Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason Science Humanism and Progress My new favorite book of all time Bill Gates A terrific book Pinker recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics from health to wars the environment to happiness equal rights to quality of

  • Title: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
  • Author: Steven Pinker
  • ISBN: 9780525427575
  • Page: 239
  • Format: Hardcover
  • My new favorite book of all time Bill Gates A terrific book Pinker recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life The New York TimesThe follow up to Pinker s groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress people are living lon My new favorite book of all time Bill Gates A terrific book Pinker recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life The New York TimesThe follow up to Pinker s groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science Is the world really 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 biases Instead, follow the data In seventy five jaw dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide This progress is not the result of some cosmic force It is a gift of the Enlightenment the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.Far from being a na ve 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 tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking which demagogues are all too willing to exploit Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

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      Published :2019-09-18T03:29:07+00:00

    About "Steven Pinker"

    1. Steven Pinker

      Steven Arthur Pinker is a prominent Canadian American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and author of popular science Pinker is known for his wide ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The New Republic, and is the author of seven books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, and most recently, The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature.He was born in Canada and graduated from Montreal s Dawson College in 1973 He received a bachelor s degree in experimental psychology from McGill University in 1976, and then went on to earn his doctorate in the same discipline at Harvard in 1979 He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT for a year, then became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Except for a one year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1995 6 As of 2008, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard.Pinker was named one of Time Magazine s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004 and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy s 100 top public intellectuals in 2005 He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of Newcastle, Surrey, Tel Aviv, McGill, and the University of Troms , Norway He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003 In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard University, whose comments about the gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty On May 13th 2006, Pinker received the American Humanist Association s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.In 2007, he was invited on The Colbert Report and asked under pressure to sum up how the brain works in five words Pinker answered Brain cells fire in patterns Pinker was born into the English speaking Jewish community of Montreal He has said, I was never religious in the theological sense I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969 His father, a trained lawyer, first worked as a traveling salesman, while his mother was first a home maker then a guidance counselor and high school vice principal He has two younger siblings His brother is a policy analyst for the Canadian government His sister, Susan Pinker, is a school psychologist and writer, author of The Sexual Paradox.Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced 1992 he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced His current wife is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein He has no children.He is currently working on an upcoming book about the evolution of human morality, specifically focusing on the historical decline of violence and its psychological roots as stated by the author himself on the Harvard website.

    740 thoughts on “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”

    1. You’ve never had it so good, and Steven Pinker has the stats and charts (over 70!) to prove it. Wars are fewer and less severe, homicides are down, racism is in decline, terrorism is a fading fad, democracy rules, communicable diseases and poverty are on their way out. Life expectancy is up, and police are killing fewer people, both black and white. Even the poor have refrigerators. Inequality is a requisite sign of success. So appreciate the wonderful state of affairs you find yourself in. Th [...]


    2. When this book was not boring me it was irritating me. All of the author’s anecdotes I had 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 it.Why equate Al Gore with Theodore Kaczynski (The Unabomber) as the author seems to do regarding the environment? Is Fox News really right when they said the poor can’t be poor because they have cell phones and air con [...]


    3. Ever since Bill Gates tweeted his endorsement for Pinker's Better Angels, fans have rushed to support his writing of big ideas by big thinkers!Enlightenment Now illustrates Pinker's practical yet tangible style, but is freshly positive as well. His explosive understanding toward social science and political empathy will appeal to all big thinkers and affirmative readers alike.


    4. As with Steven Pinker’s earlier "The Better Angels of Our Nature," of which this is really an expansion and elucidation, I was frustrated by this book. On the one hand, Pinker is an able thinker and clear writer, free of much of the ideological cant and distortions of vision that today accompany most writing about society (for society is what this book is about), and he is mostly not afraid to follow his reasoning to its conclusions. His data on human progress is voluminous, persuasive, and ex [...]


    5. In his newest book, (Neoliberalism) Now: The Case for (Positivism), Scien(tism), (Atheism), and (Globalization), Steven Pinker seeks to cash in on the Trump election by rushing out what is mostly a rehash of material from his previous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. His method of reasoning and tone of argument seeks to preach to the choir rather than persuade the unaffiliated. Unlike his classic works, The Blank Slate and The Sense of Style, this book will not be something we return to de [...]


