Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Praise Of Critical Thinking

At a time when darkness and ignorance seem to have become default positions for far too many people, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a four-minute video posted to his Facebook page that urges a renewal of critical thinking skills, the kind of skills that have enabled science to make such progress in the past several centuries.
The video begins with a reminder that the United States rose up from a "backwoods country," as Tyson calls it, to "one of the greatest nations the world has ever known," thanks to science. It was the United States that put humans on the moon and whose big thinkers created the personal computer and the internet.

"We pioneered industries," Tyson said. "Science is a fundamental part of the country that we are."

But in the 21st century, a disturbing trend took hold: "People have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not," he said.

Tyson suggests that those who understand science the least are the people who are rising to power and denying it the loudest.

"That is a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy," he said.

You can watch the video here.


  1. The video doesn't seem to have copied to your post, Lorne. No matter. It was easy enough to locate on NDG's FB page. Thanks for the heads up. It is time we saw the denialists and the conspiracy theorists for what they are, a threat to us, our children, our society. We need to realize there are plenty of these types in our own legislatures and, too often, on both sides of the aisle. We've tolerated these bastards for much too long. We need for them to be exposed and denounced for what other way is there to free our society of their control?

    Unfortunately that goes for the current prime minister as well. His promise that his government's policy would be evidence-based and would follow the science was just another lie. Instead he cloaked himself in cognitive dissonance, the only place from which he could conjure up nonsense such as bitumen being Canada's path to a green future. The man has no integrity, no self-respect. Why should he expect us to afford him our respect?

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the video not playing, Mound. I have substituted a link. As for our government, I notice Trudeau is now backing down on methane emissions to'remain competitive with the U.S.'

      Competitive with the U.S. in its race to destroy what remains of the world?

  2. It's not just ignorance, Lorne. It's willful ignorance.

    1. And that is the worst kind,isn't it, Owen?

  3. Show me a politician who is not a complete and utter liar. Or a corporation pretending to be the 4th estate. Which lies are the true lies and which are the false? The partisan lies? Yours or the other guy's?

    So some corporations are kinda for action on GHG emissions, as long as it means exporting them to undeveloped countries. Other corporations would rather go without regulations, thank you very much. Some corporations are pro-green: as long as it means gouging the people and giving them big revenue-neutral tax cuts.

    Obama did nothing on global warming except a token gesture which only kicked the can further down the road. Hillary, the fracking queen, was in the pocket of Big Oil. She took $1.6-million from TransCanada Corp for Keystone XL before announcing her 2016 run. Junior has absolute power but still represents Big Oil over the people. So the people are the problem?

    The people are no more ignorant of science now than at previous times in history. Like in 'No Country For Old Men,' there is only the illusion that we live in wicked times, from fighting the same battles over and over again. Perhaps the scientists are looking down their noses at the wrong people. Maybe they should look at the people who hold the actual power. Who pay for the politicians' campaigns and a little something extra.

    Could it be the real problem is the willful ignorance of the people who know of science but look the other way on rampant political corruption and the establishment capture of our democratic institutions? I don't see the establishment taking a stand on climate change. They seem much less concerned about it than the people. (Although these dynasty builders don't seem to have brains: they are building themselves grand monuments for the Void.)

    1. Your views are well-taken, Anon. Thanks for your contribution.