critical thinking and consequences, the iconoclast autumn wallpaper, science fiction versus science fact

Critical thinking and reasoning skills are not easy. When it comes to complex public policy issues whether they are from the local county or the federal government, plans like financial reform for example, are a lot like math. Maybe even more difficult than math because there are so many interconnected pieces and possible outcomes. In a nation that suffers from math phobia it is no surprise that critical thinking is generally avoided in favor of thinking from the gut. I still hear the regular retort “experts” may have a lot of book learn’n but ain’t got no common sense. Why take the time and make the effort considering a problem or situation, consider the evidence, critically sort out the irrational in order to arrive at the best answer. Especially, you know, when I have deep feelings and being deep they must carry some weight. It is like they have been beamed into my head. If I super glue a sheet to my back I deeply feel I will be able to jump off this building and gluide safely to the ground. The physics of lift, drag and thrust has all those numbers and vectors and may take hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of study. Health-care reform isn’t even flying. If I’ve figured out flight without rational emprical evidnece than my intutive feelings about health care reform must be darn close if not exact. My reasons, motives to act ( protest, vote) entail some thoughts, else what are those things floating around inside my head. I do this all the time and haven’t had a piano fall on me yet so acting on my intutitive beleifs is justification for continuing my actions and arguing for my opionions – based on the circular logic of those opinions. If those things which I have acted on have not turned out as predicted it is because they were not acted upon with enough purity of my vision – not because I made the wings of my flying machine out of wet clay and barbed wire. Or because someone must have secretly sabotaged by singular vision. At some junsure a person who thinks in such a way has accumulated little pieces of fact – one that were unavoidable like gravity – but other wise is juggling a lot of self deceptions. Deceptions so tangled and contradictory they become as difficult as the critical thinking skills for which they have such a low opinion – anyway reasoning is morally elitist in the anti-critical thinking mind. In actuality critical reasoning considers the greatest good for the greatest number and balancing that good with respect for the individual. Another difficult task which dictates navigating a moderate path with every step. Who needs that kind of pressure. GOP’s Newly Unveiled ‘Pledge to America’ Is a Destructive Sham

[Y]ou’re left with a set of hard promises that will increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, take health-care insurance away from tens of millions of people, create a level of policy uncertainty businesses have never previously known, and suck demand out of an economy that’s already got too little of it.

You’re also left with a difficult question: What, exactly, does the Republican Party believe? The document speaks constantly and eloquently of the dangers of debt — but offers a raft of proposals that would sharply increase it. It says, in one paragraph, that the Republican Party will commit itself to “greater liberty” and then, in the next, that it will protect “traditional marriage.” It says that “small business must have certainty that the rules won’t change every few months” and then promises to change all the rules that the Obama administration has passed in recent months. It is a document with a clear theory of what has gone wrong — debt, policy uncertainty, and too much government — and a solid promise to make most of it worse.

They flew off the roof and crashed. Now they have painted the disastrously designed wings a new shade and expect to get different results. Welcome to the anti-reasoning roller coaster, the thrill ride of your life.

autumn tree

the iconoclast autumn wallpaper

Six scientists tell us about the most accurate science fiction in their fields

John Hawks, Paleoanthropologist, University of Wisconsin, Madison:
You know, it seems to me that the best science fiction gets one science concept really right, even if it leads to results that seem unrealistic.

My favorite along these lines is a classic, Cyril Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons.” It’s the original version of “Idiocracy” — the basic idea is that selection now favors the stupid, and so if we go forward in time, that’s what we’ll see. The concept is simple and well-drawn; the consequences unexpected.

Isn’t that what good science fiction does, find one true thing and than let the imagination take the truest to another level. Usually involving attractive earthlings in a life threatening predicament.