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How violence pointed to virtue

first_imgRichard Wrangham has been studying chimpanzees at the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda since 1987, when he founded the research center. A student of famed primatologist Jane Goodall, Harvard’s Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology has studied primate behavior, ecology, and nutrition for nearly 50 years.Wrangham says his new book, “The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution,” is his first attempt to examine his own species in detail. He will discuss his theory about aggression as it connects to capital punishment on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Science Center Book Talk, Hall C, 1 Oxford St. His talk is free and open to the public. In advance of his appearance, he shared his thoughts with the Gazette.Q&ARichard WranghamGAZETTE: Why did you write this book?WRANGHAM: I’ve been teaching this material for some time, and a former student, Luke Glowacki, pointed out that these views are not widely known. I think it is important to be as accurate as possible in understanding human aggression. I’ve been thinking about the problem of self-domestication for 20 years, and now seemed the right time because work in this area has been accelerating excitingly in fields such as genetics and neurobiology, as well as paleoanthropology and primatology.What this book does is scientific journalism in the sense that it’s reporting on a lot of work by others, but it pulls it together in a new kind of focus. Aggression has traditionally been regarded just as it always has in anthropology as a single type of behavioral tendency, which has led scholars to be divided between those who regard us as a particularly tolerant, pleasant species, as in some ways we are, and those who see us as an especially violent, competitive species, as we also are. In fact, however, there are two kinds of aggression, a distinction that solves a whole series of problems concerned with understanding human nature. To see aggression as falling into two types has been conventional wisdom in biology and psychology for decades, but the difference has barely been recognized previously in anthropology.It can now help us understand how humans got our very curious mixture of being, on the one hand very unaggressive in everyday life, and on the other hand one of the most dangerous species of all in terms of the frequency of killing each other. Compared to chimpanzees, for instance, we kill each other, in particular other adults, at rates so high that they are almost unknown in other species, exceeded by only a very few, such as wolves. This peculiar combination of nonaggression and aggression is puzzling. Understanding aggression as falling into two separate biologically controlled types helps us explain it.GAZETTE: You write at length about proactive and reactive aggression, but it’s the former that gives us virtue. Can you explain?WRANGHAM: Our virtue is our tolerance in face-to-face interactions, and the evolutionary question is where this comes from. The solution I present is that it comes ultimately from capital punishment, a practice made possible by our capacity for proactive violence. Armed with capital punishment, males are able to conspire together and decide on a time and a place to dispatch a tyrannical despot who is making their lives miserable. The unintended result of this style of controlling aggressiveness by bullies is genetic selection against the propensity for reactive aggression. So through proactive aggression, our ancestors controlled reactive aggression and, in doing so, made us virtuous. Ultimately, this system gave us the moral senses.GAZETTE: Presumably, cooperation plays a critical part in humans’ capacity for capital punishment?WRANGHAM: Cooperation is a big part of the story in the sense that it’s only as a result of our ability to cooperate that our ancestors were able to control the aggressiveness of the most extremely violent males. It was absolutely critical that the subordinate males were able to come together to cooperate. The argument I make is that this depended entirely on a sufficiently sophisticated language.GAZETTE: Yes, I wanted to ask you about language and the notion of shared intentionality, and how you think about language versus weapons as they relate to capital punishment.WRANGHAM: Some of the scholars writing in this area have argued that, with the evolution of weapons, humans were able to develop capital punishment because with a weapon you can surprise someone and kill them. But that doesn’t seem to me anything like as important as language. We would almost certainly have had killing weapons long before 300,000 years ago, which is the time when fossils reveal the earliest consequences of selection against reactive aggression.Chimpanzees are perfectly capable of collaborating with each other to kill members of neighboring groups — and even sometimes members of their own group. But they do not have the linguistic ability to be able to choose a particular victim; the best they can do is to respond to the presence of someone who is a predictably hostile enemy for all of them. Chimpanzees are capable of killing without weapons, just as humans are, but they are incapable of capital punishment. What capital punishment needs is the ability to make a plan and to coordinate that plan.GAZETTE: What new data brought you to make this argument?WRANGHAM: Biologists have known for decades that aggression works in different ways, whether you are stalking and attacking an individual by surprise, or if you’re reacting by losing your temper. However, although this has been understood to be two types of aggression, it’s only in the last five years that people have been able to identify rather precisely the biological mechanisms in the brain that are