Rationality, and the Rise of the Universities and Science
Scarcely would someone deny that education is a good.
The bulk of Steven Pinker’s newest NYT best-seller, Enlightenment Now, where he offers his case for humanism, reason, and science—for themes he attributes to the Enlightenment—is devoted to an empirical analysis of human progress along multiple dimensions (health, quality of life, education, life expectancy, etc.). His data is relatively good. His explanation of the data for secular humanism fails, but he tries. He fails to underwrite most of it because he fails to give credit where credit is due.
After having made the case for progress, Pinker returns to the themes that provided its foundation, which he identifies as key themes of the Enlightenment, and calls for these ideas to be fortified against counter-Enlightenment movements in the culture like religion.