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Liberty, or library? 
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As I sit here reading these posts, with my critical thinking robe on, and with my vessel of critical thinking water at my side, before I think my critical thinking thoughts before going to bed, I have decided to seek some critical thinking guidance.

Has anyone else noticed the critical thinking light, (bulb). Maybe would like to sing a critical thinking chant of some sort, something like, "this critical thinking thread, I want to see it die"!

Lets all critically think together! Maybe a critically thinking conclusion will happen!



Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:03 am
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TH: "You are welcome, Interbane, and since you are interested in genetics, I'd like to call your attention to this book by a theist geneticist:"

I'm familiar with the perspective. Basically, god creates the universe then withdraws to his den. This is satisfying to a theist since it adds a conclusive termination point to the ultimate causal riddle. For that very reason, it's not parsimonious. Are you willing to explain your views on virtues a bit more after reading my post? I'm curious.


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Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:32 am
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TH
The inference is that you believe in critical thinking but have never examined its academic formulations and so have simply accepted it on faith.


Wrong… again… I guess I should be getting used to that by now… but somehow your distorted thinking keeps catching me off guard.

I have researched critical thinking in the past because I am not a lazy thinker… As Johnson1010 and I have said (repeatedly) critical thinking is not the thing you are trying to make it out to be.

I am beginning to doubt that you personally use critical thinking, but most people do and most are not atheists.

Just as a hammer can be defined in many ways so can a tool like critical thinking. Some people define it differently than others. And some put emphasis on different properties of it… and some definitions are better than others, but I find the simplest definitions to be the most accurate.

Geo describes critical thinking well when he states that it is merely thinking critically. Applying skepticism to a claim and withholding judgment until credible evidence is presented.

You on the other hand have searched many definitions with the sole purpose of finding material that supports your twisted world view, not realizing that your initial assumption is wrong.

It has been said by every person involved in this discussion multiple times… critical thinking is not a belief system or a creed, it is not propaganda or liberal, it only has users and people who believe that it works… we believe this because it has been demonstrated time and time again. Just as I believe a hammer works because I have used one, I believe that critical thinking works because I have used it and it works.

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TH
Now, I'm not criticizing you for being a person of faith, because as I pointed out, checking is expensive.


You would love this to be true I am sure… but as I stated before I am not the lazy thinker that you are.

And do not think you are going to goad me into a tirade because you called me a person of faith…

I will not bite at that bait.

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Suzanne
Lets all critically think together! Maybe a critically thinking conclusion will happen!


We can't TH will not think critically with us... :laugh:

Later


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Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:13 am
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TH
About the discrimination you have experienced as an atheist, surely you are aware that in the minds of many persons, atheism and its rebellion against tradition has been a main prop of atheistic totalitarianism. When you are considered to be part of such a horror, you should expect others to be punitive.


So as a theist you should expect to be penalized for the witch hunts, the inquisition, the dark ages, the crusades, human slavery and the hundreds of other religious crimes throughout history?

Can you actually hear yourself?

You seem to actually support injustice against atheists… that is bigotry and is more Nazi like than anything any atheist here has posted.

I suspected this about you already, but you seem to add evidence to my point with your every post.

But I will withhold judgment for now… maybe you are just dense and irrational.

Later


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Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:24 am
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Frank 013 wrote:

Quote:
Suzanne
Lets all critically think together! Maybe a critically thinking conclusion will happen!


We can't TH will not think critically with us... :laugh:


As a Confucian, I believe in the value of ritual, and I think I could willingly suspend disbelief for a few hours, or at least I could pretend for the sake of the party. But Suzanne is right about the need to terminate this discussion. We apparently have run off nice MissBlake, new member etudiant has gone silent, and GentleReader has withdrawn again into the darkness of Cyberspace.

Tom


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Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:39 am
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TH
But Suzanne is right about the need to terminate this discussion. We apparently have run off nice MissBlake, new member etudiant has gone silent, and GentleReader has withdrawn again into the darkness of Cyberspace.


