Monday, June 15, 2015

The lack of logic and critical thinking skills

The older I get, the more amazed I am at what seems to be a centuries old lack of critical thinking and logic skills.  I am, as always, most amazed when I don't think things through.  The second most amazing thing is when groups of people, communities, nations, etc, engage in acts which denote a complete lack of critical thinking.

Take Anonymous and their adoption of the Guy Fawkes mask.  The most cursory research would have informed them that they were adopting the image of a fascist religious fanatic who wanted to destroy the fledgling and progressive Protestant Church, encouraging a return to the oppressions, the inquisitions, of the Catholic Church.  Yet, this group, supposedly working against oppression who, in fact, simply engaged in the fascist oppression of those whose opinions disagreed with their own, just as the Catholic Church which Guy Fawkes loved had done for millennium.

How about the "intellectual" disdain for religion?  The most cursory examination of the last thousands of years  during which billions have experienced spiritual incidents involving a higher power would indicate that, while wildly different, the common threads of spiritual existence and a higher spiritual power would cause even the lest intelligent to at least consider the possibility of spiritual existence.  Instead, "intellectuals" often totally reject the possibility of a spiritual existence, choosing to believe in their own understanding and the delusional nature of the majority.

Or believers in the "Wall of Separation".  Here we have a wonderful piece of circular logic in which the Supreme Court used a law, "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion", which forbids the creation of a law, to make a law, "you can't establish a religion" which they are forbidden to make.  As if that isn't bad enough, the jurists who developed this wonderful piece of ignorance used the personal writings of a man who was not involved in the writing of the Federal Constitution to determine the "intentions" of Founding Fathers who typically resided in States which had state sponsored religions before, during and after Constitutional ratification and whose intentions could not possibly have been to prevent the various states from legalizing state sponsored religions.

Then we have the dogma associated with Einstein's theories of relativity which tell us that velocity is relative to the perspective of the observer and proves, mathematically, that mass cannot achieve the speed of light, even though from the perspective of a photon, traveling at the speed of light from the Sun to the Earth, the photon is standing still and both the Earth and Sun are moving at the speed of light.

How do large groups of supposedly intelligent and educated people engage in such follies of ignorance?

I get that we all make mistakes.  I know that I screw up all the time.  Sometimes people gain enjoyment from humiliating me when I make a mistake, sometimes people correct me politely and many times I correct myself.

But, how do thousands, millions, even billions, of people totally ignore logic and critical thinking to adopt positions based on circular logic, or a lack of research, or arrogance, and adopt ridiculous ideologies?

I get the individual mistake, but, examining the "Wall of Separation", how do millions of educated and intelligent people over hundreds of years dogmatically accept this historically unsupportable circular logic?

And, why, when confronted with the truth, do people usually reject the truth in favor of ridiculously illogical dogma?

I can only believe that people do not know how to think and that it is the rare individual alone who is actually capable of thinking.

Instead, like Aristotle's geocentric theory, people depend on the charisma of an individual to "teach" them the truth.  When Aristarchus challenges that truth, presents the facts of heliocentricism and is shouted down as an idiot, the charismatic dogma continues on for thousands of years.  Not based on logic or intelligence or critical thinking, but, based purely on charisma and people seeking to be like the one who is charismatic enough that their opinion trumps fact.

Aristotle was not a great thinker.  Aristotle, like Hitler, was a great and charismatic orator.  Even today people "worship" the opinion of the charismatic speaker while they ignore the facts presented by the thinker.

People choose not to think.  People choose ignorance.  People choose to follow or lead, oppressed or be oppressed, rather than work together as equals.

And that is sad.

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