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Circle of Competence Issue #45

Quote of the week: "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C.S. Lewis

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Hawaii

Just returned Friday from an incredible trip to Hawaii with my lovely wife and I have to say, the unplugged, naturally beautiful, incredibly warm culture of Hawaii touches your soul. While away, I was able to listen to and read a lot of good material, which I hope you will enjoy below. With a nod to Sahil Bloom's format of book reviews, I'd like to share two books that I read while on vacation - I hope he doesn't mind a little shameless cloning as Mohnish Pabrai would say!

Book Reviews

Enlightenment Now, Steven Pinker (H/T David G.)

Takeaway

We hear a lot of gloom and doom reporting in the media nowadays, especially in the Trump era from media elites and the like. Let’s face it, negative headlines sell! Pinker sets out on a journey to put facts and figures to the narrative that in fact, our world is improving dramatically and exponentially in the 21st century from technological advancements in many fields including medicine, transportation, and agriculture. Opinion

While I may disagree with Pinker on his metaphysics (humanism) due to my own faith as a Christian, what I do affirm is his commitment to the truth and to facts that show that in many ways, our world is healthier, wealthier, and wiser because of free enterprise, free trade, and free speech. He does tend to minimize and gloss over some areas such as the dangers of social networks, bioterrorism, and cyberterrorism and has a real optimism on denuclearization. The only chapter that I would have to say I completely disagree with would be his last, where he unashamedly attempts to undermine all belief in a higher power. I'd like to share a quote from C.S. Lewis as my rebuttal:

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of 'just' and 'unjust'? ... What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too - for the argument depended on saying