A basic requirement for clear thinking – 3

March 13, 2011 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

Continued from: A basic requirement for clear thinking – 2

https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/a-basic-requirement-for-clear-thinking-%e2%80%93-2/

Being sure that we know

what we’re talking about

By RALPH DOBRIN

Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

Click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid armageddon

Most of us voice opinions on all kinds of subjects as though we really know what we are talking about. But often, all we might have are a few half-baked snippets of information, and sometimes, heaven help us, we don’t even have a clue about the subject we are discussing. Usually, it is harmless chatter of very little consequence. But this is yet another example of falsehood. It’s not something awful, of course, but its inappropriateness can lie in the fact that it might promote the habit of not being truthful in other more important issues. This applies even to people who sincerely assume they would never cheat or lie about anything.

Journalists usually know more about the subjects they write or talk about, because many of them deal regularly with a particular field in the course of their work. But all too often their comments prove to be mistaken because they might be missing a salient aspect about something. Or they might have immovably fixed ideas – and such ideas are often a breeding ground for falsehood (as mentioned in Chapter 10 – The Correctness of Political Correctness). There are also journalists who have expertise in no particular field but who expound their views as though they are infallible pundits.

Politicians are often even worse when it comes to expressing opinions or providing information, because in the course of their struggle to rise in the political hierarchy, they sometimes need to compromise on their personal principles and promises. Often, they are engaged in a veritable balancing act, juggling the good of society and their country with career and party considerations. Other proponents in the realm of unfounded assertions are religious advocates of all denominations, many making solemn pronouncements as though they have a direct line to God – literally speaking.

Does all this mean that we should express ourselves only if we are absolutely sure of the validity of our statements? Clearly no. It would become a very dull, cheerless world, with hardly any conversation apart from polite greetings; there would be little social interchange; speculation of ideas would be rare and mirth would all but disappear.

At the same time there is a dire need for greater exactness and circumspection in whatever we say, without us necessarily becoming taciturn or humorless automatons. Instead of being emphatic in our assertions, we could employ a little modesty and prefix statements on subjects of which we are not experts with a qualifier such as: “I think that …” or “I read that …” or “I heard that such and such …” But such preludes to an opinion or piece of information, unless well founded in fact, shouldn’t be seen as a merit. But at least the indecisiveness expressed in opening the statement is better than giving the impression of confident, authoritative, based-on-proven-fact knowledge if none exists.

Actually on reflection, if I, as the author of this book am to follow my own words, I should indeed have sub-titled this chapter with: “I think that truthfulness is the key to solving most problems – large or small – in the world.” With emphasis on the “I think that …” Although I also think that this is axiomatic. 
Continued at “A basic requirement for clear thinking – 4: https://truthandsurvival.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/a-basic-requirement-for-clear-thinking-%e2%80%93-4/

To order “How to avoid Armageddon” click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon 

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , .

A BASIC REQUIREMENT FOR CLEAR THINKING – 2 A basic requirement for clear thinking – 4

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