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Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Old May 1st 2013, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

I agree.
Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
Very disappointing, either way. "E. pluribus unum" is a much better motto and the phrase 'under god' belongs nowhere near the Pledge.
Going back to your comment about the founders being secularists, I wish the first amendment had proponents as ardent and as powerful as the proponents of the second amendment.

Regards, JEff
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Old May 1st 2013, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by jeffreyhy View Post
I agree.

Going back to your comment about the founders being secularists, I wish the first amendment had proponents as ardent and as powerful as the proponents of the second amendment.

Regards, JEff
It has plenty of ardent supporters, but I do agree they tend to wield less power.
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Old May 1st 2013, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
..... they tend to wield less power.
They have fewer weapons in their arsenal!
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Old May 1st 2013, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
They have fewer weapons in their arsenal!
Other than the actual arse, of course ...
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Old May 1st 2013, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

You're not going to fart in some escort again, are you?

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by SultanOfSwing View Post
Other than the actual arse, of course ...
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Old May 1st 2013, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by jeffreyhy View Post
You're not going to fart in some escort again, are you?

Regards, JEff
No ...
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Old May 2nd 2013, 1:55 am
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

You: “Got nothing to do with "processes", it's to do with what the OP said. And this isn't just some casual observation from a first impression, I've spent many years in the US and have US qualifications, family etc.”

- So, it’s true because, well, because “you said so”. (It really IS just some casual observations based on YOUR bias.) And those many years in the U.S.? You’ve possibly have been biased all of those years.



You: ”What have the British got to do with it. We're talking about Americans. But yes, the British are the world's most opinionated people on subjects they know nothing about, which is imo why they took over a quarter of the world... but the US is definitely now the heir apparent.”

- Sorry, didn’t realize that this was an exclusively “Bitch and Moan about America” Thread. I thought it actually had something to do with the subject of “Critical Thinking”; rather than an opening for complaining about the U.S. As far as the British taking over 1/4 of the world, THAT’S your standard of excellence? Didn’t the Nazis also take over most of Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s? Didn’t the Vandals sack Rome in the 5th Century? Didn’t Spain make slaves of all of the indigenous people of Central and South America in the 16th thru 18th century? “Taking Over” doesn’t seem to be that praiseworthy, does it?



You: ”Once again, what have the British got to do with it. Having an observation about the British doesn't invalidate an observation about Americans. I wasn't ranting either, I've actually met Dick Cheney in person so I think I've likely got a better idea of what he's like than you do. I was never a big fan of Thatcher frankly for similar reasons.”

- Sure, you and Cheney spent all of, what, 18 seconds together for a photo op? I am sure that gives you a deep insight into his personality. (As I said above, sorry to spoil the bitchfest – I figured if others could dish it out, they could also take it; in that, I must have been in error.)



You: “Because American media is predominant throughout the world, everyone watches American TV. Yes I agree jingoism is throughout the world too but American jingoism is more prevalent globally. It rubs people in other countries the wrong way. We all know that the statement "America is the greatest country in the world" needs to be taken with a mighty pinch of salt because we're familiar with America in person but they aren't, they often see it as an attack on their culture. And national pride btw has often led to pointless wars.”

- Simple solution – don’t like what you see? Change the TV channel ! Who is FORCING those people in other countries to watch? I do not blame all Brits for the existence of Ricky Gervais (or Gordon Ramsay, or Simon Cowell, or Piers Morgan), or the fact that they appear on American television more than I would like. The fact that something “rubs people in other countries the wrong way” makes me want to say, “The poor little dears ! The poor sensitive flowers !” Grow up. Concentrate on your own countries.



You: “no way you can compare Canadian nationalism to American nationalism, no way, no how. It's not even remotely in the same league. Although now you mention it I do find it somewhat ironic how many American TV shows are shot in Canada and Americans by and large don't realize what they're looking at are locations in Canada.”

