'We too fall with it'

So I’m working on collecting some of the older posts here, bundling them into categories of sorts and cleaning them up a bit in the hopes of producing that book-like thing I mentioned earlier. And that entails writing short introductions for the various sections.

The following is my first shot at the introduction for the section on young-earth creationism.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

The oldest book in our Bible contains a hymn of praise to the Creator that rambles on for chapter after chapter. It’s the longest such hymn in the Bible, skipping about through all the earth and all the universe with the wide-eyed, giddy enthusiasm of a kind in a candy shop, marveling at all the wondrous things that God has made.

But this isn’t a psalm of David or a song of Moses. This is from the book of Job, and the one speaking, according to that story, is none other than God. No human speaker in the Bible matches the goofy enthusiasm, delight and affection for all creation that God expresses there in the final chapters of Job.

The Discovery Channel approached something like that enthusiasm in an old promo of theirs that reflected something like the love and wonderment found in that passage. It featured a jingle called “I Love the World,” sung in the ad by various astronauts, scientists, explorers and naturalists. “I love tornadoes, I love arachnids, I love hot magma, I love the giant squids,” they sang. “I love the whole world. It’s such a brilliant place. Boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da, boom-de-ah-da …”

That’s a just and appropriate response to this amazing planet we live on. For Christians, anything less than such joyful, insatiable delight verges on the sin of ingratitude.

Yet, weirdly, in much of American Christianity, you won’t encounter a love of creation anywhere near as intense as that shown on a daily basis by such scientists and explorers. We may mouth the words to “All Creatures of Our God and King” or to “How Great Thou Art,” but we never match that gleeful whoop of “Boom-de-ah-da.”

And even worse, we deliberately neglect the work of discovery and exploration that scientists are engaged in, viewing it somehow as anti-Christian. Instead of the Discovery Channel, we turn to the Discovery Institute – the promoter of young-earth “creationist” heresies that forbid any genuine attempt to discover more about the wondrous world that God has wrought. And when others do that discovery, we clamp our eyes shut and refuse to look. We don’t want to see the awesome glories of the Burgess Shale or the latest images from the Hubble telescope, because we want our God to be smaller and less complicated than that. We claim to worship the Ancient of Days, but only if “ancient” means about 6,000 years.

Many Christians shun science, ironically, in the name of “absolute truth.” Science doesn’t promise the absolute certainty we desire, insisting rather that truth be held lightly so that new discoveries can be welcomed rather than forbidden as threats to our preconceived notions. Many Christians want more certainty than science allows so that we can take a firm and everlasting stand, heedless of whatever facts might cast doubt on it. And heedless too of the warning from one old scientist who said: “We should not rush headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.”

That’s a pretty good description of how science’s search for truth works. And it’s even more impressive when you consider that it was written more than 1,500 years ago by St. Augustine.

He wasn’t actually writing about science, but about the way we approach and interpret the Bible. Specifically, he was warning against a prideful overconfidence in the way we interpret the creation stories in the book of Genesis – the very same texts that have led many American Christians to reject and deny the “further progress in the search of truth” that science provides.

We have rejected and denied and lied about that science because we’ve taken just exactly the kind of rushed, headlong stand that Augustine warned against, forcing us to view Genesis and science as incompatible. Having decided that, we have no choice but to reject science, lest our preferred interpretation of Genesis fall “and we too fall with it.”

Augustine said that doing what we’re doing is “to battle not for the teaching of holy scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of sacred scripture.” Clinging to an interpretive scheme that puts the Bible on the opposite side of the search for truth makes the Bible secondary and second-rate – a text consulted only to buttress our own views and not one to be read for what it actually has to say. It elevates our ideas about the Bible above the Bible itself.

And it shuts us off from the search for truth, from the possibility of discovery and of sharing in God’s own joy and wonder and in the glorious boom-de-ah-da that comes from exploring every corner of this glorious, strange, beautiful, billions-of-years-old universe.

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Donald Trump's B-list 'evangelical advisory board'
Untold millions are still untold
Ralph Reed's history with casino moguls
'Game of Thrones' and the Bible
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    OK, I checked and it was BAT. 97% of their worldwide donations to political parties went to Australia’s Liberal/National Coalition.

