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2011 Event Media Release - The Rational Optimist

MEDIA RELEASE - Wednesday 4 May 2011

THE RATIONAL OPTIMIST: A Sydney Opera House talk with Dr Matt Ridley

The Studio, Wednesday 15 June at 7pm.

If 99 per cent of the planet’s population are better fed, better sheltered, better entertained and better protected against disease than their Stone Age ancestors, surely there is a strong case for the fact that things are getting better? How can we reconcile the reality of human progress with prevailing pessimism about our future?

Taking an original, engaging and optimistic sweep through human history, evolution, genetics and economics, Dr Matt Ridley argues that the human capacity to exchange objects and ideas has created the resilience and innovation that will equip us to come to terms with the challenges of the future.

Using his most recent book as the starting point, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Dr Ridley takes a long term historical view of the evolution of economies and societies to argue against the ‘apocaholics’ and other prophets of doom and makes the case for strong optimism about the future.

Dr Ryan contends that, as a species, we have an often underestimated capacity for change and social progress. Through an examination of socio-economic evolution under free market capitalism, he dismisses – controversially – the current pessimistic views of climate change. He credits our collective intelligence as a powerful force for human survival.

Matt Ridley

Dr Matt Ridley is a bestselling author whose books on some of the most fascinating topics in science have won awards including the National Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture in 2004. He has a background as a zoologist and over eight years was science writer, Washington correspondent and American editor for The Economist. Dr Ridley was the first chairman of the International Centre for Life, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation and is a long-time supporter of the British Humanist Association.

MEDIA CONTACT: Meera Hindocha / / 02 9250 7834 / 0401 711 531


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