Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 5 Show The Work

In human beings different tendencies produce different approaches to knowledge. Much of the knowledge we have is based on what people we see as similar to ourselves believe.

I am going to give an example that is easy to understand. I understand that people who seriously study physics have to learn lots of formulas to explain forces like gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force and how all these forces interact.

The formulas need to be accurate and consistent. They need to work in all situations and circumstances that occur in the physical universe.

If a formula has the sizes and orbits of bodies in a system that have known distances and speeds then the positions should be predictable if the formula is accurate as proof it's genuine.

This is applied with planets in the solar system as one example.

I recall one time a physicist on Facebook discussed how people would support exotic theories on gravity for example and there is no shortage of things like hypergravity or a ten dimensional universe model or eleven dimensional universe and parts of string theory that get championed.

The physicist pointed out something crucial to understand in critical thinking: if you don't understand the physics formulas enough to write them out then you don't actually have an educated opinion on the matter. You may have an opinion and may even be correct, but you don't have a real independent understanding of the subject.

It's similar to having memorized the answer to a math problem but not really understanding why that is the answer. You can't show the work because you can't do the work.

What is this relevant for ? All kinds of things. I realized when I saw this that many beliefs we hold are not from an educated opinion but instead from choosing to believe what we believe people like us should believe.

For example I don't have sufficient education regarding numerous subjects to form an educated opinion on the age of the universe.

I know most people like myself tend to believe that the physical universe is fourteen to twenty billion years old. Great , but I don't really know that is correct, just what people similar to myself tend to believe.

So, what should I do ? I have several options. I can just believe the universe is around fourteen billion years old or a little older, or I could believe it and realize I am taking someone else's word for it or probably best of all I could say I don't know. That's it. I don't actually know how old the universe is.

I know most people like myself use the conventional scientific answer and it may be true, but I don't know enough about several subjects to really understand the arguments for and against the fourteen to twenty billion year old universe with a big bang idea.

I have read a bit about the big bang and some evidence for it. Maybe it has more than enough evidence that it should be believed, I don't know enough to even weigh the best arguments for and against the big bang theory.

So, the advantage of disciplining yourself and others to at least learn the basics of whatever you try to believe in or reject to have a baseline of enough understanding to form, consider, weigh, accept and reject competent arguments for and against the concepts regarding an opinion is that with this you can show the work, because you can do the work.

Getting back to the example with physics you can write the formulas to express the concepts. That way another physics PhD student would be able to examine your concepts and test them. Maybe they would immediately find flaws or problems with your work. Maybe they will realize you have solved all the problems earlier attempts have failed by seeing your work.

My point isn't that you should learn physics and formulas, unless you want to, it's that a good critical thinker knows what they know from serious study and consideration of ideas and what they believe because an authority told them or because people who are similar to them tend to believe.

It's a good habit to have to realize what would probably be the answer on a test but also what we really know and understand.

I am the kind of person that usually would believe in things like the big bang, a fourteen billion years old universe, evolution and lots of other things.

It's best to be honest about how much I understand. Honestly for all these things I don't really know enough to form an educated opinion.

So, instead of just going with the crowd of people like myself or following the authority I respect I can just say I don't know. That's it.

Now this standard of requiring being educated isn't easy to impose on yourself but it's good for several reasons pertaining to critical thinking.

First off it gives you a better discernment of what you know, kind of know and don't really know and it gives you the ability to spot bullshit from other people better. If you are exceptionally careful to sort what you know well from what you have some details regarding but not a great education on and if you make calling it out in yourself first nature it becomes a piece of cake to do it with others. That's a great way to be a better critical thinker because demanding it on purpose from yourself makes it your default method of thinking. You deal with yourself constantly.

Then you can spot it in others, whether you point it out to them or just factor it into your examination of information from them. It's not always appropriate to point it out, so don't just hammer people with it with no judgement on when it's appropriate.

But you can listen to people and realize when they cannot or will not show the work appropriate to support their ideas and have no idea they are not  being good critical thinkers.

Maybe they have sound ideas, but you are better off showing yourself the work and demanding it from others . It's an essential of critical thinking.

Many people have realized we tend to pick beliefs that conform to group norms for groups we are in or see ourselves as similar to. Robert Cialdini's book Influence described this as did the book Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow. In Subliminal Mlodinow described how there is good evidence from specific detailed studies on human psychology that shows we tend to be very certain we understand our motives for behavior but are terrible at actually intuitively perceiving these motives.

In plain English we think we know why we do things but good testing has shown we are most often way off regarding getting this right.

This has particular relevance to critical thinking. The aspect of this I am addressing here is that we should focus on what beliefs we hold due to solid evidence, a well developed and educated opinion and an awareness of the best arguments and evidence against the beliefs we hold all together.

 We should see what we don't have enough understanding of to form our own educated opinion on and when we rely on experts or media or people similar to ourselves for information.

They may be correct or may not be. The information we get from other people that we accept as true is called inherited knowledge. Know it is inherited. The things we determine through hard work of our own is still going to be wrong sometimes and right sometimes but it's vital to know which is which.

I recently completed a long series of blog posts on something many of us encourage but rarely actually discuss - critical thinking. It's essential to good reason and in my personal opinion recovery from the harm Scientology and other cults do. Here's the entire series.
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 1 Looking at Both Sides
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 2 Logical Fallacies and Biases
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 3 Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 4 Being A Pain In The Ass
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 5 Show The Work
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 6 Propaganda: 7 Most Important Techniques of Propaganda
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 7 Rhetoric and Sublime Writing
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 8 We Learn Together

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.