The decrease in violence and the rise in secularism
A comment from a couple of entries ago got me wondering how well established the two statements in the title are. Is there strong evidence for a long term decrease in violence in the world? Is there evidence that despite noise to the contrary, the world is becoming relentlessly secular.
My original exposure to the decreasing violence claim comes from Steven Pinker. Now, I'm an admitted Pinker fanboy so I may not being skeptical enough, but I'm curious if anyone knows of any actual evidence against this thesis? This is actually something I've discussed with my dad for over 20 years and we had basically come to the same conclusion, but not in any scholarly way.
I've recently seen a number of articles on the somewhat surprising increase in secularism. I've also linked to other articles recently in the same vein.
So I'm curious, am I just a sucker for everything that comes my way on the internet or, contra the above, is there any reason to believe that the world is getting more violent and less secular?