Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now, The case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”

At location (L 935) Pinker tells of a dozen or so objections to the numerics from “Our Better Angels”. Of course he dissects and demolishes each of them. That was fun to follow. He ends with a set of human biases that afflict most of us. He explains their origins too.

L 1224; I had not been aware of the substantial increases in African life expectancy.

L 1732; Pinker quotes Voltaire describing peaceful commerce in London between diverse types more often at war. This seems new and praiseworthy to Voltaire. The date was about 1750.

L 1851: I was wondering what Pinker would say about capitalism. We see here he likes it and he gives much good evidence why. Several concrete comparisons with communism are given which are already familiar.

L:1981: Inequality; Pinker argues well on this subject. So far he had not noted the motivation towards wealth creation advantage for inequality.

L 2341:

Good to see this list. I suspect it is somewhat longer.

L 2939: Pinker introduces the carbon tax and says “Having billions of people decide how best to conserve, given their values and the information conveyed by prices, is bound to be more efficient and humane than having government analysts try to divine the optimal mixture from their desks.” Yes, all of that, but in addition all those illogical special rules that try to control CO2 emissions in narrow areas can go away and too people do not need to even keep in mind that higher prices due to the carbon tax are for “the Earth” unless that makes them feel better.

L 3156: Pinker worries about the fate of carbon tax in the case inhomogeneous governance. I suggest that the revenue is enough to tempt any corrupt government.


3834/16838