“Us vs. Them: Taming the Biology of Otherness” Speaker Series
Only two or three of the 4000 different mammalian species systematically and deliberately kill other members of their own species. We are such a species. The question is not “Why do wars break out?”, but “Why does peace break out?”
An evolutionary explanation of “Us vs Them” is that for humans to evolve a predisposition for team aggression against our own species, it must also evolve a predisposition to dehumanize those we attacks.
In a Darwinian sense, our male ancestors ‘gained’ from killing their neighbors. In the whole of human history there are no examples of women engaging in team aggression. As women gain more leadership and decision making autonomy in society, peace will break out.
If, like some social scientists, I believed the human brain is a blank slate I would despair of ever “Taming the Biology of Otherness”. As an evolutionary psychologist, I see reasons for hope.
Dr. Malcolm Potts is a British trained obstetrician and reproductive scientist. He has worked all over the world making childbirth safer, and giving women family planning choices. He has written 10 books, including Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and offers a Path to a Safer World. Potts was a pioneer confronting the AIDS epidemic in Africa, His current focus is on the threat posed by copulation growth and climate change in the Sahel.
The event’s Q&A session will be lead by Dr. Neil Maniar.
Dr. Maniar is a Professor of Public Health Practice and the Director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. Dr. Maniar’s areas of teaching expertise include Urban Community Health Assessment, Health Education, Program Planning and Program Evaluation. Prior to this, he was the Vice President of Health Systems within the American Cancer Society’s New England Division, overseeing cancer control efforts in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. As the Division’s Health Systems leader, he led a team of 40 staff working within and across health care systems to increase utilization of cancer prevention strategies and cancer screening tests; to reduce barriers to care for cancer patients; to help patients navigate their cancer journey; and to engage health care organizations in fighting cancer through the Society’s advocacy and community initiatives. He also served on the Division’s Senior Leadership Team and on national leadership teams.
Prior to joining the ACS, he was the Director of Health Equity Programs in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Community Health and Health Equity. Dr. Maniar was also the founding director of the Massachusetts Youth Violence Prevention Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He created this program through a $200,000 CDC capacity-building grant in 2004 and directed its growth into a program with $3,500,000 in state funding by 2008. He also founded and co-chaired the Massachusetts Coalition for Youth Violence Prevention. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Eastern New England Region of the American Cancer Society, and UTEC. He is also a member of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s Community Impact Council.
Dr. Maniar received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2005 and his Masters of Public Health (MPH) with distinction from the Yale University School of Public Health in 1998. He also has a Bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College with a double major in English and Zoology.
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