Browsing Archives of Author »Peter Turchin«

The New Guinea Puzzle

September 1, 2014


On several occasions, when I presented the results of our model and data analysis that support the idea that the primary engine of the evolution of large-scale states is warfare, people objected by saying that there are lots of places on earth where warfare is very intense, but no states formed. One of the most […]

Counterproductive Way of War

August 28, 2014


Over the last two years I’ve written a number of blogs exploring the role of warfare in cultural group selection (you can see these blogs collected under the heading Ways of War in Popular Blogs and Series). Today I’d like to return to the question, What makes war productive as an engine of cultural evolution? […]

The War over War, Part II

August 18, 2014


In the first installment I argued against extreme positions about the prevalence of warfare in the Pleistocene. One problem underlying the controversy over warfare in the early human history is that different people use different definitions of war. So let me be clear and say what definition I use. It comes from the questions and […]

The War over War

August 12, 2014


I periodically get asked, what do I think about the controversy over Steven Pinker’s Better Angels? Truth is, I did not find anything particularly new in the book. For those of us interested in the role of war in social evolution most of the empirical material he goes over is quite familiar. There is a […]

Paleo Diet and Fire

August 7, 2014


It’s been a while since my last update on the Paleo diet (perhaps a better name for it is ‘Post-Neolithic diet’). Here are the links to previous blogs on this theme: As long-time readers of my blog remember, I switched to Paleo diet in May of 2012. Within two months I noticed […]

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 […]

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 […]


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