Back in the age of dinosaurs, when I went to school, we were taught the concept of critical thinking. When it came to any issue we were discussing, we were asked to evaluate what we heard or read on the basis of the following 5 steps:
(a) What am I being asked to believe or accept?
(b) What evidence is available to support the assertion? Is it reliable and valid?
(c) Are there alternative ways of interpreting the evidence?
(d) What additional evidence would help to evaluate the alternatives?
(e) What conclusions are most reasonable based on the evidence and the number of alternative explanations?
We were taught to carefully examine both sides of any issue before we came to a conclusion. To carefully examine both sides requires that we keep our mouths shut and listen, and then we do our research before coming to a conclusion. Unfortunately, in this day and age of immediate information, the art of thinking for ourselves has gotten lost.
We’ve become a society of listeners to only those who agree with us no matter how flawed our conclusions are. Sadly, this is resulting in some very poor decisions on our part.
We believe we are entitled to the American Dream no matter whether we can afford it or not. Which is why we have credit card debt instead of savings accounts.
We believe that we work too hard and need the convenience of having it our way at Burger King or the supersize me meals at McDonalds. Then, after consuming our convenient meals we surf the internet for hours on end. Which is why 1 out of 3 Americans are just that…supersized.
We believe that our opinion based on what Rush, Glen, Sarah, Keith, Chris or Rachel tell us is the only way to go and we aren’t willing to try to find a compromise between the opposite ideologies. Which is how we’ve created a society in which our all or nothing attitude is getting us just that…nothing.
We are killing the American Dream. The middle class is practically non existent. Obesity is costing us billions in healthcare. Our appetites are polluting our environment because we’re overusing our natural resources and we aren’t willing to change. We can’t find a solution for any problem affecting our society. We’re too busy arguing and bullying people anonymously through that great technological advancement called the internet.
We’re allowing the best and the brightest to lose to the worst and the dimmest bunch of candidates I’ve ever seen running for office in my life. Instead of examining the issues that affect us most, applying critical thinking and coming to a well thought out conclusion, we choose to become robots and spout half truths and outright lies as if they’re the Gospel. Sadly, every one of those half truths and lies has found a home where someone believes in them. That person is probably sitting in front of a computer on this vast information superhighway we call the internet convincing someone else that what they say is the truth. Now that’s not just sad, that’s scary.