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  1. #1
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    Default Is America a nation at risk?

    Is America a nation at risk?

    In 1983, in its landmark report A Nation at Risk, the National Commission on Excellence in Education warned:

    "Many 17-year-olds do not possess the 'higher-order' intellectual skills we should expect of them. Nearly 40 percent cannot draw inferences from written material; only one-fifth can write a persuasive essay; and only one-third can solve a mathematics problem requiring several steps."

    “The religious believer assigns dignity to whatever his religion holds sacred—a set of moral laws, a way of life, or particular objects of worship. He grows angry when the dignity of what he holds sacred is violated.” Quote from The End of History and the Last Man.

    To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality, upon what foundation does s/he stand? If the non believer does depend upon rationality for dignity how is it possible that so few know anything about rationality?

    Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT (Critical Thinking) is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.

    What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.

    If today’s adult wishes to learn CT s/he must learn it on their own nickel. I think a good read to begin with is this one:

    Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

    “ABSTRACT: The ideal of critical thinking is a central one in Russell's philosophy, though this is not yet generally recognized in the literature on critical thinking. For Russell, the ideal is embedded in the fabric of philosophy, science, liberalism and rationality, and this paper reconstructs Russell's account, which is scattered throughout numerous papers and books. It appears that he has developed a rich conception, involving a complex set of skills, dispositions and attitudes, which together delineate a virtue which has both intellectual and moral aspects. It is a view which is rooted in Russell's epistemological conviction that knowledge is difficult but not impossible to attain, and in his ethical conviction that freedom and independence in inquiry are vital. Russell's account anticipates many of the insights to be found in the recent critical thinking literature, and his views on critical thinking are of enormous importance in understanding the nature of educational aims. Moreover, it is argued that Russell manages to avoid many of the objections which have been raised against recent accounts. With respect to impartiality, thinking for oneself, the importance of feelings and relational skills, the connection with action, and the problem of generalizability, Russell shows a deep understanding of problems and issues which have been at the forefront of recent debate.”

    20th WCP: Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

  2. #2
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call it risk. It'd probably be worse if everyone was capable of rational thinking. Society has it's way of fitting most people in. In the end a balance is formed, and there's no real risk.



    Little side track...

    What I would wonder is the connection between corruption and the percentage of 'critical thinkers' in the world population. One could argue we may be better off ignorant.

    Ultimatly, having a choice in the matter is better than not having one, in my opinion though. :P
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    It'd probably be worse if everyone was capable of rational thinking.
    It would be worse if people could think for themselves and were not easily manipulated by others? Are you afraid of competition? Of a society where people could manage their own affairs and were risen up from a level of brute labor and domination into self-sufficiency and creativity?
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antireconciler View Post
    It would be worse if people could think for themselves and were not easily manipulated by others? Are you afraid of competition? Of a society where people could manage their own affairs and were risen up from a level of brute labor and domination into self-sufficiency and creativity?
    I'd be afraid of what would happen with all the lower class jobs that need to be done. The world would become a pile of shit.

    Unless everyone is also J, then it may work.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    I'd be afraid of what would happen with all the lower class jobs that need to be done. The world would become a pile of shit.

    Unless everyone is also J, then it may work.

    are you calling human race stagnant? that it has reached its peak on the growing scale?

    everyone is smart and the world becomes shit, then everyone would move to a new world or create less shit

  6. #6
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisGuy View Post
    are you calling human race stagnant? that it has reached its peak on the growing scale?

    everyone is smart and the world becomes shit, then everyone would move to a new world or create less shit
    What? No?

    Diversity is important. People aren't all getting smarter to one specific equal point of smartness. As smart people are getting smarter, less smart people are also getting smarter, but just not as smart as the smartest people.

    If everyone is equally as smart then there would be problems!
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  7. #7
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT (Critical Thinking) is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.

    What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.
    Conventional compulsory education was designed to serve industry, that is, to take kids away from the family during their most formative years and impose obedience and docility. I believe the original model was developed in Germany in the mid 1800's and spread from there. It was hard to implement in the US because many were independent farmers and tradespeople so it took a couple of decades to impose because people resisted, even rioted. However concessions had to be made that still exist to this day, like having summers off so the kids could help on the farm.

    Critical thinking was never intended to be a part of the curriculum for obvious reasons and that is overwhelmingly still the case wherever compulsory school exists (unless it's a boarding school for wealthy people). The US is among the worst when you look at international comparisons. Exceptional teachers who can think without a checklist often find themselves marginalized and harassed by administration and fellow teachers when they try to implement critical thinking or thinking in general. Jaime Escalante is probably the most famous example.

    There are lots of good books on the history of compulsory school with interesting tidbits that I didn't know. For example, bells and whistles were originally designed to mimic a factory environment. School still functions primarily for indoctrination and imposing docility but progress has been made in overcoming these problems and that trend will likely continue.

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    Senior Member iamathousandapples's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality, upon what foundation does s/he stand?
    Internal morality rather than religious dogma. Believing without question religious dogma does not make one good, rather a sheep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    What? No?

    Diversity is important. People aren't all getting smarter to one specific equal point of smartness. As smart people are getting smarter, less smart people are also getting smarter, but just not as smart as the smartest people.

    If everyone is equally as smart then there would be problems!
    you said it would be problem if everyone was a rational thinker

    rational thinker doesn't imply level of smartness...

  10. #10
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    Alwar


    The first thing that our culture must do is to make teaching the most sought after profession in our society. Is it possible to do so before our adults learn CT? I doubt it. Therefore the first thing we must do is to convince adults to learn CT on their own after their school daze are over.

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