- I do agree with you, it’s not in the same league. Americans will not search out (as you did) a site to intentionally take a dump on Canada just to somehow make themselves feel better. We know our country, know it needs work, but don’t behave like 14-year-olds trying to one-up our older brothers. As far as the TV shows shot in Canada – hey, good ! We out-source a lot of work to lower wage countries. (Again, in a thread about “critical thinking” it was quite irrational (and juvenile) for you to pull this out of the blue – sort of a “Haha ! we are better than you are !”). Enjoy your TV work.



You: ”Comment had nothing to do with the death penalty, had to do with the apparent lack of knowledge of the commentator about anything outside of the US, i.e. that the US was somehow special in giving him a public defender. Just so happens it wouldn't be as big of an issue in most other countries because there is no death penalty. Nor is there in Massachusetts for that matter, takes the feds to swoop in for that.”

- Only your interpretation, seen thru your ultra-critical eyes.



You: “As they do to colleges in the UK, Australia and elsewhere, not a terribly relevant comment because the rankings are supposed to be objective, your comment is subjective. No-one disputes that Americans are pretty good at marketing, American universities have better marketing, perhaps? Especially as universities in other countries receive more in the way of funding from taxpayers.”

- MY comment is subjective? EVERY comment you and your friends have made about the U.S. has been subjective, sweeping generalizations as if they were established fact. Witness the quote ”…..especially as universities in other countries receive way more in funding from taxpayers.” (Anxiously awaiting your references, with numbers and data to back it up.)


Yellowroom: "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."

- Defensive, sure. Why shouldn't the U.S. be defended from a group intent on broad-brush, bad-tempered sneering? As far as QED - actually, what you seem to be annoyed about is that I have responded to the comments with well-thought-out responses. If you thought that my responses should be meek and apologetic to your superior British reasoning, well, you’re on the wrong continent and in the wrong century, sahib (you are obviously confusing assertive with aggressive).
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Old May 2nd 2013, 3:35 am
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Wolverine75 View Post
- Defensive, sure. Why shouldn't the U.S. be defended from a group intent on broad-brush, bad-tempered sneering? As far as QED - actually, what you seem to be annoyed about is that I have responded to the comments with well-thought-out responses. If you thought that my responses should be meek and apologetic to your superior British reasoning, well, you’re on the wrong continent and in the wrong century, sahib (you are obviously confusing assertive with aggressive).
Ah - there is one rather sour puss.

So, back on topic; given that Silicon Valley is supposed to be in the heart of one of the most liberal, open, questioning, challenging, progressive areas in the world, why is it so damn difficult to get a reasoned opinion out of people here ???

Many people come here because they want to "make a difference" - myself included.

But, the shock of the truth has hit me after 2 1/2 years - it is easier to make a difference, express an outrageous opinion, argue a case anywhere in the EU than it is here.

Unlike many posters, I don't believe that US education (and by that I mean San Jose/Santa Clara and areas) is bad - in fact, as far as maths, science and English, it is actually very, very good.

But it appears that SOMETHING happens between that education, or maybe during later stages of that education that turn people that could and should be upsetting the apple-carts on a daily basis into people that just want to keep their bosses happy, do as little as possible and answer difficult questions with "It is what it is...."

I get the feeling that no-one wants to make waves here, and it was THAT that I was trying to understand.

Being critical in a positive manner is good; not bad. It appears that job insecurity is SO high here that people dare not actually say what they really think.

I'm sure it hasn't always been this way, but it scares me that regimes that I don't much care for such as China are rapidly stealing a march on the US, and I am starting to understand why...
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Old May 2nd 2013, 4:04 am
  #69  
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Ah - there is one rather sour puss.

So, back on topic; given that Silicon Valley is supposed to be in the heart of one of the most liberal, open, questioning, challenging, progressive areas in the world, why is it so damn difficult to get a reasoned opinion out of people here ???

Many people come here because they want to "make a difference" - myself included.

