“He [Aaron Clauset] is one of a handful of U.S. and European scientists searching for universal patterns hidden in human conflicts — patterns that might one day allow them to predict long-term threats. Rather than study historical grievances, violent ideologies and social networks the way most counterterrorism researchers do, Clauset and his colleagues disregard the unique traits of terrorist groups and focus entirely on outcomes — the violence they commit.

“Call it the physics of terrorism….

“‘When you start averaging over the differences, you see there are patterns in the way terrorists’ campaigns progress and the frequency and severity of the attacks,’ he says. ‘This gives you hope that terrorism is understandable from a scientific perspective….’

“It is weird when you step back and say, ‘There are thinking, social beings in these organizations, they have families and causes and ideals and so on.’ And I’m thinking about them as being a little bit like particles.

“‘But,’ he says, ‘the patterns speak for themselves.'” [source]

yup. and the reason that this guy is finding broad patterns in the behaviors of terrorists is ’cause terrorism/human violence/the totality of human behavior is just a product of biology, not (really) a product of the terrorists’ “causes and ideals.” know what i mean?

update 04/18: see also – more reductionism working

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