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Posts Tagged ‘Critical Thinking’

Dubbed “Prospero’s Precepts”, these eleven rules culled from some of history’s greatest minds can serve as a general-purpose guideline for critical thinking in all matters of doubt:
1.   All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level.  (Stephen Schneider)
2.   Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.  (Dandemis)
3.   Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.  (Francis Bacon)
4.   Never fall in love with your hypothesis.  (Peter Medawar)
5.   It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.  Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.  (Arthur Conan Doyle)
6.   A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong.  (Francis Crick)
7.   The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting.  (Richard Feynman)
8.   To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.  (Charles Darwin)
9.   It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.  (Mark Twain)
10.  Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.  (Thomas Jefferson)
11.  All truth passes through three stages.  First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident.  (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  —   Peter Surrock
From his book: “AKA Shakespeare: A Scientific Approach to the Authorship Question
[Found at a site I like to visit every now and then:   http://www.brainpickings.org/
The specific post was found at:  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/04/01/aka-shakespeare/
Well worth a visit…   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Friends
2013 Learning Bitter
2012 Remembrance, Minstrels & Going Off To War
May I Have More Happiness, Please?
2011 There Is No God, But God
2010 Another Running Book…
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I’ve been on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) more in the last two weeks than I have been in years…
Last week, I had a three day training session on Critical Thinking, in Oakland, and this week I’ve been attending a four day session on Microsoft Access 2007, in S.F.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’ve enjoyed both and learned quite a bit as well.
I seem to go to management analyst training about every 4 years or so, and it’s hard to get up for what always seems to be a re-hash.  There was a lot of that this time as well, but the instructor was very entertaining.  He was “acting” as much as educating and his performance and enthusiasm were infectious.  His name is Michael Sigman and his company is CommCore Consulting Group.  I highly recommend Mike if you ever feel you need this kind of training.
This week’s training is being provided by Dan McAllister with LearnIt! in San Francisco.  As I said, the class is on MS-Access.  This is probably my fourth time attending Access training since 1992, and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to get out of the training.  I was hoping for at least a re-familiarization with some basic concepts and tools.  Instead, it’s been a very interesting (and fast paced) class covering a lot more database theory than I remember in any of my other class sessions.  I’m not sure why, (maybe it’s Dan,) but the three days so far have flown by.  I’m sure I’ll be able to use a lot of this when I get back to my desk and I’m also confident the other three folks we’ve got scheduled to attend will get a great introduction to databases in general and Access in particular.
On the BART rides in (and out) I’ve been re-reading Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point“.  I originally read the book a couple of years ago and it lead me to read his other two books: “Outliers” and “Blink“, as well.
The book is about social behaviour and what makes some things explode into massive social shifts / fads / epidemics and what stops them and/or prevents them.
Basically, there are three critical factors for a tipping point: the law of the few (a powerful combination of three critical actors – connectors, mavens and salesmen), an idea or action with “stickiness”, and an environmental context (a cultural acceptance).  Given these three factors, a small change in the social equilibrium will produce a radical (enormous) change in society.
The author cites numerous examples of crime, cigarette smoking, and suicides to support his claims (observations).
The results (the radical societal changes) seem counter-intuitive, but I am emotionally (and experientially) drawn to the “Law of the Few” and the “Stickiness Factor”.  I do believe that social connectors and mavens move the world.  I’m not entirely convinced about the salesman.  That is not my experience…
The re-reading has led me to change my behavior.  I recently signed up for the Hunch web site.  It’s a site I read about in Wired magazine which promises to offer you recommendations about everything based on the “likes” of people who are similar to yourself.  It’s kind of like a Facebook, but with out as much background chatter about what you’re doing right this very minute (“status”).
I’ve yet to receive any phenomenal “recs” yet, but I think it is a more comfortable place (than Facebook) to post thoughts (“likes” and “faves”).  I am hoping the site will ultimately lead me to communicating with social connectors and mavens.  This seems like a mildly selfish goal to me – ethically speaking. It also seems to be “anti-socially” social – that is, trying to “make friends” without knowing/engaging them.  Philosophically, I’m not even sure it’s possible. Still, it seems an interesting experiment.
So far, I’ve exchanged messages with folks from Africa, South America, Europe and several parts of the US.
I’m starting off by randomly “following” folks; looking for specific folks who say something interesting (about anything); and, then sending them messages (called “flecks”).  I’m planning to try this in a couple of rounds over the next couple of months to see what happens.
Ideally, I’ll connect with a number (150) of super-connectors and mavens as described in Gladwell’s book.  At that point, I would have a pipeline into multiple societal waves as a source for thought (my own personal growth) and observation on this blog!
On a more personal note, I’m smiling more…  Yesterday, a lady came up to me and asked how to get to Mission Street in SF.  I advised of which train to catch.  As I was getting off, I approached her and told her there were four more stops to Mission.  She was surprised as I approached her and then broke out in a tremendous smile when she realized I was still trying to help her.
Today, I sat next to an elderly man who asked me for directions to the Oakland Airport. He said he didn’t speak English.  He showed me his electronic air-pass.  I let him know when we came to his transfer point (MacArthur Station) and told him where to meet his train (the Fremont train).  He was Middle-Eastern and bowed to me repeatedly, smiling as he shuffled off the train with his two suitcases.
As he walked off, smiling, it reminded me of the thousands of little things Hil does for me – and that made me smile (more).
Perhaps a small change can have a major impact on the world…
PS: It has just been announced that BING will be integrating with Facebook.  This will offer Facebook users the ability to “see/search” the faves of their Facebook friends and Hotmail contacts.  It sounds like someone is trying to steal Hunch’s lunchbox…
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