    BAT, PM and Imperial Tobacco also spent $5.5m during last year’s election campaign on ads (through a ‘public interest’ front group) opposing the Labor party, and this year they’ve been running a new set of ads specifically targetting the plain packaging legislation currently in parliament. Wasted money, too, because the Libs eventually bowed to public pressure and agreed to back the bill (the Nats, not so much, because while they like to cry about the health of rural people they don’t actually like doing anything to improve it). So the drug pushers would be better off spending their money killing people in developing countries at this point.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that’s … informative and horrifying.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Amaryllis

    Y’know, although I don’t really have an opinion on whether the “cross” should be part of the memorial, not having followed the issue, I was all set to deliver a little speech about how of course the beams are construction material, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to also view them as a religious image (though not a miraculous one, I hasten to add). There’s more than one way to look at things…and then I clicked your link.

    WTF? These people can’t be real. And they sign these things with what looks like their real names?

     They oughtta be ashamed. And whatever they’re for, I’m against.

  • Jim

    This is Jim, the guy upthread who’s a theological evolutionist under threat at his hardcore YEC church. Can’t login right now, for some reason
     
    I really get tired of people saying that YEC “doesn’t hurt” people because it’s just a belief. Even if you ignore all the politically active yahoos, you still have the personal level of it.
     
    Understand this – my son, who is 8, knows that when someone says that people who believe in evolution are under the sway of Satan, knows that this person is saying, “Your father is under the sway of Satan.” Now, he’s clever, so he knows they’re wrong, but he’s hearing this from his Sunday School teachers, from the pulpit, from his friends, from pretty much everybody. And he’s 8 and he’s very impressionable, so he wants to believe these authority figures, even though he knows that, in some way, they’re wrong in what they say and what they believe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    Maybe I’m not one to be giving advice on religion, but I would think you’d be better off finding another church.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OPDTGMVEFDYDKHEXSNNWOFNWY Jim

    Sue, that’s exatctly what I would do if it were only me involved. It is, however, the church my wife grew up in, and that most of her family attends. I also came to this understanding relatively recently (the last five or so years), and find myself in a position where I’m involved in a lot of the church’s ministry, but in opposition to it’s stated theological positions. Do I think I’ll be in this church the rest of my life? I can’t see it, but like someone who’s suddenly realized that the person they’re married to wasn’t the one they thought they met at the altar, I can’t see a way to make a clean break.

    That said, I don’t want or expect sympathy for my situation – I’ve chosen this path, and I know I’m on it, it’s my responsibility – but just to say that even if I weren’t in this church, these same people at this church would still be the way that they are. If there’s someone else at church going through the same thing, we haven’t been introduced yet, or I’d use them as an example.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    It’s always more complicated, isn’t it?

    If you’re involved with its ministry, then maybe there’s a chance you could influence their position.  One of the reasons I stopped going to the church I used to attend was because they were promoting what sounded like creationist propaganda.  Years later, I wondered if I should have said something.  After all, most of those people probably didn’t know much about science.  And I knew you didn’t have to be a creationist to be a Christian.  I have no idea whether the church continued down that path, because I just quit going.  Eventually I realized I didn’t believe any of it anyway.

  • FangsFirst

      Years later, I wondered if I should have said something.

    You know, I go back and forth on this.
    My mother is a (now retired, but still pseudo-active) preacher, and she refers to me as a better Christian and Christian apologist than most Christians she knows. I’m an agnostic atheist. I am known to both decisively criticize (most Christians I know hear this part) and defend (most non-Christians I know hear this part) Christianity and/or Christians.

    The believers I know and respect tend to be respectful and tolerant. My girlfriend is a hardcore Catholic (her word, “hardcore,” though she sometimes points at me as the origin of it) albeit with increasingly socially-liberal leanings (but very, very into respecting tradition and ritual, if you see the place where they diverge without conflicting), and she has never tried to convert me, tries to understand my point of view, and maintains that “God does not make people incomplete,”–ergo, I am not ‘missing something’ through my atheism.

