“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
(Anonymous But Often Attributed to Thomas Edison)
It is a sad reflection of American society today that very few people actually perform the vital task of critical thinking anymore. Everyone thinks, but not everyone critically thinks. Critical thinking is a discipline which must be taught, or at least nurtured for it to become habit. But what exactly is critical thinking?
In researching for this article I found dozens of definitions for critical thinking, but each of them had certain similarities. My definition for critical thinking is as follows: Critical thinking is the unbiased, thorough study of information; facts and evidence, which is then used to formulate an opinion or belief system.
Using that as your definition, how many of you can honestly say that you think critically? How many people base their beliefs, not upon facts, but upon emotional responses to the issues? How many people take as gospel the things said by others in positions of authority, supposed experts in the field, or worse, the comments made by celebrities who support certain causes? Next, how many people can honestly say that they have the courage to examine evidence which conflicts with their existing beliefs with anything close to an open mind? Finally, and probably most importantly, how many are willing to change their beliefs entirely if the facts prove them wrong?
If people had any intellectual integrity they would not shun the truth when it conflicts with their beliefs, rather they would embrace it and change their beliefs to conform to what the evidence dictates is truth. I suppose, as the saying goes, that’s a rather big IF…
I get the impression sometimes that people assume that I’ve always known all this stuff I know now; if only that were true. The fact is that I too was as ignorant as the next guy, but I made a conscious decision to become informed. My own personal learning curve was anything but smooth; in fact there were periods when I stagnated when I was forced to face facts which caused a severe amount of Cognitive Dissonance, or the stress created when one confronts facts which contradict an existing belief.
I could very easily have ignored those facts and kept on going, but that would have been dishonest and the mark of a coward; at least in my book. So therefore I would struggle over what I had learned until I came to terms with the fact that I had been lied to about certain things; and once I did this it became easier and easier to accept the fact that I had been lied to about so many other things, and the Cognitive Dissonance became much easier to handle.
The problem in America, as I see it, is that far too many are not willing to even entertain the idea that they may have been lied to; let alone accept that it is true, and change their belief systems accordingly. If one cannot, (with an open mind), examine contradictory evidence which proves their opinions and belief systems to be based upon lies, then that person IS NOT thinking critically. It’s that simple.
How often do people in this country believe things simply because they have been repeated over and over again by people in positions of authority, or by people who are supposed experts in the field being discussed? Wasn’t it Joseph Goebbels who said, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”?
Take for instance the pseudo-science of global warming; much of which is based upon conjecture. How can they accurately predict climate change hundreds of years into the future when they cannot accurately predict the weather 36 hours into the future?
Sure, these global warming proponents will pull out all manner of charts and data to prove their point, but that only shows that the ice caps may be melting off at a higher rate than normal, or ocean temperatures may be rising. But studies show that our Earth has undergone many a change in climate; in fact, according to some scientists, we are on our third atmosphere. Our first atmosphere consisted primarily of hydrogen and helium; released after the Earth was first formed.
The second atmosphere came from the evolution of the Earth itself; primarily through volcanic activity. Volcanoes released steam, carbon dioxide, (yes that same compound we are being told causes global warming now), and ammonia. The carbon dioxide was dissolved in the sea water and was consumed by simple bacteria which thrived on it and sunlight; producing what…OXYGEN.
The third atmosphere was a balance between beings which produced carbon dioxide and those which produced oxygen. Animal life, including humans, produce carbon dioxide, which the plants need to survive. They in turn, consume the carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
I could go into the various ice ages and periods of rising temperatures the Earth has undergone as well, but the fact is that the global warming crowd only presents you with one side of the story and they expect you to believe it without examining all the data. That is not critical thinking, it is biased manipulation of your thoughts to effect control over you and your lives.
I simply can’t believe that people will accept this pseudo-science as fact, yet reject an abundance of evidence that there are those who are spraying heavy metals into our atmosphere, (chemtrails), and then bombarding them with high frequency radio waves to control weather patterns.
But Neal, that’s just one example; we still think about other things. Is that so; what about 9/11? Did you know that the Twin Towers were engineered and built specifically to withstand the impact of a jet aircraft? The dual rows of internal and external columns, and the way the outer layer was constructed was almost like a window screen in that if an airplane were to strike it, it would punch a hole into it, but still retain its structural integrity.
