Reason, critical thought, and listening

Discussion in 'Your Bloody Soap Box' started by alienator, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Those three things have booted out the door for quite some time now in this country and elsewhere in the world. It certainly seems as if people with opposing view points have not only no will to discuss in a reasonable, calm fashion their differences and possible solutions, but people are actually further exacerbating the situation by cranking up the volume, increasing the strain, and shooting holes in the ideas of constructive debate and compromise.

    I will admit that I have engaged at times (some may argue more than "at times" and perhaps they're right) this polarizing type of "engagement", but I've reached my wits end with it. In the US, it is de rigueur to paint people with an "either you are or you aren't ________" brush. There is no useful and constructive debate and no desire to reach common ground. None. Here in the US, our Congress right now is such that if one party votes "yes", it's almost guaranteed the other party will vote "no", no matter the topic at hand. As a result we have problems festering that have no resolution in sight. Facts are an inconvenience easily omitted, danced around, or simply made up. Critical thought was chucked out of the party bus and left to die. I'm ashamed of any part I've played in that. I can't wait for the return of reason, constructive debate, listening, and compromise.

    To see this at work, just listen to the conversation about the Occupy movement any arbitrary person involved in it in any arbitrary city. Listen to how candidates talk in debates and in sound bites to the media. Listen to how the different news outlets couch their views in alleged news "reports". Hell, just go to the Doping sub-forum, or drop in no the "How Many of You Carry a Gun as Part of Your Cycling Equipment" thread. It's toxic. Facts aren't even considered a lot of the time.

    Perhaps it's simply the result of a society or societies lacking respect for members of the "wrong" classes in those societies. I'm glad that my wife and I have placed huge emphasis for our daughter on her being respectful of others, no matter whether their views are congruent with hers or not. Apparently she has taken that lesson to heart, or so her teachers and friends' parents say. For that I am proud and happy. We've emphasized that "face value" is of almost no value, and that learning and expression of ideas need to rest solidly on critical thought.

    Would that adults and people at large were as grown up as children can be.
     
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  2. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    No apologies necessary for me. I'm simply going to tell it like it is - of course, in my experience and perception. I don't have to speak for anyone but myself, but your reputation of frequent, unsolicited, and highly "toxic" responses is no secret to regular contributors on this forum.

    My first thought and word that came to mind as I read your post was - "hypocrite". My second thought was 'if you're not part of solution, you're simply part of the problem'.
    The first sentence in your second paragraph pretty much summed up your whole matter for me, except for the minimization of your alienating (pun intended) behavior on this forum.
    Then you want to confess that you apparently teach your daughter to 'do as I say, not as I do'. How peculiar and unfortunate parenting, IMO.
    I can fully respect someone getting up on their soapbox to preach when they 'talk the talk', and also 'walk the walk'. Gotta acknowledge you've got the 'talk the talk' part down pat.

    Perhaps you should have waited a lot longer after being at your "wits end" with the problem and developed a track record of being respectful to all who contribute on this forum - irrespective if you agree with them or not, and regardless if they formed or expressed their opposing views in a manner that meets with your esteemed approval.

    Rather than looking out the window, it is highly suggested that you take a good, long look at that person in the mirror and make the necessary repairs to that person before pointing fingers down at others while up on your soapbox. You say you've made these changes, huh? Good for you, but only time will tell...
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The comments at the following link exemplify the idea about which I'm talking. The political viewpoint doesn't matter. It's the way the conversation progresses that's emblematic of the dysfunction in our national discourse: http://www.kold.com/story/15982366/occupy . You can choose just about any political story, and the discussion will follow a very similar progression. There's never even an attempt to find any common ground, let alone tone down the rhetoric.
     
  4. bigpedaler

    bigpedaler New Member

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    It's an ancient truth, recently re-phrased: "Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one, they all stink."

    Unfortunately, in the last couple years, opinion has replaced fact as the standard. Lies based on a nugget of truth are common, spreading like cancer. Yes, the US political scene is the prime example of this. Someone can say one thing one year, and a few years later, not only say the opposite, but deny the first statement was ever made. (Who should we believe, the person, or that lying video?)

    People in general rarely THINK anymore, yet what they "think" is the new reality.

    Maybe Prozac will make it all make sense. No, wait -- I think that had something to do with it.

    If I HAD an answer for it, we wouldn't be discussing it -- it'd be fixed. Sorry.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Prozac or whatever has got naught to do with it. It's the poor education which doesn't teach critical thinking skills, the willful disregard of critical thinking for personal gain, intellectual laziness, and/or outright ignorance that has given us the electorate we have.
     
  6. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    quite honestly one of the best topics i've ever seen started.

    a good intellectual debate may not significantly alter my position on an issue, but, in having my beliefs challenged, i have to broaden my understanding of an issue, admitting to having misunderstood another's position and being blind to their very real concerns. i recognise that in the states' political discourse, the battle lines are drawn and demagoguery on both sides has been triumphant.
     
  7. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    1. Just imagine there is someone outside your home throwing things against your house.... yelling.... saying they want to kill you by hanging you from your own trees and kill your wife and daughters by cutting their throats. Just what reasoned constructive compromise would you wish for the police to work out with these people?

