Thinking - Rational and Scientific

I have always been a fan of logic and lateral thinking.

There are always two sides to every argument and consistently I find both are wrong, when you use true facts and logic. Furthermore travel teaches us to challenge our own values. These days in every country many things accepted as normal to me are irrational. But I think I often annoy some people cos many people including travelers don't like to have their values challenged. If you respect people you tell them the truth.

THINKING TECHNIQUES - With good thinking practices we can make better decisions. There are a few common bad thinking practices which lead to counterproductive and wasteful solutions ... More

Good Techniques

  • Good Decision Making is based on truth (provable facts) & logic
  • open mind
  • gather your info .. as much as you can not just newspapers
  • work what is the real problem
  • challenge your info : remove garbage & superstition
  • Credibility : Check your sources, back to the route. But even it comes from a vested interests it doesn't mean it's wrong it's the facts not the speaker.
  • take your time/ don't rush it
  • seek opinions
  • look for different angles
  • identify the real issue/problem not always what you think it is
  • Be skeptical if it sounds too good to be true then it's not true
  • Be careful about assumptions
  • be skeptical
  • Test and prove - if it works all the time it's probably a good theory.
  • It's the action that's Important - Climate Change Believers & CC skeptics might agree reducing consumption - so don't get hung up on taking sides

Bad Thinking

In thinking people are quite correctly using logic, but then they do other things which skew their results.

  • wanting to believe
  • Refusing to listen thought stopping as taught by cults
  • refusing to say "I don't know"
  • Wanting simple easy solutions
  • ignore the data if contradicts above.
  • perspective
  • getting your info from newspapers - lack perspective cos 1. they sensationalise 2. unfull picture focus on cute children or London etc
  • running in the wrong direction going on a stop the war demo, doesn't change the world but, stopping reflected negative vibes onto other people, shouting at kids or spouse etc does.
  • - playing safe ..-fear of being wrong so sticking with the crowd
  • romantising
  • false info like : - fake traditions - Santa Claus, kilts

    we are hearing a lot of this kind of thinking

    A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, "Lets smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Lets build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Lets assume that we have a can-opener..."

  1. False cause and effect, maybe X causes Y or maybe coincidence or maybe Y causes X
  2. Of Course - no you need proof for eveything no assumptions. "Of course there's a God, who created the Earth ?"
  3. Everyone Says or There's a consensus ... well the world has 1.4billion "Muslims", but that doesn't prove there's a god who wrote the Koran. Each major world religion has many billions of members yet they contradict each other
    Theres probably 2 billion smokers .. Still it's a stupid thing
    A million doctors said stress causes ulcers until 1 doctor proved it's bacteria.
    Everyone Says - Following the crowd is not logic. Everyone goes there so it must be great. Everyone watches that so it must be interesting. Everyone eats it so I must be tasty. No , I make my own decisions.
  4. False Dichotomy - splitting the world in 2 whereas more that 2 views exist false dichotomy e.g. "You are with us or against us." Bush Jr . No, you can respect X and have a different opinion from them ie. think that X's own actions are not in it's own best interests.
    a - Anti-enemy - "this idea, comes from the enemy, so it must be wrong. Them & Us mentality. No even terrorists agree that child abuse is wrong.
    b - Blaming "the Americans" for everything. Stupid cos by saying this you are falsely dividing the wo ld in two
    c- Black and white world magnitude fallacy - "My maths teacher, my local park keeper : He's a Nazi". No he's not : Setting a bit of extra homework is not the same as rounding up everybody of a certain race and seeking to exterminate them. The real world is complicated and technicolour, so dividing it into simple black and white is a fallacy of magnitude.
  5. fallacy - false respect for authority / not the facts
  6. fallacy - good but I forgot
Argument Checklist
not attacking the arguer - but surely OK to attack
- hypocrisy - contradictions ?
hasty generalization like fase dichotomye.g. racism cos it narrows the world into 2 groups, can't actually do this same "with us or against us" - 2 options
does the "do as done by" rule apply
over-reducing - "just," "only," "merely",
CONTEXT - meaning of words

Jamie Whyte wrote some good sounding books,mbut when I checked he turns out to be a rightwing NZ philosopher - his own arguments are full of fallacies Don't You Believe It, A. J. Hoover summarizes 30 in a n earlier book common logical fallacies.

Notes about Don't You Believe It, A. J. Hoover summarizes

30 in an earlier book Common Logical Fallacies.

- understanding someones motives doesn't make their argument wrong - see attacking the arguer

- failing to draw the line say between nudity and porn, saying Bush is as bad as Hitler , isn't this same as black and white false dichotomy ?

- The writer is a committed Christian so in the book which is about rational argument it's amazing to see how he then breaks the rules he's writing about to push Christianity, creationism and attack skeptics .. he even has a special rule that religion is above criticism.

- breaks own rules saying clearly man is special in evolution he calls not appreciating this genetic fallacy Still won't throw it away, but instead look at the rational rules.

