Some of the chapter ntitled The Future of Progress In it he slams what he calls populism and he particularly has it in for Trump I m not American and can t fully comment on his opinions but I am British so I did get riled when he lumped Brexit in with Trump s Water Music election as proof of an undesirable populist surge Firstly it is lazy thinking to lump them together just because they happened in the same year Secondly the vote to leave the UK was a progressive humanistic vote because it saw people wanting to return to a system of directlylected representatives to lessen the gap between the rulers and the ruled to live under laws that were suited to their own circumstances as opposed to other circumstances in 27 other countries In other words it was a vote FOR democracyIn this chapter Pinker betrays himself as a liberal globalist who has no real understanding of the European Union he sees it as an instigator of much of the processes that have led to the improvements he details Revived elsewhere in the book But there is absolutely no reason why a newly independent United Kingdom cannot continue to be at the forefront of pushing forward pro market pronlightenment pro human legislation Pinker does actually say at one point in the book that the UK is among the three most influential countries in the world the others being the US and GermanySo apart from this small grumble I d praise this as an accessible rationally positive incredibly valuable book that Student Research Projects in Calculus everyone should read There is no doubt that Steven Pinker is a very intelligent man So was the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain What they also have in common isternal optimism Neville Chamberlain misjudged the intentions of the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler Peace for our time was his overoptimistic assessment of the situation because he failed to properly understand the vil before him Steven Pinker is similarly misguided He attempts to paint a picture of the world that is unrealistic In a time of xistential crisis where there is no room for the skeptic and one is only allowed to back one side or the other the split in society is only too Love for Imperfect Things evident Far from this heading towards a better world it does not bode well for democracy real progress and propernlightenment Unless one calls A Heart of Stone enlightenment blinded by the light A well composed and researched narrative of human progress Pinker has defined human progress in a meaningful way and selected a number of objective measures to track it over time He has analysed the contribution ofnlightenment ideals to progress in a way that is asy to follow and a pleasure to read Highly recommend I thought his at times cynical and out of context criticism. Longer healthier safer happierpeacefulstimulating andprosperous not just in the West but worldwide Such progress is no accident its the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us mbrace without ven realizing it These are the values of the Enlightenment of reason science humanism and progressThe challenges we face today are formidable including ineuality climate change Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or
Of president Trump and criticism of the American Electoral system spoil what should have been an interesting read given the topic of nlightenment and its relationship to contemporary times You would do better to read Democracy in America and Reflections of the revolution in France This is in Divertimento effect an update of Harvard Psychology professor Steven Pinker sarlier book The Better Angels of Our NatureIt is mercifully briefer than that tome but with the same basic message that away from the news headlines things are continuing to improve This book was Love Is a Fairy Tale enthralling and convincingxhorting us to Promise at Dawn embrace anmpirically optimistic paradigm to defy the sensationalist specious alarmist world view peddled by the media and spoused by many academics and intellectuals Pinkner s polemic is nhanced by his Bangkok Wakes to Rain engaging sagacious style and his use of macroscopic studies He asserts that galloping multi faceted progress is humanity s past present and future this is his reflective and proleptic wisdom that refutes the garrulous doomers and gloomers The mountain of bad news about the future at first had me think I needed to correct Mr Pinker about his optimism but not long into thisasy to read book I was reminded that our species does lean toward the negative which is the most prolific information content on the Media pages cos it sells So Enlightenment Now is a refreshing view of how we as as species has managed huge leaps into a remarkable survival when confronted with mortalities odds and if we can get over our current hump of climate stress and political wantonness we are all OK I purchased this with high The Right Sort of Man (Sparks Bainbridge Mystery expectation after reading reviews A very good feel good read until I did deeper research on the interpretation of statistics and underlying data Well it is utterly amazing the many ways you can interpret data top make it look realistic We are need to be reminded that ourarth physical and cognitive life cycles are Steven brings to the reader a myriad of data and Darkmere evidence to show humanity is moving forward and living better The curiosity of the book is the bet Steven placed against anpidemic that would kill 1M people by 2020 I wonder if he will pay it This book took many many hours to work through because it s intellectually and motionally challengingNevertheless I highly recommend reading this It affirmed my own decision long ago that humanism is a key way for the human race to thriveThe author challenges conventional and religious wisdom in a respectful way and debunks many of the myths out there and the focus by many on what s not working rather than what isThe author is also under no illusions and so I found this a very solid and fair work. Ry to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; its to treat them as problems we can solve as we have solved other problems in the past In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of volution in an indifferent universe We will never have a perfect world but defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction we can continue to make it a better
Rambling repetitive selective and Den of Shadows (Gamblers Den extremely arrogant If you disagree with Professor Pinker then you are by definition a fool and an idiot Every once in a while a book like this comes along one that changes the way you look at almostverything If someone summarises its central thesis it hardly sound breathtaking Around the world most things are getting better g less poverty less ineuality fewer wars and improved health and reason science and humanism take the credit Even so how Pinker supports his thesis is what makes the book a great readIt s an specially good read for those of us who like to see religion and simplistic tribal politics get a kicking I have read and re read The Better Angels of our Nature and find it an The Eric Carle Gift Set exercise in how to put across a logically and rationally arrived at view in spite of how the world seems through theyes of the media I can see why it caused irritation amongst those who could not accept that things could be both bad and yet better to uote Hans Rosling but they are perhaps not those at whom it is aimedThis is not uite as overpoweringly persuasive but then I think it would be impossible for it to be Angels addresses the many aspects of one long term trend in human history the saw tooth decline of violence over time and its many causes corollaries Huguenot Prophecy and Clandestine Worship in the Eighteenth Century etc Enlightenment addresses the greater sweep of a large number of such things and cannot possibly devote the space that Angels did to one subject toach hence the inevitability that it can t feel uite as persuasiveI note that several critics picked out areas that they felt were dealt with in a cursory manner or where Fashion Design Course errorsxist and I would add to this is saying that whilst the ways in which a significant asteroid strike or supervolcano might be tackled are beginning to be understood but I think Pinker believes that we are further along in these regards than I understand to be the caseBut none of these criticisms matter not a jot The case presented is like a building It is comprised of many things and finding some fault with one or two of the bricks does nothing to undermine the worldview that is being advancedSo less convincing that Angels perhaps but if anything Aeralis (The Frost Chronicles, even important Most of this book is a feelgood delight worth a million antidepressants and totally compelling Pinker convincingly makes the case that in the last two hundred years human life has been getting better and better and that rate of improvement is speeding up despite there being greater numbers of people on Earth thanver beforeScores of graphs show this to be true On the verge of repetition Pinker rams home the message that life is getting much better in almost very wayMy only gripe. My new favourite book of all time Bill GatesTOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERIs modernity really failing Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possibleIf you follow the headlines the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos hatred and irrationality Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines you discover that our lives have become.