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ken_bw.jpg Ethicalego Speaks

Ethicalego (Kenneth Brooks) discusses current events from a critical thinking perspective rarely expressed elsewhere

 Americans' reasoning ability

By Kenneth Brooks



Schools and colleges scheduled more classes in critical thinking to improve Americans’ analytical reasoning skills. The plan is not working according to employers and academic survey findings. It fails because reasoning ability is more than a formula for manipulating information to a conclusion as some schools teach. Reasoning ability is part philosophy of open-minded inquisitiveness. 

Most public school and colleges students graduate with poor reasoning ability for the same reason they graduate poor mathematics skills. The courses teach them to memorize and manipulate formulas and techniques without understanding math and reasoning principles. In addition, they teach other courses that encourage set beliefs, prejudgment, and fantasy as the foundation for thinking rather than use of analytical reasoning. 

Attitude affects reasoning ability more than facts do because it sets the reasoning environment. Set belief and fantasy result in close-mined prejudice. Prejudice prevents objective or impartial consideration of a subject or issue. It often influences people’s worldview so they are incapable of considering alternative views. They believe their worldview is correct and that other people that disagree attack them unfairly. 
You know people a in society have reasoning problems if:

1. They believe they are a society of diverse Asian, black, or white racial groups based on the fantasy each group inherited continental cultures of Asia, Africa, and Europe although the people living on those continents do not embrace one culture. They believe this despite the many wars fought among the people on all three continents over political and economic differences during the past 236 years since America became a nation.

2. They live in a constitutional republic with three branches of federal government and fifty state governments. Nevertheless, they hold the President responsible for just about everything that affect the state of the union like unemployment, interests rates, home values, and trade shortfalls as if he or she were a sovereign ruler.

3. They believe their nation is a beacon of freedom although it fought four major wars in foreign nations during the past 60 years, two without provocation, and none of them providing a definitive positive result. 

4. They believe their nation can spend billions of dollars each year on hundreds of military bases around the world defending other nations—most of them economic competitors—without adversely affecting their economy.

5. They complain that Congress and State Legislatures’ perform poorly, but vote to retain the same people in office for decades. 

6. They complain about high tax rates, but pay their public servants higher wages than warranted and more than workers in private business receive for similar work.

7. They spend more to imprison people for using or selling recreational drugs, about three times as much, as they do to educate their children. 

8. They deny enrollment in their most prestigious public universities, tax-supported, to their children so they can enroll students from foreign nations—their economic competitors. 

9. They take second or third mortgages on their home to buy automobiles, buy furniture, or pay vacation costs.

10. They believe employers should pay employees wages and benefits based on employees’ needs for income and not based on the value of employees’ labor and skills to the business.

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