I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


How Did Humans Tame Themselves


Perhaps there are a few hundred scholars around the world trying to determine why humans do not  behave as violently as chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are known for picking out members of their own clan and killing them. Sometimes females kill the babies of others in their group.
For the relatively short period Christianity has been popular around the world, a simple explanation has been given for the level of civil order achieved by humans. It is that humans know they must  behave they will spend eternity in hell. Without this hammer over their heads chaos would reign. Bad behavior is known as "sin."
If human-like creatures have existed for about 300,000 years and the Judaeo/Christian religions for only 5,000 years, what kept humans from chaos during the other hundreds of thousands of years? We know dogs were once wolves and are now domesticated. How did humans become domesticated without the threat of hell?
Recently, a retired anthropologist reflected on the recent books and academic articles about this. The most likely explanation for human cooperation and limited violence is selective breeding. He noted an experiment a few years ago in Russia where foxes became domesticated in only a few generations by selection of the least violent members of every litter and breeding them.
In studies of remote tribes, it has been noted that members who badly misbehaved were killed by the group. Also, women choosing males did not choose the most violent suitors. If these practices went back into the history of humans, most of the resulting children were less violent than the worst of the group.
To understand the development of humans, we need set religion aside.

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