Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Science of Liberty

Just finished reading a book I would like to recommend. It is by Timothy Ferris called "The Science of Liberty". It talks about the rise of liberal democracy as a result of the enlightenment, the product of scientific thought or methodology. Timothy Ferris is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is emeritus professor at University of California, Berkeley and former editor of Rolling Stone. He argues that "just as the scientific revolution rescued billions from poverty, fear, hunger, and disease, the Enlightenment values it inspired has swelled the number of persons living in free and democratic societies form less than 1% of the world population 4 centuries ago to more than 1/3 today." He researches the evolution and the linkage of liberal democracies and scientific development. The history itself is interesting and gives one pause to think. He in the last chapters goes into the dangers of "Totalitarian Anti science" and "Academic Anti science". This he shows as a threat to further research and political freedom. Examples include the Nazi time when academics in Germany embraced Hitler. It also shows examples in Soviet Russia when Lysenko held sway and retarded Russian biology for decades. Now the threat of religious inspired totalitarianism in the form of the religious right in the U.S. and Islamists in the middle east. This will go on the recommended read list.

Skeptical DoDo

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