Monday, 10 January 2011

Always look on the bright side of life...

The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon. You can see it over millennia, over centuries, over decades and over years, although there seems to have been a tipping point at the onset of the Age of Reason in the Sixteenth Century. One sees it all over the world, although not homogeneously. It’s especially evident in the West, beginning with England and Holland around the time of the Enlightenment. Let me take you on a journey [of] several powers of ten from the millennium scale to the year scale to try to persuade you of this….

Steven Pinker, with an arresting claim, via.

Here, by the way, is the Biblical passage Pinker refers to in his talk:

And the children of Israel took all the women of Mid'i-an captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses and Ele-a'zar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
And Moses, and Ele-a'zar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Ba'laam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Pe'or,  and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Numbers 31, Verses 9-18

Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant -- they're quite clear -- that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the ten commandments.

Sarah Palin, interviewed by Fox News