Pinker offers a certain kind of evidence in support of his interpretation.
In an argument reminiscent of the misleading mess he presented in The Blank Slate, he offers eight “hunter-gatherer” societies to use as a base-line for rates of death in war that are meant to reflect mortality rates typical of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
When Steven Pinker was recently asked which five writers he would invite to a dinner party, Thomas Hobbes headed his list.
And what would Pinker serve Hobbes and his other distinguished guests for dinner?
Unfortunately, he continues the habit in his latest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011).
The thesis of Pinker’s book is that levels of violence and warfare have been decreasing from a Hobbesian past in which “chronic raiding and feuding …
Let us just look at the quality of the evidence Pinker presents—sparse and cherry-picked though it may be.
Fry dug up the original ethnographic sources Pinker used for his data on war deaths among foragers.
slaking their ravenous thirst with the hot blood of victims and greedily devouring livid writhing flesh.”Please pass the potatoes.
When not gorging on the hot blood and writhing flesh of their prey, our ancestors were apparently after each other.