Worthwhile in spite of being unbalanced,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Dark Side Of Man: Tracing The Origins Of Violence (Helix Books) (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Overall, I think this book is very worthwhile because it does help put human violence into some perspective in nature. "Dark Side" features a reasonably convincing argument that some fundamental kinds of violence persist because they served survival needs in our evolutionary past. That is, violence toward each other is not something that humans invented or which we lapse into solely because we weren't spanked enough as children. Orangutans commit rape, male porpoises gang up on females to block her escape and inseminate her, chimps conduct territorial raids and even wage war. Reading this book, you get the feeling that you can make a little more sense out of the latest headlines about "senseless" violence.
The imbalance of this view comes in because the theme of the book focuses on the roots of violent behavior, and ignores both the equally compelling evidence for altruistic behavior in nature and the evidence of human capacity to regulate their own behavior in various ways, rather than responding in a stereotyped way to impulses.
Another weakness is that the book relates animal and human violence in an overly simplistic way at times, such as equating Orangutan rape with human rape. The motives, opportunities, and circumstances of human violence appear far more varied than among animals in these kinds of crimes. It's easy to believe that the thinking and feeling patterns that lead to violent behavior are much more elaborate and have many more variables than in the animals examined by the author. The comparison of the violent acts of the different species can only go so far.
People who really like this may also enjoy the similar but more comprehensive and more scholarly (i.e. more difficult to read) "Demonic Males:Apes and the Origins of Human Violence" by Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson.
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