    That said, I was recently out with extended family, and there was great talk of a Bible study session. I skipped (for all that I sometimes go out of my way to encourage healthier and more critical interpretations–my mom says she likes my arguments because they test her faith and make her think about it in new ways–I don’t always enjoy going through the same tiresome stuff) out, but when everyone else returned, they said I should have been there, as “Are you Creationist?” was asked of my immediate family (my dad borders on Agnostic without crossing the line, I…don’t talk to my sister enough to know, but she has always been on the open-minded end, and my mother has a Ph.D in Reproductive Physiology pre-dating her Masters of Divinity, so guess what their feelings are!) and my dad dodged (a bullet, in my mom’s opinion, as he shut the conversation down by saying “People are too concerned with labels”), but some regretted that I was not there to take up the fight with our more…uh…determinedly religious relatives.

    I don’t regret it too much, especially as the relative who asked had her son in an accident later that day and took comfort from her beliefs. I was rather glad I had not–however respectfully–gone at them at all, as a result.

    …Though I still enjoy whomping people who use their beliefs as jerks with their own beliefs (and not smarmy things like contradictions, so much as the ideas like I see here periodically–eg, God would want use to appreciate the nuances of Creation, not disavow them and ignore them)

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     It is, however, the church my wife grew up in, and that most of her family attends.

     

    Have you asked her how she feels about being married to a Satan worshipper?  :-(

    I have a hard time imagining what good features this church could possibly have that make it worth putting up with that bullshit.  “Force of habit” just isn’t enough.  And if they lie about YOU, what else are they lying about?

  • Anonymous for this post

     

    Jim,

     

    What you’re describing is something very like the way I grew
    up, so I hope you don’t mind if I say a few things about how it went for me.

     

    First, if your church is like a lot of small churches, it’s
    not just a house of worship. It’s a social organization. This means your
    children are growing up with an extended family. They know and connect with and
    feel cared for by their aunts and uncles and they’re friends with their
    cousins. That’s an incredible gift you’re giving them, and by itself it would
    be worth rethinking any plans you had to leave the church.

     

    Aside from that, you probably don’t need me to tell you what
    to be careful of. Just bear in mind that the kids are hearing things from
    people you and your wife accept as authorities. One of the girls in my family
    ended up a Discovery Institute supporter in a super-conservative marriage.

     

    But the parents did actually manage to move the church a bit
    towards the liberal side. So there were victories.

     

    Of course, YMWAVFSNQAI (Your Mileage Will Absolutely Vary
    For Sure No Question About It) because people and situations are different.

  • Matthew Funke

    Jim: I really get tired of people saying that YEC “doesn’t hurt” people because it’s just a belief. Even if you ignore all the politically active yahoos, you still have the personal level of it.

    I agree.  Such a view is short-sighted, and ignores the fact that scientific concepts tend to be interconnected.

    Sure, it probably makes no difference in and of itself how old you think a particular rock is.  The question is why you think that way.  Do you think it’s thirty million years old because very intelligent and hard-working people dedicated their careers to perfecting methods of reliably determining the age of rocks, and that this one, to the best of our understanding, fits that age?  Or do you believe that it’s 4500 years old because some teacher told you that rocks like this formed in a global flood for which there is absolutely zero evidence outside of his framework of understanding?

    Now, which one you choose to believe may not be important when it comes to the rock, but what if the question is Who gets the food?, or Who gets the medicine?, or How should we conduct research into medicine and fuels in a way that will allow us best to put our derived knowledge into context?  Are you going to accept the ideas of a charismatic teacher, or ideas that follow our most careful and systematic attempts to find out what’s really going on?

    Creationists like to claim that paleontology and evolutionary biology are not “real sciences” because they can’t directly observe everything related to their claims.  Yet, they apparently have no problem when other forensic sciences have to reconstruct circumstances based on understandings of natural phenomena.  When do we determine that something is a “real science”, and when don’t we?

    Beliefs do not exist in a vacuum.  We can see this now with respect to how YECists have been responding — or, perhaps more accurately, how they haven’t — to environmental problems that threaten to affect the lives of everyone on the planet.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t Hiroshima punishment enough for these people?

    Hiroshima…Nagasaki…the Tokyo firebombings

    The price in blood was paid and paid and paid again.  It is truly astonishing how even that does not satisfy some people.  I truly cannot envision how one can actually think such a response as Ravanan linked is remotely appropriate or right to any tragedy. 

    ETA: Aaaand Hawker Hurricane beat me to it.

