Biology of Violence Examined


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Biology of Violence Examined

In comparison Robert Wright and Jane Ellen Stevens hold different positions on their stance about the biology of violence. Stevens writes in her article that it is her belief that violence is a direct result of biological or public health problems. Wright’s view differs as his article shows why he believes that violence is a result of external causes beyond the simple biological explanation. Whereas both authors have opposing viewpoints each presents an argument worth of consideration.
Robert Wright considers the element of the biology of violence as a component of poverty and violence. To clarify his views he makes the relationship between gangs and political coalitions. He relates the motives of gangs to those in politics by depicting gangs as a group of people with concurring views who desire to serve each others interests suitably. Although the degree of destruction between gang violence and war or terrorism differs, it is Wright’s belief that the underlying principle that leads to each is the same. To understand this statement’s take the example of a poverty stricken mother or father. If the only way that they would be able to provide food or shelter was through acts of violence, it would be safe to assume that they would take whatever course of action necessary. Acts of terrorism (separate from the events of Sept 11 and onwards) are sometimes the result of a political statement or threat being made in an attempt to have a member of their group released when all else has failed. Environment also plays a role as in a sad but true way that violence is more “accepted”, in run-down, poorer areas.
Stevens provides us with an alternate view. She argues on violence as the result of biological composition of individuals. Stevens uses the blood sugar deficiency called hypoglycemia and its relationship with alcoholism and smoking. Stevens argues that alcoholism increases ones chance of getting hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia that are relevant are irritability and even in some cases mental disturbances. Since alcoholism increases the chance of hypoglycemia, then violence may be more in congruence with biological factors then we believe. Also the facts that mental disorders and chemical deficiencies have also been proven to be linked with violence support her argument also.

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Evidence such as the theory of the mutating gene and the discovery of harmful enzymes in the blood after acts of violence add make me lean a little stronger towards her argument.
Personally I do not think that there is a right or a wrong answer. I believe that there is some truth supported by strong evidence for each case the respective writer’s supports. Maybe if people stopped trying to look for one definitive answer, and out ruling others, the answers would become a little more clearer, and the problem easier to cope with.


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