Feb 27, 2010

Crirtical Thinking, Where Are You? :o(

This is from a column of Leonard Pitts, who is in our Sunday paper each week.  I often appreciate and agree with his conclusions.  Here is a link.

If you and I had an argument and I produced facts from an authoritative source to back me up, you couldn't just blow that off. You might try to undermine my facts, might counter with facts of your own, but you couldn't just pretend my facts had no weight or meaning.

To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper's online message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe.

I submit that any people thus handicapped sow the seeds of their own decline; they respond to the world as they wish it were rather to the world as it is. But objective reality does not change because you refuse to accept it.

The fact that you refuse to acknowledge a wall does not change the fact that it's a wall.

And you shouldn't have to hit it to find that out.


  1. Funny but when I was teaching, we were told that our lesson plans ideally should encourage critical thinking. And the final step of my credential program was to turn in my portfolio, the first page of which was to contain a quote showing one's philosophy about education. I chose Aristotle.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

  2. Dawn LaVella Miller commented on your post:

    "So true... the wall is still a wall, and history is often, therefore, doomed to be repeated! Awesome post... thanks, Ken!"

  3. You;re so right on, Ken. The very heart of our problems is that we as a society don't think for ourselves. We let others do our thinking for us. We rely on soundbites. It's not about who has proof, that's boring. It's about who can stir up emotions the best. Unfortunately for our society, it is easier to draw emotions against something perceived as different, than it is to emotionally connect with something good that appears to be unifying.
    That's why we are in this mess right now. People are listening to the crowd who stirs up fear and hate, rather than those who stir up love and support. Christ had the same issues 2000 years ago, and look what happened to him.

  4. Great Post!

    I just don't understand why solutions cannot be made in our country??? We are strong but listening to both sides fight....so many are so stupid.

    No one cares what is good for the people. Sad.

    I love your graphic.

  5. I couldn't agree more...and, in this spirit, I really do try to read, listen to, and consider clearly stated, reasonable positions and arguments from the Right. I just have trouble finding them! It helps me to study history. It often seems like this is the worst partisanship our country has ever faced, but it's not. I hope that means we'll not fold our tent anytime soon, but I worry.

  6. FACTS speak to me on all fronts. You can't fight one side of an issue without being well versed on the other. I learned long ago... there are two sides to every story. You must be able to see them both. Logic dictates it. Too many people are motivated by venom and emotion.

  7. Hi Ken,
    You're right ... it does seem that a lot of otherwise smart people have stopped looking at things objectively these days. Recently I had a friend -- someone I really respect -- tell me that the "American people don't want health reform to pass." I disagreed, citing several independent polls, and he just chuckled, saying that all the U.S. media are biased so we shouldn't bother listening to them. Go figure ...


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