But, the shock of the truth has hit me after 2 1/2 years - it is easier to make a difference, express an outrageous opinion, argue a case anywhere in the EU than it is here.

Unlike many posters, I don't believe that US education (and by that I mean San Jose/Santa Clara and areas) is bad - in fact, as far as maths, science and English, it is actually very, very good.

But it appears that SOMETHING happens between that education, or maybe during later stages of that education that turn people that could and should be upsetting the apple-carts on a daily basis into people that just want to keep their bosses happy, do as little as possible and answer difficult questions with "It is what it is...."

I get the feeling that no-one wants to make waves here, and it was THAT that I was trying to understand.

Being critical in a positive manner is good; not bad. It appears that job insecurity is SO high here that people dare not actually say what they really think.

I'm sure it hasn't always been this way, but it scares me that regimes that I don't much care for such as China are rapidly stealing a march on the US, and I am starting to understand why...
I am sure job security had a lot to do with the problem - people have a lot to lose if they stick their neck out - and not just folks in the US.

I am not sure workers in China have much freedom of speech or are allowed to express a difference in opinion with management. Yet they are stealing the march. So what is the answer.

Perhaps the McCarthy witch hunt years and the creation of the FBI have had a lasting impact on the American psyche.
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Old May 2nd 2013, 7:17 am
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Wolverine75 View Post
- Sorry, didn’t realize that this was an exclusively “Bitch and Moan about America” Thread. I thought it actually had something to do with the subject of “Critical Thinking”;
"Critical thinking and debate IN THE USA"
clue ?
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Old May 2nd 2013, 10:55 am
  #71  
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
So, back on topic; given that Silicon Valley is supposed to be in the heart of one of the most liberal, open, questioning, challenging, progressive areas in the world, why is it so damn difficult to get a reasoned opinion out of people here ???
Another explanation is that your approach is wrong.

This is speculation but it may that what works in the EU doesn't necessarily work in California & your colleagues may be finding your approach too abrasive; or they may view you as an outsider and have reservations expressing their true opinions. Then there's the difference between larger companies and smaller subsidiaries where the distance between management and the rest are more acute. If thats the case you just need to find a different approach.

All this stuff about the education system is an unhelpful tangent - certainly I don't see a lack of critical thinking and debate there. Also the job security could very well be a factor - but it still comes back to an approach issue. If dlake is giving his colleagues the impression (or they are inferring that) by expressing their opinions they are putting their jobs at risk then the fact-find has been mishandled. Again - it's about finding the right approach - not depicting an entire country as weak minded simpletons who are incapable or critical thought.

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
I'm sure it hasn't always been this way, but it scares me that regimes that I don't much care for such as China are rapidly stealing a march on the US, and I am starting to understand why...
Yes but China is the great underachiever of world history. Despite holding between a quarter and a fifth of the world's population through the ages it has been outclassed by the West, technologically since late medieval times and economically since around the early modern period. So the fact that China is now set to boom in the 21st century is to be welcomed. Due to it's vast population and industrial capital that means overtaking the US economy in size but GDP per capita will still lag by mid century - possibly by at least 50%

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Old May 2nd 2013, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
All this stuff about the education system is an unhelpful tangent - certainly I don't see a lack of critical thinking and debate there.
Seen the one about the little girl who picked up her mom's lunch bag by mistake and was suspended for having a plastic knife in her bag ?

Pretty short of critical thinking.....Can't say it would be much different in the UK though.

MOST people don't want to "rock the boat", and view as troublemakers the ones who do.

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Old May 2nd 2013, 3:21 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by HumphreyC View Post
weak minded simpletons who are incapable or critical thought.
Perhaps we should say gullible.
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Old May 2nd 2013, 11:37 pm
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Wolverine75 View Post
So, it’s true because, well, because “you said so”. (It really IS just some casual observations based on YOUR bias.) And those many years in the U.S.? You’ve possibly have been biased all of those years.
So you counter an observation with a vague assumption - and you're miffed at the original poster saying that Americans lack critical thinking, hmm...

