Natural Selection & War


Natural Selection & War


Paul B. Olsen



Paul Olsen, Col., U.S. Army, will discuss that today’s advances in evolutionary biology are unifying competing theories of natural selection and serve as a timely call for a similar unification of competing theories of war. This lecture explores the relationship between war and natural selection by first examining war’s biological origins, and then placing them within a multidisciplinary framework called the Nature of War Theory. This theory, as its name implies, reconciles natural selection and war to reveal a shared overarching and paradoxical duality, displaying that war is characterized by the simultaneous violent interplay of evolutionary individual-level and group-level adaptations, manifested by individualist and altruistic wars, respectively, and highlighted by trends and insights recognizable to both students of war and evolutionary biology.

Publication Date



Evolutionary Biology, Natural Selection, Nature of War Theory


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Peace and Conflict Studies

Natural Selection & War