Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

eBook - 2018
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An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2018]
ISBN: 9780698177888
0698177886
9780525427575
0525427570
Branch Call Number: eBook OverDrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xix, 556 pages) : illustrations.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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j
Jhetto
Aug 08, 2018

Brilliantly deconstructs the contemporary nihilism that shrouds the safest, richest, healthiest, and most liberal period in human history. Pinker backs every claim with data, elevating his arguments above the noisy post-modern babble.

ArapahoeAnnaL Aug 04, 2018

Puts our times in perspective. You'll be grateful for the quality of life science and humanism have made possible!

f
fpm
Jul 05, 2018

The author provides many interesting statistics. What concerns me is the hubris (technological magical thinking) - presuming that whatever problems arise now into the future will be readily resolvable by technical fixes if we just keep that technological faith!

2
21288004246712
May 13, 2018

"lies, damn lies, and statistics"

j
jsboren
Apr 14, 2018

I am on pg 266

y
yewentan
Apr 13, 2018

To check the other reader's comment on economic growth under Obama out of curiosity, I went back to several years, and here we go: GDP growth in Jan 2015, 3.2%; July 2015, 2.7%; Jan 2016, 0.5%; July 2016, 2.8%.

t
tomdance
Apr 06, 2018

Join me and get inspired by what Bill Gates calls his new “favorite book of all time.” Despite the onslaught of negative & extremist daily news, deliberately sensationalized to sell more ads, I’ve found deep philosophical hope in this book of the decade: "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" (2018), by Steven Pinker. At the heart of the book is trustworthy peer-reviewed science in every chapter, showing how far our species has come from homicidal warring tribes in the past, to the present relatively-safe large countries with various systems of rule of law enforcing a civil and human rights, mostly better than ever before. Sure, humans have a lot of problems still to fix (such as voting down fact-free far-right populist demagogues, and ignoring the idealistically-impractical & anti-trade extreme left), but this book reminds us to see more clearly how far humans have progressed worldwide (in terms of lifespan, health, safety, pollution control, human rights, wealth, happiness, etc), in historical perspective, in the past 150 years, especially in the past generation. (I believe that international engagement via trade and participation in the evolving United Nations is critical for the future of human rights & civic progress. International peer pressure may help enforce more universal humanism and freedom balanced with civic responsibilities.)

d
danatdanbullardcom
Mar 14, 2018

I was really looking forward to reading this book, because I love everything else Pinker writes, but this one was a bit disappointing. I regret that I couldn't finish it, mostly because Pinker elevates Obama to godhood and constantly trashes Trump for using the "backward looking phrase" Make America Great Again. Trump so far has done a good job of doing it (In 8 years Obama never had more than 2% growth in GDP and claimed that we would never see it higher than that for the rest of eternity, Trump got it up to 3% in his first year.)
Being a new book it obeys the Kawasaki rule (all new books are rife with errors) where on page 45 he says:
"The statement x>y is different from the statement y=o"
I'm certain that he meant y=0 (zero) not y=o, but I can forgive that minor typo. What I can't forgive is his constant criticism of those of us on the Right.

v
vaidybala
Jan 10, 2018

It is important to know what science finds out is only true 55% of the times. This is because the model science uses is Mechanical. Living Organism, being uses the Mind, neglected, that is the reason. Unless science incorporates the diffusion of the processes of the human mind, the total picture, true story is difficult to fathom, though try we must. Only by failing, we learn to walk, upright ! Nature is relentlessly Compelling !

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