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Dan of tdaxp has a great series, The Wary Guerrilla, that he has been running this week where he continues his exploration of the evolutionary influences on political behavior. The series so far:

1. Abstract

2. Terrorism

3. Predictions

An excerpt:

“In some economic games, income, education, small town origin, and sex (female) increases empathy (Sautter, 2006). Men may be more favorably disposed to cooperators than females (Price, 2006) but also are less empathetic toward punished cheaters (Singer et al., 2006). Players in general are generous to helpless fellows (Oppewal & Tougareva, 1992). Likewise, there are robust distinct player types of altruists, free-riders, and generally cooperative people (Kurzban & Houser, 2005). Players reject small offers rarely but more than would be predicted by game theory (Eckel, Johnson & Wilson, 2002). Along with this, players often give more than should be expected (Thaler, 1989; Fong & Bolton, 1997). The operating assumption is that these behaviors will be exhibited by wary guerrillas, as both wary guerrillaism and these traits appear to be expressions of a pro-social orientation. Thus we propose the the following hypotheses:

1.The Wary Guerrilla is correlated with small town origin

2.The Wary Guerrilla is correlated with income

3.The Wary Guerrilla is correlated with sex

…While specific religions are sometimes associated with violence in the minds of people (Abrahamian, 2002; Gerges, 1997), perhaps the real determinant is general religiosity. Ancient religious terror groups were very highly organized (Rapoport, 1984) and their analogues still exist (Rapoport, 1988). Religion has played a major role in both successful and failed liberation struggles against powerful states (Bosch, 1974; Rapoport, 1979; Husband 1988) and has been offered as a possible cause of suicide terrorism (El Sarraj & Butler, 2002). Additionally, among religious traditions where an alternative to faith is eternal damnation, religiosity may be correlated with riskier behavior (Miller, 2000). Logically, religion may indicate non-secular preferences (Euben, 2002) or secular preferences working on religious themes. Religiosity may enable even rational actors to behave in apparently irrational ways (Iannaccone, 1990, 1995, 1997, 1998). The Wary Guerrilla is an obvious candidate for a type that would engage in this behavior.”

Read the whole thing here.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Dan tdaxp Says:

    Very, very flattering. Thank you Mark. 🙂

    The part you quoted referenced on article my Bob Kurzban. I’ve had the opportunity to visit him with a few times (one of which I blogged). The extent to which biological factors are (hopefully) reshaping and reshuffling the social sciences is amazing. Kurzban, for instance, is a psychologist who publishes in economic journals, while my mentor is a political scientist who is looking to do work with brain scans.

    Genetics may become the Rational Man of the 21st century — a tool that can operate equally well in domain involving human behavior. I hope so. Humanity is too important a species to be studied only by the Marxists and the specialists.

  2. mark Says:

    “The extent to which biological factors are (hopefully) reshaping and reshuffling the social sciences is amazing”

    What is interesting to me, though I have not delved into the Evpsych,Evbio thing as deeply as have you is that the genetic factors seem to provide both continuity of tendencies and diversity of outcomes. Sort of reminds me of quantum mechanics with its probabilities and uncertainty.

    “Kurzban, for instance, is a psychologist who publishes in economic journals”

    That seems quite right to me. For all the math, economics boils down to ” what do I/we/society value ?”

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