Original Proposal

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GeorgeKunath
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Original Proposal

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Originally Posted by GeorgeKunath » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:07 pm – 17 views in Sec. 3 before being transplanted here
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Original Proposal - “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Prof. Steven Pinker

I propose that we read “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Prof. Steven Pinker (Viking Press 2/13/2018 – 453 pages sans notes and index - $14.99 paperback + shipping or $14.99 Kindle from Amazon.com).


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Book Description per Amazon (usually from the book’s fly cover)

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: 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 naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more 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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Author Bio per Amazon.com

Prof. Steven Pinker is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Global Thinkers.


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Book Review Excerpts

“An excellent book, lucidly written, timely, rich in data and eloquent in its championing of a rational humanism that is — it turns out — really quite cool.”
—New York Times Book Review

"The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s 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.”
—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

“Pinker is a paragon of exactly the kind of intellectual honesty and courage we need to restore conversation and community.”
—David Brooks, The New York Times

“[Enlightenment Now] is magnificent, uplifting and makes you want to rush to your laptop and close your Twitter account.”
—The Economist

“[A] magisterial new book…Enlightenment Now is the most uplifting work of science I’ve ever read.”
—Science Magazine

“A passionate and persuasive defense of reason and science…[and] an urgently needed reminder that progress is, to no small extent, a result of values that have served us - and can serve us - extraordinarily well.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A meticulous defense of science and objective analysis, [and] a rebuttal to the tribalism, knee-jerk partisanship and disinformation that taints our politics.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“[Pinker] makes a powerful case that the main line of history has been, since the Enlightenment, one of improvement.”
—Scientific American

“With a wealth of knowledge, graphs and statistics, a strong grasp of history, and an engaging style of writing…Enlightenment Now provides a convincing case for gratitude.”
—Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“A forceful defense of the democratic, humanist institutions that [Pinker] says brought about these changes, and a declaration that reason, science and humanism can solve the problems to come.”
—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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