  • We Must Dissent

    Hiroshima…Nagasaki…the Tokyo firebombings

    Make that the firebombing of every major city and many not-so-major cities of Japan, except Kyoto, and you’d be more accurate. The U.S. bombed 67 Japanese cities. They didn’t do nearly as many sorties as they had originally planned because they ran out of places to bomb–this after taking the armor and weapons off of bombers because the risk was so low.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/5OPDTGMVEFDYDKHEXSNNWOFNWY Jim

    I don’t get a “Post” button when I try to reply, so sorry about this, Consumer Unit, but this is in response to you.

    I don’t feel comfortable talking about the details of my relationship with my wife online, but suffice it to say that things are rock-solid between the two of us. She’s . . . less confrontational than I am, but of a similar mindset to me.

    Dovetailing your response with Sue’s, I do consider my friends at church to be part of my “mission field.” Many of the people I work with are good people, and the remainder are excellent, and I hesitate to abandon them, particularly since I was at one time as virulently anti-science as the worst of them, as Matt said, that can have dramatic effects on other things.

    I’ve noticed, for example, a strong correlation between those who are the most anti-evolution and those families that are anti-vaccine. I’ve managed to persuade two families that vaccines do not, in fact, contain aborted fetal tissue and don’t cause autism, so there has been change and, with that, hope.

  • Dan Audy

    I find the idea of having to provide mission to obstensible Christians profoundly saddening.  But I suppose they need it more than most.

  • Illuminati Informer

    Fair enough.  I’ve never been on the ‘inside’ of a church like that, so I don’t think i could handle it.  Good luck and nil illegeitimati carborundum.

  • Matthew Funke

    Jim: I’ve noticed, for example, a strong correlation between those who are
    the most anti-evolution and those families that are anti-vaccine.

    QFT.  I think I’ve observed a general tendency for people to let in more than one form of bad thinking; I have to wonder if conspiracy theories are the link.  After all, if you think evolution is really some vast atheistic conspiracy that has successfully wrested control of our schools and educational television programming and brainwashed our scientists and teachers, in spite of atheists being a rather small minority in our society, then all sorts of other things make sense, too.  Like global warming being a scientific conspiracy.  Or vaccines being a pharmaceutical conspiracy.  Or the Moon landings being a governmental conspiracy.  Or just about everything being a Satanic conspiracy.  Or alternative medicines being held down by a medical conspiracy.  Or whatever.

    I don’t know how to confront this line of thinking effectively, but I find it rather worrisome — that the whole world is duped except for the Chosen Few (and, naturally, the conspiracy buff happens to be one of those few).  It seems to lend itself to claims that all views are equally unprovable and thus equally valid on whatever topic they don’t want to listen to contrary ideas about, which makes intelligent conversation rather difficult.

  • Lori

      I think I’ve observed a general tendency for people to let in more than one form of bad thinking; I have to wonder if conspiracy theories are the link.  

    I think there’s something to this. Remember that the really vocal anti-vac’ers are yuppies who think that vaccines are a vast conspiracy on the part of drug companies to make money by poisoning their kids. As an example, I’ve never seen any indication that Jenny McCarthy doesn’t believe in evolution, but she sure believes (or has believed) in plenty of other unscientific nonsense. 

    I’m just not sure how the link actually works. Conspiracy theories themselves are just another form of bad thinking, so I’m doubtful that the problem starts there. I think if we teased it out we’d most likely get back to the fact that we don’t do a good job teaching critical thinking skills. When you don’t have those you’re vulnerable to all sorts of ridiculous ideas. 

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I get the impression that the anti-vaxers are people with autistic children who are desperately, desperately trying to find WHY their child is autistic, and want to blame SOMEbody for it.  Some of them — not all or even most — I would say are trying to unconsciously shift blame away from themselves.  (A silly and unfortunate reaction; nobody blames the parents for an autistic or otherwise challenged child.  Nobody has linked autism to any form of child abuse that I know of.)

  • Lori

    Yes, but there’s a consistency about how and onto whom they shift the blame. It’s not random.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

     nobody blames the parents for an autistic or otherwise challenged child

    Usually not now, but in the past autism has been explicitly blamed on the parents; see the term “refrigerator mother”.

  • Anonymous

    Brian Dunning at Skeptoid.com points out that we’re pretty much wired to create conspiracy theories.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I don’t know how to confront this line of thinking effectively, but I find it rather worrisome — that the whole world is duped except for the Chosen Few (and, naturally, the conspiracy buff happens to be one of those few).  