- Galileo + Shakespeare both say - God gave us the ability to reason so we aren't expect to switch it off. Checklist - many of his list seem to be minor so I split them out


  • -
  • - attacking the arguer - but surely OK to attack hypocrisy - what about contradictions ? what is not OK is Ad Hominem denoting a whole argument is not valid.
  • - hasty generalization - like false dichotomye.g. racism cos it narrows the world into 2 groups, can't actually do this. The same "with us or against us" - 2 options
  • - does the "do as done by" rule apply
  • - over-reducing - "just," "only," "merely, CONTEXT - meaning of words

    - breaks own rules saying clearly man is special in evolution he calls not appreciating this - "genetic fallacy" - understanding someones motives doesn't make their argument wrong - see attacking the arguer - beard failing to draw the line nudity and porn, saying Bush is as bad as Hitler , isn't this same as black and white false dichotomy ? 7 Begging the Question -your argument relies on a circular argument on itself. Blair must be honest, cos he tells everyone to be honest so he must be honest. he takes a side swipe at evolutionists who date rocks by the simplicity of the organism in them and then use this age to prove evolution exists, I'm pretty sure they date ricks by geological methods not biological (C14 dating is 100% reliable for lifeforms has a limit 40K years) 8 Misuse of Authority like relying on Historian Flannery as an expert on Climate yes but if you say 99% of scientists believe X that's not a proof, but it certainly adds a lot of weight. - surely a lot of arguments are like this, where a 100% proof is not possible so weight counts ? 9 Misuse of Analogy False Anology 10 Chronological Snobbery is this relevent ? he likes it cos he's rightwing and gets attacked for being medieval 11 Ad hominem (he acknowledges your family are apes anti-Darwin argument) 12 Poisoning the Wells - slight different from Ad hominem cos like saying can't believe him he's a communist minor 13 Appeal to Pity - minor 14 Appeal to Force - threats etc 15 Appeal to the People or "Misuse of Democracy." or true cos more newsworthy - just cos something is popular does that make it true 16 Appeal to Ignorance we don't know so assume the worst ? we can't prove it's not true so it must be true ? he uses example of denying God exists keeps picking on evolution unaware of his own fallacies 17 Special Pleading surely just meams using bad evidence e.g. thermometer on the radiator 18 Strawman 19 Fallacies of Causation assuming false cause & effect 20 Hypothesis after the Fact but if we had not gone to war etc fallacious cos we did 21 Cliche' Thinking don't rely on a false cliche 22 Fallacies of Composition and Division mainly about judging wrongly by constinuates - the top team doesn't necessarily have the best individuals neither do t e best inviduals make the best team 23 The Slippery Slope Fallacy idea that if X happens then Y will also - but many things are not strongly connected, I think it's asign of not seeing the big picture "if we increase wages then unemployment will rise", but actually that's not what happens. 24 Language Tricks 25 The Ultimate Fallacy denial - refusing to believe evidence - gave a bad example .. "yes Poland might well leave communism, but that doesn't mean East Germany will."

    zwoop German decion making system

Negative Thinking why I think it's important :
The power of negative thinking. People say don't be negative think positive ..this is stupid and simplistic. An architect /engineer has think negative e.g. what if there is an earthquake etc. so he can design a building safely. I agree with E de B you put on your positive hat and look for the good things, then you put on your negative hat and look for possible problems.

Is there a clear link between happiness and intelligence ie the more intelligent a person is the unhappier they will be ?

If you have scientific facts then you can make planning and good decisions, if you don't you can't just rely on the newspapers. e.g. If you ingest a kilo of cyanide then you will die 100% guaranteed. In other cases it's much more difficult e.g. smoke a packet of cigarettes a day you'll probably die early, you have a hell of a time working out the probabilities. Now we know it's. definitely not a good idea to smoke a packet a day, but 1 or 2 cigs in your life time isn't going to make a great difference

The works of Edward de Bono and Tony Buzan Are very important to me.

Edward de Bono - "invented the term lateral thinking", which puts into words the importance of looking at things from different angles. His thoughts on education

Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit"

- Coffin's list of how to argue

De Bono's thoughts on education are enlightening : "why do people think education is about big buildings like universities, when actually it's about aquiring new skills - he the professor of Harvard and Cambridge then goes on to criticise universities -
they give education in a single dose for life, instead of life long learning.
they are situated outside real life ie not in industry and even on the edge of towns
They are elitist etc

My own feeling is if you want to learn about something then do it.

ADBUSTERS Adbusters the campaign against advertising & consumption
though at last look their website was quite shallow and not to their own principles

- Oz site about argument maps

85semler2.htm 7 Day Weekend By: Ricardo Semler 2003 owner of a Brazilian company Semco came up with a completely new system of management ..empower and trust your workers,great

- 60 The philosophy gym : 25 short adventures in thinking by Law, Stephen. Also v good The Philosophy Files

BOOK6HAT.htm 6 Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Interesting Teaching Idea - ask pupils for answer, but ask again 6 people and then discuss, that gets them thinking.

Being Skeptical i.e. not taking things at face value is an intrinsic part of good thinking. See Rational Thinking, Science & Skepticism page

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