American Elephants


Mindlessness! And They Vote Too! by The Elephant's Child

The intellectual climate of the nation today came from the public schools, where almost every one of us was schooled in the work of the mind.  We are a people who imagine that we are weighing important issues when we exchange generalizations and well-known opinions.  We decide how to vote or what to buy according to whim or fancied self-interest, either of which is easily engendered in us by the manipulation of language, which we have neither the will nor the ability to analyze.  We believe that we can reach conclusions without having the faintest idea of the difference between inferences and statements of fact, often without any suspicion that there are such things and that they are different.  We are easily persuaded and repersuaded by what seems authoritative, without any notion of those attributes and abilities that characterize authority.  We do not notice elementary fallacies in logic, it doesn’t even occur to us to look for them: few of us are even aware that such things exist. We make no regular distinction between those kinds of things that can be known and objectively verified and those that can only be believed or not.  Nor are we likely to examine, when we believe or not, the induced predispositions that may make us do the one or the other.  We are easy prey.
Richard Mitchell: The Graves of Academe

Also, affirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.
Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that —that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.
John R. Searle, Professor of Philosophy, Berkeley

We are telling students what to think, not teaching them how to think.  Without teaching them how to draw meaning, significance and wisdom from those facts, we are teaching mindlessness. Teaching kids how to think means teaching them how to weigh and consider ideas, see implications, follow an argument to a logical conclusion, integrate knowledge, and apply creative and critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions.
Vincent Ryan Ruggerio: Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America



Understanding affirmative action… by The Elephant's Child

The idea of “affirmative action” is widely misunderstood.  Philosophy Professor John R. Searle of the University of California at Berkeley explained it very well in an article in Reason Magazine in February of 2000.

[A]ffirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.

Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that — that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,690 other followers

%d bloggers like this: