Why Steven Pinker, Like Jared Diamond, is Wrong About the “Brutal Savage”

An excellent defense of tribal cultures, or at least the stereotyping of them.

Earth First! Newswire

by Stephen Corry/ Truthout

I recently attackedJared Diamond’s view that most tribal peoples live in a state of constant warfare. This old colonial idea was first popularly resurrected by Steven Pinker, not Diamond, so it’s time to peruse the former’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature.

I battled my way through Better Angels. By the end, I was worn down by the faulty facts and attempts to lead the reader astray. Almost wherever one probes Pinker’s facts, they crumble.

Let’s start at the beginning for a perfect example of how Pinker leads us on. He takes only a single page of preamble before he tries to sell us his grisly thesis, which as far as I can understand it, is that everyone was once generally violent and horrible (tribal people still are, because apparently they are living relics of the past). Darwinian selection favored the most aggressive…

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2 thoughts on “Why Steven Pinker, Like Jared Diamond, is Wrong About the “Brutal Savage”

  1. The full, annotated version of the Truthout article can be read on Survival’s website, where we provide further material relating to the ‘Brutal Savage’ myth.


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