Saturday, October 15, 2011

How To Think About Weird Things

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For the majority of people who make up the population of the world in today’s day and age, the concept of what we should and should not believe in has been a topic of both great thought and great confusion. What each of us finds to be credible or not credible tends to differ greatly from what others deem as being so. As a result, many topics of questionable discussion are often a cause for much agitation and conflict between those who feel the urge to share their thoughts and ideas involving what they believe. But how are we to know if what we believe and what others believe are correct?


Theodore Schick Jr. and Lewis Vaughn’s textbook “How to Think About Weird Things”, was written with the intent of allowing us to better understand the ideas and convections behind the things we believe in.


Rather than address specific paranormal or strange ideas, the authors present a formula for the reader to assess the ideas for themselves. The book is designed to help the reader think critically about the many New Age claims and beliefs that abound in our contemporary culture. In an examination of many paranormal, supernatural, and mysterious phenomena, the authors focus on types of logical arguments and types of proofs, thereby providing a sound basis for soundly logical, critical reasoning. How To Think About Weird Things is enhanced further with a detailed procedure for evaluating extraordinary claims; explanations of vital principles of knowledge, reasoning and evidence; numerous boxes throughout the text offering details on various offbeat beliefs; and finally a useful appendix containing additional information on informal fallacies.


One of the most critical points that is thoroughly discussed in How to Think About Weird Things involves comprehending exactly how to justify our beliefs, while at the same time, be able to say we know that said beliefs are believable in the first place. A severe emphasis is placed on being able to explain our principles of critical thinking, not to mention learning how to evaluate any and every questionable claim for ourselves.


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With this being said, an epistemology is defined as “a theory of knowledge”, or, in simpler terms “how and if people know”. This is a main factor expressed by the authors of this textbook. It is stated that, in needing to decide whether or not a claim or conviction is either true or false, we must realize that our epistemologies must be liable.


Likewise, the concept of skepticism is one that plays an important role in the premises of this textbook. Skepticism is defined as “the doctrine that true knowledge, or, knowledge in a particular area, is uncertain”. Skeptical thinking, however, is defined as “the means to construct and understand a reasoned argument, as well as to recognize an argument that is either fallacious or fraudulent”. In simpler terms, this refers to the fact that we must be critical of anything we hear that could be considered questionable in it’s reasoning.


It is my belief that skeptical thinking should play an important role in the mind of any intelligent person on this planet. Being critical of any theory or conviction we deem as questionable is not only a sign of wisdom, but it is a sign of rationality. In order to genuinely be a “smart” thinker, we must possess the ability to justify all that we claim to be true. Too often, many of us dig ourselves into a hole when we claim to believe that something is liable, without being able to explain the reasons behind said belief’s liability. Those who are the real smart thinkers of this world are not only able to claim that they believe something is true or false, but they are also enriched with the wisdom to be skeptical of their beliefs. Being a true skeptic involves the distinct ability to examine a conviction from every angle, therefore being able to understand the most promising explanation behind said conviction, all while keeping an open mind.


If asked to pinpoint the most important goal taken on by the authors of How to Think About Weird Things, I would say that it is to allow the readers of this textbook to apply rational thinking when assessing the truth behind strange and illogical claims. In doing so, we will be ready and willing to dissect and therefore better understand any questionable belief we may come across, before applying it to the big picture better known as reality. Therefore, we will indeed display the traits of the smart thinkers that this book hopes for us to be.


For the majority of people who make up the population of the world in today’s day and age, the concept of what we should and should not believe in has been a topic of both great thought and great confusion. What each of us finds to be credible or not credible tends to differ greatly from what others deem as being so. As a result, many topics of questionable discussion are often a cause for much agitation and conflict between those who feel the urge to share their thoughts and ideas involving what they believe. But how are we to know if what we believe and what others believe are correct?


Theodore Schick Jr. and Lewis Vaughn’s textbook “How to Think About Weird Things”, was written with the intent of allowing us to better understand the ideas and convections behind the things we believe in.


Rather than address specific paranormal or strange ideas, the authors present a formula for the reader to assess the ideas for themselves. The book is designed to help the reader think critically about the many New Age claims and beliefs that abound in our contemporary culture. In an examination of many paranormal, supernatural, and mysterious phenomena, the authors focus on types of logical arguments and types of proofs, thereby providing a sound basis for soundly logical, critical reasoning. How To Think About Weird Things is enhanced further with a detailed procedure for evaluating extraordinary claims; explanations of vital principles of knowledge, reasoning and evidence; numerous boxes throughout the text offering details on various offbeat beliefs; and finally a useful appendix containing additional information on informal fallacies.


One of the most critical points that is thoroughly discussed in How to Think About Weird Things involves comprehending exactly how to justify our beliefs, while at the same time, be able to say we know that said beliefs are believable in the first place. A severe emphasis is placed on being able to explain our principles of critical thinking, not to mention learning how to evaluate any and every questionable claim for ourselves.


