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Questions & Action For Our Times
Vietnam Blindness: Third Time Around

“How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows
that too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
The answer is blowing in the wind.

Composed by Bob Dylan
Sung brilliantly by Peter, Paul and Mary.

The history of killings in schools is disheartening at best, wrenching at worst. And disturbing in any event. One cannot escape the emotionalism. Nevertheless, in spite of inner anger and frustration, one can still think. One can look up their history and look for answers. The facts are as plain as they are irrational.
Core Ideas

The full statement below the bar contains five core ideas. Simply stated, these ideas are:

1. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors."
2. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behaviour is genetically programmed into our human nature."
3. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behaviour more than for other kinds of behaviour."
4. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a 'violent brain'."
5. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by 'instinct' or any single motivation."

Editor's comment:

It is our considered opinion that at least five genes (or complexes of genes which interact) establish the temperament we are each born with. That temperament in our early lives is impacted by events that create our adult personalities. So in a sense, while biology enables war, it is wrong to say that biology alone causes it. Environment is also important. How else can we explain the relative murder rates between El Paso, Honolulu, and Tokyo on the one hand to the murder rates for Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington DC? Moreover, the social barriers between peaceful and violent existence is egg-shell thin. Witness the Stanford Experiment, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? Toss in the various genocides of history--they too are examples of otherwise good people losing perspective and reverting to "animal behavior" -- the potential for which we are all born with.

Pseudo-Science, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

Michael Shermer

Extended Book Review

The publisher of Skeptic magazine both enlightens us with a lot of material new to us, and disturbs us with his insights to the effect that the human condition may be so rigid that peaceful living may remain a dream of idealism. In any event, his broad background in biology, psychology, and the history of science enables him to bring consilience to the core of his methods in "debunking bunk," to use his term. And that makes his position compelling to those open enough to follow his insights and take them to heart. Nevertheless, his insights also need to be looked at skeptically. You are remiss if you do not, for there is much for most of us to learn--one of them being the practice of being a skeptic.
To be sure, the world cannot be remade in a year, and maybe not in a generation. But we believe it can be done. How can we survive without friendly trading partners and allies in keeping world peace?
Whatever your stand on Iraq, Palestine, or terror, the world is changing with potential for better or worse. Historically, one people's opportunity has usually been coupled with another people's tragedy. How can we create a win-win instead?
In researching the causes of terrorism, numerous questions arise that seem to have no immediate answer. They are collected here toward finding answers (where none exist publicly), better answers, or new answers in a different vein.