Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
On Boring Jobs
There is a link over on FARK about university-qualified working-folks finding their jobs boring, compared to college. I find this pretty funny, because of course most of the people visiting FARK are university-qualified working-folks. They hit FARK from work because they’re bored.
I didn’t point that out in the thread, because a lot of other folks already did. But also, where I wanna take this thing, would have been a threadjacking. And of course threadjacking isn’t nice. Not that I expect I’d get a time-out for it. I’ve gotten maybe two time-outs on FARK for threadjacking, in four years. Both times, I was innocent. At least, not half as guilty as quite a few other times I should have been sent to the corner, and was not. Personally, I think the FARK mods use some kind of eany, meany, minie moe system. Oops. Maybe that was offensive.
Anyway. I digress. On with it.
I have been noticing something about the “university-qualified” crowd. Now, we’ve been having a pretty hot summer, and of course there’s this movie out promoting the idea that we have been making the planet hot, and it’s a harbinger of doom for children and other living things. There is a great sense of urgency that this movie be taken seriously, and that you’re a bad person if you don’t see it and/or don’t take it seriously. Or, if you take it somewhat seriously, and dare to voice the opinion that maybe it’s a political manifesto instead of a scientific work. Heh. They got a politician-type guy instead of a scientist promoting it. But the taboo remains firmly in place. Kind of like when one southern baptist sees a UFO, all the other southern baptists are obligated to believe him. Except there’s no membership to be taken away from you if you don’t believe Al Gore’s movie, so people just huff and puff at you and talk over you.
Anyway. I have noticed something…the folks who believe Al Gore’s movie, a lot of them have attended higher-level education and they waste no time whatsoever pointing it out to me. They are very proud of the critical thinking skills they have, and the critical thinking skills they have developed in college. It’s obvious where they want to go with this: They believe the Al Gore message, they went to college, I don’t believe in it, I attended high school — they get to pull rank.
And my observation is this: Critical thinking, as it’s being demonstrated to me, is the process of believing things without question. That is the core of the paradigm; the “peer-reviewed studies” and the “thousands of scientists,” that’s all just glitter meant to bolster the persuasive power of what is being offered. The substance of the message is, “I went to college and my powers of critical thinking surpass yours, and this is evidenced because I am a believer and you are a skeptic.”
Now behind the Wikipedia link, above, you’ll find a step-by-step process that includes 3. Examine these statements and implications for internal contradictions. One of my favorite examples for this, with regard to Al Gore’s movie, is the thing about cows. Cows produce a lot of methane, in the neighborhood of sixty gallons per day, per cow, every day. Methane is a greenhouse gas, besides of which it also has a harmful effect on the ozone layer.
I get awfully silly with this, but there’s a grain of serious discussion behind my comments. The point is that questionable effects on our climate, are not limited to techno-industrial activities; the agricultural sector has a few things, and some of them are pretty bad. When you’re talking about 1.0 to 1.5 billion cows all the world over, this is a lot of methane. It’s pretty potent stuff. Scientists say — remember, you’re supposed to stop everything and start genuflecting when someone begins a sentence with “scientists say” — it’s about 25 to 30 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide. The factor is a reference to methane’s potency as a greenhouse gas.
This is a contradiction. Nobody’s standing up to the beef industry. Oh, they ramble about SUVs and gas-powered chainsaws and leafblowers just wonderfully, but you can drive that SUV all day long and not emit as much greenhouse gas as just one filthy fat cow. Dirty, burping farting whores, is what they are.
It injects levity into the discussion. But it’s also a fundamental exercise in skepticism. And it raises a valid contradiction. The college-educated critical thinkers, are definitely not along for the ride. They just want to believe. Well, wanting to believe is not critical thinking, and that’s the point I wish to make. And here’s something else I notice: The college-educated critical thinkers, faced with a piece of critical thinking cloaked in levity, with potential to add scrutiny to the discussion as well as to take the tension down a few pegs, will exploit neither opportunity. They use the levity to change the subject, and to indulge in what I was taught was called an ad hominem attack.
I’m not sure what’s going on in universities. These people definitely have a clear and crisp viewpoint of what “critical thinking” is. Like Montoya said in the Princess Bride, I do not think it means what they think it means.
And I got a gut feel this is why they’re bored at work.
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