Friday, September 10, 2021

We Need to Teach Critical Thinking Again

One thing most people don’t realize about tech people that are roughly my age (plus or minus five years, let’s say) is how many of the dark corners of the internet we’ve been exposed to.  From 4chan to torrent sites, we’ve had access to content that most people don’t even know exists, and we’ve had this access a lot longer than they have even had the opportunity.

Back when TiVo was new and most people watched broadcast TV according to a schedule, we were recording and uploading our shows to the internet, region controls be damned.  Occasionally, I’d log into a torrent site and see some crazy conspiracy video about how we didn’t really land on the moon, or that the Jews did 9/11.  Now, people are all concerned that content like this is poisoning people’s minds.  Well, that’s because most people today have zero critical thinking skills and their opinions are assigned to them.  So if they watch a conspiracy video, they just automatically believe or reject it.  Maybe some parts of the video are legitimate, but oftentimes, there are many untruths, be they lies or simply someone who was misinformed.

The last few years have made me aware of just how easy it is to manipulate people, and it is truly frustrating to see it in action.  But that’s what happens when you have a public education system.  The state doesn’t teach you things that the state doesn’t want you to know, like your rights, or how to be fiscally responsible, or how to recognize when you’re being lied to.  It’s not going to change until people unplug and start reading books.  Most people won’t ever be able to think for themselves, and that’s by design.

We need some kind of school choice, and with technology today, that should be easier than ever.  State education controls require students to be able to pass standardized tests, and that is where our public schools curricula originate.  We can make videos on the same topics that get taught over and over again, but we also need to inspire a sense of curiosity in our kids so that they will seek out new knowledge that isn’t spoon-fed to them.  I don’t know how to get most people to do this, though, because they seem completely uninterested in doing so.

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