[United Kingdom] CICS Researcher and DCCS Professor, Tamas David-Barrett, presents the Richard Wrangham’s new book on evolution, violence and war

The Conway Hall Ethical Society, formerly known as the South Place Ethical Society, is considered the oldest free thought organization in the world and the only remaining ethical society in the United Kingdom.

This place was the scenario chosen for the presentation of the Richard Wrangham’s new book, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard, The Goodness Paradox: How Evolution Made Us Both More and Less Violent, which is considered as important and revolutionary as Gun, Germs and Steel, The Language Instinct, The Black Swan or Thinking Fast and Slow.


In a conversation entitled Understanding Evolution: A Radical New Theory between the author and the scientist of evolutionary behavior and professor of the Doctorate in Social Complexity Sciences (DCCS) of the Research Center for Social Complexity of the Universidad del Desarrollo, Tamas David-Barrett, the subject of evolution regarding the peaceful nature of human beings, together with calculated war behavior, was addressed. Both researchers said that “Our species is very low in reactive aggression and very high in proactive aggressiveness”.

Tamas David-Barrett and Richard Wrangham

At the meeting, professors Richard Wrangham and Tamas David-Barrett explore the paradox that, while daily interactions between humans are extraordinarily peaceful – especially by comparison our closest relatives, the chimpanzee and their legendarily docile cousins, the Bonobo -, there is a form of violence in which humans outweigh all other animals in several degrees: proactive violence organized against other groups of humans. It seems that we are the only animal that goes to war. Based on new research carried out by geneticists, neuroscientists, primatologists and archaeologists, it will be demonstrated that what domesticated our species was nothing less than the invention of capital punishment that eliminated the least cooperative and most aggressive among us.

About the researchers

Richard Wrangham is a professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is a leader in primate behavior ecology and founder of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project. He received the Commemorative Medal of the Rivers from the Royal Anthropological Institute and a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy. Author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, which was pre-selected for the Samuel Johnson Non-Fiction Award.

The research of Tamás Dávid-Barrett seeks to investigate what are the features that allow humans to live in large and culturally complex societies. Currently, the scientist examines the way in which social networks vary throughout human life, the effect of social networks on the choice of romantic partners, the evolutionary origins of social inequality and its regulation through the alteration of social the architecture of the network, among others. The professor teaches economics at Trinity College, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and is affiliated with the Institute für Weltwirtschaft in Kiel, Germany and the Institute for Population Studies in Helsinki, Finland.

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Desde julio 2019 hasta julio 2024

Agencia: Acreditado por la Comisión Nacional de Acreditación (CNA)