Critical Thinking

Go Against the Tide with an Oxford Thinker

John C. Lennox, Oxford professor of mathematics, is a throwback to a time when universities were full of intellectual scholars intent on uncovering knowledge, finding wisdom, and promoting academic freedom. Unlike many self-proclaimed intellectuals, or anointed celebrity experts, Lennox is neither condescending, nor afraid of questions. An everyman intellectual, his books such as God’s Undertaker and Gunning for God, have explored the intersection of religion and science, and why the two are not — and cannot be — separate realms. He has often debated the foremost minds of our day who disagree with him. In many ways, he is the heir to the legacy of another great Oxford thinker, C.S. Lewis.

The documentary, Against the Tide, hosted and narrated by Kevin Sorbo, traces Lennox’s intellectual journey. They explore the science and reason behind his beliefs. A humble, yet brilliant scholar and debater, he lays out evidence for a designed universe that defies naturalistic explanations. He also shows why his religious beliefs aren’t rooted in blind faith.

He goes into far more detail in his books, but Against the Tide is perfect introduction for seekers of truth and wisdom. If you are curious about the nature of the universe, and your place in it, Lennox is an excellent guide.

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Be Sure Not to “Follow the Science” Over the Cliff

If any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patients of that power. [They will be] weaker, not stronger…a few hundreds of men [ruling] over billions upon billions of men. The final stage is come when Man…has obtained full control over himself. Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man , 1947

C.S. Lewis, best known for Narnia and books like Mere Christianity, was nearly prophetic in his warnings on what the abuse of science could become. Even the horrors of World War II and not cured people of turning science into a religion, or of the belief that humans could be altered and improved to the point of creating a new species. Here, in our own day, eugenics and transhumanism threaten once again to cross from helping humanity, to replacing us.

The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society is a collection of essays on C.S. Lewis’ thoughts and writings which are all more relevant today. They are warnings we should not ignore. Some of his works best expressing his insight not only include The Abolition of Man, but his sci-fi trilogy, collectively (and uncreatively) known as the Space Trilogy

Warnings from seventy-four years ago, about the abuse of science, its replacement by scientism or scientific materialism, as contemporary as if they were written today. Will our ignorance of the past, and distraction from the present, deliver us right over the edge?

Unfortunately, history often repeats itself. Because we let it.

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A Republic at Risk

When the 1776 Commission was created to produce the The 1776 Report, the normal mindless, partisan politics ensued. The report couldn’t possibly be of importance and was ignored and deleted. So I, unlike many others, decided to actually read it. Here, quoted from the report, is what it was fundamentally about:

The core assertion of the Declaration [of Independence], and the basis of the founders’ political thought, is that “all men are created equal.”

[This] does not mean that all human beings are equal in wisdom, courage, or any of the other virtues and talents that God and nature distribute unevenly among the human race. It means rather that human beings are equal in the sense that they are not by nature divided into castes, with natural rulers and ruled.

Natural equality requires not only the consent of the governed but also the recognition of fundamental human rights…as well as the fundamental duty or obligation of all to respect the rights of others. These rights are found in nature and are not created by man or government; rather, men create governments to secure natural rights. Indeed, the very purpose of government is to secure these rights, which exist independently of government, whether government recognizes them or not.

…the Ninth Amendment [establishes] that the Bill of Rights was a selective and not an exclusive list; that is, the mere fact that a right is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights is neither proof nor evidence that it does not exist.

In other words, the Declaration of Independence is a statement of the ancient belief that human rights are innate and exist whether or not any particular government thinks otherwise. These were the founding principles of the United States, all of which used to be taught in schools. That was a primary purpose of schools after all. The report writes:

Education in civics, history, and literature holds the central place in the well-being of both students and communities. For republican government, citizens with such an education are essential. The knowledge of human nature and unalienable rights — understanding what it means to be human — brings deeper perspective to public affairs, for the simple reason that educated citizens will take encouragement or warning from our past in order to navigate the present.

