Sex and War (And Population)—The Forces Ultimately Behind The Gaza Crisis

With endorsements high profile
people such as

Jane Goodall
, founder of the
Jane Goodall Institute
and world`s leading
expert on our

nearest to human primate, the chimpanzee
, one
can fully expect to find Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World by Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden
scientifically credible. It is a highly readable
must read.

Sex and War
will no doubt excite attention from all among the human
species who still can read and think. Since that is
quite a small minority, my fear is that its urgent and
insightful theme will enjoy even among that sliver only
an Andy Warholian

15 minutes of fame
. Better not!

You may not be surprised to be told
that the authors show with solid empirical proof that it
primarily male humans who bring us war
. But perhaps
you are unaware or unmindful of the driving force of
male war making tendencies since the dawn of human
history, the sex drive.

British born and

educated, Dr. Potts, now
Professor at UC Berkeley
, an obstetrician and
research biologist has pursued his humanitarian work
worldwide, including helping women in

after the War of Liberation in 1972, then
in countless other climes torn by conflicts. I met
Malcolm in the 1960s when he was the first Medical
Director of
International Planned Parenthood Federation
and since have served on
several boards and done many travels with him. His
co-author, Hayden, a freelance journalist, who is no
relation to the Vietnam War Berkeley firebrand, Tom
, also co-authored a 2007 book On Call in Hell: A Doctor`s Iraq War Story

with Cdr Rick Jadick, whose experience in ministering to
wounded there brought high accolades from readers.

Rather ironically Hayden`s book
truly may have helped spark his participation in
Sex and War.
Tales of heroism and selfless bravery in battle are the
historical standards for all such stories, but
Sex and War
 reminds us of our
biological evolution. After all, for much of human
history the

most successful and dominant males went to war
, took
the spoils and raped women. You know,

Genghis Khan,

One can see why Goodall could be so
enthusiastic about this book, since
Sex and War
shows how close to chimpanzee behavior humans are. Bands
of young male chimpanzees raid rival territories,
finding the fittest females in classic Darwinian
behavior, and thus benefitting the next generations.

The step up description from chimps
to humans allows the authors to cite similar behavior
found in tribal wars, among inner city

street gangs
, and then in full warfare, whose
aftermath Potts personally helped deal with in
Bangladesh when helping war-raped women. Terrorists in
our day obviously are imbued with ideals of heroic male
behavior, which is more powerful than the reported
financial inducements. A comparatively benign
manifestation of aggressive male behavior can be
observed at NFL football games both on the field and in
the stands.

Potts` understanding of the urgency
of dealing with our now overpopulated planet leads to
explanations of how that crowding leads to wars, again
entered into often with enthusiasm by

young males
, motivated by patriotism, excitement
over battle, or even escape from dull underemployment or
unemployment. The authors then most logically point to
one way of cutting terrorism and the risk of wars and
"a path to a safer world" for states we now can see are
lowering birth rates through planned parenting, birth
control, and, yes, abortion. The authors clearly show
that rarely in history have
women been combatants

Understand that Potts` wife, Martha
Campbell, who co-authored significant chapters, like her
husband brings extensive scholarship and worldwide
travel to bear on illuminating a modern woman`s view.
These views remain still far from full acceptance in
many cultures, including our own. But the book`s strong
recommendation of more women`s education as a major
contributor to fewer unplanned pregnancies surely is
obvious to anyone doing strategic thinking about solving
our pressing global problems.

The deep biological nature of human
evolution will not be altered easily. The world remains
dominated by male leaders who all too often feel so
bloody good about solutions than seem to require
bloodletting. One could point to our

invasion and countless prior sorties into battle which
could have been avoided by less testosterone-dominated

Perhaps as the number of nations
armed with nuclear weapons grows, as it surely will,
major powers may be more globally fixated on planetary
survival by means proposed by the authors.

But then again, perhaps not. And of
course people who purport to bring us absolute security
have in history often led us to absolute tyranny.

Potts had co-authored with world
renowned anthropologist, Roger Short, a ground-breaking
earlier book, Ever since Adam and Eve: The Evolution of Human Sexuality
1999. I reviewed

Amazon, writing
"that the main evolutionary drive for humans and mammals
generally has been and is SEX, for the key to our
existence is the need to produce the BEST next
generation. For many this book will prove an epiphany of
understanding, a creation of more reverence for life,
but one not based on the mythology of religion, but on
the clear facts of science."

Now in the nuclear age, where
planetary destruction looms in multiple forms both
nuclear and environmental. we best find a workable form
of making love without war.

Donald A. Collins [email
him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.