associated with these two types of aggressions. A lab in Budapest, Hungary, is leading the way on this. The rats they work with will sometimes attack each other by surprise and go for vulnerable parts of the body in an effort to kill their opponents; in different circumstances rats just end up fighting over food or females.Experiments show that the same parts of the brain are involved in the two types of aggression — that is, proactive and reactive — but the wiring that leads between the brain regions is different. Knowing that the biological mechanism is different between proactive and reactive aggression, we can also conclude that natural selection can change these two kinds of aggression independently. For instance, you can produce breeds of rats that are particularly elevated in their tendency of proactive aggression, but reduced for reactive aggressive, which is what happened in human evolution. The fascinating question at the heart of my book is why you get that extraordinary combination.GAZETTE: How did your Kibale Project in Uganda play into the questions you asked in the book?WRANGHAM: My interest in these questions began even before I launched the Kibale Chimpanzee Project. I had been working with Jane Goodall at her site in Gombe in Tanzania in the early 1970s, a time when as a research team we were learning for the first time that chimpanzees would use proactive aggression to kill members of neighboring groups. I wanted to start my own project to explore further the extraordinarily intense hostility that they occasionally show. While working with chimpanzees in Kibale, Martin Muller and I observed aggression in detail. Just like in Gombe, we found high rates of face-to-face aggression.So it was clear there was something quite different between humans and chimpanzees because, on the one hand, humans and chimps are rather similar in their warlike propensity for attacking members of neighboring groups, but there was a huge difference in the frequency of aggression within a given group. As a primatologist, I was interested in broader themes of the evolution of behavior among humans and our closest relatives. The chimpanzee data led me to start thinking about bonobos, which are closely related to us, as chimpanzees are. We share a common ancestor with the chimpanzee/bonobo line from 7 or 8 million years ago. Bonobos are far more docile and much less aggressive than chimpanzees are. Students such as Brian Hare helped work on this comparison, partly using our aggression data from Kibale, and a new understanding gradually emerged.GAZETTE: So even though some of this research has come out in the last five years, these ideas have been in your brain for decades.WRANGHAM: I’ve been puzzling about it for more than 20 years. In 1996, I wrote a book called “Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence,” which was focused on the question of why chimpanzees and humans share this very remarkable, rare property of getting together in small groups and making very deliberate attempts to hunt down and kill members of neighboring groups. I was already aware that chimps were much more aggressive within groups than humans are, which raised a fascinating question: How come humans are so different in that respect?GAZETTE: So how does this make sense of the old Hobbes/Rousseau philosophical debate?WRANGHAM: Rousseau says we’re naturally nonviolent; Hobbes says we’re naturally violent. The new perspective says that in different ways they are both correct. Then the question that emerges is: Should we be very depressed that humans do have this high propensity for proactive violence, which is basically what is responsible for war? Proactive violence has been a hugely important component of history and prehistory, but the special thing about proactive violence is that animals and even humans don’t spontaneously engage in it if it looks risky — in other words, if it will hurt or be dangerous for the protagonists.The extraordinary thing about chimpanzee attacks on each other is people have documented more than 60 cases of chimps being killed, and yet although the victims were immensely strong and fighting for their lives, the attackers have never been hurt. The reason is that the attackers choose to attack only when they are very confident they can dispatch their victim at very little risk of being hurt. The simple math in the world of chimpanzees is: If you can get at least five against one, each of the four can hold a limb and one can do the damage without anyone except the victim getting hurt. This is all very unpleasant, but the nice part of understanding human aggression as proactive is that if there is a balance of power, you do not expect to see violence. Only when one group is immensely more powerful than another is it expected to attack, because only then do the members perceive the risk to themselves to be sufficiently low.Another quite different line of argument is that this new view gives us for the first time a concrete theory on why Homo sapiens evolved. Homo sapiens is different from other species of Homo by being a somewhat lighter-boned form, with reduced differences between the sexes. The standard explanation of our origins is that our ancestors became more and more skilled in inventing and retaining cultural skills. As a result, they were able to rely less than before on brute force in their foraging, so Homo sapiens emerged as a more delicate form. But what is so striking about Homo sapiens is that we are not merely strikingly gracile, but the ways in which we are different from our ancestors are like the differences between a dog and a wolf. The origin of Homo sapiens, in other words, can be traced to self-domestication — and therefore to the sophistication of language that made capital punishment possible for the first time in any mammal more than 300,000 years ago.last_img read more


