Why We Hate
A Book Review
Michael Ruse discusses the reasons humanity, as a social species, acts in hateful ways toward one another. This is a paradoxical fact and one which Ruse attempts to explain through a discussion of Darwin, the growth of humanity, and who we are as a species. The book is laid out in a five chapter discussion which deals with who we are and are not. Ruse remains firm in his belief that humanity is good by nature while looking for reasons we suppress that goodness. The sections are:
The Biology of War The Biology of Prejudice The Culture of War The Culture of Prejudice Moving Forward
Ruse rejects the notions from Darwin and others that we are biologically prone to war and prejudice. He lays out why he rejects that with cogent and interesting arguments. Then explains alternate reasoning in the sections on culture. Humanity does not react in anger or hatred (war) unless there is a real or imagines shortage of resources. These discussions are crucial to understanding Ruse’s reasons for believing humanity to be inherently good and capable without a culture of war and prejudice.
The one idea I would have liked to see in this discussion is how online social media has affected humanity. Maybe this tool can be manipulated to reshape the inherent goodness Ruse claims and make humanity more prone to war and prejudice outside of the cultural reasons he presents in the book. This is an excellent discussion and one I recommend for a historical and cultural look at why humans hate one another.