In the process of hanging out in the back yard, and walking around the neighborhood, I have seen a number of examples of ant wars. In one case, they came over the wall, and after a long period of stylized conflict that looked something like a siege, they grabbed the eggs and nymphs and carried them back over the wall, destined for a life of slavery. I’ve seen repeated wars between colonies next to the sidewalk in front of the house just north of us: again, they sit and threaten each other for days before getting down to brass tacks.
That is, I think I’ve seen this. Other people are under the same delusion: The Ants, by Holldobler and Wilson, has lots of interesting stuff about ant wars and slavery.
Other people think they’ve seen male lions kill young cubs, after they take over a pride, or a first-born lesser spotted eagle kill its younger sibling. The silly geese think it happens every time! Other think that hyenas live in clans of related females (and subordinate males), clans that war with other clans. But that can’t be right.
Worse yet, chimpanzees, our closest relatives, have often been caught in the act – groups of related males go out on search-and-destroy missions aimed at chimps in neighboring bands. When they catch a neighbor alone, they scrag him. At least, some say this happens.
But none of these things can really be true – because although they by no means prove that war is biologically innate among humans, this kind of evidence does suggest that it might be – and that is obviously impossible, by the most powerful of all epistemological principles. It would hurt Brian Ferguson’s feelings.
Now maybe chimps get into trouble because bad humans have brought apples into their Eden . That could be, especially if the interlopers are Europeans: they can make anything happen. Europeans can make Amerindians massacre each other, even hundreds of years before Columbus: is there no limit to their villainy and recklessness, which threatens to create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum, and destroy the entire universe?