Sgt. Tim McCarthy announces his retirement

first_imgFormer Indiana State Police Sergeant Tim McCarthy announced his retirement Wednesday, according to a statement released by John Heisler, senior associate athletics director for Notre Dame.Since 1960, McCarthy has delivered a safety tip in the form of a pun between the third and fourth quarters of home football games in order to intense enthusiasm and thunderous applause from the 80,000 people in the stadium crowd, Heisler wrote.In fall 2013, McCarthy told The Observer that in his first season giving the safety tip very few people listened to him, so in his second season he decided to change his approach.“I told [my superiors] … I’m going to start using a quip at the end and see what happens, and the following season — that was in 1961 — in the very first game there was a discussion among the referees for something and the crowd was unusually quiet,” McCarthy said.“So I gave the thing. The message gave a pitch on drinking and driving. And I said, ‘Remember, the automobile replaced the horse, but the driver should stay on the wagon.’ And I got a lot of groans and boos and things like that.”According to the statement, McCarthy served as safety education officer until his retirement from the state police force in 1979, when then-athletic director Moose Krause asked him to continue delivering safety tips during the games.In 2013, McCarthy was awarded an honorary monogram from the University’s Monogram Club, Heisler wrote.After 55 years on the job, McCarthy said the University’s students were a highlight of his experience.“For years, the stadium crowd never saw my face. After I began appearing at some University and student events is when I became recognized. Students saying hello while walking through campus is really a happy experience for me,” McCathy said in the University’s statement.“I appeared at a few pre-game rallies, some of the student hall rallies and always at the Dillon Hall rally,” he said. “It was always enjoyable to be at student events because those young men and women are the very best. Always number one in my book.”Tags: Notre Dame football, retirement, safety puns, Tim McCarthylast_img read more


Summer Camp.

first_img Photos: Georgia 4-H Photo: Georgia 4-H At Camp Truett-Fulton, the program focuses on urban issues, landscapes and opportunities. Georgia 4-H is gearing up for the statewide summer camping program. The program, one of the largest in the country, has camps across the state in Dahlonega, Atlanta, Eatonton, Tybee Island and Jekyll Island. In Dahlonega, Camp Wahsega campers learn about mountain life, conservation and environmental issues. They learn about rock climbing, team building and crafts. To find out when and where your county 4-H’ers are going to camp this year, call your county Extension Service office. At Rock Eagle, the flagship of the camping program, students divide into tribes and learn about the early inhabitants of the area. They take a range of classes including ecology, snakes, archery, canoeing and Indian lore. Camp Jekyll and Camp Tybee campers explore marine life, conservation and coastal history.last_img read more


Bar passwords to be mailed

first_img December 1, 2004 Regular News Bar passwords to be mailed System will enable members to conduct Bar business online The Florida Bar will soon increase the security level for access to member services on the Bar’s Web site page called the StoreFront.This means that every member will receive a letter with a new personal setup password. Each member will use the setup password to register for StoreFront services, such as the purchase of continuing legal education courses and CLE tapes; update official Bar address, pay annual Bar fees, and access CLE hours and CLE reporting date information online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “The main advantage to this new system is additional security,” said George Rudge, director of the Bar Information Systems Department. “With everything that is happening on the Internet — viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, adware — security is a high priority. The Bar will continue to roll out more options for members to conduct business online; we needed to take this step to make sure access to member information on the Bar’s Web site is secure.”The letter containing your Bar-generated password will be mailed December 23. Once received, members are asked to go to the Bar’s StoreFront at and click on the login link. Once there, you will need to enter your Bar ID number and the setup password contained in the letter. To complete the registration process, members will create their own unique password. Passwords will have to be at least six characters, made up of a combination of letters and numbers. From the StoreFront, you may click on the home page link to access the rest of the Bar’s site.Rudge said even the 26,000 Bar members who already have registered to access the Bar’s StoreFront will also need to re-register under the new security system. As of December 26, old passwords will no longer be valid on the site. If the bar-provided setup password is not used by February 11, it will expire and members will have to request a new setup password on the StoreFront Web page. For assistance call Membership Records (866) 854-5050. Bar passwords to be mailedlast_img read more


