I’m not trying to impugn Pinker: Anyone can make a mistake, especially when writing a book like Better Angels of Our Nature, which attempts to synthesize a vast amount of information from a wide variety of fields. But that’s exactly the point. It’s not easy to communicate complicated data and ideas with precision, style, and a modicum of propulsive punch. Many professional writers stumble into infelicities and inaccuracies. Why should academics be any different?