Okay – I’ll just start my blog post over again because my first impressions of this book were a bit off. What happened was that I felt like it was a rehash of the author’s earlier book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (which I read prior to this blog) combined with Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth (which I never finished – got about 1/2 way).
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
by Steven Pinker
2018 – 576 pages
rating: 9.75 / science/politics
read by Arthur Morey – 19h 49m
Make no mistake – as the subtitle states bluntly – this is a call for a return to the values of the enlightenment – “The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.” Pinker first reviews those ideals, then he reviews the advancements made since the enlightenment (this is where I got rather bored), and finally he calls out the nay-sayers from right-wing religious bigots and nationalists to the leftist intellectuals who bemoan any progress as being “so-called” for various reasons.
Anyway – it’s a great book – (although I’m not quite as sold on atheism as Pinker) and I totally believe that even if the situation looks rather dim right now (and yes, Pinker addresses the Trump phenomenon as well as fundamentalist Islam) we have to continue the battle for the principles of Humanism – even if we have to take them on faith and with the understanding that the more peace, health, prosperity and happiness the world has for the greatest number of people the better off we all are.
3/25 – I have to add to this – Pinker looks at the Enlightenment values of Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress” – the book’s subtitle. But what happens when progress seems not to be progress for a certain group – the US vs the world? Are atomic weapons progress? What happens when the values conflict (scientific IQ/race studies vs humanism) etc.
I just became aware of this title last night while browsing an Amazon’s “Best List”. It caught my attention but I know I won’t be reading this book as it seems to make its case as much based on science and technological innovations as it does through politics. I get you were bored at certain passages, but overall, did you like it?
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Yes, generally I liked it – – especially the last several chapters where he kind of gets down to the nuts and bolts. The reason I got bored was because the center section, “Progress,” is mostly a rehash of Robert J. Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth:” – for which Gordon is given credit. I really liked the Gordon book but didn’t ever finish – I really should. (sigh)
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