Six credit unions led by one CEO shutter by the NCUA

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The NCUA shuttered six federal credit unions in the Philadelphia area Tuesday, and their common link was their CEO.The closed credit unions were Cardozo Lodge Federal Credit Union of Bensalem, Pa.; Chester Upland School Employees Federal Credit Union of Chester, Pa.; Electrical Inspectors Federal Credit Union of Bensalem; O P S EMP Federal Credit Union of Bensalem; Servco Federal Credit Union of Bensalem and Triangle Interests % Service Center Federal Credit Union of Bensalem.The president/CEO for the six credit unions was Joni Brown, according to the credit unions’ profile pages on the NCUA’s website. continue reading »last_img read more


Japan set to begin prepandemic vaccination

first_imgApr 15, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Japan’s health ministry today said it was on the verge of approving a plan to administer prepandemic vaccine to healthcare workers, which would make it the world’s first country to tap its national stockpile for this purpose.Kishiko Yamaguchi, an official from Japan’s health and welfare ministry, said the plan, which awaits approval tomorrow, would allow the vaccination of about 6,000 quarantine officials and healthcare workers by the end of the year, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.Japan has already approved and stockpiled pandemic vaccines for 10 million people that are based on H5N1 viruses from China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, according to a report today from Reuters. The health ministry said the vaccines were made by the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University and the Kitasato Institute, the report said.In a November 2005 presentation for the World Health Organization (WHO) that summarized clinical study results for Japan’s pandemic vaccine, Masato Tashiro, MD, PhD, with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, revealed that the project is supported by the government, and the same formulation of the alum-adjuvanted whole-virus vaccine is produced by all of the manufacturers.Yamaguchi told the AP that if initial tests show that the prepandemic vaccine is safe and effective, the ministry would consider vaccinating 10 million more people, including such vital workers as lawmakers, police, and other healthcare workers. Reuters reported that the second vaccination wave would also include those who maintain infrastructure networks such as gas and electricity.International health officials have been cautious about taking steps toward vaccination in advance of a pandemic, because researchers are uncertain if vaccines that are currently in national stockpiles will offer cross-protection against a future pandemic strain. Also, it’s not clear if any adverse events would arise from the use of the vaccine, which makes it difficult to weigh the usefulness of the strategy.In a May 2007 bulletin, the WHO acknowledged that as prepandemic vaccines become available they could be used in poultry workers, healthcare workers, and whole populations. However, the WHO did not recommend that countries undertake the strategy.Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, told the AP that prepandemic vaccination is “a big roll of the dice” but said the WHO doesn’t oppose countries using the vaccines.The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in 2007 praised the development of prepandemic vaccines but said it did not support countries using them until the WHO elevates its pandemic phase to 5 or 6 (from the current phase 3), which would indicate significant human-to-human transmission is occurring.See also:May 10, 2007, CIDRAP News story “WHO equivocal on prepandemic use of H5N1 vaccines”Oct 31, 2007, CIDRAP News story “The Pandemic Vaccine Puzzle: Part 5, What role for prepandemic vaccination?”Presentation to the WHO on Japan’s pandemic vaccineMay 2007 WHO pandemic influenza bulletinlast_img read more


