Monday, June 05, 2006

Critical Thinking and an Open Mind

I read. A lot. I know what's going on on the left side of the blogosphere, and I know what's going on on the right side of the blogosphere, and I know what's going on in the center of the blogosphere.

And that's just the political part of the house.

Sometimes, some leftie will tell me to do something stupid, like "Go watch this hourlong movie about the government conspiracy to hide the truth about 9/11" or some other such crap. When I dismiss it out of hand, because I've already read about the movie *and* I've read from those who've already debunked it, I'm told that I don't have an open mind or that I'm a mindless automaton, ready to believe whatever the government tells me, lacking in critical thinking ability. Same kind of stuff I hear when people talk about Michael Moore-on's films. Or Al Gore's books/movies. Or George Clooney's political pontifications. (Note to George: love your movies. But in my universe you exist for one reason, and one reason only--to entertain me. So keep your mouth shut about things you don't know about, which is most everything but acting, and act! It's like the one thing you're good at. And I so like it.)

But back to the topic at hand. I participate in an email list of West Point graduates, and one of the other contributors to that list posted something I thought profound. He's given me permission to reproduce his thoughts here.

An open mind does not require one to suffer fools and idiots. Rather, an open mind requires that you carefully and fairly analyze any new data, facts, theories, concepts, ideas, etc. Once you have analyzed something, there is nothing wrong with drawing a conclusion about it - in fact, it is intellectual dishonesty (or a lack of analytical ability) to refuse to do so. Having drawn a logical conclusion, there is no need to revisit a topic unless new data is presented.--Michael Kahn

So when I refuse to watch Moore-on's movies, it's because I've already informed myself about them and have concluded that they're dishonest. I already know what it is you want me to see in these films, or read in these books, or learn on these web sites, and I've already drawn my conclusions about them. If you can tell me something that you think I should consider, either a new fact or a new way to look at an old one, I'll be intellectually honest enough to give you a listen. But I'm not closed-minded just because I don't agree with you.

I've just already done my homework.


elementaryhistoryteacher said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I like your friend's definition of "open mind".

MikeAT said...

Believe it or not, I did see Mikey Moore’s propaganda when it came out…but I refused to give that piece of crap a penny. I bought a ticket to “Garfield”...hey, Bill Murray is ok by me. Remember me...I need to look at the Dark Side! :)

BTY, do you want to make out Gentlemen’s Bet that ALGORE will win the Oscar for Best Documentary? :)

EllenK said...

It's been my observation that most people on the right read a wide range of material. I saw the Moore movie too, but gave the money to some other lame film. My wild eyed liberal friends refuse to look at or read anything that challenges their views. It's like when you are telling your kids something they don't want to hear and they stick their fingers in thier ears shouting NANANANANANA.... Over time, I guess I have had the confidence to read other things and form opinions and sometimes even change opinions based on what I have learned. It would seem that very few people on the other side of the aisle are doing this.