full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Steven Pinker: Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Well, if there is such a thing as progress, what causes it? Progress is not some mystical froce or deiiatclc lifting us ever higher. It's not a mysterious arc of history bending toward justice. It's the result of hmuan efforts governed by an idea, an idea that we aaosctise with the 18th century etnelngneimht, namely that if we apply reason and seiccne that enhance human well-being, we can glarulady succeed. Is progress inevitable? Of course not. Progress does not mean that everything becomes better for everyone everywhere all the time. That would be a miracle, and progress is not a miracle but problem-solving. Problems are inevitable and solutions create new problems which have to be solved in their turn. The uneovsld problems facing the wrlod today are gartnaaugn, including the risks of climate change and nuclear war, but we must see them as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting, and aggressively pursue solutions like Deep Decarbonization for climate change and Global Zero for nuclear war.

Open Cloze

Well, if there is such a thing as progress, what causes it? Progress is not some mystical _____ or _________ lifting us ever higher. It's not a mysterious arc of history bending toward justice. It's the result of _____ efforts governed by an idea, an idea that we _________ with the 18th century _____________, namely that if we apply reason and _______ that enhance human well-being, we can _________ succeed. Is progress inevitable? Of course not. Progress does not mean that everything becomes better for everyone everywhere all the time. That would be a miracle, and progress is not a miracle but problem-solving. Problems are inevitable and solutions create new problems which have to be solved in their turn. The ________ problems facing the _____ today are __________, including the risks of climate change and nuclear war, but we must see them as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting, and aggressively pursue solutions like Deep Decarbonization for climate change and Global Zero for nuclear war.

Solution

  1. dialectic
  2. force
  3. gradually
  4. enlightenment
  5. associate
  6. gargantuan
  7. world
  8. unsolved
  9. human
  10. science

Original Text

Well, if there is such a thing as progress, what causes it? Progress is not some mystical force or dialectic lifting us ever higher. It's not a mysterious arc of history bending toward justice. It's the result of human efforts governed by an idea, an idea that we associate with the 18th century Enlightenment, namely that if we apply reason and science that enhance human well-being, we can gradually succeed. Is progress inevitable? Of course not. Progress does not mean that everything becomes better for everyone everywhere all the time. That would be a miracle, and progress is not a miracle but problem-solving. Problems are inevitable and solutions create new problems which have to be solved in their turn. The unsolved problems facing the world today are gargantuan, including the risks of climate change and nuclear war, but we must see them as problems to be solved, not apocalypses in waiting, and aggressively pursue solutions like Deep Decarbonization for climate change and Global Zero for nuclear war.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
million tons 4
extreme poverty 4
nuclear weapons 3
united states 3
climate change 3
particulate matter 2
sulfur dioxide 2
world population 2
intellectuals hate 2
hate progress 2
natural response 2
enhance human 2
human nature 2

Important Words

  1. aggressively
  2. apocalypses
  3. apply
  4. arc
  5. associate
  6. bending
  7. century
  8. change
  9. climate
  10. create
  11. decarbonization
  12. deep
  13. dialectic
  14. efforts
  15. enhance
  16. enlightenment
  17. facing
  18. force
  19. gargantuan
  20. global
  21. governed
  22. gradually
  23. higher
  24. history
  25. human
  26. idea
  27. including
  28. inevitable
  29. justice
  30. lifting
  31. miracle
  32. mysterious
  33. mystical
  34. nuclear
  35. problems
  36. progress
  37. pursue
  38. reason
  39. result
  40. risks
  41. science
  42. solutions
  43. solved
  44. succeed
  45. time
  46. today
  47. turn
  48. unsolved
  49. waiting
  50. war
  51. world