21 May 2012

Ignorance: It's a Good Thing

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.” - Sir Francis Bacon

"I know one thing, that I know nothing" - Socrates

It seems counter-intuitive, but the state of ignorance is important to one's personal development.

How could that possibly make sense? My mind reels against the very idea - the very absurdity - in this, the "information age," where so much knowledge is readily available at the speed of the beasts that pull my chariot (modem, router, etc.) through the ethereal realms of knowledge - on safari, so to speak, to hunt down the big game and haul back the answers to life's big questions.

13 May 2012

John Hawkins is Not Worth a Grand / Exploring the Supposed Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices." - Voltaire

Be as Blind as Justice
So I ran across this article by John Hawkins, 7 Non-Political Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives. I don’t remember what I was looking for, but I found this article, read it and immediately remembered a critical thinking exercise from a class I took wherein we picked apart news columns (or by today's standards: the archaic version of blogs) to expose logical fallacies, poor reasoning and misleading information. Sorry, John, but your writing fit the bill perfectly, and I consider it a service to others that I should tear apart your article as an example of how too many “opinion leaders” exploit the ignorance of their readers - who, let’s face it, usually aren’t looking for compelling or persuasive information but for ideas that reinforce what they already think (see confirmation bias). Hence, most of Hawkins’ readers are conservatives looking for someone to justify their beliefs - and like any practiced entertainer, Hawkins gives his audience what they want (but not necessarily what they need).