Critical thinking

Critical thinking isn’t taught in elementary schools.
 
It isn’t taught in secondary schools, either.
 
Students may learn it in college.  After having “Don’t Question Authority” shoved down their throats for over a decade.
 
Assuming they’re ever taught it at all…
 
I’ll define critical thinking for those never learned. It means not assuming everything they hear is gospel truth.
 
Consider who’s speaking.  What do you know about them?
 
Are they trustworthy?
 
What biases do they have?
 
Where did they get their information?
 
Is there other information out there which contradicts the information they’re giving you?
 
Are there any logical fallacies in their argument?
 
Ask whatever questions you can think of.
 
Do your own research.
 
Too many people think “being informed” means being spoon fed stories by some talking heads on TV.
 
They don’t question what they hear if they consider the “news” organization “trustworthy.”
 
They accept everything coming from the network as truth.
 
Too many people will accept what a government official says without question.
 
Maybe not if it’s an elected representative.
 
But if it’s someone from the FDA.  The CDC.  The USDA.  Everything they say must be true and unbiased.
 
Listened to and followed without question.
 
Who died and made them God?

None Dare Call it Conspiracy

A couple of years ago I liked a Facebook page.

I’ve liked TONS of Facebook pages.

But this one is different.

It’s called Awaken to Our Awful Situation.

For those not familiar, it’s a reference to a Book of Mormon prophecy about the Last Days:

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

– Ether 8:24

I assumed it was an LDS page about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and events leading up to it.

Eventually I figured out it was a conspiracy page.

I wanted nothing to do with any of that.

Later another page I followed shared a post from Awaken to Our Awful Situation.  It was a clip from a talk given in General Conference by Ezra Taft Benson in 1972.

Ezra Taft Benson was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1989 to 1994.  Like every other President of the Church, members sustain him as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and as the official spokesman for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on Earth.

He had also held a high government office.  President Eisenhower appointed him Secretary of Agriculture, where he served from 1953 to 1961.  If any General Authority had worldly qualifications to know what goes on at the highest level of the Federal Government of the United States of America, it’s him.

And along this line, I would highly recommend to you a new book entitled None Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen.

– Ezra Taft Benson

I found an online copy of None Dare Call it Conspiracy.  It had some editing issues, to say the least, making it hard to read.  I only made it halfway through the book, but it was enough to convince me.

After that I liked the Awaken to Our Awful Situation page again.

That’s not to say I believe every conspiracy theory.

I still believe Neil Armstrong and several other men walked on the moon.

I don’t think Paul McCartney died in 1966.

I don’t think Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ.

But I am suspicious of anything a government, especially the Federal Government, tries to make us do “for our own good.”

Question authority

Don’t believe everything you hear.

Even if it’s on the news.

Even if it comes from an “authority.”

“Authorities” are just people.  With their own ideas.  Their own flaws.

Their own agenda.

How did this person get the authority they claim?

Some people have authority from God.  God doesn’t give his authority to just anyone.  If an authority in the Church tells me something I believe it, unless I have a good reason not to.

Is this person an elected official?  In my mind that gives them some legitimate claim to authority.  I’m more skeptical of them, though.

Is this person an unelected bureaucrat?  I may listen to what they have to say, but I won’t necessarily believe it.

Do they represent a large corporation?  I’ll hear them out, but I know they’re trying to make their corporation look good.

Are they a teacher?  Who taught them?  Where did they get their information?  Did they do their own research, or are they just regurgitating what’s in the textbook?  What are their biases?

Is this a TV news anchor?  Next, please.

Always maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.