The Case For Rational Optimism

Author: Frank Robinson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351485490
Size: 53.92 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 5001
Download
The Case for Rational Optimism tackles a host of challenging subjects in an engaging, accessible, down-to-earth style. It is intellectually serious, ceaselessly intriguing, and devoid of banalities. While other books in this genre tend to be oriented toward self-help, this volume brings evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, economics, and a keen sense of history to the topic. Robinson begins with three goals: making the case for feeling good about oneself, about humanity in general, and about the global situation. He addresses such seemingly disparate subjects as selfi shness versus altruism, mind and free will, human nature, and issues relating to economics, technology, the environment, and more. Unifying these ideas into a coherent philosophical whole are central concepts: evolution has endowed our species with more good qualities than bad, and why; those qualities, and our use of reason, are the foundations of civilization, and how; and, consistent with our nature, we make a better world by valuing human life therefore enabling others to fl ourish in ways they freely choose. The Case for Rational Optimism argues that the highly challenging conditions confronting early man created a Darwinian selective pressure for cooperation, even altruism, among members of a tribe. Th e author fi nds evidence for this in the way our brains work, and in observable human behavior. He argues against existential despair over the human condition. Even though there probably is no grand celestial design investing life with meaning, he considers this liberating, giving every person the freedom to craft their own meaning. To Robinson, whether sentient beings experience suff ering or joy is the only thing that matters; without emotive highs and lows, the Universe would hardly matter.

The Rational Optimist

Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062025371
Size: 69.17 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
View: 1210
Download
Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair. This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

It S Better Than It Looks

Author: Gregg Easterbrook
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610397428
Size: 44.16 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
View: 910
Download
Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever? Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more. Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term decline, while longevity and education keep rising and economic indicators are better than in any past generation. Worldwide, malnutrition and extreme poverty are at historic lows, and the risk of dying by war or violence is the lowest in human history. It's not a coincidence that we're confused--our perspectives on the world are blurred by the rise of social media, the machinations of politicians, and our own biases. Meanwhile, political reforms like the Clean Air Act and technological innovations like the hybridization of wheat have saved huge numbers of lives. In that optimistic spirit, Easterbrook offers specific policy reforms to address climate change, inequality, and other problems, and reminds us that there is real hope in conquering such challenges. In an age of discord and fear-mongering, It's Better Than It Looks will profoundly change your perspective on who we are, where we're headed, and what we're capable of.

Abundance

Author: Peter H. Diamandis
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451614217
Size: 74.20 MB
Format: PDF
View: 4341
Download
A contrarian assessment of the near future explains how rapidly growing technologies and other powerful forces will be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of all people, profiling the revolutionary work of leading innovators in such areas as energy, health care and education. 50,000 first printing.

Progress

Author: Johan Norberg
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1786072327
Size: 64.12 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
View: 6144
Download
A Book of the Year for The Economist and the Observer Our world seems to be collapsing. The daily news cycle reports the deterioration: divisive politics across the Western world, racism, poverty, war, inequality, hunger. While politicians, journalists and activists from all sides talk about the damage done, Johan Norberg offers an illuminating and heartening analysis of just how far we have come in tackling the greatest problems facing humanity. In the face of fear-mongering, darkness and division, the facts are unequivocal: the golden age is now.

The Uses Of Pessimism

Author: Roger Scruton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199798995
Size: 72.61 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
View: 509
Download
Ranging widely over human history and culture, from ancient Greece to the current global economic downturn, Scruton makes a counterintuitive yet persuasive case that optimists and idealists -- with their ignorance about the truths of human nature and human society, and their naive hopes about what can be changed -- have wrought havoc for centuries. Scruton's argument is nuanced, however, and his preference for pessimism is not a dark view of human nature; rather his is a 'hopeful pessimism' which urges that instead of utopian efforts to reform human society or human nature, we focus on the only reform that we can truly master -- the improvement of ourselves through the cultivation of our better instincts. Written in Scruton's trademark style-- erudite, sweeping in scope across centuries and cultures, and unafraid to offend-- this book is sure to intrigue and provoke readers concerned with the state of Western culture, the nature of human beings, and the question of whether social progress is truly possible.

Enlightenment Now

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0525427570
Size: 74.74 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
View: 277
Download
An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Genome

Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062253468
Size: 35.14 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
View: 7570
Download
The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.

Meeting Your Half Orange

Author: Amy Spencer
Publisher: Running Press Adult
ISBN: 0762440309
Size: 51.95 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
View: 2054
Download
How would you like to have a wonderfully well-suited, kind, adoring half-orange who feels like a teammate, a partner in crime, a true other half? “Half-Orange” refers to the Spanish term mi media naranja, which describes one’s sweetheart, that perfect other half. What if you heard he or she would be coming along soon? Would you be relieved? Excited? Happy? Well those are the feelings that dating optimism can give you. Rather than admonishing readers to make themselves more available, or turn dating into a full-time job, Spencer's program of dating optimism is a fun, results-oriented way to find a healthy happy relationship, based on brain science and psychology that can help you become a more positive dater. She'll guide you through sowing the orange seed of your ideal relationship and growing it to “fruit-ion.” In essence, by focusing positively about dating, you can actually change your brain, which changes everything from your body language to the way you perceive others and what you ultimately attract. Meeting Your Half-Orange is the pep talk that puts finding true love back into your own hands. It will guide you toward becoming so focused on the relationship you want and so happy in your own skin, the right person will be naturally drawn straight to you. You’ve never read a dating guide like this before. But best of all, it will be the last one you’ll ever need.

The Red Queen

Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141965452
Size: 72.88 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
View: 3363
Download
Sex is as fascinating to scientists as it is to the rest of us. A vast pool of knowledge, therefore, has been gleaned from research into the nature of sex, from the contentious problem of why the wasteful reproductive process exists at all, to how individuals choose their mates and what traits they find attractive. This fascinating book explores those findings, and their implications for the sexual behaviour of our own species. It uses the Red Queen from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – who has to run at full speed to stay where she is – as a metaphor for a whole range of sexual behaviours. The book was shortlisted for the 1994 Rhone-Poulenc Prize for Science Books. ‘Animals and plants evolved sex to fend off parasitic infection. Now look where it has got us. Men want BMWs, power and money in order to pair-bond with women who are blonde, youthful and narrow-waisted ... a brilliant examination of the scientific debates on the hows and whys of sex and evolution’ Independent.