Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 42–43 | Cite as

Review of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

New York, Viking, 2018, 556 Pages, ISBN 9780525427575, Hardcover $35.00
  • Laura Betzig
Book Review

Somewhere around 2000 years ago—a little less than a century after Julius Caesar was assassinated; and a little more than half a century after his successor, Augustus, became the first Roman emperor—a political exile who called himself John had a revelation on Patmos, an island in the Aegean. He dreamed that the smoking whore of Babylon—that is, Rome—had burned to the ground. All nations had drunk the wine of her passion, and kings of the earth had committed fornication with her; in her was the blood of the prophets and the saints, and all who had been put to death (Revelation 18:1–24).

Emperors had hoarded women, and persecuted men, since civilization began. In the centuries before John of Patmos, other prophets had cursed Nineveh, the Assyrian capital on the Tigris—a whore who betrayed nations with her harlotries and people with her charms (Nahum 3:4); or they’d gone on about the Mediterranean port city of Tyre—a harlot with all the kingdoms of the world (Isaiah 23:17). But the worst...


  1. Betzig, L. (2009). But what is government but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? Politics and the Life Sciences, 28, 102–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: why violence has declined. New York: Viking Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Betzig
    • 1
  1. 1.Ann ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations