Sex and violence, the most-complained-of classic movie draws, also seem to draw the most complaints re my forager-farmer hypothesis, that many non-functional industry-era trends are due to a natural human tendency to return from farmer to forager ways with increasing wealth and comfort. So let me try again to clarify.
I think herders (shepherds, cowboys) should be considered "farmers", not foragers.
Sister, Jehu, Matt, you all seem to be confusing "primitive" with forager.
Kenny, that is the whole point of my forager-farmer divide hypothesis.
Forager and farmer characteristics sound (suspiciously) like liberal and conservative stereotypes.
When it comes to war, I think what's interesting to me is the proportion of the population indulging in warfare. It's seems clear that the large populations whether nomadic (pastoral and swiddening, broadly) or settled (intensive agricultural, broadly) fought larger and more organised wars (in terms of numbers of participants) and it is plausible that training is more intense at least for a subset involved in those wars.
Its not clear (to me) that the probablity of any randomly selected individual in a farming society being part of a war effort (let alone actually fighting) was higher or lower than for foragers.
I think it's pretty plausible that it's lower. If it is lower, and if interpersonal violence was also lower, then how likely is it that the typical farmer is more comfortable with violence? Especially assuming we have warrior elites trying very badly to discourage the average farmer from being okay with violence to avoid peasant revolts...
Also, where does the violence against animals thing come from? Foragers hunt and typically gain a higher proportion of their diets from animal foods than farmers do... Being more OK with subordinating, confining and controlling animals and also conversely protecting, interacting with and feeding animals, that I can see...
More typical Bronze Age and earlier genocide is just killing all the males and the women who have children or husbands. This is a strong genetic strategy for men (kill your competitors and take their virgin women) but a pretty neutral one for women (since it doesn't allow them to increase their own fertility/genetic frequency really, because of the bonus war brides added to the population.
Foragers may well have high murder rates, but those are individual acts of passion and retribution.
Coalitional violence, if I recall correctly, is very important among studied hunter-gatherers. ("Males engage in more coalitional violence" is on Brown's list of human universals, for what it's worth.) Are you saying their coalitions are smaller than farmer wars? Isn't that just a trivial conclusion from population size?
No genocide in the EEA? Wouldn't it be super-beneficial to kill off an entire neighboring tribe?
Ray, Pinker does a bad job of distinguishing the many types of "primitive" people - nomadic foragers most like our distant ancestors are rare in anthropological data.
rapscallion, we don't revert to foraging style when rich because foragers were rich, but because it feels natural and we have less fear to push us away from that.
You should have linked to your post responding to Razib.
Here's a stupid punk song.
"Foragers may well have high murder rates..."
But isn't one of your main motivations for analyzing disputes within a farmer/forage framework that being rich and safe makes us revert to forager norms? Well, if foragers had higher murder rates, they at least sure weren't safer, so that makes it seem less likely that the farmer/forager conflict is the great underlying divide behind modern social conflict.
I'm not sledding back through Pinker's "Blank Slate" just now, but he cites several references about foragers and their penchant for warfare if anyone wants to pull that off the shelf.