Of course my observation might be flawed, this is a discussion forum, not a scholarly journal.

Sorry, didn’t realize that this was an exclusively “Bitch and Moan about America” Thread.
Did you not read the "in the US" bit then?

Sure, you and Cheney spent all of, what, 18 seconds together for a photo op? I am sure that gives you a deep insight into his personality. (As I said above, sorry to spoil the bitchfest – I figured if others could dish it out, they could also take it; in that, I must have been in error.)
Well I shook his hand and said hello to him briefly, but I did listen to a speech he gave and also the conversations he was having with people before he made it so I have a rough idea of what he his like and endlessly making assumptions about what I may or may not have done basically just means you're not very good at debating - hence proving the OP's original point.

Simple solution – don’t like what you see? Change the TV channel ! Who is FORCING those people in other countries to watch?
Everybody watches TV and movies and if a lot of it is American stuff that rubs them the wrong way then it does cause resentment. I remember talking to some people from the middle east years ago who were very offended by the movie Best Defense which to an American is just an Eddie Murphy movie but to make fun of tensions between Iraq and Kuwait to them was quite offensive - and as it turned they were right, as there was a war between them a few years later.


I do agree with you, it’s not in the same league. Americans will not search out (as you did) a site to intentionally take a dump on Canada just to somehow make themselves feel better.
It doesn't make me feel better to point out problems with the US, they are in fact problems Americans point out with the US as well.

This is part of the point about a lack of critical thinking and debate in the US actually, I've noticed that if an American criticizes America they get a: "love it or leave it response" and if it is a foreigner, they get a "it's none of your business" response. Basically two ways of not using critical thought and stifling debate.

Hmm, well, I'm a foreigner who lived in the US for a long time and left, so square that circle with a cliché.

We know our country, know it needs work, but don’t behave like 14-year-olds trying to one-up our older brothers. As far as the TV shows shot in Canada – hey, good ! We out-source a lot of work to lower wage countries. (Again, in a thread about “critical thinking” it was quite irrational (and juvenile) for you to pull this out of the blue – sort of a “Haha ! we are better than you are !”). Enjoy your TV work.
You're the one who wanted to argue, I was just making an observation. From the looks of your post count you joined the forum purely to argue it, so if anyone is being juvenile...

MY comment is subjective?
Yes, regarding your comment about higher education, which was something you chucked into the discussion and now can't defend. Congratulations, you've made me look up the OECD rankings which say that the US spends the most as a percentage of GDP on education (in the developed world) but ranks 14th overall - which indicates a highly inefficient system of education. So you've made me think the US has even more problems than I thought to begin with. Canada spends less and ranks third, by the way. And somehow NBC news still managed to do a story showing that college fees are a quarter of what they are in the US for an equivalent education (for Americans, i.e. foreign students, Canadian residents are subsidized).

What that has to do with what the OP was on about I'm still not clear on. You're equating higher education with critical thinking and debate and I don't. Another observation I've had about the US is a lot of people with college degrees performing remedial tasks in businesses.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 12:14 am
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Default Re: Critical Thinking and Debate in the US

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
So you counter an observation with a vague assumption - and you're miffed at the original poster saying that Americans lack critical thinking, hmm...

Of course my observation might be flawed, this is a discussion forum, not a scholarly journal.



Did you not read the "in the US" bit then?



Well I shook his hand and said hello to him briefly, but I did listen to a speech he gave and also the conversations he was having with people before he made it so I have a rough idea of what he his like and endlessly making assumptions about what I may or may not have done basically just means you're not very good at debating - hence proving the OP's original point.



Everybody watches TV and movies and if a lot of it is American stuff that rubs them the wrong way then it does cause resentment. I remember talking to some people from the middle east years ago who were very offended by the movie Best Defense which to an American is just an Eddie Murphy movie but to make fun of tensions between Iraq and Kuwait to them was quite offensive - and as it turned they were right, as there was a war between them a few years later.




