A Progress Report
|Results from the Statement||Page 7|
One criticism that sometimes arises maintains that we have set up a 'straw man' and that no one really believes that war is intrinsic to human nature. At times these critics seem to take the Statement as a personal affront, as if we have said that they, in particular, believe this myth, or that they, in particular, have failed to educate the public properly. This criticism ignores the data that the myth is widely believed among young people. It is more than offset by passionate support for the Seville Statement by many peace educators and activists who confront the myth and its consequences in day-to-day practice.
Of course, those who drafted the Seville Statement did not expect that they had written the last word on the subject. The Statement itself says that "we are aware that there are many other issues about violence and war that could be fruitfully addressed from the standpoint of our disciplines, but we restrict ourselves here to what we consider a most important first step'. Just as the UNESCO Statements on Race were reformulated every decade or so, it would be appropriate for such a process to occur with the SeviIle Statement on Violence.
Unfortunately, there have not yet been any scientific studies that evaluate the effect of using the Seville Statement in an educational context. One could imagine a cross- national study in which experimental groups were given the message of the Seville statement, perhaps embedded in a broader context, and their subsequent attitude change and activity were compared to those of an appropriate control group.
Of course, it is too early to speculate if the Seville Statement has helped to reinforce the political processes of peace and disarmament that it was designed to influence. In this regard, it may be noted that the Statement was sent to US Congressmen while they were deliberating the ratification of the INF Treaty in the spring of 1988. It was accompanied by a cover letter from Brewster Smith, President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, who asked that they reject the myth that warfare is built into human beings biologically and that they give more attention to the attaining and securing peace rather than preparing for war.