Of Course, War Is Evil!

July 29, 2014



Thank you, Joe and all people who left comments. It has been an extremely thought-provoking discussion, so I thought it’s worth a separate blog to address the issues that most resonated with me. Let me start by repeating that the title, “War! What is It Good For?” was not mine, but Ian Morris’s. It’s not […]

Posted in: Blogs

Joe Brewer: Linguistic Framing of “War! What is it Good For?”

July 24, 2014



Peter Turchin recently posted an article on the Forum about the role of war in cultural evolution that stimulated a lively, yet largely discordant, conversation.  I read through the comment thread and noted how the framing of the title and text contributed to the breakdown in dialogue.  In this article, I would like to offer my services […]

Posted in: Guest Blogs

Murals versus Flags: A Symbolically Dense Landscape, continued

July 21, 2014



As I said in my previous blog, the Catholic areas in Belfast tend to be symbolically demarcated primarily with murals, while the Protestant ones are festooned with flags. The distinction is not absolute, and you can see the Irish Tricolor (green-white-orange) in two photographs in the previous blog. Still, they are mostly found in the […]

Posted in: Blogs

Belfast: A Symbolically Dense Landscape

July 18, 2014



Two weeks ago, after we were done with various Cliodynamics activities in Dublin, we went on a field trip to study the post-conflict landscape in Belfast. Our guide on this trip was Kevin Feeney. Exploring Belfast is best done with someone who knows which neighborhoods are safe, and which are not. Even though it has […]

Posted in: Blogs

Blogging again after all these years

July 14, 2014


I’m pleased to be blogging again after an interruption of several years. I started blogging at the Huffington Post in 2007 and moved to ScienceBlogs in 2009. Those sites still exist but my blogging activity waned when I became involved in the creation of the online evolution magazine This View of Life.  Now my hands were full writing articles […]

Posted in: Blogs

Is Social Trust a Cultural Trait?

July 12, 2014



Yesterday’s blog proposed that the most useful approach to understanding the evolution of large-scale complex societies is to view them through the lens of Cultural Evolution. To make this discussion more concrete, let’s look at a particular cultural trait: social trust (more specifically, ‘generalized trust’). Trust is highly important for explaining the ability of people, […]

Posted in: Blogs

Progress, Memes, and Cultural Evolution

July 10, 2014



As the readers of this blog know, one of the central directions in my research has been understanding the evolution of large-scale, complex societies. Actually, it is the main question motivating this Forum. Now that I am back from my travels, I have shifted gears and started working on my long-neglected popular book that will […]

Posted in: Blogs

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