Thursday, 8 March 2018

QotD: Yes, there *are* absolutes


"But what is progress? That may seem like a tough question to answer in these culturally relativistic times. But [Steven] Pinker offers an unashamedly humanistic definition of progress...
"'Most people agree that life is better than death. Health is better than sickness. Sustenance is better than hunger. Wealth is better than poverty. Peace is better than war. Safety is better than danger. Freedom is better than tyranny. Equal rights are better than bigotry and discrimination. Literacy is better than illiteracy. Knowledge is better than ignorance. Intelligence is better than dull-wittedness. Happiness is better than misery. Opportunities to enjoy family, friends, culture, and nature are better than drudgery and monotony.'
"Progress is not only definable, but also measurable. In 75 charts, Pinker documents such global trends as increasing life expectancy, declining child and maternal mortality, increased consumption of calories and declining recurrence of famines, increasing income per person and reduction of extreme poverty, decreasing pollution and deforestation, and continuing march of democracy and human rights. He notes that child labour is in retreat and literacy at an all-time high. People work fewer hours than they used to and spend more time on leisure and in retirement."
~ Marian Tupy reviewing Steven Pinker's new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress [Emphasis added]

BONUS VIDEO: "The eminent Harvard Professor Steven Pinker joins Stephen Fry to discuss the challenges we face in the 21st century and what we need to do to defend the values and ideas of the Enlightenment.":



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