Despite human developments in science and technology, there is still a disturbing surge of irrationality worldwide, leading to irrational decision making.


We are living in a ‘post-truth era. That’s the view of American cognitive psychologist and author Steven Pinker. In his book, Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters, Pinker argues we are currently witnessing dangerous failures in critical thinking. Critical points from Pinker’s book:

Humans have made great progress throughout history, such as reducing poverty, reducing the amount of war, and attempts to eradicate slavery, despotism and the oppression of women and minorities. All this, Pinker insists, is entirely due to our powers of reason.

Despite advances made possible through reasoning, Pinker believes humanity is now losing its mind even though humans possess brains that can enable them to rationally evaluate arguments.

No human being has ever attained perfect rationality, but we have developed rules to approach it.

We are witnessing a disturbing surge of irrationality, as well as dangerous failures in critical thinking and the grounding of truth in evidence. 

Examples of irrationality include when in February 2020, Donald Trump—supported by 40 per cent of the American public—predicted that Covid-19 would disappear ‘like a miracle.

This summary is based on a review of Pinker’s book written for The Guardian by Karen Armstrong, an academic historian who specialises in religion.


Aug 2021 The New Yorker Why Is It So Hard to Be Rational?

Sep 2021 The Times Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters review — Steven Pinker’s war on conspiracy theories

Oct 2021 The Washington Post The power of rational thinking in a world that seems unreasonable