I have yet to read Steven Pinker‘s Better Angels of Our Nature, but I must admit, I’m intrigued. The book, which just released last week, argues that violence is on the decline. The world is not going to hell after all. We’re much safer now than we were at various points throughout history. He begins the book’s preface (reprinted on the NY Times) with these words,
“This book is about what may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history. Believe it or not-and I know that most people do not-violence has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”
This is a bold statement, and not everyone agrees as this review by psychologist Robert Epstein points out. The Guardian‘s review is more favorable. Whether or not I end up agreeing with his thesis, the idea sounds fascinating, and I am interested in what he has to say. His TED Talk from 2007 may provide an introduction to the book for those who haven’t the time for a 700-some page book.
If you’re in the Twin Cities, you can hear Steven Pinker speak at the Twin Cities Book Festival this Saturday.
See more posts about science, religion, and secular family life on my Secular Thursday page.
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