Those repeating the ‘official’ story would have you believe it was the heat of the fires from the jet fuel which weakened the steel frames enough to bring the towers down. Possibly, but those aircraft hit the towers in the upper levels, floors 93-99 of the North Tower and 75-85 of the South Tower.
Now I’m no structural engineer, but I have read reports and statements by engineers who have closely examined the events of 9/11 and many of them also question the ‘official’ story. Some say that it might be possible that the fires weakened the steel structure in the vicinity of the fire, but that would not explain the fact that both towers collapsed at free fall speed; the speed at which something falls without any resistance whatsoever.
You have to remember, that in the case of the North Tower there was still almost 1,000 feet of structurally sound steel beneath the fire, and somewhere around 800 feet of structurally sound steel beneath the fire of the South Tower. How could they fall to the ground in less than 15 seconds; into their own footprints by the way? For them to do so would defy the laws of physics.
Let us not forget Building 7, which wasn’t hit by a plane, which also came down at free fall speed; supposedly from the damage it sustained when the planes hit the other two buildings. And then there is the Pentagon…
The Pentagon is one of the most heavily surveilled buildings in the country. Why is it that we’ve never seen any footage of a plane striking it? Believe me, I’ve searched for footage and the only footage I’ve encountered shows a streak and then an intense explosion; far different from the footage of the Twin Towers where the planes are clearly visible as they impact the buildings.
Then there is the fact that CNN’s Jamie McIntyre reported from the scene, and I quote, “From my close up inspection there’s no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon.” McIntyre had walked along the outside of the Pentagon while firefighters fought to control the fire and saw no trace of the wings, engines, tail section, or fuselage, only small fragments of steel scattered in the immediate vicinity of the hole in the side of the building.
Also, there is the fact that the supposed hijacker of Flight 77, Hani Hanjour was such a poor pilot that the New York Times reported him as being, A Trainee Noted For Incompetence. (May 4, 2002)
Yet we are expected to believe that this guy who had never spent a minute behind the controls of a commercial airliner was able to pull off a 330-degree descending spiral and skim just over the ground above a parking lot and hit the Pentagon, a feat which experienced pilots say would have been next to impossible. (All this being done without a single second of footage being released of the plane performing this miraculous maneuver over one of the most heavily surveilled building in the U.S.)
Experienced pilots say that first, Hanjour simply did not have the experience to pull of such a maneuver, and secondly, the stress it would have placed on the plane would have caused it to come apart, and remember, CNN reported that there was no visible remains of an aircraft anywhere near the Pentagon.
Yeah, we’re expected to ignore all the evidence to the contrary and believe what we have been told by our government and by the news media. Again, a complete lack of critical thinking, just believe what you’re told and go on about your lives; or as the old saying goes, “Move on people, nothing to see here.”
Yet everything that has happened since that day; the passage of the Patriot Act; the birth of the Department of Homeland Security; the expansion of the TSA; the expansion of the NSA’s spying upon us, happened due to the ‘official’ story of what occurred on 9/11.
I could go on and on with this; providing facts which contradict existing beliefs, but which people refuse to consider because it threatens to shatter their reality and force them to face the truth.
-Everything they’ve been taught about the Civil War? A lie; Lincoln did not fight a war to free the slaves, he initiated war against a sovereign nation to protect his precious Union and keep the tariffs flowing into the treasury. The slavery thing was later thrown forward to give the moral high ground to the North, when in fact they were the aggressors and they were in the wrong.
-The fact that people still think their votes matter when both parties are controlled by the same small group of special interests that don’t care what simple laws our government passes which affect our lives, as long as they continue to protect their bottom line and keep the profits flowing.
The rabbit hole goes pretty damned deep if you have the courage to go down it. The lies and deceptions most accept as truths are so numerous that I can’t even begin to count them. Yet, as Morpheus tells Neo in the Matrix, “You have to understand. Most people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured and so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
But as the series the X-Files so prominently displayed in their opening credits; “The truth is out there.” All it asks is that it be given a chance; for people to examine it with an open mind. After all, that is what critical thinking is all about.