Science Is Not Your Enemy
By Steven Pinker for New Republic
Many essay prompts—both on the GRE and the SAT—ask the student to consider the impact of science and technology: has science brought about unmitigated good or is the truth a little more nuanced? (If you want to write a strong GRE essay, always go for the more nuanced stance).
This month’s article takes a position on that very issue, with Stephen Pinker, a professor of neuroscience at MIT/Harvard, and author of notable books, The Blank Slate and The Language Instinct, among them, posits that science has mostly brought about good. His real target though are those who form the vanguard of the backlash in science, which Pinker feels is very much in vogue, both in religion and within the academia itself.
In detailing this attack on science, Pinker builds up a cogent case that science has not only improved the lot of human beings, but has also provided us more “reasonable” answers on one of the deepest questions: Where have we come from? In other words, Pinker believes that science has supplanted the role of religion, and that the two are not, as the late Stephen Jay Gould intoned, “non-overlapping magisterial”, or separate fields of human inquiry.
In taking such a position, Pinker is likely to rankle those who are of a religious faith, and in that sense the article is especially polemical. Whether or not you agree with Pinker yourself, his piece makes for some heady reading, fodder for a lively intellectual debate amongst your friends. Finally, the article from the New Republic is full (and boy do I mean full) of GRE words.
GRE words from the article: