Category Archives: Human Progress

Links and Comments: Progress; San Francisco Values; Value of Literature

From earlier this month. New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff: Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!: Once again, the world’s population was living longer and living better than ever before. Kristof does a version of this column every … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: World Getting Better; Choosing What to Believe; Questions for Atheists; Mathematical Ideas; Trumpian Cruelty

Vox: 23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better. From 2014, but updated this month. These data echo the theme of Steven Pinker’s recent books. File under: human progress, despite conservative paranoia and fears \\ … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Optimists; Bible; Children

Time Magazine’s current issue is called “The Optimists,” and is edited by Bill Gates. Steven Pinker has a piece: Why We Refuse to See the Bright Side, Even Though We Should According to the latest data, people are living longer … Continue reading

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Perspectives: Dozois and Bryson

Recently on Facebook, Gardner Dozois quotes from At Home, by Bill Bryson (author of A Short History of Nearly Everything), on the closing years of the 19th century: “From the perspective of domesticity, there has never been a more interesting … Continue reading

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Wright: Nonzero: Intro and Chapter 1

I’ve decided to tackle three or four substantial nonfiction books, over the next few weeks, in the manner of reading books for college courses — that is, alternating among them over a quarter or semester-like period of 8 to 10 … Continue reading

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Pinker: Better Angels: Passages and Outline from the Preface

This is Steven Pinker’s big 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, that takes a long-range view of human history to show that the human condition, over millennia and especially in recent centuries and decades, … Continue reading

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Big History

I’ve just recently become aware of the concept, and term, “Big History”. It happened when I saw a coffee table book, shown here, at Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago, and glanced through it, noticing two names I recognized: … Continue reading

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The Enlightenment and This Moment in American Culture

From Washington Post, a week or so ago: Harvard scientist worries we’re ‘reverting to a pre-Enlightenment form of thinking’ Prompted by how some presidents — Bush 43, and now Trump — are actively pushing back against scientific findings and research. … Continue reading

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Anthropocene and Harari

From last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Is the ‘Anthropocene’ Epoch a Condemnation of Human Interference — or a Call for More?, by Wesley Yang. Noticed firstly as continued evidence of the currency of the term ‘anthropocene’ to refer to … Continue reading

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A Vision of Possible Futures

Here’s a great video called Wanderers, by Erik Wernquest, that depicts visions of a future in which humanity has “conquered the solar system” in the words of this frame article at ScienceAlert.com. It’s narrated by Carl Sagan, whose introduction alludes … Continue reading

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