Carl Sagan Fest, featuring Steven Pinker

The Past, Present, and Future of Violence

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” - Carl Sagan

Join us for the Humanist League’s annual Carl Sagan Fest, a celebration of learning and reflection complete with apple pie! This year, our speaker Steven Pinker will receive the inaugural Sagan Award from CMU’s Humanism Initiative. The event will be followed by a reception in CUC Connan.

The past: Contrary to popular opinion, violence at all scales have been in decline over the course of history.

The present: Human nature comprises faculties that encourage violence, such as dominance and revenge, but also faculties that inhibit it, such as self-control, empathy, and reason. The level of violence in a given society depends on how its norms and institutions affect the balance between them.

The future: Professor Pinker speculates on which of the historical changes that reduced violence in the past will continue into the future.

More details can be found on the Facebook Event page.

Carl Sagan Fest, featuring Steven Pinker Poster