    6. As in The Better Angels of our Nature, Steven Pinker shows us why we have to look beyond the news cycle and our own biases to examine the forces that have continuously improved conditions for the bulk of humanity. And Pinker provides the data to back his arguments up. There's no doubt that Pinker will be accused of being a Pollyanna, but he acknowledges that mankind has hard work ahead - including dealing with global climate change. His argument is simply that if we stand a chance at confronting [...]


    7. Pinker’s latest is getting a lot of press, of course.Here are a few links:His own synopsis at the Wall Street Journal: The Enlightenment Is Working (paywall; try Googling wsj The Enlightenment Is Working and clicking through from Google, maybe into “private browsing mode”. Works sometimes.)Ezra Klein of Vox is a pretty good interviewer, and he hooked up with Pinker at his podcast. I really liked that they both name-dropped Dan Kahan's work at his Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law Scho [...]


    8. I really enjoy Pinker's books. I think I have read all of them. I enjoyed this one as well despite some of my political differences with Pinker. I laud his hailing of the enlightenment. I am with him this maligned movement should get more respect than it does. I am a big believer in modernity. I agree science and reason even when done by flawed bipeds like ourselves is the best guide in our mental toolbox. Pinker recognizes that our modern politics is tribal and this clouds our judgment turning [...]


    9. DELUSIONA delusion is a mistaken belief that is held with strong conviction even when presented with superior evidence to the contrary. (From Wiki)Koreas united now!! No more mass-shootings now!! Forever young now!!!Fair elections in Russia now!! A free Tibet now!! Etc, all you need is to say itw. And then things look as if they are, as it's said; but in factquartzy.qz/1204932/steven.hink/errors-we-live-by


    10. This is a magnificent book written by a brilliant author who happens to be one of the world’s foremost experts on language and the mind. (Yes, he’s a psycholinguist.) Thankfully, I fully agree with 99% of everything he says. The case for humanism and for progress has never been stronger and he makes that case clearly and strongly. The problem with reality, however, is that it always exists in context, so when it comes to graphs and statistics, there’s a lot of wiggle room if you have the t [...]



    11. Steven Pinker is a rare creature in the academic world: a liberal who is not a leftist. As a liberal he supports things like free speech, civil rights, democratic ideals, and a strong government that ensures safety, protects the environment, and redistributes some portion of income to support education, health care, infrastructure, and the reduction of poverty. As a non-leftist, he supports things like a democratic government and a capitalist economy that, while subject to government regulation [...]


    12. While the purpose of this book is commendable - show with extensive use of data that we are living in the best of times, this book completely misses the mark on the topic I have dedicated part of my professional life for the past 10+ years: climate change. The author fails miserably to address this in a meaningful way and advocates for three main solutions, two being not exactly real ones.Indeed, the author advocates taxing carbon (yes), nuclear (no) and geoengineering (NO!). While taxing carbon [...]


    13. There is no one alive who writes with the mind-sweeping clarity and breadth of knowledge that Steven Pinker possesses. Though there are other works of his that are perhaps more revolutionary (The Blank Slate) or ambitious in their singular explanatory power (How the Mind Works), it is this latest volume of his that is his most timely and all-encompassing cerebral broom.If the idea of needing to defend Enlightenment values is mysterious to you at this point then I can only pity you your global-sc [...]


    14. It was a while ago when I gradually started to find any type of ideological thinking unpleasant to my taste, and I drifted towards a mode of thinking that required me to focus on a specific issue, and try to think independently, with the help of reason and available data. Of course I could not always unshackle myself of the evolutionary burden of trying to belong to a group and therefore adopt the group-think, but I tried. This book, coming from one of the most original, sharp and courageous thi [...]


    15. I picked "Enlightenment Now" after Bill Gates's recommendation. It's not every day that you hear someone like Gates recommend their favorite book of all time. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. The premise of the book is that, as humanity, we are much better off nowadays than ever before in history. Pinker draws on many statistics, graphs, and facts to show that is indeed the reality. While I love that premise and couldn't agree more (we need more of those reminders in the age of 24h media [...]


    16. What a ride.This book really packs a punch. And by “punch” I mean a devastating amount of research and data, coupled with nuanced analysis, laser-like precision of thought, and wit. The breadth and depth of this masterpiece is simply incredible.The Pinker treatment is always intense, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Brace yourself.As a staunch pessimist, this book gave me a whole lot to think about. I guess that’s what happens when someone dumps a truckload of data on your face.Be warned [...]


