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Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Old May 1st 2013, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by zargof View Post
You are Richard Dawkins, and I claim my five pounds.
No, but I do agree with him quite a bit, though.
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Old May 1st 2013, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Wolverine75 View Post
- And yet, tens of tousands, even hundreds of thousands, of foreigners every year still flock to attend American colleges and universities. Not something you care to mention, is it?
As someone who is currently doing some community college credits (the dole is paying) I am surprised at why some foreigners pay to study at the college. The classes are not bad, in and of themselves, but it is still community college, nothing amazing here. American colleges, below the elite level have done a great job of selling themselves.

(As an aside, it is a largely stuff I already know, but I have to do pre-requisites, and the matching up of course for course from transcripts does not always pay you for what you know. I hope to be back to full time employment by the time I get around to new learning.)
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Old May 1st 2013, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
Well everything like this is a generalization, but the fact so many of us have noticed it means it is somewhat prevalent.

Another point made to me various times by various people is that many Americans actually truly believe the stereotype that America is the best country in the world, so by definition they think what they are doing must be the best way to do it.

I always think Dick Cheney is an example of this mindset because of the war in Iraq: we're America, we're better than you, ergo we know better than you and we must be right.

But this is also the mindset that leads to various terrorist groups hating America, they sit and watch American TV and listen to all this "America is the best" claptrap too but to them it is offensive because their culture is so different.

But anyway if you think you are the best, what motivation is there to change?

For example I was watching CNN yesterday and they were explaining how this terrorist in Boston would get a lawyer free of charge, an example of what makes America great, but they probably won't get him out of the death penalty.

So to an American that statement makes perfect sense, but as a foreigner watching it, I think, well most countries give free representation to the defendant and in most other countries there is no death penalty, so it wouldn't even be an issue...

Americans just seem to laugh off things like international comparisons of education that show the US is lowly ranked, or infant mortality, etc. It's like they don't quite believe it. Or if they do believe it, they justify it to themselves by saying, well that's only in Mississippi or some other place where they don't live.
Yes, sums it up perfectly for me.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:31 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by yellowroom View Post
tbh, this post comes across as both defensive and aggressive. It is symptomatic of the attitudes I've encountered when dealing with issues like those described by the OP. QED really.
Exactly. Immediate defensive "we ARE the best" reaction.

To be perfectly blunt, through European eyes, America all looks a little shabby and uncared for. It looks like people built it in the 1970s and then sat-back and said "yep, we're done" and now anyone that comes in and tries to move things forward is immediately rejected as a nay-sayer.

And by built I really mean everything from social attitudes to infrastructure; the whole gammit.

I don't expect to be right anything like all-of-the-time, but I also don't expect anyone else to be right all-of-the-time.

I'd just like a little debate, discussion, humility and learning from others - both ways.

As to the comment about "tens of thousands want to move here" - PLEASE. Net migration US/Mexico has gone into reverse as Mexico has improved it's economy. Europeans aren't coming here in anything like sustainable numbers. Migration here is predominantly from 2nd and 3rd World countries such as India and China.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
Critical thinking does take place here, of course it does - by virtue of the law of averages but when you look at the number of christians running around, it's hard to believe critical thinking exists here at all.

Oh, before you get all up in arms and offended - that isn't a generalisation. Blind faith in fairy tales is a textbook example of a lack of critical thinking. Deal with it.
Oh yes - I find that really, really odd. Here I am in Silicon Valley, less than a mile from the Golden State Baptist Church College that has a "scientific" class in Creationism that is supported by the State and the City of San Jose !!!!

If any area in the world should prove that it's all bunkum, it is here ! Yet I have SVPs telling me how they have been "saved !" First time it happened, I did what I'd have done in London - move politely away from the weirdo in the corner.

Europe is nearly 100% secular these days and a much better place for it. Far from Silicon Valley following suit, it appears to be getting more religious.

And because the State cannot be ar*ed to provide anything like decent public services, often times it is the religious organisations that step in to "help" with their ulterior motives of getting converts on-board.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:43 pm
  #51  
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

So the comment is true, then - tens of thousands do want to move to the USA. The backlog in the family-based preference categories tends to support the statement.

Where the immigrants are coming from is a different issue from are there people who want to immigrate. Related, but different.

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
As to the comment about "tens of thousands want to move here" - PLEASE. Net migration US/Mexico has gone into reverse as Mexico has improved it's economy. Europeans aren't coming here in anything like sustainable numbers. Migration here is predominantly from 2nd and 3rd World countries such as India and China.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Oh yes - I find that really, really odd. Here I am in Silicon Valley, less than a mile from the Golden State Baptist Church College that has a "scientific" class in Creationism that is supported by the State and the City of San Jose !!!!

