Archive for July, 2008

In his blog Humanist Dad writes:

Forward vs. Backward Thinking

I’ve begun to wonder if there are only two different ways to think about truths in reality. The non-scientific mind tends to reason ‘backwards’ and scientists are trained to think ‘forwards’. I believe ‘forward thinking’ is superior but it takes some work to explain why ‘backward thinking’ doesn’t work yet appears, on the surface, to be legitimate.

I’ll look at these two ways of thinking by imagining a murder scene:


and then goes on to illustrate how those modes of thinking often manifest themselves:


This, I believe, is the fundamental trap that theists fall into. They become backward thinkers. They start with an obvious conclusion (god exists, Jesus lived, Mohammed was the final prophet) and look only for evidence to support it. Conflicting evidence is ignored or a twisted explanation is offered. They are not interested in changing their conclusion – they want to be right.

Forward thinkers don’t assume any knowledge. They use a much more difficult mental process that forces them to base a conclusion on all available evidence – even if this conclusion conflicts with what they hoped was the right answer.

So, how do we teach a new generation to abandon backward thinking? Certainly more science education but teachers need to spend more time on the process (collecting evidence) and less time on giving the solution and asking students to confirm it….

A very good insightful read. Thanks friend.


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Penn & Teller on Creationism from thier Emmy-nominated Showtime television series Bulls***!

Penn and Teller Bullshit – Creationism 1/3

Penn and Teller Bullshit – Creationism 2/3

Penn and Teller Bullshit – Creationism 2/3

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Well it’s about time! Flock of Dodos (wikipedia article), Randy Olson’s (wikipedia article) great documentary on the Evolution – Intelligent Design debate was just released as a Google Video so now anyone can watch it online. (click for a full screen version)

Randy’s irreverent light hearted humorous approach will also soon be taking a look at Global Warming too with the coming release of the mockumentary-reality-documentary Sizzle sometime this summer (I think maybe even next week???).

Also of interest is a podcast/interview Randy Olson did with Derek and Swoopy from Skepticality: Skepticality #064 – Interview: Dr. Randy Olson


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