Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker
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Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker | BWG

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Was 2017 really the “worst year ever,” as some would have us believe? In his analysis of recent data on homicide, war, poverty, pollution and more, psychologist … .

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25 thoughts on “Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker | BWG

  1. Intermittently maybe, the whole world needs such sanguine boosts to bolster the subliminal sense of calmness. Steven Pinker is an eminent linguist and cognitive scientist. His books over the past decade have ameliorated the way we have been musing about anthropological development. The expansive set of data that he expounds during his lectures are astoundingly telling and conciliatory at the same time. Hail the man for his disinterested and edifying thoughts which have been impregnable to the persistently pessimistic ailments of our society.

  2. ‘Democracy is threatened by authoritarian populism in the United States ‘ nope it’s threatened by Censureship, Social credit scores as was the rule under the Maoist cultural revolution right here by corporations with fellow Harvard and Ivy League ideologues who have no respect for the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution. An example : No human is illegal! That progressive sign on folks lawns is just another activist means for abolishing Nation and the meaning of citizenship . Now Mr Pinker how is the individual we have in President Biden not authoritarian when he allows 1 million illegals into our country without vaccinations or vetting or his CDC director allowing squatters to stick it to small business owners and small time landlords who pay for activists in Government positions of power not flaunting the law. And law abiding tax paying citizens are suppose to roll over .

    Certainly nothing that affects a well paid Academic as yourself teaching in an Academic bubble .
    Your preaching to the choir !

    Let’s see how Biden’s overreach will fare for the
    country come 2022.

  3. There's a more nuanced middle ground here. Our CIRCUMSTANCES indeed improve, but the character of human beings does not. I'm not necessarily convinced of this, but let's just say that the jury is still out. Our improved circumstances — what Pinker catalogs here with his charts and statistics — enable us to treat each other with improving standards of civility (e.g. civil rights for minorities), but the moment these circumstances are believed to be compromised or threatened, we are capable of descending into levels of depravity and cruelty completely unknown in other species. It doesn't even take a real physical disaster — a skillful demagogue capable of instilling fear and hate in ordinary people can convince them to turn against the very circumstances that made them "civilized" in the first place — to doubt objective facts, for example, giving a viral pandemic the power to overwhelm a population that actually has the know-how and resources to defeat it.

    The bottom line is that wellbeing is not only physical, but psychological. It's not that pessimists don't recognize the gains that Pinker celebrates; it's that those gains are no guarantee that we won't, despite all of our achievements, succumb to the darker side of our nature. After all, we have done it many times before, and now, more than any time in history, we have the means to utterly destroy ourselves if we do it again.

  4. I don’t know why Jewish authors are the most successful, does anyone see the trend or only me? Although they are minority but invented things like nuclear bombs and many other things. And account for large numbers in science Nobel laureates.

  5. The only reason we have a long "peace" is because of the mutually assured destruction that is atomic war. If we had no nukes we'd simply continue. Stop twisting statistical data into bullshit conclusions that support the narrative that everything's great now.
    Go read some philosophy, history, or literature. Orwell or Nietzsche, something at least.
    There are certain memes that reoccur throughout history. When concepts have been present alongside us for the dawn of our species we can safely assume that it is a part of our nature.

    The nature of humanity is violence. We are animals and imperfect beings. To say anything but is to deny what we are.

  6. So disappointing. I applaud the the good news but when it’s tainted with bogus information, the whole well is poisoned.

    Mr. Pinker’s Data on life expectancy is accurate but only because he quickly slips in, “at birth“. The fact is if a person survived adolescence they lived to a ripe old age of 70, on average.

    So how many other opportunities did he take to skew our perception?

    So annoying because it wasn’t even necessary.

  7. A great and wonderful lecture…

    …that means nothing to people who cannot watch it because they're dead because of all these things that are "better" today than they were years ago.

    I'm glad things are better but they could be even better and let's continue this progress even further.

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