Steven Pinker — a cherry-picking​ Panglossian

20 Aug, 2018 at 12:50 | Posted in Politics & Society | 5 Comments



  1. Pinker’s argument is a complete fraud. Such a neoliberal tool. Imagine a MMT equalitarian who wrote a book on how much progress that could have been made in the past few decades.

    • Since when are reason, science and humanism fraudulent and neoliberal tools? Only in the hands of mainstream economists probably. These are central values ignored for the most part by mainstream economists and MMT has its problems — namely that its ideas seem to support growing inequality unless we tax the rich — good luck with that in a neoliberal environment informed by libertarian values.

      • If you can’t see it, you can’t see it.

  2. The interviewer has an ax to grind. He frequently interrupts and doesn’t let Pinker finish statements. He also dismisses the central themes that Pinker uses to defend enlightenment and to advocate for change. The interviewer especially ignored humanism and reason focusing incorrectly on the science as being in question. For example he cherrpicked data about poverty ignoring Pinker’s argument that while the numbers in poverty have increased so too has the population which has grown faster than those belonging in poverty. I have not researched it but when I was a young boy I remember many stories about India facing famine. I saw a report saying that India despite its increase in population is now becoming an exporter of food because of a change in the ability to grow food for itself — namely — wheat. I remember the book Limits to Growth and its claims many of which appear not to have bee borne out. He didn’t even mention a central theme of the book — namely — entropy.

    I saw Pinker’s ideas leading towards further advancement if we accepted his argument that reason, science, humanism and thus being hopeful about progress are the keys to further progress and enlightenment. As a cognitive psychologist he knows that the the research into the mind shows that hopelessness leads to inaction and hence entropy.

  3. Sorry – I can’t see how entropy is relevant when we’re talking about human beings.
    Swift was attacking early enlightenment scientism when he wrote “a modest proposal

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