2 Comments

  1. Jonathan Erdman
    March 29 @ 5:58 pm

    I have yet to read his newest book but I suspect that I would likewise be skeptical. I was disappointed with Better Angels because his argument for the reduction (so called) in violence was based entirely on violence as a percentage of the population. In other words, there are more people (to say nothing of non humans) suffering today than at any time in history and yet by Pinker’s logic we ought to be cheered. It all seems steeped in privilege.

    The premise for Enlightenment Now seems flawed as well. The Trump campaign should be proof to anyone that we are not just bags of bones walking around carrying brains. We are not rational beings, at least not primarily. We are story tellers, a species inspired by narratives. It’s how we evolved, and I think Yuval Harari in his book Sapiens makes a better attempt at getting at what makes us tick. I mean, I’m sure Pinker acknowledges that we are not primarily rational beings – he’s a smart dude – but I’d be skeptical going in, and not just because I want to fixate on the negative but because he seems to have a good deal of unacknowledged bias in his other works.

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    • Jessica S. Manuel
      April 22 @ 5:30 am

      You hit the nail on the head. Some of which he acknowledges but presses on to draw his conclusions no matter what. Bill Gates called Enlightenment Now “my new favorite book of all time,” and I admit that endorsement intrigued me. Even Gates was wanting more from the book, so why he calls it his new favorite book is beyond me.

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