Global Pattern Formation and Ethnic/Cultural Violence

Here is an article in a recent Science Magazine, a great source for articles covering all sorts of real science with a sprinkling of junk science thrown in by the editors to keep you always on your toes.

Now, these guys have good intentions at heart, or at least work for the CIA and get paid to make it look that way, but some of their assumptions seem to prove that old adage about that very word 'assume'...

You can check out the article yourself, we'll give you some questionable highlights.

SNS #1. Good Fences

Kind like patenting the wheel in 2007, these guys propose that "violence arises at boundaries that are not well defined". Our first thought is that this isn't really very novel a concept, as we kind of think that is like proposing 'Good make good neighbors' is a novel idea. Then we begin to think of some obvious counter examples, like maybe the Second World War where there were some pretty clear boundaries... Maybe if you look at it as trying to say that if there are disputed resources, then violence is more likely. Ooops. That isn't what they said. Oh well. You be the judge.

SNS #2. Iraq Anyone?

In a similar vein, where a kind of obvious counter example pops up like the biggest jack-in-the-box in the history of all boxed jacks, they proclaim that "To model violence, we assume that highly mixed regions do not engage in violence...". Now we haven't visited Iraq ourselves recently, but heck, all the news we hear is that the entire PROBLEM IN IRAQ is BECAUSE the groups are all mixed up and have such a dandy time killing one another on account of it. Didn't Senator Biden just push a proposal in congress proclaiming the SOLUTION to Iraq violence is to separate the groups which are now so mixed up!

Doesn't this contradict their earlier conclusion that if you don't have defined boundaries you get violence. Isn't the definition of being a 'mixed region' the fact that the region does not have boundaries which would make it NOT mixed!

We call this a big flagrant contradiction and proven false by counter example. Try thinking up more yourself for fun!

SNS Conclusion:

It's a nice idea to try to figure out why people kill each other, but maybe this should be in the journal of 'We're Working on It' instead of Science.

Science, Vol 317, 14 Sept 2007, 1540.