CRITICAL THINKING NEEDED

first_imgBy Tom PurcellI’m often out of touch with our rapidly changing culture norms.Here’s one change I’m behind on: that so many are getting so easily offended by every perceived slight, real or imagined.These days a fellow can’t compliment a lady for wearing a beautiful dress without worrying that she might call him a chauvinist pig.A fellow can’t criticize a president, whose policies have doubled our government debt, without being called a hater and a racist.He can’t question whether climate change may correlate to natural phenomena without being called a climate Luddite, whose questioning will kill us all.Across the country, critical thinking is being overcome by emotional thinking — and this feelings-based approach is being institutionalized on college campuses, according to a fascinating article in The Atlantic by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.“In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like,” write the authors.This is a worrisome turn of events. As the authors point out, universities are not supposed to be in the business of teaching students what to think — but how to think.“The idea goes back at least as far as Socrates,” they write. “Today, what we call the Socratic method is a way of teaching that fosters critical thinking, in part by encouraging students to question their own unexamined beliefs, as well as the received wisdom of those around them.”Critical thinking is hard work. Feelings are easy.“A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense,” write the authors.Jay Leno explains how hyper-sensitivity is getting out of control. When one of his show’s college interns asked if he wanted Mexican food for lunch, Leno told him he didn’t like Mexican food.“Whoa, that’s kind of racist!” said the intern. Leno, telling the kid he had no idea what racism really is, said, “Being anti-guacamole is not racist!”What is worrisome about the institutionalization of emotional thinking over critical thinking is that easily offended emotional thinkers are going to have a much more challenging time getting through their lives and solving their problems — not to mention the considerable challenges our country is facing (debt, exploding entitlement spending, millions who don’t graduate high school, etc.) Here’s a simple example of emotions getting in the way of solutions: One day I heard two women screaming in a parking lot. One woman had slammed a car door on her elderly mother’s finger; her finger was caught in the door.I asked them to calm down, but they wouldn’t. They were in a panic. So I shouted, “Shut up!” They stopped screaming. I reached my hand inside the top of the window, unlocked the door, then opened it. Problem solved.Emotional thinking — whereby you allow yourself and your feelings to be the center of your universe — puts you at risk of being swallowed up by your problem.Rational, critical thinking — which helps you to step outside of your worries and prejudices — gives you the liberty to evaluate and resolve the difficult challenges you will eventually face.So how do we overcome our feelings-obsessed thinking?The authors argue that universities need to get back to their original mission — teaching critical thinking — as stated by Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

COVID-19: Indonesia sees another daily record in cases as govt mulls PSBB relaxation

first_imgThe Health Ministry reported another record number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the government explores ways to ease the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).”Our labs reported 693 new cases today, bringing the total [confirmed cases] to 19,189. The number of recoveries has increased by 108 and the fatalities rose by 21 people,” the ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Achmad Yurianto, said in a press conference on Wednesday. The total number of fatalities as of Wednesday had increased to 1,242, he added.The spike comes a week after the ministry reported its previous one-day record last Wednesday with 689 new cases.On Sunday, the ministry had reported the highest number of daily fatalities in more than a month with 59 people.However, many have surmised that the government is underreporting cases, as reports from provincial administrations put the number of deaths at more than 3,000.After the Transportation Ministry eased travel restrictions on May 5, the government announced that it was exploring ways to also ease its PSBB policy.”We’ve reported several concepts for relaxing restrictions [to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo], including efforts and strategies to face challenges in the new normal,” the national COVID-19 rapid response task force chief, Doni Monardo, said in a teleconference on Monday.Topics :last_img read more