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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Read it and weep. Read it. Read!

Related Link » Critical thinking? You need knowledge
“But we have ignored what matters most. We have neglected to teach them that one cannot think critically without quite a lot of knowledge to think about. Thinking critically involves comparing and contrasting and synthesizing what one has learned. And a great deal of knowledge is necessary before one can begin to reflect on its meaning and look for alternative explanations. Proponents of 21st-Century Skills might wish it was otherwise, but we do not restart the world anew with each generation. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. What matters most in the use of our brains is our capacity to make generalizations, to see beyond our own immediate experience. The intelligent person, the one who truly is a practitioner of critical thinking, has the capacity to understand the lessons of history, to grasp the inner logic of science and mathematics, and to realize the meaning of philosophical debates by studying them.” [emphasis added]
— By Diane Ravitch, September 15, 2009 (The Boston Globe)

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Thomas Edison

“There are no shortcuts to expertise. The only known exceptions were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Rain Man, and Barry Bonds.”
There are no shortcuts to critical thinking despite the eternal quest for one, especially in our society, along with related quests for get-rich-quick schemes particularly favored by some Americans, most of whom I daresay end up in jail or at least greatly disappointed. That does not obviate a rightful place in our society for craftsmanship, and many other specialized skill sets, all of which, nevertheless, still require much more apprenticeship and related investments of time, effort, and frequently money than some modern proponents of specialization would have you believe.

The proponents of 21st-Century Skills that Ms. Ravitch refers to are enabling the delusional concepts of "get-rich-quick" paths to glory, power, and super-stardom, which in turn lead to the type of "reality show" crap pervading our culture.

And speaking of crap, there is no dearth of it in our government either. This lack of critical thinking on the part of our political "leadership" undoubtedly stems from such delusions that extremely complicated socio-political issues can be addressed with 1000-page legislation slapped together by two-bit political hackery, which no one ends up reading, let alone understanding.

Critical thinking is mandatory for even the most rudimentary chances of hopeful changes toward resolving problems of global proportions. Yet it often seems that our "leaders" rely on the flip of a coin, which is equivalent in most cases to pinning the tail on the donkey, blindfolded.

Post #966 Read it and weep. Read it. Read!

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