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Does baked-in bias (ideology) always win?


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#1    coberst

coberst

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:02 PM

Does baked-in bias (ideology) always win?

Let’s examine one of the most perplexing and potentially dangerous problems that the world now faces.

Nuclear proliferation is high on the priority list facing Obama.  The problem the haves (those who now have nuclear weapons) have is preventing the have-nots from becoming a member of the haves.

It is apparent to me that any fair-minded individual must recognize as fact that every nation will logically seek to obtain nuclear weapons and that every nation that has such weapons already, will seek to deter such a happening.


Fair-mindedness is the corner-stone of CT (Critical Thinking).  Without fair-mindedness there is no Critical Thinking.

To be fair-minded one must be vigilant (consciousness plus intention) of the need to treat all viewpoints alike.  This demands that we adhere to intellectual standards such as accuracy and sound reasoning, which are unaffected by self-interest.

A contrast with fair-mindedness is intellectual self-centeredness.

Fair-mindedness is a challenging task that demands a family of character traits:  intellectual humility, courage, empathy, honesty, perseverance, and a confidence in the value of reason.

Our culture places maximum value not on fair-mindedness but upon self-interest, and maximizing production, and consumption.
  

Intellectual humility begins with the recognition that absolute certainty regarding any matter of fact is beyond human capacity.  There exists no mind-independent reality that we have the capacity to know.  We can know only that which is “colored” by our experiences and historical perspective.

Our common sense views, coupled with philosophical tradition and religious dogma, all teach us that such is not the case, that we can find absolute certainty.  This cultural tradition works aggressively against our goal of intellectual humility thus demanding that we must become more intellectually sophisticated in order to gain the level of intellectual humility required.

Intellectual courage is a difficult assignment.  We all tend to place great value on our own opinion, which is more often than not just something that we grabbed as it flew by.  But this is even more of a problem when we are “wedded” to something that we have a strong commitment to, for what ever reason.  Our political affiliation is one example.

Intellectual courage is especially difficult, and even dangerous to our well being when we hold ideas that society considers them to be dangerous; even though we are confident that they are rationally grounded.  Society often punishes severely all forms of nonconformity; the execution of Socrates by the citizens of Athens might serve as a good example.  

By developing this character trait of intellectual courage we will often be ostracized from a group or even a large community.  Such an experience will give us incentive to recognize that most people live their lives in such a manner as to be secure in the middle of the approval of those about us.

Intellectual courage ain’t for sissies!

Intellectual empathy is a consciousness that one must engage the imagination in an effort to intellectually place your self into the shoes of another so as to comprehend that other person as well as possible. To accomplish this transaction we must try to learn as much as possible about the other person’s situation so as to reconstruct that person’s assumptions, premises, and ideas.

It appears to me that civilization is presently constructed on the firm foundation of baked-in bias, that is to say that religion forms the foundation of today’s civilization.  If this is correct one might ask the question ‘can we construct a world on a foundation of reason when we begin with a world where the understanding of and confidence in reason is seldom observed’?

Many of these ideas were gleaned from the book Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life by Richard Paul and Linda Elder







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