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Is The World Getting Better Or Worse?


PaulS
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I know I often hear a Christian argument that the world is deteriorating and getting worse by the day. Naturally this plays along with the belief that Jesus needs to return soon and save us all and restore the earth to its glory that God intended from the beginning.

 

However the facts would seem to sggest that if anything, the world is becoming a better place to live by the day. This graph is one example concerning warfare over the last 70 or so years which shows a substantial reduction in conflicts.

 

What do you think - is the world getting worse or better?

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I vote for better, but I'm not sure your chart is logical. Now deaths due to political conflict are labeled terrorism. Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Syria - none are labeled wars, but that is exactly what they are.

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I think better even though we have a long way to go. If someone thinks it was better 100 years ago, i challenge them to live in the old west here in the US. Lawlessness, amenities , medicine , sanitation and the like have come along way to improve life for the majority.

 

Joseph

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Personally I would phrase the question differently Paul

 

But for those interested I would suggest Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature

 

To be open, I have not read the book, but Pinker starts to cover the material in an earlier book The Blank Slate.

 

The evidence points to violence on a per capita basis decreasing on a world wide basis. If this is what we mean by better?

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I vote for better, but I'm not sure your chart is logical. Now deaths due to political conflict are labeled terrorism. Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Syria - none are labeled wars, but that is exactly what they are.

 

The three organisations quoted as sources for the graph all appear to include political conflict (terrorism and other) when measuring war conflict (note though this graph is a summary of their individual work).

 

Also, "The rate of documented direct deaths from political violence (war, terrorism, genocide and warlord militias) in the past decade is an unprecedented few hundredths of a percentage point. Even if we multiplied that rate to account for unrecorded deaths and the victims of war-caused disease and famine, it would not exceed 1%." - Excerpt of essay by Steven Pinker adapted from his book "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,".

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The evidence points to violence on a per capita basis decreasing on a world wide basis. If this is what we mean by better?

 

Yes Rom, I was only meaning 'better' in the sense that "violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species". - from same Pinker essay quoted above.

 

'Better' is certainly a subjective term, and there are a host of other issues apart from conflict and war that could be considered when measuring the world's performance so to speak.

Edited by PaulS
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Safety is important, but so is community support, the state of the environment and quality of life for the variously employed /'unemployed.' I'm doubtful that any of these other factors are improving overall.

 

If you had to grade the world Annie, with one single judgement, would you give it a higher score than a century ago, or a lower one?. Taking into account all those very relevant things you mention - safety, community support, environment, and quality of life.

 

Personally I don't think it's that easy, and certainly degradation of our environment, extinguishment of species at record rates, the apparent increasing divide between rich and poor, as well as many other negative factors certainly are cause for concern that we can't be patting ourselves on the back too much.

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When the London Times asked a number of writers for essays on the topic "What's Wrong with the World?", Chesterton sent them a short letter:

 

"Dear Sirs:

 

I am".

 

Sincerely yours,
G.K. Chesterton"

Edited by SteveS55
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If you had to grade the world Annie, with one single judgement, would you give it a higher score than a century ago, or a lower one?. Taking into account all those very relevant things you mention - safety, community support, environment, and quality of life.

 

Personally I don't think it's that easy, and certainly degradation of our environment, extinguishment of species at record rates, the apparent increasing divide between rich and poor, as well as many other negative factors certainly are cause for concern that we can't be patting ourselves on the back too much.

Paul,

100 years ago it was 1916, so I've got to say better.

20 years ago, I'm not so sure. Or is this nostalgia for younger days?

Whatever the situation, I do believe in the maxim 'Be the change you want to see in the world.'

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