This is just a beautifully written piece. I am grateful to people like Steven Pinker for being able to present ideas so clearly. It's not that I have learned a great deal reading it, but it's one of those articles that resonate with my worldview. And should I be in need of finding arguments, I will just be able to point to it.
Most of the traditional causes of belief—faith, revelation, dogma, authority, charisma, conventional wisdom, the invigorating glow of subjective certainty—are generators of error and should be dismissed as sources of knowledge.It had to be said. It is not being close minded, at this point in the history of humanity, to recognize what has been working and what hasn't been working in our ongoing quest for knowledge.
And is there any more important pursuit than finding out how belief is formed and what constitutes knowledge? That's the key to everything that's in our minds, which in turn is what influences what we say and do, and therefore the society we live in. This is why I have been interested in working on formulating a consistent (but very much in progress) personal worldview.
the worldview that guides the moral and spiritual values of an educated person today is the worldview given to us by science […] scientific facts militate toward a defensible morality, namely adhering to principles that maximize the flourishing of humans and other sentient beingsAt this point I don't think it is enough to say that one doesn't follow certain religions or doesn't believe in such and such gods. There is a need for something more positive, for a set of evolving (and constantly questioned) beliefs founded on the principles of rationality and empathy. And so I like the idea that science can help us along the path to happiness (and the idea of that this is not limited to humans but extended to all sentient beings).