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Is it possible to end war?

Started by Herp-art, 12/11/2008 02:07PM
Posted 12/11/2008 02:07PM Opening Post
A discussion leading into the morality of war got me to thinking, would we end it if we had the ability?
A Hypothetical situation, not too far removed from reality:
Suppose someone discovered the gene that regulates aggression in humans. They were able to manipulate the gene and reinsert it such that the treated person lost all interest in violence, and became very agreeable. The gene is made available to the world... who would use it? If all the nations got together and decided that this was the best thing since Jesus, and to end war forever all countries will administer it immediately, would they really? Just think, one country could secretly hold back an elite force, and take over the world after everyone else pacifies their populations.
Personally, I don't believe that the world's nations could trust each other, and we would cling to the ability to make war. What do you think, and how does war fit into your religious beliefs?
Posted 12/11/2008 02:49PM | Edited 12/11/2008 02:56PM #1
Hi John

If the gene treatment were perfect in every way, unambiguously 100 percent effective with no side-effects and no unintended consequences, and everyone could be convinced of those 'facts', am still not certain if everyone would go for it. Or even if a majority would go for it.

In the real world, even if the treatment were perfect, few would be convinced of its perfection.

And in the real world, it WOULD have side-effects and tragic examples where individuals were crippled from the treatment (as statistically happens with ALL 'good' treatments).

It seems likely that there would be HUGE unintended consequences. Any aggression gene complex is probably intimately interrelated with such 'good' characteristics as creativity, industriousness, innovation, bravery in fighting fires or rescuing natural disaster victims.

If a totally non-violent person happens to remain motivated to wander into the woods, and is attacked by a bear or wild dogs or whatever, would he be able to capably defend himself? Maybe there wouldn't even be much motivation to use the can of Bear Spray?


A workable end of war might be some variant of Pax Romana, or the method from the SF Movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still"-- Essentially, "You folks settle down or you will all be killed."

Nuclear weapons have been amazingly successful (so far) in avoiding WW III. I sometimes think the world needs MORE nuclear nations, not less. If most nations, even the wacky ones, were nuclear-armed-- Eventually a couple of squabbling nations would wipe themselves off the planet, and it would be an object lesson which would bring great sanity to international relations for a long time afterwards. Though people are such slow learners, the lesson might have to be repeated every century or so...
Posted 12/13/2008 07:41AM #2
The first step toward ending all war would be to eliminate all religion.
Posted 12/15/2008 03:39PM #3
Aggression was needed for survival against other species.

But we are smart and aggessive, the lethal combination.
Posted 12/18/2008 04:52PM #4
Understanding that there is a reason for everything, then the question becomes should I do without something which is evidently needed?

If one could guarantee that 100% of the population did this, and that 100% of all newborns had it also, then we have a "maybe." But then, being a scifi fan, would have to ask if we did this, and all of a sudden visited by an agressor, where would that leave us? As slaves or food for the taking?

Also, to be even somewhat workable, it could not be an agression gene, but would have to be a physical violence gene. Afterall, everyday decisions are based on agression and survivalism in thinking - work, promotions, walking faster to get in line before the other people walking to the same desitnation, etc. Agression motivates us fundamentally in just about everything we do.

War, IMO, is nothing more than the same thing at work when you have a disagreement with a neighbor over putting a fence up, cutting a tree, parking a car in front of another's house, etc....just scaled up to a national level.

Interesting question, but I think if it happened, then the species would become extinct as a result.

Posted 12/22/2008 12:47AM #5
You and Plato: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
Posted 12/28/2008 05:34PM | Edited 12/28/2008 05:39PM #6
Jim, you missed the point entirely. I am not necessarily advocating that we should or would even be able to accomplish such a thing as eliminating warfare from humans. My basic question was whether or not humans could ever trust each other enough to take any unilateral action that would leave them vulnerable. If my fantasy gene fix or magic potion would actually work, would anyone ever trust other humans on earth enough to go through with it? We would all suspect (with good reason, no doubt) other nations of secreting away an elite force that would then be able to dominate a world of pacified humans.
I believe that warfare is embedded deeply in human biology, and that some form of it will always exist. We are competitive creatures. Competition is generally good, but when the stakes become too high to allow failure or defeat, the competition becomes violent. Some cultures have learned to turn it into a ritual combat where only one or a few individuals get whacked, thereby sensibly saving the rest of society from wasteful destruction. That works pretty well when the warring societies are actually neighbors and even relatives, as in some stone age cultures in New Guinea. Our culture does it as well, but for lesser stakes. Team sports like football are nothing less than ritual warfare. Maybe our young men would be out raiding other towns for women and cattle(cars?) if there was no outlet for aggression in organized sports. That is indeed what they did before we were "civilized."
I don't think humans will ever eliminate war, we'll just learn to turn it into something else or control it some way, or alternatively, risk periodic total destruction. The current strategy of simple domination of everyone is impossible to accomplish, thereby providing eternal warfare.
Ironically, the Cold War policy of Mutually Assured Destruction has probably been the most effective means so far of preventing a major war, as well as us having the biggest, baddest and best equipped military wink