08.13.2009 – Critical Thinking Update
Well, I figured it was about time to just post an update as to the state of things in my own head. Kind of a ‘milestone’ marker for me to look back on and see how far I’ve come and how far there is left to go.
I’ve looked back recently on some of my earlier posts and just had to have a bit of a chuckle at some of the thoughts. When I first started this whole ‘Pursuit of Truth’ thing that I find myself on now, I obviously got sucked into a whole lot of conspiracy theory type BS initially. Ideas that the whole world was organized to destroy everyone in it except for an elite few. Or, if nothing else, enslave us all. The ‘New World Order’ bullshit if you will.
I now know how silly that all is. While I’m sure there is some level of secretive stuff going on in the world, I no longer believe that there is a global organized effort to bring on tyranny and keep all of us as peasants or slaves. The information that I found myself believing was based on blind assertions, non-sequiturs, and slipery slopes that had no real evidence to back it up.
I’m really starting to be proud of myself in the way that I am able to critically assess topics now and get to the root questions of their validity. Obviously, there’s always skills be to learned. There will always be practice needed, and I’m certain that at some point I’ll find myself believing something that didn’t really have all the evidence to support it. Hopefully, though, I now have the tools to recognize it and be able to re-think accordingly.
Most of my progress has come as the result of the various outlets that I’ve been reading and watching lately. The biggest help to me was reading Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. His ‘Baloney Detection Kit’ seems to be the single most effective set of tools for getting to the crux of most claims and assertions. I hope to be able to apply more and more of these tools to my thinking arsenal for future use.
The other huge help to me has been listening to the podcasts from Point of Inquiry (http://www.pointofinquiry.org). There doesn’t seem to be ANY topic of human interest that they haven’t discussed with the leading thinkers of our times. It’s been an amazing journey to go through all of the archives and listen to the discussions. Hearing HOW these amazing minds dissect topics and tear them down to their bases is very impressive and very helpful.
Also, the Atheist Experience TV show (www.atheist-experience.com) and the Non-Phophets (http://www.nonprophetsradio.com) are two shows that I really love. I look forward to each week of hearing what they will be discussing.
Anyway, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m FINALLY reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (way overdue), and thoroughly enjoying it. I believe this may give me the confidence to no longer feel like I have to hide my atheism and stand by silently while the religious majority tries to force feed their beliefs to the non-believers.