PDF/EPUB Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason Science Humanism and Progress


Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason Science Humanism and Progress

characters ¾ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ Steven Pinker

For years I ve been saying Steven #Pinker s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I d ead in a #s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I d Tigers in Normandy read in a If I couldecommend just one book for anyone to pick up that was it Pinker uses meticulous Presidential Secrecy and the Law research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history I d never seen such a clear explanation of progressI m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much because Pinker has managed to top himself His new book Enlightenment Now is even better Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress like uality of life knowledge and safety Theesult is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better It s like Better Angels on steroidsI ead the book slowly since I loved it so Much But I Think Most People Will Find It A but I think most people will find it a and accessible ead He manages to share a ton of information in a way that s compelling memorable and easy to digestIt opens with an argument in favor of Hume on Religion returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment an era wheneason science and humanism were touted as the highest virtuesI m all for eason science and humanism but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares especially about health and energy but he understands each subject so deeply that he s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and newI love how he s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress I tend to point to things like dramatic eductions in poverty and childhood deaths because I think they City Schools: Lessons from New York re such a good measure of how wee doing as a society Pinker covers those areas but he also looks at obscure topicsHere are When this book was not boring me it was irritating me All of the author s anecdotes I had The Widow's Lawman read elsewhere Science is good I don t need convincing Vaccines work Poverty is bad and is getting better throughout the world Everyone who wants to know this stuff already knows itWhy euate Al Gore with Theodore Kaczynski The Unabomber as the author seems to doegarding the environment Is Fox News The Story Within reallyight when they said the poor can t be poor because they have cell phones and air conditioning today The author defended that absurdity though he doesn t mention that Fox used to argue that when Obama was president And why did the author make a false euivalence between Bernie Sanders and Trump Sanders didn t believe climate change is a Chinese Hoax or pick someone in his cabinet who thinks vaccines cause autism or wanted to build a wall and claim Mexico will pay for it or feed our hate against Muslims Browns Asians or anyone who strikes his fancy for the day even kneeling football players This author always seemed to have some pie in the sky anti humanist post modernist Strawman he was easily demolishing for some First Resorts: Pursuing Pleasure at Saratoga Springs, Newport, Coney Island reason I couldn t figure out He mentioned the in gratitude were in the 9th circle of hell and implied Dante had a point and people most of us have never heard of such as Heidegger Adorno and Neitzsche and I think he also mentioned Marcuse belonged there for their in gratitude I m going to venture a guess since I didn tead all of the book the author doesn t like identity politics and gets bothered by political correctness and thinks both sides are to blame I don t know if that s where Why I won t be God Gave Me a Mulligan: A Journalist's Life in War and Peace reading this A few months ago I heard Steven Pinker give a talk about this book I must say that his speaking skill did not impress me However his writing skill is brilliant This is a very important book epic in scope comprehensive well thought out and structured incredibly wellesearched and full of some very important messagesThe book begins with a student s uestion Why should I live To which Pinker answers with a profound interpretation of the meaning of life I won t Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth-Century Paris repeat his complete answer but he writes You have the ability to like loveespect help and show kindness and you can enjoy the gift of mutual benevolence with friends family and colleagues You can foster the welfare of other sentient beings by enhancing life health knowledge freedom abundance safety beauty and peace Pinker writes that the Enlightenment helped us escape from superstition and ignorance It increased our understanding of ourselves through science Also Humanism is a secular foundation for morality And it is individuals who are sentient not the tribe The Enlightenment helped to abolish cruel punishments and slavery Also Humanism helped bring about an increase in peaceThe Enlightenment has helped to eradicate some terrible diseases Science is the most unambiguous achievement by mankind Science helped to eradicate smallpox a "Painful And Disfiguring Disease That "and disfiguring disease that 300 million people in the 20th century And we have forgotten that. If you think the world is coming to an end think again people are living longer healthier freer and happier lives and while our problems are formidable the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using The American Academic Profession: Transformation in Contemporary Higher Education reason and scienceIs the worldeally falling apart Is the ideal of progress obsolete In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom which play to our psychological ,
On April 12 1955 people observed moments
of silence ang 
silence ang honked horns "Took The Day Off "the day off schools and forgave enemies That was the day that Jonas Salk s polio vaccine was declared to be safe Pinker extols the virtues of genetic engineering that can accomplish in days what farmers accomplished over millennia and what Norman Borlaug took years of mind warping tedium to accomplish Hundreds of studies every major health and science organization and over a hundred Nobel laureates have testified to the safety of transgenic crops Nevertheless some traditional environment groups persist in denying them to the worldI just loved this uote from the book In 1976 Mao single handedly and dramatically changed the direction of global poverty with one simple act he diedPinker devotes chapters to improvements in the environment and the problem of climate change He shows that there is virtually no dissension among scientists that climate change and specifically global warming is a significant problem However he is optimistic that these issues can in principle be solved by courageous governmental actionThe book describes the growth of democracy around the world not steadily but in waves Democratic countries have higher The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism rates of economic growth fewer wars and genocides better educated citizens and almost no famines The besteason for democracy stated by Karl Popper is that it is a solution to the problem of how to dismiss bad leadership without bloodshed And it gives people the freedom to complainPinker shows how disbelief in human caused climate change is not correlated with scientific illiteracy but is due to allegiance to values held by one s social circle Political tribalism is decried as the most insidious form of irrationality today And this tribalism exists on the left and the Jewish Thought, Utopia, and Revolution right sides of the political spectrum Pinker writes American conservative politics has become steadily know nothing from Ronald Reagan to Dan uayle to George W Bush to Sarah Palin to Donald Trump Pinker lists all of the ways in which President Trump hasesisted progress and backtracks to a less advanced way of life Reversal of health care A Kangaroo's Life reversal of globalismeversal in the growth of wealth Georg Buchner: Contemporary Perspectives reversal of the environment safety law and order international trade eualights tolerance and the judicial system The president has all the hallmarks of a dictator he is impulsive and vindictive The last chapter of the book is about humanism the chapter starts out well but then briefly becomes too philosophical and abstract for my taste Then the chapter Filosofía e inmanencia returns to a accessible concrete structure It becomes obvious that Pinker is an atheist He writes that the existence of the God of scripture is a perfectly testable scientific hypothesis And he list some experiments that could be performed to test the hypothesis He also shows how theeligiosity of nations and even from The Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia: The Drums of Life region toegion within the United States is inversely elated to happiness and well being The United States being eligious on the whole than West European countries has higher homicide Murder in Gutenthal rates abortion STD s child mortality obesity educational mediocrity and premature deaths And Pinker points out that noneligious people in the US tend not to vote that helps explain why we have Trump in office todayThis is such a fascinating book it takes up arguments where his earlier book The Better Angels of Our Nature Why Violence Has Declined leaves off This is the seventh book that I have ead by Steven Pinker and this one is just as wonderful as his previous books A paean to the status uo that can be summarized in four words don t worry be happy Actually five words as one is contracted This book will no doubt earn the author a lanyard to every corporate boardroom and conservative think tank in the countryHis thesis is that Enlightenment principles must be defended but not against mindless consumerism not against the growing disparities of wealth not #against the disruption of earth systems No the Enlightenment must be defended against The Strawman The author lets the #the disruption of earth systems No the Enlightenment must be defended against The Strawman The author lets the out early in the book Intellectuals hate progress p39 Later Pinker says An axiom of progressive opinion especially in universities is that we continue to live in a deeply acist sexist and homophobic society which would imply that progressivism is a waste of time having accomplished nothing at decades of struggle p215 Did your jaw just drop too This is a On the Field of Glory: an Historical Novel of the Time of King John Sobieski recurring theme in the book binary positions If you feel that we have a ways to goegarding bigotry then you are just not appreciative enough of the gains intellectuals and progressives are anti Enlightenment Just five pages later he says that heightened concern is not futile moralizing but has brought measurable progress which means that continuing this concern can lead to greater progress still p220 Yes the idea of progressive thinking is that maintaining a heightened level of concern can motivate greater gains towards Enlightenment ideals unless that. Iases Instead follow the data In seventy five jaw dropping graphs Pinker shows that life health prosperity safety peace knowledge and happiness are on the Lassie Come-Home rise not just in the West but worldwide This progress is not theesult of some cosmic force It is a gift of the Enlightenment the conviction that eason and science can enhance human flourishingFar from being a naïve hope the Enlightenment we now know has worked But than ever it needs a vigorous defense The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature.
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Is you are an intellectual who when maintaining a heightened level of concern is just being unappreciative of the meaty bone the status uo has already thrown youPinker says police shoot too many people but it s not primarily a Mr. Majeika and the Dinner Lady and Mr. Majeika and the Music Teacher racial issue I wonder if the number of people who are shot with their empty hands in the air is aacial issue maybe a nice chart on that one would be interesting Maybe he should interview groups of people who live in fear of the police of being carded while walking of being stopped on the oad because of their appearanceIn his effort
to make all 
make all his graphs show diminishing bads over time he has to fudge GHG emissions to show GHG emissions GDP This #Is A Favourite Trick Of Those #a favourite trick of those who to delay any meaningful efforts to climate change the atmosphere doesn t care how many goods and services an economy creates Emissions are continuing to increase as our economy expands Diluting this value with a GDP measure of dematerialized services is of an indicator of what public and personal work has been devoured by The Market than anything to do with emissions In plain words it is disingenuousProbably the most distressing aspect of this book is Pinker s unwillingness to engage in a meaningful critiue of left intellectuals who he seems to despise His eferences to them involve either gross dog whistle caricatures the butt of a Russian peasant joke or a cheap pot shot Osama Bin Laden owned a copy of a book by Noam Chomsky Ninth City Burning (War of the Realms, really Who cares And then he misrepresents Deconstruction and post modernism as the heartbeat of anti Enlightenment thought heirs of the antiational Romantic thinkers of the past Any intellectual who explores truth making like the Continental philosophers or challenges the big empty narratives around freedom truth Der Ritter und die Bastardtochter right etc becomes antiational Then Pinker unloads the big clich that you can t make a Chinaberries and Crows rational statement about truth being socially constructed which to Pinker means that what is meant is that there is no truth binary thinking again and therefore antiational for a page or two he dances around the logical impossibility of making a ational statement about an anti ationalist position as if anyone Blessed Are the Wicked really holds this position But when it comes to his tribe he says in italics no Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistentlyational It s surprising that author could not see that this sentiment cuts both ways Eg no postmodernist thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently irrational The left too has missed the boat in its contempt for the market and its omance with Marxism What does this even mean What Marxism the critiue of capital I think this is most evealing as Pinker dodges any eference to capitalism or accurately a critiue of capitalism The omance with Marxism is a sign of Enlightenment principles at work as opposed to a dogmatic adherence to Capitalism as the best system in the past and by extrapolation the best system forever In addition to this bias Pinker is uick to point out what he considers bad about communist or leftist governments without evaluating their successes and failures on the same principled measures as he applies throughout the book for example Stories from a Siberian Village rather than a chauvinistic dismissal of Venezuela under Chavez measure his gains or failures in child mortality longevity homicides poverty literacy and so on He critiues the numbers of left intellectuals in the academy a place where ambiguity honest analysis and critiue is fostered but doesn t conduct a similar survey of theatio of left to Reform, Red Scare, and Ruin right thinkers in positions of power in public office or corporate boardrooms not to mention the academy Later during his analysis of Islam he uotes ex Muslim activist Sarah Haider who says Religions are just ideas and don t haveights Criticizing the ideas of Islam is no bigoted than criticizing the ideas of neoliberalism or the Republican Party Platform p442 I wonder if he feels this way about other non Muslim faith based states in the Grauwacht regioneplace Islam with another faith and I wonder what sort of eception his book would have eceivedI could go on and on as every page packs a groaner Overall Pinker loses the gist of his thesis in a stew of gross generalizations and what I would consider a contempt for the Enlightenment project as it Lies, Damned Lies, and History relates to preserving open discussion of ideals and efforts against theeification of power structures and narratives that hinder progress Has humanity come a long way Sure who The New World really doubts that Do we have work to do Yes we do but you wouldn t feel any urgency to do so from this bookPinker says Instead theireputations hinge on their ability to entertain titillate or shock on their ability to instill confidence or fear in the hopes that a prophecy might be self fulfilling or self defeating and on their skill in galvanizing a coalition and celebrating its virtue I would say this is a good description of the author of Enlightenment NowJust to be clear I didn t like this boo. –tribalism authoritarianism demonization magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit Many commentators committed to political You Wouldn't Want to Be an Inca Mummy!: A One-way Journey You'd Rather Not Make religious oromantic ideologies fight a earguard action against it The esult is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperationWith intellectual depth and literary flair Enlightenment Now makes the case for eason science and humanism the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progre. .