JohnRoberts

cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« on: February 12, 2018, 10:15:09 AM »
We often view the past through rose colored glasses, and compare it to a present viewed through the doom and gloom, scare mongering, sky is falling viewpoint of modern media.

Just 3 decades ago our annual homicide rate was 8.5 per 100,000. 11% fell below the poverty line (as measured by consumption). We released 20 million tons of sulphur dioxide and 34 million tons of particulate into the air.  Today the homicide rate is 5.3 per 100,000. We release 4 million tons of sulphur dioxide and 20 million tons of particulate, despite driving more miles and using more energy.

In 1988 only 2 billion people lived under democracy, today over 4 billion (while some of that is population growth, there are more democratic countries now). In '88 something like 37% of the world lived in extreme poverty. today less than 10% and falling.

The list of feel good stats is even longer... life expectancy increased (while the opioid crisis is starting to subtract years from that). Childhood survival rates has improved dramatically, and many more.

I suspect some of this datum is cherry picked and there is much room for improvement still, but sometimes we should reflect on the good news.

JR

PS: This is extracted from an article about a new book  "Enlightenment Now" Pinker. Clearly an optimistic Harvard psychology professor. I didn't know they even existed.  :-\
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...


ruffrecords

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 10:35:29 AM »
I went to the thanksgiving service for a dear departed friend the other day. At the end of the service they played one of her favourite tunes - 'Always look on the bright side of things'. I am pleased to say, the entire congregation left with a smile on their faces and a tune on their lips. She was wise, even after she had left us.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
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'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

fazer

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 10:43:49 AM »
I read the Saturday Essay, WSJ.   Enlightenment this weekend.  Is that where your info came from?  It was the same information numbers your speaking of.  Very good essay on the improvement of our planet.   I agree thing are better than my personal opinion.   I’m trying to keep that in mind.  It’s better for my health and the people atound me.

Here is the link if you have an Apple News app iphone.   Or a WSJ subscription.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-enlightenment-is-working-1518191343

JohnRoberts

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 10:56:24 AM »
I read the Saturday Essay, WSJ.   Enlightenment this weekend.  Is that where your info came from?  It was the same information numbers your speaking of.  Very good essay on the improvement of our planet.   I agree thing are better than my personal opinion.   I’m trying to keep that in mind.  It’s better for my health and the people atound me.

Here is the link if you have an Apple News app iphone.   Or a WSJ subscription.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-enlightenment-is-working-1518191343
Yes I have been reading the WSJ since the 70's .... It has changed over that time and so have I.  ::)

I thought some of those quips from the article were a little saccharine (for example he ignored the negative impact on life expectancy from opiod deaths), but certainly nice to see an optimistic viewpoint for a change.

The professor's new book is about to publish. 

JR
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...

hodad

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 06:32:44 PM »
And you can thank Big Government (at least in part) for a lot of these and similar positive changes.  Clean air and water standards, car safety improvements, tougher laws about drunk driving, lead out of paint and gasoline, higher taxes on cigarettes and restrictions on public smoking, vaccination programs, etc. etc. 

scott2000

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2018, 10:08:06 AM »
Yup!
Not too shabby seeing as how we were riding around on horses little more than a century ago......


Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2018, 01:29:20 PM »
Didn't you know? There is light at the end of the tunnel.

JohnRoberts

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 01:35:38 PM »
Didn't you know? There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Headlight?  :o

JR
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 04:25:12 PM »
 ;D

living sounds

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2018, 07:17:03 PM »
Stephen Pinker is brilliant. Of all the nonfiction books I've read his "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature" is the most important in understanding how things and people really are and why they are the way they are. And lot's of other really profund insights. Should be mandatory for everyone. It blows away misconceptions, faulty narratives, pseudo-science and all the other roots of bad policy. It shows where liberals, conservatives, libertarians, etc. go wrong, and what misconceptions fascism, communism, neoliberalism etc. have in common and where they differ respectively.

Not easy to swallow for many people, I am sure, but it is the truth the best we (science) know(s) it.

Decision makers should read it once a year at least. People who can't read a book like that shouldn't be decision makers.


JohnRoberts

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 11:53:06 AM »
Stephen Pinker is brilliant. Of all the nonfiction books I've read his "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature" is the most important in understanding how things and people really are and why they are the way they are. And lot's of other really profund insights. Should be mandatory for everyone. It blows away misconceptions, faulty narratives, pseudo-science and all the other roots of bad policy. It shows where liberals, conservatives, libertarians, etc. go wrong, and what misconceptions fascism, communism, neoliberalism etc. have in common and where they differ respectively.

Not easy to swallow for many people, I am sure, but it is the truth the best we (science) know(s) it.

Decision makers should read it once a year at least. People who can't read a book like that shouldn't be decision makers.
I just ordered a copy, but my stack of unfinished books is getting higher...

I may bump a couple up ahead of that 800+ page economic text, that is about as much fun to read as going to the dentist.

JR
John Roberts
http://circularscience.com
Tune it, or don't play it...

bluebird

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 05:55:44 PM »
Stephen Pinker is brilliant. Of all the nonfiction books I've read his "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature" is the most important in understanding how things and people really are and why they are the way they are. And lot's of other really profund insights. Should be mandatory for everyone. It blows away misconceptions, faulty narratives, pseudo-science and all the other roots of bad policy. It shows where liberals, conservatives, libertarians, etc. go wrong, and what misconceptions fascism, communism, neoliberalism etc. have in common and where they differ respectively.

Not easy to swallow for many people, I am sure, but it is the truth the best we (science) know(s) it.

Decision makers should read it once a year at least. People who can't read a book like that shouldn't be decision makers.

Sound like a must read, just ordered one as well. Thanks!

scott2000

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 06:37:55 PM »
I really like the Ted seminars...... Going to check it out and the book too.....

https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_chalks_it_up_to_the_blank_slate


Thanks!!

benb

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2018, 01:09:29 AM »
Too many people only remember the first 40 seconds of this TED talk:
https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_abundance_is_our_future

living sounds

Re: cheer up... its a matter of perspective
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 03:27:50 PM »
That's great, guys! I already gave the book to two people for Christmas last year.