Mr Hawking and most religious leaders would agree. Why does poverty beget violence? Connect the dots from that stone age club, to bronze weapons, to steel, then explosives, then guns, and now nuclear weapons with global reach. Strategic arms deals can only reduce a part of this. Gun control can only have an effect in those limited circumstances.
Resolve our aggression, our willingness to harm one another and every weapon including the bare fist becomes far less dangerous. Gun control? sure. Nation to nation peace deals ? Excellent. Reduce poverty, another step forward. But as we do all those things, we have to come back to our primitive nature and overcome it.
Aggression is the human race’s biggest failing and it “threatens to destroy us all”, Stephen Hawking has said, urging people to be more empathetic.
Professor Hawking spoke at the Science Museum while giving a tour to Californian Adaeze Uyanwah, who beat 10,000 international entrants to win a special trip to London, in which he is shown the sights by celebrity guides. “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression,” the astrophysicist said. “It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”
The human quality the scientist would most like to magnify was empathy. “It brings us together in a peaceful loving state.”