Thursday, January 27, 2011

Treading Carefully Between Faith and Reason

© Loca Luna

Okay, here’s the caveat right out of the gates: I am exploring this issue to generate discussion. There is no judgment here. In fact, any comments on this post will be moderated viciously to make sure there is nothing inflammatory posted. I just think this bears open-minded, intelligent, honest, rational discussion. And an important note: In this discussion, when I use the word ‘faith’ I am not referring solely to religious belief. It’s also political or philosophical ideals. Even psychological. However, the religious argument is the biggest lightening rod for this discussion.

Still slightly fuelled by my last post and the discussion on it, and going through the Critical Thinking course, I stumbled upon a hot-button point. An obstacle to proper critical thought is the ‘blind faith’ paradigm, “It just simply is that way.” In a discussion analyzing truth and ‘how things work’ we are often driven, even subconsciously, to believe things on a gut level that can be proven to be wrong. But we are usually afraid to let go of our ideas, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Possibly because they resonate so strongly within us. Possibly because we are afraid to have a strongly held belief that could be wrong – a factor which only increases as we get older and thus more ‘experienced’ in the ways of the world. As was discussed in my last post, it takes a rare sort of bravery to expose our ideals to critical thought with a willingness to change them if they are proven to be incomplete or unsubstantiated.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Perhaps None Of Us Are As Smart As We Think We Are

© Jonathan Gill

So, I'm taking a 'Critical Thinking' course right now. Yes, it's apparently a skill that needs to be taught. And yet, maybe it's not so apparent. Everyone wants to believe that they are critical thinkers. We all have strongly held opinions and we stand behind them, but it seems we need to be taught how to be critical about our own thinking. It's a great question to ask. Am I a critical thinker? If I have a strongly held belief, will I change it if I am presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary? Few of us will. We are experts at justification and rationalization. We can create amazing arguements for our case, but are they credible? Do we have the bravery to change our views if necessary?

If we ever want to change the world, we will all have to become a lot braver.