Sunday Forum, June 10
“Enlightenment Now? Or Apocalypse Now?”
Sunday Forum, 9:45am in the Fleetwood Room, American Cathedral in Paris.
Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker’s latest book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, documents worldwide improvements in peace, wealth, health, longevity, education, literacy, freedom, democracy, and well-being over many centuries. Pinker insists that religion has impeded this progress, while crediting science and the ideas of 18th-century Enlightenment thinkers with driving it forward. Begging to differ, parishioner and biochemist Peter Brooks argues that the Judeo-Christian tradition has made a fundamental contribution to human flourishing. Central to the discussion are the religious historian Christopher Dawson and others, who have explored the roots of Enlightenment values, to hint at an alternate title: “Light of Light, Forever and Ever”. Peter also looks at the ways that Pinker arguably discounts the risks of future catastrophes, notably nuclear warfare and crises bred by climate change – “Enlightenment, While It Lasts?”.
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