When the lessons of the past are ignored, the truth of natural rights ignored, and politicians try to undo or work around checks and balances of power, this is cause for great concern. When these cancers began to eat away at a republic, often hidden behind movements and catchphrases that hide the decay, one day people wake up wondering how their government moved into tyranny. History, however, tells us how easy governments can fail:

Republicanism is an ancient form of government, but one uncommon throughout history, in part because of its fragility, which has tended to make republics short-lived. Contemporary Americans tend to forget how historically rare republicanism has been, in part because of the success of republicanism in our time…

We only need to look to that famous republic, the Roman one, and its slide into tyranny, and the warnings it has left us. Edward Watts in Mortal Republic writes:

A republic is not an organism. It has no natural life span. It lives or dies solely on the basis of choices made by those in charge of its custody…The [Roman] Republic could have been saved. These men, and many others less famous as they, chose not to save it…When citizens take the health and durability of their republic for granted, that republic is at risk.

The 1776 Report wasn’t a partisan document; it was a warning. As Daniel Webster wrote, if the American experiment fails, “there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

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Defend Your Rights or Lose Them

In what is a disturbing trend, private companies, journalists, and the government, have joined together in the censorship of speech, sharing of information, and academic freedom. A growing number of voices are recognizing the danger and speaking out. Here is a small sampling from recent weeks.

In In Big Tech world: The Journalist as Censor, Hit Man, and Snitch:

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

– Glenn Greenwald

From GameStop Was A Warning: Elites Are Weaponizing Censorship To Keep Outsiders Out:

If there is a Big Lie in American politics right now, it is the idea that censorship of social media is necessary to save democracy…The last thing that the rulers want to see when they look down is a teeming throng in the Square. And nobody benefits more than the rulers from malleable censorship rules that are easily weaponized to restrict, disrupt, or disband the Square.

What the insiders fear is not the end of democracy, but the end of their control over it, and the loss of the benefits they extract from it. Ultimately, the battle over speech is just one aspect of a broader war for power amid a growing political realignment that is not Left versus Right, but rather insider versus outsider. Thanks to social media, the outsiders are threatening to replace who’s in the Tower, and the insiders have never been more scared.

– David Sacks

Orwell’s 1984 and Today reports:

Totalitarianism will never win in the end—but it can win long enough to destroy a civilization. That is what is ultimately at stake in the fight we are in. We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

– Larry P. Arnn

From Congress Escalates Pressure On Tech Giants To Censor More, Threatening The First Amendment:

The power to control the flow of information and the boundaries of permissible speech is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. It is a power as intoxicating as it is menacing. When it comes to the internet, our primary means of communicating with one another, that power nominally rests in the hands of private corporations in Silicon Valley.

– Glenn Greenwald

And in Why Are People Celebrating Free Speech Crackdowns?

It is really disheartening to see how people are so inward-looking at only supporting of voices of those who agree with them, rather than recognizing the country that our founders envisioned for all of us…this is something I take to heart in a very deep way like every other service member that we take an oath to uphold our constitution, to support and defend it, which supports including the freedom of speech of every single person in this country, whether we agree with that speech or not. Whether that speech offends us or not.

– Tulsi Gabbard

Realize if you support the suppression of people you disagree with, then you have set the precedent and given power to politicians and companies. The power to suppress and silence you. It always happens. It already has.

So many naïve people will wake up someday and be surprised when their beliefs are banned, their voices silenced. The wielders of power will simply say, “You gave us the power to do so. You supported us even when we quit hiding our intentions.”

Will people snap out of their childish thinking, or choose not to awaken until the nightmare becomes real?

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Climbing Out of Your Silo

I understand that in a sense we all live in a silo, following our preferred sources of information. But…[some] function in a cult-like manner. All competing information is excluded. Debate is avoided. Contact with outsiders is discouraged. Anyone who leaves the cult and goes over to the other side is demonized. To admit doubts even in private is to invite censure. The other side is demonized and distorted. Thus a consensus in favor of the ruling narrative is maintained. Sure, those in the cult are well aware of the existence of people outside, but rarely if ever converse with them. Why anyone would wish to live outside, unless they are stupid, deluded, or wicked, is a subject of distressed bewilderment. – David Klinghoffer

Klinghoffer’s article is directed at the evolution model of origins, a model that scientifically collapsed many years ago. Yet it is kept on life support not by science, but by philosophical materialism.

However, the main point of the piece (quoted above) applies to all subject matter and the abandonment of critical thought. Thinking and research isn’t hard, but we have been told otherwise. We pretend to educate people in how to critically think, while telling them not to question anything. I guess people feel safe in a silo of thought, but from the outside it looks sad. Cults and fundamentalist thinking always end in disaster.