    2. I used that example [above] because that is the same exact problem the occupy people put to the residence of a Jewish community in New York City. They walked in the neighborhoods of.... who they called the 1%... and terrorized them. This President Obama supported Occupy movement... where is the compromise there? And did any of this make the big news channels?

    3. Maybe if they just raped your the daughters... and beat you the Jews around the head and shoulders with small sticks.... maybe THAT would be the reasoned compromise?

    Some struggles have winners and losers... and nothing in between. We... as a nation, maybe as a world... are in one of those struggles now.
     
  8. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    right. so we are being attacked by occupy aliens from another world? dimension? or is this just more racist/religionist bullshit fear-mongering?
     
  9. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    Not up or current events I see.... oh well that's OK. As long as you... or your loved ones weren't killed in recent attacks and/or wars.... then all is right with the world from you tiny little perspective. I can't recall me ever being engaged in racist/religious bullshit fear-mongering. But I do recall volunteering to risk my life to protect those different than myself. And..... you?
     
  10. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    An interesting topic, Alienator.

    I find these days that a lot of "debate" on the interweb is non-existent.
    So called "debate" is either a reiteration of one's views or opinions or it is an exercise in trying to denigrate "your opponent's" argument.

    Rarely are the facts debated.
     
  11. qdc15

    qdc15 Member

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    You are the problem. You seem to be incapable of reason, critical thought, and listening. You've implied that behavior modification is impossible unless a gun is held to the subject's head. That may be true in your case, but many others are capable of learning, growing, progressing through reason, critical thought and listening. Only in the most repressed totalitarian regimes are your methods attempted and without exception in the long run they fail.
     
  12. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    in truth, dave, i'm quite current on world events. i'm just unsure of what events you reference as happening or even what you imagine will happen in your first post. you jump from a group making threatening statements to some cryptic remark about what sort of struggle we "as a nation" or "world may be engaged in. i honestly don't get the links in your statement about the occupy movement and that struggle.
     
  13. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You're probably right. I think in far too many area's of critical discourse, be they on the web, in the media, or anywhere, the definition of what constitutes a fact is a bit too, uhm, generous.
     
  14. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    With all the data that we are subjected each day it is hard to consolidate it into what is real information. What is reason and what is pure speculation or opinion is difficult to determine at times. At one time people thought th earth was flat and now it seems we have enough information to prove that it isn't. It can however be debated whether we are better off with this knowledge than the people that lived before us and thought it flat if you never actually travel very far.
     
  15. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I assume by "real information" you mean information that is relevant to a given person. Certainly there is more information available to the average person today than there was 15, 20, 50, 100, X years ago, but critical thought and reason can be used filter that information to pick-out what is valuable and/or what should be considered/studied more deeply. The flip side to this information coin is that people today have more resources available to find the truth (if there is a definable, accepted truth) or the facts. Again, critical thought should be used to evaluate the truths and facts. Listening shouldn't be handicapped at all by the volume of traffic on the information highway.
     
  16. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    It is interesting that I only heard that theory that people once thought the Earth was flat... as an adult. In my childhood education we were taught differently. Back before the popularity of this "new" theory of "a flat Earth belief" even very early man saw the curvature of the Earth from hills and seas and understood it's shape.

    I think it was Eratosthenes that first calculated the size and shape of the planet, as well as invented latitude and longitude. That was several centurys BC.
     
  17. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    And you seem to be following that same theme! Please... point out where common ground may exist.

    Maybe you and some others here haven't been shot at... or no enemy has attempted to kill you. So I understand that you dismiss "remaining alive" as outside the discussion of "common ground". Not everyone however has been quite as lucky in recent world events. Where is the common ground for the thousands of family members of those who died 11 years ago on 911? For the Vet's? For the Socialism caused unemployment of the 23 million Americans? For the Jewish people of NYC in the neighborhoods just last year. Where the President's occupy movement wanted to hang the men and cut the throats of women and children.

    You post of common ground being... somewhere... but you don't post any.
     
  18. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    And... I am not up on whatever it is that is in fashion at the High School these days ether. Sorry I posted to you as if you were an adult. Have fun at the home coming dance!
     
  19. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

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    truly you amuse, dave. how exactly is the occupy movement the "president's"? you have posted some baffling statements previously, but where are the links to justify your position? other than some crackpot theorists on talk radio, how are there 23 million unemployed through socialism? am i to believe that those unemployed who have lost jobs from actions and policies taken by the previous administration, that the previous administration was socialist? and how does any of this relate to being shot at?
     
  20. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    It's only belongs to the president in conspiracy forums and in the minds of folks that don't have the tools to engage in rational, critical thought.
    The "socialist" claims come from the minds of folks who use such claims for shock value and to snow people that don't know what socialism is. Interestingly, this leads to those screaming "socialist" being snowed by themselves since they don't know what socialism is. It's a real life example of getting stuck in a loop.  
    It doesn't. It's what you get when someone doesn't have anything substantive to offer. You've seen how he operates. You know he's not up to engaging in debate that requires thought.
     
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