Lisa Curry and Mark Tabone list Mount Mellum property

first_imgLisa Curry. Picture: Dylan RobinsonMore from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home6 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor6 hours agoFRESH from the I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here jungle, Lisa Curry and her Elvis impersonator fiancee Mark Tabone have listed their undeveloped Mount Mellum property.The couple paid $550,000 last year for the 14-hectare parcel in Queensland but haven’t found time to develop the site. Theo Grigoriou at Ray White Beerwah is asking $679,000 for the property, 35km southwest of the Sunshine Coast.Curry is one of Australia’s most decorated female athletes, having won 15 gold, seven silver and eight bronze international swimming medals.last_img read more


Lampard: We won’t copy Liverpool or Man City

first_img Promoted Content7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks10 Hyper-Realistic 3D Street Art By OdeithThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreEver Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show You6 Of The Best 90s Shows That Need To Come Back ASAP10 Dystopian Movie Worlds You’d Never Want To Live In7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty PennyThe Best Cars Of All TimeCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way Chelsea manager Frank Lampard does not see his side copying Liverpool or Manchester City in the pursuit of success. Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is hopeful of shocking Bayern Munich again in the Champions League Lampard has enjoyed a decent first season with the Blues, as they are in fourth position in the Premier League. He knows that he will be expected to challenge for the title next season, but he does not want to copy any other club’s blueprint to get there.Advertisement Speaking on Sky Sports, Lampard said: “I don’t want to jump the gun because what Liverpool and Manchester City have done has been clear; I’d be a fool to suggest we can bridge that gap quickly because there has been a lot of hard work at those clubs in terms of recruitment of top players, of great coaches. “We have to be part of that process. We have to do it our way, we can’t try to copy. We have had experienced players around this year to help the youngsters but we know there are little areas within the squad… some of that’s what we have on the ground here already, some of that is how we might look to recruit. read also:Lampard refuses to ‘push’ Chelsea players “What’s going on in the world has made it very difficult to plan on that front. But going into this break I certainly felt we were moving in the right direction and with continued progress and work on the training ground, as well as potentially bringing in some players in key areas to try and help us bridge that gap, yes, I’ve got a strong belief that we can [challenge].” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Loading… last_img read more


Antique kicks off ‘One-Time, Big-Time’ Medical Mission

first_imgCheyfrah Rumbines, a 20-day-old baby with a respiratory problem, avails her free laboratory tests at the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital in Antique last Jan.30. PIO ANTIQUE SAN JOSE,Antique – A 20-day-old baby named Chefyrah was the youngest patient to availhealth service during the two-day medical mission held at the Angel SalazarMemorial General Hospital (ASMGH) last Jan. 30.“My child has a respiratory problem, weight loss and no bowel movement for fivedays already, so I decided to bring her to the ASMGH,” Sarah Grace Rumbines,27, the mother of the child from San Fernando, San Jose de Buenavista said inan interview.“I am still waiting for the laboratory result to find out what is really wrongwith my child,” she added.Rumbines, a housewife with two other kids, said that she could not afford themedical treatment and laboratory test required by the doctor,ASMGH Hospital Systems manager Dr. Eliza Valdez stated that although there werepatients who were already listed before their scheduled dates, the medical teamwas still able to accommodate more persons who came since the medical missionlasted till Jan.31.“There is no limit for a day,” Valdez said.Dr. Valdez, who was formerly affiliated with the hospital, added that themedical mission was held in partnership with the Jose Reyes Memorial MedicalCenter. “The doctors of the Memorial Medical Center were able to come through thishumble representation,” she added.(With areport from PNA/PN)last_img read more


Greensburg man arrested for domestic violence

first_imgGREENSBURG, Ind. — A Greensburg man was arrested after police say a domestic violence altercation left a woman with potentially permanent vision damage.According to police, Jesse King, 33, told his neighbor that he killed his girlfriend.The neighbor then called police. Greensburg police along with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department responded to King’s residence, and ordered King to come outside, but King refused the order and slammed the door shut.Officers decided to enter the residence to keep the victim safe.A male witness in the home told police that he broke up the fight between King and the woman.Police say that King told them that the 2 had been suffering from extreme anger issues, and had been having several arguments over a period of 5 days.The woman was transported to the Decatur County Memorial Hospital where police say she showed signs of intoxication.King was arrested on an Aggravated battery charge.last_img read more