We move so slowly forward, and so quickly backwards, and if you’re in a silo, you won’t see the bricks collapsing until it’s too late.

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Your Brain is a Superpower

Rather than codifying the ‘special’ wisdom and knowledge of a few fallible men into governmental law, we must base policy on the protection of the rights of all men. We need more critical thinking, less mindless trust; more responsible self-education and self-governance, less abdication of such responsibility to ‘experts’; more individual, informed decision-making, less acceptance of one-size-fits-all mandates.

We are not mindless robots; our politicians and their advisors are not infallible dictators. It’s time for us to send that message to them loud and clear. -Tabitha Alloway

What Ms. Alloway is writing about here and in the full article: The misuse of science; those who think if they use the word “science” then they should not be questioned; and those who act as if science is free of influence or possible error. I feel bad for those who think they are not capable of evaluating what they are told is true by experts (real or imagined). Testing and questioning is at the foundation of the sciences. Those who tell you not to question, or suppress questions, should be held in suspicion.

Your brain is a superpower. Use it.

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Unearthing our Past, to Understand our Future

Let’s face it, when many people take a position on one issue or another, they often don’t put a lot of thought into it. Instead, we go with whoever sounds the best, ignited our emotions, happens to agree with our philosophy, worldview, or politics — these are the lazy reasons we employ in allowing others to buy our allegiance. Yes, we’re all busy, so much to do, but why take a stand without digging a little deeper? Why not pause, allow the emotions to calm, and think with the goal of finding the truth?

One topic that could use this wisdom are the debates on climate change. Is man causing the climate to change, or isn’t he? You know what I found? Most people — anointed experts included — leave out the overwhelming majority of climate data, yet try to convince us of their model. Let me explain.

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Thoughts on Corona Chaos

I found it odd when a school said it was going to disinfect their rooms and buildings over the weekend. I was wondering, “Why don’t schools take those precautions all through flu season? Why do we just choose to suffer through yearly flu and cold outbreaks?”

We stopped taking influenza serious (and viruses in general) even though most influenza strains are dangerous to people whose immune system are compromised by other factors, or if they are elderly (much like the current corona virus strain). Our anti-viral medications are no where near the level of advancement they should be. One would think these would be high-profit drugs for companies to produce. With all the money politicians take from Big Pharma, maybe they should expect more out of them than vacation junkets?

Having said all that, I think the many people quoting high mortality rates for the corona virus (covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2), may be causing unnecessary panic.

First, don’t get me wrong, we should be taking steps to squash this disease outbreak. Would our efforts be so drastic had we already had a more serious perspective on diseases as I mentioned? No, probably not. Certainly not with the economic and social havoc that has been occurring.

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Will Rome Have to Fall Again?

The Medieval era has always been a fascinating time to study. This is where the modern era was born. Our industry and commerce, our government and arts, our science and technology, all took root in those days. The myth of it being a “dark age” didn’t come until later, from revisionists trying to make their era look better.

With the corruption and malaise of Rome — that only served to maintain the elite — swept away, progress had begun again. Then, and now, calamity befalls the people when they don’t keep its rulers in check, when they cease paying attention to what conspiring their leaders are engaged in. Too busy accepting handouts like the Roman citizens, only to be surprised at the barbarians at their gates. Turns out the barbarians weren’t so barbaric. They built a resilient new civilization better than the last. The fall of Rome was a long time coming, just as our leaders didn’t begin their downward spiral yesterday. Continue reading

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Finding Wisdom

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle

It is a dangerous trend that critical thinking and the application of knowledge — wisdom — is a lost art. Deep thought is replaced be emotionalism, individuality replaced by tribalism. We are quick to react, slow to learn. We spurn our responsibility to younger generations — creating a sibling society shaped by peers rather than elders. We ignore the lessons of history in willful historical amnesia. We allow falsehoods into our thinking. Ryan Michler writes in Sovereignty:

One phrase that gets tossed around a lot these days is “my truth.”…the reality is that there is no “my truth.” There is only “the truth.” You might have a theory. You might have a perspective. You might have an assumption. But unless you’re operating in objective reality, your opinion is just that — an opinion…Words are powerful. If you’re distorting the meaning of a word or phrase to fit your narrative, you’re likely limiting your perspective and your own sovereignty…[we] must strive to recognize, understand, and act according to objective truth — as in truth that is not subject to interpretation.

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