Comment: I have not read anything by Steven Pinker

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I have not read anything by Steven Pinker

But your comment made me curious. First, I considered the title "Better Angels of our Nature:Why Violence Has Declined," and I thought that the premise, that violence has declined, would be a tough thing to defend, given the bloodiness of the 20th Century. Then I checked with Wikapedia (not because it's an authority on anything, but because it's a place to start...sort of like Cliffs Notes) and read his bio. Then I drilled down to the entry detailing the book in question.

I found it interesting that he has taken a number of contrarian positions and has by-and-large prevailed. However, with the last book, he has been roundly criticised by his peers (ok, he got a glowing review from Bill Gates, but beyond name recognition, I'm not sure why anyone would care what Bill Gates thinks). One of the criticisms that popped up was that the book discounts the importance of war victims when tallying the toll of 'violence' (my initial reaction). Another was that the book misuses stats to prove his thesis, but does not include stats that disprove it.

My pending reading list is long, including the ratification debates, finishing Tocqueville, and reading a poorly reasoned book about the richest of the rich (my son gave it to me, so I'm obligated). I probably would not put "Better Natures" on my list, unless I saw something more in the thesis that would spark my interest.