Steven Pinker: “Universities have become arenas to punish heretics”

Our ancestral primates evolved in Africa about 300,000 years ago. Rising to the top of the evolutionary chain, our species has reshaped nature in its image with divine power and intelligence. Homo sapiens went on to succeed in creating religions, political systems, cities, spectacular works of art, skyscrapers, space rockets, the internet, smartphones and a global economy. But deep down in our being, are we really rational creatures?

Yes, ”says Steven Pinker enthusiastically from his home in Los Angeles, California. The 66-year-old Canadian-American evolutionary psychologist, linguist and popular science bestselling author then pulls out a list. It contains a remarkable set of human achievements of the post-Enlightenment era, from dating the origin of the universe to decoding the secrets of life, to the discovery of DNA, and many more. .

This impressive account of scientific progress is the result of solid and logical reasoning. But the cognitive means to understand the world and bend it to our advantage isn’t a trophy of Western civilization, Pinker insists: it’s something we’ve inherited from our evolutionary history. He then briefly summarizes this story.


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