Extraordinary claims, Carl Sagan liked to say, require extraordinary evidence. Here is an extraordinary claim: "Chimpanzeelike violence preceded and paved the way for human war, making modern humans the dazed survivors of a continuous, five-million-year habit of lethal aggression."
The anthropologist Richard Wrangham of Harvard University made this statement in his 1996 book Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Houghton Mifflin, co-written with journalist Dale Peterson) and has reiterated it ever since.
I don't believe in God—at least, not any version I've encountered so far—but I do believe in free will. Free will, which I define as our capacity to recognize and act on choices, is what makes life meaningful.
Craig Venter is the Lady Gaga of science. Like her, he is a drama queen, an over-the-top performance artist with a genius for self-promotion. Hype is what Craig Venter does, and he does it extremely well, whether touting the decoding of his own genome several years ago or his construction of a hybrid bacterium this year.
In Isaac Asimov's science fiction series Foundation, the mathematician Hari Seldon invents a method, called psychohistory, that predicts social behavior as accurately as statistical mechanics predicts the behavior of gases.
Except for a smattering of neo-Social Darwinists, religious nuts and arms merchants, everyone wants world peace, right? In a truly peaceful world, nations would not just stop fighting wars; they would cut back their armies and arsenals to levels sufficient for self-defense and internal policing.