27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Enlightenment Needs Vigorous Defense

The ideals of the Enlightenment are products of human reason, but they always struggle with other strands of human nature: loyalty to tribe, deference to authority, magical thinking, the blaming of misfortune on evildoers. The second decade of the 21st century has seen the rise of political movements that depict their countries as being pulled into a hellish dystopia by malign factions that can be resisted only by a strong leader who wrenches the country backward to make it “great again.”...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Changing Focus from Teacher to Learning in Education

Most theories of teaching and learning take a particular stance on the role of the teacher and the relative importance of the teaching act, in contrast to the role of the learner and the learning act. This fundamental division splits the world of educational theory into two clear schools of thought. In the first—more ancient—school, it is the authority of the teacher that takes pride of place. The teacher is seen as a master or wise one who possesses knowledge and who, through the act of ...
Folksonomies: education teaching
Folksonomies: education teaching
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21 APR 2014 by ideonexus

 "Susicion of Authority" is Also Propaganda

While individuals get our empathy and sympathy, institutions seldom do. The "we're in this together" spirit of films from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s later gave way to a reflex shared by left and right, that villainy is associated with organization. Even when they aren't portrayed as evil, bureaucrats are stupid and public officials short-sighted. Only the clever bravado of a solitary hero (or at most a small team) will make a difference in resolving the grand crisis at hand. This rule of con...
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A conspiracy meme that comes from both the left and right.

03 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Scientific Ignorance in a Science-Based Civ...

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time — when we're a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those In authority; when, clutching our crystals and r...
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We are more reliant on science than ever before, but we are also most disdainful of it.

07 FEB 2014 by ideonexus

 The Invention of Printing Threatens the Church

This new invention of printing has produced various effects of which Your Holiness caimot be ignorant. If it has restored books and learning, it has also been the occasion of those sects and schisms which daily appear. Men begin to call in question the present faith and tenets of the Church; the laity read the scriptures and pray in their vulgar tongue. Were this suffered the common people might come to believe that there was not so much use of the clergy. If men were persuaded that they coul...
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[Cardinal] Thomas Wolsey.

24 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Knowing One Thing Well is Barbaric

To know only one thing well is to have a barbaric mind: civilization implies the graceful relation of all varieties of experience to a central humane system of thought. The present age is peculiarly barbaric: introduce, say, a Hebrew scholar to an ichthyologist or an authority on Danish place names and the pair of them would have no single topic in common but the weather or the war (if there happened to be a war in progress, which is usual in this barbaric age).
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The enlightened mind knows many things, specialization means we live among many barbarians.

16 JUL 2013 by ideonexus

 Accountability in the Surveillance State

Where power intervenes, transparency fails to provide accountability. This is the main fact that the residents of the Planetary Consortium and their ilk must grasp. Public-accessible cameras and citizen sousveillance of police is not enough. To truly hold the people at the top accountable, publicams should be placed inside police stations, interrogation rooms, jails, security checkpoints, congressional chambers, and anywhere government officials meet with lobbyists, make decisions, and otherw...
Folksonomies: technology surveillance
Folksonomies: technology surveillance
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Cameras must be everywhere, in politician's offices, interrogation rooms, everyone must watch everyone.

19 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Post Modernism Leads to Totalitarianism

There is objective truth to be learned by observation, and the knowledge gained gives power that other "ways of knowing" have not. But the more dangerous problem with postmodernist thinking is its a priori nature. Not truth, but a political goal has to be served—in this particular case the goal of openness, or tolerance without judgment. But without acknowledgi objective truth, all arguments become rhetorical and therefore can go on forever—and we are either paralyzed by it or we must res...
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When facts are relative and belief makes reality, then the best strategy is to hold to your belief uncompromisingly.

01 AUG 2012 by ideonexus

 A Liberal Decalogue

Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows: 1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything. 2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light. 3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed. 4. When you...
Folksonomies: philosophy virtue
Folksonomies: philosophy virtue
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Bertrand Russel's 10 rules to live by for those who love truth and knowledge.

21 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Peer Review

Nobody knows more than a tiny fragment of science well enough to judge its validity and value at first hand. For the rest he has to rely on views accepted at second hand on the authority of a community of people accredited as scientists. But this accrediting depends in its turn on a complex organization. For each member of the community can judge at first hand only a small number of his fellow members, and yet eventually each is accredited by all. What happens is that each recognizes as scien...
Folksonomies: science peer review
Folksonomies: science peer review
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Each of us can only understand a small portion of science, thus we need a collaboration of mind to determine truth.