    I’ll point out that’s a pretty good description of at least some religions, too.  But then, I think religions and conspiracy theories have similar purposes in terms of forcing the incomprehensible universe into a bogus logical structure and providing someone to BLAME everything on…

  • Matthew Funke

    Lori: I think if we teased it out we’d most likely get back to the fact that we don’t do a good job teaching critical thinking skills. When you don’t have those you’re vulnerable to all sorts of ridiculous ideas.

    You’re onto something here, methinks.  If my impressions are correct, most people have no idea why they expect other people to believe their claims that certain things are true, or for that matter, why they themselves believe what they do.  And they certainly don’t make decisions based on something as mundane as demonstrable evidence.

    If they’re willing to give a passing nod to the need for some kind of logic, they tend to create misrepresentations of the other person’s position so as to more easily reject it.  (I’m looking at almost everything that tries to pass itself off as “apologetics”, for example.)

    Maybe it starts with the recognition that something doesn’t have to be pleasant to be true (and vice versa).  But how do you teach people that?

  • Matthew Funke

    Dash1: Brian Dunning at Skeptoid.com points out that we’re pretty much wired to create conspiracy theories.

    But that’s something you can learn not to do.  There are lots of ways we think naturally that have to be un-learned if one cares about thinking carefully — the Dunning-Krueger (sp?) effect, Confirmation Bias, and so on.  Our natural tendencies shouldn’t be an excuse.

  • Lori

     But that’s something you can learn not to do.  There are lots of ways we think naturally that have to be un-learned if one cares about thinking carefully — the Dunning-Krueger (sp?) effect, Confirmation Bias, and so on.  Our natural tendencies shouldn’t be an excuse. 

    Exactly. We have to be taught. It’s possible for us to learn how to evaluate the workings of our own brains. Not perfectly, but well enough to avoid a lot of pitfalls. But it’s a learned skill, not a something that will happen on its own. Unfortunately instead of being taught critical reasoning skills we’re often taught things that work against them. Bad business all the way around. 

  • Anonymous

    But that’s something you can learn not to do

    Well, we can learn to fight it. And, Lori points out, we absolutely need training in critical thinking–one of the huge gaps in our (USAmerican) public education, and in most of our (USAmerican) private education. But two things:
    (1) There are things it’s really hard to learn (or unlearn). See, for example, the work of Christ Chabris and Daniel Simons, popularized in the Invisible Gorilla.
    (2) it probably isn’t a good idea to learn to dismiss all responses not subject to solid proof. Sometimes the bad guys really are in cahoots and up to no good.

  • Lori

    (1) There are things it’s really hard to learn (or unlearn). See, for example, the work of Christ Chabris and Daniel Simons, popularized in the Invisible Gorilla

    .

    This is a good point. As I said, we will never be able to perfectly trust our own perceptions. The best we can do is train ourselves as well as possible and then try to develop strategies for dealing with invisible gorilla situations. 

    (2) it probably isn’t a good idea to learn to dismiss all responses not subject to solid proof. Sometimes the bad guys really are in cahoots and up to no good.  

    Also true. (To give this point book reference to match point #1 there’s The Gift of Fear.) I don’t think we should simply dismiss that sense that something fishy is going on. However, I do think that at some point you’ve got to trust evidence over your gut and remember that the total absence of evidence is not actually evidence of a conspiracy. 

    That’s the point where I think conspiracy theories go from “trusting your gut” to “bad thinking”. When they become self-reinforcing and there’s literally nothing that can be shown or said that will get adherents to change their minds. That’s a problem no matter how warranted the initial suspicion was. 
      

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    I still can’t wrap my mind around how some people can be so…gleeful about the suffering of others. I read comments from people who gleefully announce that the Japanese are getting their just deserts because, “Remember Pearl Harbor!!1!” and never stop to consider the pain, misery, and horror that they have gone through and are still going through. And when they start crowing about dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki I want to punch them. 

    I can’t begin to describe the look on my grandmother’s face when she starts talking about she saw in the aftermath of the bombings. To hear her talk about women and children with the fingers on their hands fused together, with parts of their faces drooping where the skin had melted and healed, and the shadows burned into stone is truly horrifying. And that’s just the stuff she’s willing to talk about. She’s told me that there are things she saw that she will never, ever talk about for as long as she lives.

