Author Archives: Darrick Dean

On Reading, and Not Reading

If you follow my Facebook page, you know I post links to some interesting articles around the web. Here’s a round-up of some recent favorites:

Have trouble finding time to read? Are you optimizing your reading time? What are you reading goals? Why You Need a Reading Plan will answer those questions and set you on a life-long adventure of reading.

In Reading The Great Books Well Should Transcend Moralism, Ramona Tausz asks, “Can books change you? Can they make you a better person? Most importantly, will you let them try?” Learn from the Great Books.

Find out if you suffer from Tsundoku, the practice of buying more books than you can read. Is this a bad thing?

Read the troubling, A Third Of Teens Haven’t Read A Single Book In Past Year, which writes:

Many [teens] simply don’t have experience delving into long-form texts. Learning to do so is imperative…as it lays the groundwork for developing critical thinking skills and understanding complex issues…

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds.”

Follow on FB for more fascinating books, ideas and the cutting edge. Of course, stay here as well for longer discussions, Finding your Story, and the War Among the Shadows.

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Categories: Books, General | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ruins of Rome Speak to Us

Recently, I wrote that humanity can overcome the prophets of doom who predict all manner of ends to humanity. Perhaps their lack of hope arises from their belief the world is borne out of randomness. One may ask them, then why worry about our fate? For those who have not given up, who see purpose in the universe, and want to keep civilization from faltering, there are many tools at their disposal.

History is one.

What looks impossible in the present looks inevitable in hindsight.

Those are the words written by Lael Arrington when discussing the fate of ancient Rome. In hindsight, the events of history often evoke a certain question: How could they have not seen that coming? Probably because those people were saying: That could never happen to us.

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Categories: Critical Thinking, History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What is Tolerance?

“Treat people as equally valuable, but treat ideas as if some are better than others, because they are. Some ideas are true, some are false. Some are brilliant, others are dangerous. And some are just plain silly. Real tolerance is about how we treat people, not ideas. Classic tolerance requires that every person be free to express his ideas without fear of abuse or reprisal, not that all views have equal validity, merit, or truth.” – Greg Koukl

The claim that “all views are equally valid” is a logical contradiction, just as the belief that all ideas must be accepted and unchallenged is intellectually empty. Nor does challenging an idea make you “bigoted, disrespectful, ignorant…[or] intolerant.”

Tolerance is easy, and so is thinking — you just have to do it.

Categories: Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Start Your Week with Some Brain Food

On learning:

“The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough. Never stop learning. Ever.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life…There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it.” – Warren Buffett

On thinking for yourself:

“People have to learn that consensus is a huge problem…consensus is how we bully people into pretending that there’s nothing to see.” – Eric Weinstein

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

On testing what you believe:

“We can live in deceit and illusion until one day we hit the wall of reality. When our false beliefs collide with reality, we then have a choice: Will we live according to knowledge — true belief justified by good evidence? Or will we settle for illusion?” – Lael Arrington

On academic freedom:

“The university is not a safe space…it is a place to be confronted by horrible ideas…if you want to be safe, stay home with your mom…don’t come to university if you want to be safe. If the university is going to make you safe, then it ceases to be a university.” – Jordan Peterson

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Is Humanity Doomed?

If you have ever read about our ancestors, you were probably taught that, at the end of the last Ice Age, the citizens of North America hunted the many species of megafauna (giant mammals) to extinction. After all, why not assume terrible humans are responsible for all that death?

As it turns out, evidence has been growing of a planet-altering catastrophe as the cause. Most likely an impact event centered over North America (which endured most of the extinctions), with indications of impact craters littered across the East Coast.

Why is this so fascinating? Because it reminded me of the tendency of some people to immediately blame humans for every terrible event to befall the planet. These are the same people, with their dour and glum outlook, whom have been predicting for decades, that we only have a decade or two before we destroy the planet, run out of energy, and starve to death.

Then the decades pass, and the apocalyptic scenarios do not. Continue reading

Categories: Ancient America, History, Native Americans, Prehistory | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beneath the Unclouded and Azure Sky

Readers were briefly introduced to Solana in Among the Shadows. In Book 2, Awakening, we will be seeing much more of Solana, the tamer of the tempest. What follows is a Lost Tale that takes place between the prologue and Chapter one of the first book…Anger burned in Solana’s eyes, the green light wild with fury.
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Categories: fantasy, Fiction, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mars Awaits

This month, Mars moves into the best position for observers on Earth since 2003. What Mars book are you reading to welcome the Red Planet?

mars

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Want to ‘save’ Science? Then Follow the Evidence, not the Consensus

Science has run into some problems as of late and the organized March for Science didn’t address these.  In fact, it turned out to be mostly about politics, and set an example of how to not do science.

The central issue is that people are being taught not to question what science tells us, or what is being passed off as science. The celebrity scientists of our day encourage STEM programs, wax on how amazing science is, and how important it is for you to study it.

But don’t question it. Anytime someone yells “the consensus says,” you should stop and shake your head in agreement.

This isn’t science. It’s pseudoscience at best, brainwashing into conformity at worst.

Continue reading

Categories: Critical Thinking, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farmlands: Darkness in South Africa

Lauren Southern, Canadian journalist, author and political activist, has made quite a name for herself in recent years. No doubt her work is loved by some, and ruffled the ire of others, but hopefully none of this will discourage people from watching her documentary, Farmlands.

The film is troubling and eye-opening. Southern has exposed the myth of a post-apartheid South Africa where everyone supposedly lives hand-in-hand, in beautiful bliss. Rather, the country may soon be another lost Third World nation where chaos, war, and death, are all that its people will know. Watch Farmlands now, and don’t let the world forget South Africa and allow it to crumble into ruin.

Categories: Modern History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Instruments of Tyranny

In the November 1970 issue of National Geographic, an article entitled “Behold the Computer Revolution,” has Peter T. White breathlessly writing on the coming changes computers would bring.  Among them are paying your bills by computer, a “truly theft-proof” credit card, the impending arrival of home computer use, and many more examples how the computer would touch every corner of our lives. This was about a decade before computers started entering homes, and over two decades before the internet would morph into the world wide web. And then White shares this from a Professor Alan F. Westin:

Man has progressed over the centuries from the status of a subject ruler to that of a citizen in a constitutional state. We must be careful to avert a situation in which the press of government for systematic information and the powerful technology of computers reverse this historical process…making us ‘subjects’ again.

Perhaps what we need now is a kind of writ of ‘habeas data’ — commanding government and powerful private organizations to produce the data they have collected and are using to make judgements about an individual, and to justify their using it.

Now, forty-eight years later, we have fallen into the very scenario that Westin warns about. It happened little by little, yet largely out in the open. How many major data breeches at banks and retailers, how many shady government data collection schemes, or how many social media abuse revelations, must continue to happen before people realize that technology is no longer their tool to control?

How long until we realize that it is being used to control them? To spy on them? To shape their beliefs?

If you read my last post, you can’t help to agree that Distraction is our greatest downfall. It is what politicians have long used to cling to power and shape our world. Corporations and social movements use it to mold your thoughts. Be happy with who you are — only if that “who” is on the approved list. Do what you want — only if that “what” is on this other list. And computers have been used with frightening efficiency by social engineers and by those who subvert democratic processes.

In 1970, some warned that “the computer’s potential for good, and the danger inherent in its misuse, exceed our ability to imagine. Wouldn’t that be the worst it could do — to become an instrument of tyranny, propelling mankind into a new dark age?”

And decades before that, Orwell, Huxley and Bradbury warned us in their fiction. Some people have listened.

Many more have not.

Categories: Critical Thinking, Modern History | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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