean a LOTTA crime. And I'm not tryna stick up for them, but it is not only them. I saw that they were referred to as the countries dumbest. But they need to see that times have changed and that blacks are not necessarily the dumbest race. Not the smartest or the dumbest. Honestly, we've all done a lotta retarded things and it's that we're all human and we should respect that al together.... were really retarded.
  11. Ambrose Mason Obsidian Gael Registered Senior Member

    Good question. I'm going to ponder this and I'll return to this.
  12. John99 Banned Banned

    We are more controlled. As someone else mentioned, much larger populations plays a part for the simple fact that more people means more sociopaths and other mental defects.
  13. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    least violent and yet collectively have enough nuclear weaponry to virtually annihilate the human race? that could be ironic or a paradox...or both.
  14. deicider got omnicidead Registered Senior Member

    neither,it has nothing to do with violence.
  15. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    hahahahahaha. what?!
  16. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

    No... of course not.
  17. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    I have just viewed the Steven Pinker youtube. So I am jumping in at the end of the thread. Hope I don't repeat too much what others have said and offend someone.

    I totally urge anyone who has not viewed it to do so now. Very enlightening. This is an excellent example of how political correctness can be totally wrong! I knew before this that murder rates have come down, from Prof. Julian Simon's book - The State of Mankind. However, Pinker does it better.

    Just a few figures. Murder rates are usually stated as deaths per 100,000 people per year. In medieval Europe, the number was 100. Today in western Europe, it is closer to 1. My country (New Zealand) is 2 The United States as overall average is 5.4. American cities murder rates are reported on ranging from New Orleans at 64 down to El Paso at 2.8.

    Homicide rates by nation are shown on
    and range from El Salvador at 72, England at 1.4, down to Singapore at 0.38

    Despite the overall major reduction in violence, clearly there is still room to improve.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Murder and suicide are among the top five causes of death for American teenagers, but not for adults. This is partly due to the fact that kids are more violent than adults, but also because they're too young for the leading adult killers like heart disease and cancer. Road accidents are in the top five for both age groups.
  19. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    Are we living in the least violent times in history? I think not just because smaller percentage of people are victims of violence than in the past. There are far more people in the world than ever before so lets not fool ourselves.

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  20. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    Not over here, we're not

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    People used to be able to walk around alone at crazy hours and be completely safe. Now you have people getting robbed, stabbed and even tortured by gangs...yeah..this happened..
  21. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    Just because your life is wonderful doesn't mean the world is getting better.

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  22. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    There was a time in Medieval England when the murder rate was so high that it removed one person in a thousand every year. Today, it is one in 100,000.

    Yes, I think the world is getting better for humans. That does not mean we have no problems. We have climate change and the accelerating obesity problem. We will solve both problems, though. Climate change with a change in the human energy economy, and with reafforestation. Obesity will be solved with a simple little pill that stops you getting hungry. There are several candidates being tested right now.

    In the mean time, we have an increasing life span. New treatments for a wide range of illlnesses. Increasing prosperity. Increasing technology.

    For example : within the next decade or two, a wide range of caring robots will be available to make life easier for disabled and elderly people. They will be initially very expensive, but the price will drop over a 10 year period or so, till such a robot is no pricier in real terms than a large flat screen TV is today.

    Within 20 years, I predict that most cancers will be fully curable with drug therapy, and without anyone having to go through the horrendous nasty treatments we need today to save lives.

    The internet will become available to pretty much every man, woman, and child on the planet, putting information at their disposal, and ensuring that corrupt politicians cannot pull the wool over their eyes, as they do today. As a result, corrupt politics will suddenly become a lot less common.

    This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are so many ways the world is getting better. Life today is much better than the smallpox and TB days, in spite of AIDS. Life in the future will improve still further.
  23. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member

    Hi Skeptical,

    Since we are talking about the obstacles in the world that people face it can be observed that human advancements has side effects. In the distant past say 500 ~ 1000 years ago many problems humanity faces did not yet exist who's to say new problems won't arise with human advancements and balance off the achievements.

    'Big Chiller

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