Category Archives: Human Progress

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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Pondering Immigration and the Future of the Nation

If there’s any one thing the United States might be remembered for, in future centuries or millennia long after the country has been superseded by newer, more advanced societies, it will be that it was a place for immigrants and … Continue reading

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Carl Sagan, THE VARIETIES OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERIENCE (2006): History is a battle of inadequate myths

Here’s a book I had forgotten I had, relatively speaking; I obviously bought it back in 2006 or so, but I didn’t read it right away and so it sat on my shelves among many other books (by Sagan and … Continue reading

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Sean Carroll, THE BIG PICTURE

Sean Carroll’s THE BIG PICTURE: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself, just published May 10th, is an ambitious, wide-ranging book not so much about cosmology (Carroll’s specialty at CalTech), as about the perspective we gain through … Continue reading

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