If any area in the world should prove that it's all bunkum, it is here ! Yet I have SVPs telling me how they have been "saved !" First time it happened, I did what I'd have done in London - move politely away from the weirdo in the corner.

Europe is nearly 100% secular these days and a much better place for it. Far from Silicon Valley following suit, it appears to be getting more religious.

And because the State cannot be ar*ed to provide anything like decent public services, often times it is the religious organisations that step in to "help" with their ulterior motives of getting converts on-board.
The US used to be secular (or at least, more secular). It was founded by secularists, for example.

Most of the god crap we see today came about in the late 1950s due to fear of communism. I have a $20.00 bill at home from 1950 - the words 'in god we trust' are nowhere to be seen. Likewise, there's a photo of a plaque of the Pledge of Allegiance from the 50s, that doesn't have 'under god' in it as well.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by jeffreyhy View Post
So the comment is true, then - tens of thousands do want to move to the USA. The backlog in the family-based preference categories tends to support the statement.

Where the immigrants are coming from is a different issue from are there people who want to immigrate. Related, but different.

Regards, JEff
Correct. Tens of thousands of people want to get out of their countries for purely personal reasons. They are flocking to the US and the EU.

But, this does NOT make the US "the best country in the world." It just makes it at least slightly better than India or China; hardly benchmark countries.

It DOES matter where they are coming from - if the US was attracting those "tens of thousands" from the UK or Germany, then yes, I would agree that the US was highly attractive and advanced.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
The US used to be secular (or at least, more secular). It was founded by secularists, for example.

Most of the god crap we see today came about in the late 1950s due to fear of communism. I have a $20.00 bill at home from 1950 - the words 'in god we trust' are nowhere to be seen. Likewise, there's a photo of a plaque of the Pledge of Allegiance from the 50s, that doesn't have 'under god' in it as well.
Interestingly, I remember coming here 15-20 years ago and not noticing that it was overly religious. I suspect that with the influx of immigrants from poorer countries that tend to be more religious that has had an impact.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Interestingly, I remember coming here 15-20 years ago and not noticing that it was overly religious. I suspect that with the influx of immigrants from poorer countries that tend to be more religious that has had an impact.
I had read that thing about the 50s elsewhere but perhaps it was reinforced more recently, probably now as a reaction against Islam

They're the same mythology - wonder if the extremists on either side will ever catch on ... ?
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Replaced "e pluribus unum" in 1956. But has been used on coinage since 1864.
Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
I have a $20.00 bill at home from 1950 - the words 'in god we trust' are nowhere to be seen.
First proposed circa 1948, used in the pledge by various proponents until formally added by an act of Congress in 1954.
Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
Likewise, there's a photo of a plaque of the Pledge of Allegiance from the 50s, that doesn't have 'under god' in it as well.
Regards, JEff
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by jeffreyhy View Post
Replaced "e pluribus unum" in 1956. But has been used on coinage since 1864.

First proposed circa 1948, used in the pledge by various proponents until formally added by an act of Congress in 1954.

Regards, JEff
Very disappointing, either way. "E. pluribus unum" is a much better motto and the phrase 'under god' belongs nowhere near the Pledge.
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Old May 1st 2013, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Interestingly, I remember coming here 15-20 years ago and not noticing that it was overly religious. I suspect that with the influx of immigrants from poorer countries that tend to be more religious that has had an impact.
Immigrants tend to have little influence, the rise of religion is from the late 70's and Jerry Falwell and the like encouraging the religious to become involved in politics.
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Old May 1st 2013, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

My sense is that the religious right tends to be anti-immigration. And that while immigrants from many places may tend to be religious, the born-again and other highly conservative Christians who are seeking to impose their religious views on the rest of us, again the religious right, are indiginous.

Regards, JEff

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
I suspect that with the influx of immigrants from poorer countries that tend to be more religious that has had an impact.
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Old May 1st 2013, 5:06 pm
  #60  
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by kimilseung View Post
Immigrants tend to have little influence, the rise of religion is from the late 70's and Jerry Falwell and the like encouraging the religious to become involved in politics.
OK, but he was a deep-south nutcase (if memory serves me right). I remember watching an "Everyman" (I think) about him that tore him apart as a total loony....

This is CALIFORNIA !!! 35 miles from San Francisco, the city of free love and open attitudes ! But that all seems in the past.... The Standford riots, Harvey Milk, etc.

"Belief" should have no part to play here - this should be about questioning and challenging... It's the core ethos of the region.

But it isn't.
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