Driven off by your negative vibe no doubt…

Later


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Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:43 am
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I’m still around, though absent for a while on vacation.

I enjoy your posts Tom, as I think that you may have a unique sense of humour, and I think that you have extracted some merriment from your interactions here. You are articulate, yet contrary to an extent that suggests ulterior motives.

I could be wrong however. Communication by print is limited, and one misses out on a host of non-verbal cues that would otherwise be illuminating. It could be that you are dead serious.

I will throw in my two cents worth on critical thinking and the theist/ atheist argument. It has been my experience that individuals typically go through two permutations when contemplating broader existential issues.

One: they decide which system of beliefs will best support their hopes, desires, needs, fears, and insecurities.

Two: they then re-shape and modify the environment around them to fit with the system they have decided upon.

I would say that, to be fair, many people do this, even some of the very learned. And I also think the extremity of belief often corresponds closely with the extremity of need. For example, those with a particular horror of death may cling tightly to a religion that promises eternal life. Those with insecurities about their sexuality, or their ability to relate to the opposite sex, may strongly favor a religion that rigidly proscribes these roles in society. I think that we may see some extreme neediness underlying the behavior of some of the newsmakers in the world today. The violent imams in Iran, the Taliban in Afghanistan, the silly geriatrics in the Vatican, the Jehovah’s Witness canvassing door to door are all, I suspect, driven to reinforce their beliefs by acting out in some manor.

Really, we are all in the same boat. I think the Persian poet Rumi put it most concisely. He said “ I have no idea why I am here”, meaning, I would interpret, that if surrounded by darkness, he would certainly attempt to shin a light, but, if unable to see, would not make up a story about what was out there, even if that made him more comfortable. Some are comfortable with the unknown, others are anxious, to varying degrees.



Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:23 pm
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etudiant wrote:
I’m still around, though absent for a while on vacation.


Thanks for hanging around, etudiant. I don't know how you nice Canadians put up with all the squabbling that goes on south of your border. If there is strength in virtue, probably some day you will invade and pacify us.

Tom


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Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:56 am
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"If there is strength in virtue, probably some day you will invade and pacify us."


We already have Tom, in 1814. Burned down Washington. Pacification is very hard to produce from the barrel of a gun however. I think our only real salvation is to keep reading, and hope that leads to some small degree of enlightenment.



Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:32 am
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I hate to admit it but I really do enjoy reading these kinds of threads. It's like a guilty pleasure! I am often impressed by the discourse and reminded of why I enjoy being in the company of BookTalk members.



Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:58 am
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etudiant: "I will throw in my two cents worth on critical thinking and the theist/ atheist argument. It has been my experience that individuals typically go through two permutations when contemplating broader existential issues.

One: they decide which system of beliefs will best support their hopes, desires, needs, fears, and insecurities.

Two: they then re-shape and modify the environment around them to fit with the system they have decided upon.
"

When you say people decide on beliefs, do you mean that it's a conscious decision, or do you mean that they are more receptive to certain beliefs based on their dispositions? I interpreted it as the latter.

There is also a factor that plays into the extremity of belief that is not quite the same as extremity of need. It would be conviction, or lack thereof. The conviction a person feels, no matter what the topic, is variant between people. Some people have a powerful sense of conviction when they believe something is correct, and some people have very little conviction when confronted with the same belief. This conviction is a mental emotion, a feeling, every bit as real as that of fear or anger. The neurochemical mechanism that is responsible for this conviction varies between people.

An intuition pump to help understanding is the example of risk takers. Some people have only a small amount of (I think it's endorphins) that are released when they're excited. To satiate this reward mechanism, they participate in ever more extreme activities. Some people have too much of these endorphins, and even climbing a ladder is too much for them.

Someone who has a strong sense of conviction and is also in need of emotional support would be far more likely to be religious than a person who has a weak sense of conviction and is also in need of emotional support.

I've been using concepts from "On Being Certain" so much lately that I think we should pull it out of the archives and renew discussion.



Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:29 am
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You raise some interesting points Interbane.

I think that much decision-making is subconscious. Many see the subconscious as somewhat of an abstraction, of interest to psychologists perhaps, but not something impacting their lives greatly. It is easy to imagine the conscious as pretty much all there is, because that is where we live: there is our awareness, and also the external world, which our senses are tuned to see. Looking inward is somewhat more complicated, and something many do not have the interest or energy to explore. A researcher once made this analogy. In looking at the relative depth and intricacy of the conscious vs. the subconscious he offered the image of an oil slick floating on the surface of the ocean. The depth of the oil represents the conscious, the depth of the ocean represents the subconscious.

Aside from a few innate, inherited behaviors, I think that all decision making is based on something. The big question is, what?

Take the example of an individual that commutes to work in his car. He does it regularly every day, and it represents the largest portion of this car use. One day he is driving on another errand, and he starts to daydream and his attention wanders for just a few moments. His attention returns and he finds to his surprise, he is heading for his usual route to work. Have you ever done this? The captain left the bridge for a moment, but the engine room was still at work. The car did not just roll to a stop. With the “higher” functioning of the conscious absent, decision-making slipped downwards a couple of notches by default. The surprise comes because we are not used to thinking in those terms. Many see either complete awareness, or some other obvious altered state, such as sleep, drug induced behaviors, or mental illness. I don’t think it is that clear cut.

Advertisers take full advantage of a fairly well documented human trait. We tend to remember the message, but forget the messenger. This may be a kind of survival mechanism. Perhaps hunter-gatherer societies in ancient times needed to focus on the immediate, and delete unnecessary clutter from memory. This can be perilous though in today’s corporate society. A Chevy is a pretty good car to buy, but… hmmm…..who was it that was telling me that? If something is focused on enough, it slips into the subconscious, but when it comes up again, may be altered quite a bit. Who knows what goes on in the engine room when the captain is busy on the bridge?

I think we see this a lot today in regard to organized religion. Certainly people from my generation were indoctrinated quite heavily with religious ideas at a very early and impressionable age. In later years, they may well start to feel uncomfortable with some of the more fantastical ideas of religion. But in many surveys, individuals will still, perhaps with some uncertainty and queasiness, say that they are catholic, protestant, or whatever. It’s their belief, but how closely did they examine their decision making process? Is it just bubbling up, like the Chevrolet ad seen in 1989, or is it a completely conscious, rational conclusion? I vote for the former.

Certainly other factors are at play. Personality traits can be innate, and have an effect on the strenuousness of religious belief. But I think these traits are somewhat malleable, in that they depend on the environment an individual grows up in. For example, someone may be more assertive and sure of themselves, but if they grew up in Soviet Russia, their convictions may well have leaned toward and enthusiasm for socialism rather that religion.



Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:16 pm
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It's always fun, if inaccurate, to use a computer as an analogue. You only see one process on the screen, but there are dozens running in the background, just hit Ctrl+Alt+Del. There's also limited storage, so over time our continuous disk cleanup deletes the temporary files.

I agree that since we're only able to focus on one thing at a time, we'd die if we must be conscious of all processes that keep us alive. At the same time that we must have more brainwork going on than we're aware of, we also cannot be aware of it or we'll overload. I like the oil/ocean analogy.



Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:44 pm
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So ... what was the question again?

‘Liberty or Library?’

I’m fascinated, at this moment, by the wonders of language and the human mind. The question has no meaning without context. The context, in this case, is the forum in which it was written: Arts, Entertainment and Fun Stuff. My first thought in reading the title was that someone was about to make a writer’s challenge in the nature of ‘Fun Stuff’ - thereby relating it to Arts and Entertainment. Naturally, this isn’t the case. Not that that’s a problem at all.

Still, I thought I might as well make a fool of myself (for the sake of entertainment) and post the second thought I had after reading the title:

“Well, Liberty of course. When sorted alphabetically, Liberty always comes first.”



Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:40 am
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