With this being said, an epistemology is defined as “a theory of knowledge”, or, in simpler terms “how and if people know”. This is a main factor expressed by the authors of this textbook. It is stated that, in needing to decide whether or not a claim or conviction is either true or false, we must realize that our epistemologies must be liable.


Likewise, the concept of skepticism is one that plays an important role in the premises of this textbook. Skepticism is defined as “the doctrine that true knowledge, or, knowledge in a particular area, is uncertain”. Skeptical thinking, however, is defined as “the means to construct and understand a reasoned argument, as well as to recognize an argument that is either fallacious or fraudulent”. In simpler terms, this refers to the fact that we must be critical of anything we hear that could be considered questionable in it’s reasoning.


It is my belief that skeptical thinking should play an important role in the mind of any intelligent person on this planet. Being critical of any theory or conviction we deem as questionable is not only a sign of wisdom, but it is a sign of rationality. In order to genuinely be a “smart” thinker, we must possess the ability to justify all that we claim to be true. Too often, many of us dig ourselves into a hole when we claim to believe that something is liable, without being able to explain the reasons behind said belief’s liability. Those who are the real smart thinkers of this world are not only able to claim that they believe something is true or false, but they are also enriched with the wisdom to be skeptical of their beliefs. Being a true skeptic involves the distinct ability to examine a conviction from every angle, therefore being able to understand the most promising explanation behind said conviction, all while keeping an open mind.


If asked to pinpoint the most important goal taken on by the authors of How to Think About Weird Things, I would say that it is to allow the readers of this textbook to apply rational thinking when assessing the truth behind strange and illogical claims. In doing so, we will be ready and willing to dissect and therefore better understand any questionable belief we may come across, before applying it to the big picture better known as reality. Therefore, we will indeed display the traits of the smart thinkers that this book hopes for us to be.


For the majority of people who make up the population of the world in today’s day and age, the concept of what we should and should not believe in has been a topic of both great thought and great confusion. What each of us finds to be credible or not credible tends to differ greatly from what others deem as being so. As a result, many topics of questionable discussion are often a cause for much agitation and conflict between those who feel the urge to share their thoughts and ideas involving what they believe. But how are we to know if what we believe and what others believe are correct?


Theodore Schick Jr. and Lewis Vaughn’s textbook “How to Think About Weird Things”, was written with the intent of allowing us to better understand the ideas and convections behind the things we believe in.


Rather than address specific paranormal or strange ideas, the authors present a formula for the reader to assess the ideas for themselves. The book is designed to help the reader think critically about the many New Age claims and beliefs that abound in our contemporary culture. In an examination of many paranormal, supernatural, and mysterious phenomena, the authors focus on types of logical arguments and types of proofs, thereby providing a sound basis for soundly logical, critical reasoning. How To Think About Weird Things is enhanced further with a detailed procedure for evaluating extraordinary claims; explanations of vital principles of knowledge, reasoning and evidence; numerous boxes throughout the text offering details on various offbeat beliefs; and finally a useful appendix containing additional information on informal fallacies.


One of the most critical points that is thoroughly discussed in How to Think About Weird Things involves comprehending exactly how to justify our beliefs, while at the same time, be able to say we know that said beliefs are believable in the first place. A severe emphasis is placed on being able to explain our principles of critical thinking, not to mention learning how to evaluate any and every questionable claim for ourselves.


With this being said, an epistemology is defined as “a theory of knowledge”, or, in simpler terms “how and if people know”. This is a main factor expressed by the authors of this textbook. It is stated that, in needing to decide whether or not a claim or conviction is either true or false, we must realize that our epistemologies must be liable.


Likewise, the concept of skepticism is one that plays an important role in the premises of this textbook. Skepticism is defined as “the doctrine that true knowledge, or, knowledge in a particular area, is uncertain”. Skeptical thinking, however, is defined as “the means to construct and understand a reasoned argument, as well as to recognize an argument that is either fallacious or fraudulent”. In simpler terms, this refers to the fact that we must be critical of anything we hear that could be considered questionable in it’s reasoning.


It is my belief that skeptical thinking should play an important role in the mind of any intelligent person on this planet. Being critical of any theory or conviction we deem as questionable is not only a sign of wisdom, but it is a sign of rationality. In order to genuinely be a “smart” thinker, we must possess the ability to justify all that we claim to be true. Too often, many of us dig ourselves into a hole when we claim to believe that something is liable, without being able to explain the reasons behind said belief’s liability. Those who are the real smart thinkers of this world are not only able to claim that they believe something is true or false, but they are also enriched with the wisdom to be skeptical of their beliefs. Being a true skeptic involves the distinct ability to examine a conviction from every angle, therefore being able to understand the most promising explanation behind said conviction, all while keeping an open mind.


If asked to pinpoint the most important goal taken on by the authors of How to Think About Weird Things, I would say that it is to allow the readers of this textbook to apply rational thinking when assessing the truth behind strange and illogical claims. In doing so, we will be ready and willing to dissect and therefore better understand any questionable belief we may come across, before applying it to the big picture better known as reality. Therefore, we will indeed display the traits of the smart thinkers that this book hopes for us to be.





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