Point of Inquiry Interviews Steven Pinker About the Decline of Violence

At the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston, Point of Inquiry hosts Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas interviewed Steven Pinker, author most recently of The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined:

I haven’t had a chance to watch the full interview yet, but if you catch anything especially interesting, leave the timestamp and summary in the comments!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Warren

    Waffle 101 :(

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Great interview. Steven Pinker’s book is terrific.

    Although he did not discuss it here, I have heard that the most religious countries and regions within countries tend also be the *most* violent.

    So clearly religion does not produce the kinds of benefits religious believers would like to pretend.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      i believe it was at this blog i first came across the prison study, showing that atheists were the least incarcerated. says it all, in my book. (of Reason)

  • Claude

    That was excellent! Thank you for posting it.

    One quibble with Pinker: about the half hour mark he speculates that a spike in violence in the US beginning in the 60s may have had to do with licentiousness encouraged by the eruption of countercultural movements in that decade. That may be true in part, but Pinker didn’t mention the data that has come out correlating exposure to lead and increased levels of violent crime. Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones has been posting on this issue. Although causation hadn’t been established, the numbers strongly suggest a driver of violence exclusive of individual morality or cultural trends.

  • http://anonatheist.wordpress.com/ Mike Hunt

    I am torn about watching it, I love Steven Pinker but can’t stand Chris Mooney. If they were to dump him I’d go back to supporting and listening to POI.

  • http://twitter.com/RemoveReligion Remove Religion

    Great discussion. I particularly enjoyed Pinker’s points about violence in the south and west as compared to the northern and coastal states. I also liked the connection he made between a rise in humanitarian progress and affordable print media and literacy in the late 18th century. They begin discussing this and tie it to social media today around 36:53. I read an article recently about how the least religious states in the US are in the northeast. It seems like an obvious next step to connect that with education. Ivy League schools are also in the northeast. Education and the spread of information is our path to less violence and a more collaborative, humanitarian worldview.


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