    17. There are more slaves than there ever has been therefore the world is worse than it ever has been. That is my parodic example of oversimple and overgeneral Pinker-logic.Wasn't it Albert Einstein that once said "not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."Actually, it was the Sociologist William Bruce Cameron. (But Einstein's celebrity authority, is like Pinker's: if he says it, it becomes more believed). The full quote is:"It would be nice if all of [...]


    18. Francis Bacon once said that “some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” This is one of the few.The main thesis of the book is that the enlightenment values of reason, science, and humanism have led to scientific and moral progress and that the embrace of these values will continue the trend. This, as opposed to counter-enlightenment values (religious faith, nationalism, tribalism, relativism, declinism), is the recipe for the maximi [...]



    19. I am with Bill Gates in that this is my new favourite book. It challenges a whole host of conventional wisdom, from the left (who as the South Park creators once said, always react in an outrage, "wait, you're not supposed to be making fun of US!") to the right (Bannon's "bring-it" mentality). This is very evident if you take a moment to go through the "bad" reviews. It's interesting to see reviewers deny some of Pinker's assertions, for example the disheartening inclination of people to engage [...]


    20. So it is not so bad as it seems, or at last that is the opinion of Pinker. This is the age of enlightenment even if everything seems so dark.well I would like to share the author's optimism, but in a way I was not so convinced by his reasoning and suggestions of how to read the world right now. Best part is the chapter about humanism.A quanto pare le cose non sono cosí brutte come sembrano, o almeno questa é l'opinione di Pinker, anzi siamo nella fase di un nuovo illuminismo (anche se sembra t [...]


    21. Wow. The subtitle spells it out: this tome makes the case for ensuring that reason, science, humanism, and progress are central to our society. By reflecting on his past book, The Better Angels of our Nature, he demonstrates how, incrementally, our lives have improved over decades and centuries. These improvements, largely, have come through the progress resulting from science and humanism. It is both an optimistic book, and a reminder to stay vigilant in defense of progress. If we can do both, [...]


    22. There are some good themes and provoking ideas in this book, but Pinker’s love of straw men arguments, adoration of science and complete incomprehension of religion can be distracting (and detracting) throughout


    23. I enjoyed the book and have always enjoyed Steven's work. But I was wondering if Jason Gregory knew that his wonderful book of the same title 'Enlightenment Now' was being used by Steven. I'm sure its no problem but it is interesting when authors borrow other title names. Nevertheless, I loved the book.


    24. Strongly recommend this well timed book.Agree or disagree, this is an essential read that will be talked about - I dare predict it'll be the most influential book published this year. “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” ― John Stuart MillSummarised in Pinker's words: “Seeing how journalistic habits and cognitive biases bring out the worst in each other, how can we soundly appraise the state of the world? The answer is to count.”


    25. Did you know that the life expectancy, globally, today is 71 years whereas 200 years ago the life expectancy was 31?. Did you know that there is a much smaller chance today that you will be murdered, go to war, die in a plane or car crash, or die from a lightning strike than in any other time in history? Did you know that a higher proportion of people are born into democracies and have access to sufficient food and money than ever before? To quote a quote from this book: “If you could choose t [...]


    26. This is Steven Pinker’s attempt justify the Enlightenment values of reason, science, humanism, and progress. To this end, he presents mountains of data on how these values have improved the human condition and improved life according to almost every metric. This book is an excellent refutation to those that believe capitalism is exploitative or dehumanizing, that life hasn’t improved since the 1950’s for the middle class, that the world or society is more dangerous than 20 years ago, that [...]


    27. Enlightenment Now : The Case for Reason, Science, and Humanism (2018) by Steven Pinker is a high selling non-fiction book by a famous author that espouses that humanity's condition has improved dramatically in the past 200 years and also very dramatically in the past 50 years. In addition to that Pinker says that the reason for this improvement is Reason, Science and Humanism. Bill Gates recently said that book is his favourite of all time. Pinker is a Canadian born cognitive psychologist profes [...]


    28. Steven Pinker has confirmed and shepherded a lot of my thinking over the past year. Enlightenment Now helped me understand the difference between Romanticism and Enlightenment thinking, which has heightened significance in today's political environment. Enlightenment thinking, with its focus on reason, progress, tolerance, and constitutional government, came of age in the 1700s and was followed by a backlash in the Romanticism of the early 1800s. Romanticism extols intuition, emotion, individual [...]


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