How Science Inspired Democracy In The Modern World

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Summary of the video and the contents of the whole lecture:

Timothy Ferris, Former Editor of Rolling Stone and Professor Emeritus at U.C. Berkeley, makes the case that science inspired the spread of democracy.

Just as the scientific revolution rescued billions from poverty, fear, hunger and disease, Ferris argues that the Enlightenment values it inspired have swelled the number of persons living in free democratic societies from fewer than 1 percent of the world population in 1600 to over a third today.

01. Introduction
02. A Definition of Science
03. Liberalism
04. Symbiosis Between Science and Liberalism
05. How Science Incited the Enlightenment
06. Health, Wealth, and Happiness
07. Accomplishments of the Spread of Liberal Democracy
08. Population Growth and Urbanization
09. Ecological Stress of Global Warming
10. Persistence of Dogma
11. Q1: Science of the Nazis and Soviets
12. Q2: Science in China
13. Q3: Economics
14. Q4: Friendship Between Locke and Newton
15. Q5: Influence of Money on Liberal Democracy
16. Q6: Precision in Sound Byte Culture
17. Q7: Few Scientists in Elected Office
18. Q8: Credibility in the Information Age

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • James Gray

    Which is why we get to vote at random for issues with inadequate information and politicians who already sold out to special interests before the debates begin?

    Maybe 1/3 of the world’s population is told that they are in a free democratic society even if they really aren’t.

    • Daniel Fincke

      No doubt things are far from perfect. But also there should be no doubt they’re far advanced of where they were for the rest of human history too. The extent to which things are better than at any other time in human history in at least some parts of the world is the extent to which there actually has been real liberalism.

      This is not to trivialize the real systemic corruptions within the liberal democracies to which you allude, but to say the answer is ultimately more true adherence to liberal ideals, rather than less.

  • James Gray

    Things might have advanced so well because it is so much more effective to have slaves who think they are free. You don’t have to give them homes or feed them. They tend to be a lot happier to choose who enslaves them instead of being forced to have only one master. A group of very powerful people could realize that it is within their best interest one step at a time until we end up with our current state.

    Additionally, some “success stories” all too easily convince slaves that they are free. The illusion of freedom will then be all the more convincing and uplifting.

    I don’t know that it philosophy that really lead to these advancements. Imagine what Marx would say. Such ideology would be used as propaganda from those with the resources to maintain and legitimize their power. There might be some truth to both sides.