The debate between conservative christians and figures like pinker is almost completely counterproductive: it ends up in a narrow view of modernity and the Enlightenment and a narrow defense of the medieval era.
Progress makes sense in the large, and subject to multiple trial redefinitions of its meaning. Progress in sense of the eonic effect is far more general and includes the total spectrum of modernity AND all the prior transitions of the eonic sequence since the neolithic, etc…In that context the Enlightenment is almost a minor sideshow.
Ironically the Axial Age data shows the multivalent aspect of any such idea: the sourcing of religion in parallel is included.
Finally, we must see that the mideonic effect often shows the way progress comes to a halt in ‘medieval’ effect.
Defenders of modernity are probably right in the end: the religions of the ‘axial age’ are probably passing away… Such debates are always turned into confused nonsense when we include ‘human nature’ in the canon of progress: the innate nature of man often seems like it defies epochal progressionss.
Pinker thinks that things are getting better all the time but Berlinski says, nah!, no real change.