It doesn't make me feel better to point out problems with the US, they are in fact problems Americans point out with the US as well.

This is part of the point about a lack of critical thinking and debate in the US actually, I've noticed that if an American criticizes America they get a: "love it or leave it response" and if it is a foreigner, they get a "it's none of your business" response. Basically two ways of not using critical thought and stifling debate.

Hmm, well, I'm a foreigner who lived in the US for a long time and left, so square that circle with a cliché.



You're the one who wanted to argue, I was just making an observation. From the looks of your post count you joined the forum purely to argue it, so if anyone is being juvenile...



Yes, regarding your comment about higher education, which was something you chucked into the discussion and now can't defend. Congratulations, you've made me look up the OECD rankings which say that the US spends the most as a percentage of GDP on education (in the developed world) but ranks 14th overall - which indicates a highly inefficient system of education. So you've made me think the US has even more problems than I thought to begin with. Canada spends less and ranks third, by the way. And somehow NBC news still managed to do a story showing that college fees are a quarter of what they are in the US for an equivalent education (for Americans, i.e. foreign students, Canadian residents are subsidized).

What that has to do with what the OP was on about I'm still not clear on. You're equating higher education with critical thinking and debate and I don't. Another observation I've had about the US is a lot of people with college degrees performing remedial tasks in businesses.
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There is so much here... Wolverine75 obviously comes from the "US is great/We have no problems/Yes we do have our heads well and truly up our a**es" mould, and frankly it is exactly that kind of attitude I am trying to deal with.

Where I DO agree with him (ouch - that hurt) is that Britain had that problem in spades up to a few years ago. Maybe that's the trend - maybe it's an Anglo Saxon trait, and given that I'm less than 25% Angle or Saxon I don't fit in !!! Frankly, I think the UK changed for the better when it stopped taking itself quite so seriously (around the end of the Thatcher/Major era).

Now, to get some things straight.

As I said before, I don't think the US Education can be to blame, despite the fact that a lot of people do say some very nasty things about it. Looking at my own child's 4th, 5th and 6th grade education, academically, I cannot fault it. I do speak from the position of a straight-A student (just stating a fact, not bragging), so I cannot put myself in the position of a struggling student or a parent at a bad school. He is surrounded by very bright kids from very bright parents, most far, far smarter than I can ever hope to be. So, Americans are NOT stupid. That is clear.

This makes my problem even more stark though !

Given that the use of English for descriptive and persuasive writing is so strong and that people are not dumbar**s, what the **** happens between 4/5/6/7/8 grades and degree that turns someone able to argue the case for Harry Potter over 8 pages at 6th grade or present a science-fair project superbly in front of 150 parents dressed to-the-nines, prepared, lucid, engaged, etc into a middle manager barely able to scrape 3 PowerPoint slides together with little argument or counter-argument, turn up wearing shorts and an old T-shirt 15 minutes late with no apology - that is assuming they didn't cancel 5 minutes before.

To the point about changing my style to elicit responses, yes, I accept that that is what I have to do. And I have - several times over the past 2 1/2 years. I just don't get anything like the depth of thought, presentation and action that I would expect from reasonably senior people, and certainly no where near as much as from those peoples' peers in EU or AsiaPac.

In public life as well, I never hear (I hardly ever watch TV) the kind of probing interviews, discussions, debates, reportages that try to get the bottom of social or political problems and challenge those in command to sort it out. I don't think I've ever heard a local or national politician brought to task or reduced to the kind of jibberring wreck that is commonplace on radio news programmes across the rest of the democratic world. The debates between politicians on PBS/NPR are all very staid, respectful and utterly pointless. No-one goes into the office saying "Did you see the dressing down XXX got on Question Time last night ?"

Again, why not ??? In a country built on bucking a political system and sticking two-fingers up at establishment, what HAS HAPPENED to turn the country so supine ?

I thought this was supposed to be a go-getting, change-the-world type of place ?
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