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pat gilbert


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Today we have more technology to acquire knowledge than than anytime in the past, yet we are more ignorant, what is up with that?

From what I read the knowledge of the average citizen has never been lower. How come?

Schools are doing a poor job.
How come?

The teachers are rewarded on something other than performance.
How come?

The Unions has a huge amount of public influence.
How Come?

They have a lot of money to spend/
How come?

Because various public officials have seen to it that they have collective bargaining.
How come?

Because various government officials have made it so.
How come?

Because these officials benefit hugely because of collective bargaining?
How come?

Because there is no accountability.
How come?

Because the government has slowly made apathy personally beneficial to the voters.


Closing Statement from pat gilbert

I did not hear any compelling reason to change my thinking on this. I can be discounted as merely "flag waving" but that is an admission of being guilty of the accusation ie not LOOKING because of preconceived notions.

I think the real answer is an education. I suppose the real question is are people educable? The meme of non prejudice is ubiquitous, and the consequent "I don't make value judgements" renders people quite stupid.

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    Mar 13 2013: Some people have argued that in school and in the accumulation of information afterwards, there has been an increasing tendency to go "a mile wide and an inch deep." The relentless accumulation of bits of information by any individual, or access to it does not in any way guarantee increasing understanding or the ability to use it constructively.

    I suspect, without evidence, that the tendency to confirmation bias among adults has increased along with access to information. I also suspect that the increase in the amount of data/information available has not particularly favored high quality information- that there is an increasing amount of high quality, valid material but, hand in hand with that, an increasing amount of false and misleading material, and that people are not necessarily good at telling the difference.
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      Mar 13 2013: You mentioned this the other day and the need to teach logic.

      My contention is the culture has taught them anti logic, the opposite of deductive reasoning. The most basic element of which is what is important.
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        Mar 13 2013: You got it all wrong Pat. You simply ignore the fact that many people who would previously never have been even heard are now everywhere.

        The culture of the past was the culture of the elites. The dumb were hidden in their cottages.
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          Mar 13 2013: How am ignoring this ambiguity? I'm talking about the aggregate not some.

          The inability to determine what is important is what fetters people from being able to solve problems as it puts their attention on too wide of an area. On the other end of the spectrum is focusing on too narrow of an area as with real prejudice.
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        Mar 15 2013: Sorry I didn't get back on this, Pat. I am sure the culture, or the environment, is a part of the problem, in conjunction with physical limitations on information processing and a psychological leaning (quite pronounced in some people) toward single-minded attention to confirming prior belief. It is utter closed-mindedness. Many who claim to "love to learn" only love to gather information that confirms their current beliefs. Many are deaf to anything challenging.

        It is hard for me even to discuss this subject, because the lack of inclination to critical thinking and the all too frequent willful disregard for anything that challenges prior beliefs is so discouraging- makes it really hard for people to grapple with problems together. Many settings are just endless and predictable superficial arguments that take a lot of time and energy.

        At present I have no solution for adults, but I am looking. The issue does not arise, or is easy to shift, in young people.
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          Mar 15 2013: I think the key is in application as this elevates the discussion from opinion. This is something you do not have to deal with when it comes to math?

          One thing I think helps is just in learning logic as this not only disciplines the person in the subject but also makes them more amenable to illogical that they may have. The other I do not see any difference between the discipline of the scientific method and logic.

          Scott espouses to the problem is big evil business, Pat espouses to it is big evil government. Both do not need to consider the others perspective as they already have the answer. IMO the truth is never understood by a superficial understanding but in the same breath IMO the truth is simple. I think the answer to this conundrum is in the area of application. What makes for a better standard of living? as this force the discussion into application.

          Another example how can an airplane fly. Well of course it is because of Bernouilli's principle most people will say. But if that is true how come an airplane can fly upside down? How come you can make an RC airplane with flat wings that flies just fine? Application cut through the "answer" the person has and makes them look.

          We talk about this as though it is rare when in fact logic is the rarity. I don't think the whole answer is Dennet's meme, but it is a big part of it. I view it more that people are generally nuts and would be more nuts if not for the real knowledge they have acquired out of necessity. You might say a job is the only thing that keeps many out of the loony bin.
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          Mar 15 2013: A couple more thoughts.

          The source of the illogical is often from someone who benefits financially from the premise. E.G. global warming.

          Another factor is the idea of being interested or interesting which Colleen and I discuss often this is a big factor in fostering illogic.

          This article (short) talks about some of this:

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        Mar 15 2013: I wrote a long reply and then my computer shut down.

        Yes application is central in mathematics but is also a component of pedagogy more generally. People need to know when and how to use tools and strategies and to be able to do it. Opportunities should arise at school. For some people there are loads of challenging opportunities and indeed demand to think critically in the workplace.

        Once people are neither at home or workplace, the choice becomes theirs. Some people engage critically with ideas, others only listen to people who agree with them, some do look for possible errors in other's ideas but do not look for strengths, some people scrutinize their own ideas and others have only convinced themselves they do while gathering confirming information.

        At a point personal preference or eg-needs sometimes dominate learned thinking skills.
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        Mar 15 2013: And yes, the desire to be thought clever and interesting can interfere with open-mindedness and critical thinking, depending on what the person thinks makes him seem clever and interesting.

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