    The fact that we humans did this to other humans should be not be cause for celebration. 

  • Matthew Funke

    Lori: Exactly. We have to be taught.

    I don’t mean to contest this for a moment.  It occurs to me that politics and advertising are largely set up specifically to take advantage of a lot of these bugs in human thinking; as common as it’s used against us, you’d think education on it would be more common.

    Thanks for pointing out that blaming conspiracy theory acceptance as a primary cause of bad thinking is, in some sense, putting the cart before the horse.  It’s certainly not to blame for all the weird thinking out there.  But I think that once you accept one conspiracy, the mental patterns you develop in order to excuse it to yourself as reasonable opens the gate to accepting many other conspiracies; it also makes it harder for you to evaluate and weigh the quality of evidence generally.  It may not be the initial cause behind bad thinking, but I think it may speed its propagation to various spheres of consideration.

    EDIT: Inserted “blaming” in the final paragraph

  • Lori

      It occurs to me that politics and advertising are largely set up specifically to take advantage of a lot of these bugs in human thinking; as common as it’s used against us, you’d think education on it would be more common.  

    At least some schools used to basically teach a sort of ad busters curriculum designed to help kids understand the ways that advertising manipulates them. Do they still do that? If not I really think they should. I haven’t looked at is much as I probably should, but there’s quite a lot of good information available about visual rhetoric and how to read what visual media is saying. 

     But I think that once you accept one conspiracy, the mental patterns you develop in order to excuse it to yourself as reasonable opens the gate to accepting many other conspiracies; it also makes it harder for you to evaluate and weigh the quality of evidence generally.  It may not be the initial cause behind bad thinking, but I think it may speed its propagation to various spheres of consideration.  

    I’ve never seen any research on it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is true. Especially when people aren’t looking critically at their own tendencies. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    There are still a lot of classes and programs like that — not necessarily focused on advertisements, but on logical fallacies (that often use advertisements as examples). The thing is getting people to take that knowledge outside of the classroom, or getting them to not just dump all of it the moment they finish with the course / graduate. How many people honestly use everything they learned in secondary school, even in applicable situations?

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    There are still a lot of classes and programs like that — not necessarily focused on advertisements, but on logical fallacies (that often use advertisements as examples). The thing is getting people to take that knowledge outside of the classroom, or getting them to not just dump all of it the moment they finish with the course / graduate. How many people honestly use everything they learned in secondary school, even in applicable situations?

    In my opinion, these classes are a good start, but not nearly sufficient.  We need more than that.  A lot of them tend to take place in secondary education settings, which is a little late in the student’s mental development, and might not be enough to change certain setting patterns.  However, if we start with logic and critical thinking in early primary education, then repeat and elaborate on these concepts every few years after, a lot more of it will stick.

    Hopefully, this will also help shape the way such a generation thinks, and move them toward more rational decision making, and less likely to be swayed by bunk. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Okay, weird.  Now it’s showing a name for me I don’t think I’ve ever used.   That was me posting as “illuminati informer”, in case you couldn’t tell.

  • Matthew Funke

    Dash1: There are things it’s really hard to learn (or unlearn). See, for example, the work of Christ Chabris and Daniel Simons, popularized in the Invisible Gorilla.

    Thanks for that.  I’ve reserved the book at my local library.

    Yeah, I’d agree that sometimes it’s hard.  I’ve been through a lot of those struggles myself.  But, as I’m sure you know, that doesn’t mean that they should be avoided.

    Lori: I haven’t looked at is much as I probably should, but there’s quite a lot of good information available about visual rhetoric and how to read what visual media is saying.

    Oh, yeah, certainly.  The hard part is getting peopel to realize why learning this stuff is important.  I take the purposely quick-and-dirty explanation of skeptical thinking posted at the JREF recently to be helpful:

    “Skepticism is the intersection of science education and consumer protection. We help people learn from science to avoid spending their money on products and services that do not work.”

    As the original poster pointed out, it can get our foot in the door.  The great thing about critical thinking is the same as the nefarious thing about believing unsupported garbage: once applied, the techniques used tend to spread out to other corners of thought.

    The other advantage to this description, I think, is that it quickly communicates the whole reason I think critical thinking is important: it allows us to help people.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X