Monday November 23, 2015

The Best Is Yet To Come?

Left to right: Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Rudyard Griffiths, Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton.

Left to right: Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Rudyard Griffiths, Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton. (The Munk Debates)

Listen to Full Episode 53:58

History suggests that humanity has achieved great things in medicine, democracy, and human rights. We live longer, eat better and have a more equitable world than at any other time. But what about the future? Do terrorism, weapons and the environment, for example, present more profound challenges? In the most recent Munk Debate, Steven Pinker and Matt Ridley square off against Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton.


"Be it resolved that humankind's best days lie ahead." 

That was the proposition of the Munk Debate on Progress. The evening at Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall was filled with argument and personal attacks --  but also humour.

The audience was asked to vote at the beginning and again at the end of the debate -- the winning team is the one that manages to move the biggest percentage of votes. For this debate, the numbers barely changed: at the beginning, 71% of the audience saw the human future as rosy; at the end, 73% were upbeat about our prospects as a species.