Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

How should we think about weird things?
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Lance Kennedy
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Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:54 am

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg ... t-feeling/

The above reference discusses the need for critical thinking to help solve the world's problems. It is contrasted with gut thinking, which is the brain on automatic. It is suggested that gut thinking is a cause of many of the world's problems, such as racism, xenophobia, religious extremism etc. It is also suggested that education in science is the best route to developing the ability to think critically.

I doubt that too many skeptics will have much of an argument here, though there are contributors to this forum who are not crash hot on critical thinking. I guess we all revert to the laziness of gut thinking from time to time. How much of that contributes to personal problems?

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Poodle » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:50 pm

I couldn't disagree with a word you said, Lance. Except, maybe ...
... the ability to think critically is the best route to developing science education ...
may be more accurate, I think.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:59 pm

Chicken and egg, Poodle?

I think that learning science and critical thinking should start early. Get everyone rational from an early age and solve the world's problems.

I was recently arguing about global warming with someone used a signature line about reasoning, and clearly thought that you could uncover scientific truths by using logic and reasoning, instead of empirical studies. Such folly needs to be stomped upon.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:18 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:I think that learning science and critical thinking should start early. Get everyone rational from an early age and solve the world's problems.


Well said.


Lance Kennedy wrote:I was recently arguing ... with someone used a signature line about reasoning, and clearly thought that you could uncover scientific truths by using logic and reasoning, instead of empirical studies. Such folly needs to be stomped upon.


I agree. Perhaps he was an Aristotle groupie?

I have a list of trick questions I like to ask smart people who think they can figure out the right answer by reasoning. Almost always they get it wrong.

Here's an example, one that I assume you will get right because of your chemistry background.

Which is more dense, dry air or humid air, all other things being equal (standard temperature, pressure, etc.)?

Scientists and pilots usually know the answer. Scientists usually also know why.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:37 pm

Based on molecular weights.
Water is 18. Air is mostly N2, and has a molecular weight of 28. Nitrogen weighs more than water vapour, and if the latter displaces nitrogen, it should reduce the density.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Based on molecular weights.
Water is 18. Air is mostly N2, and has a molecular weight of 28. Nitrogen weighs more than water vapour, and if the latter displaces nitrogen, it should reduce the density.


Yep, that's it.

I was half expecting a more technical answer (i.e. Avagadro's Law), but that's close enough.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:28 pm

As I told you, Xouper, my degree is in biology, not chemistry. My basic knowledge of chemistry is fine, but my work as an industrial chemist was related to industrial microbicides. That is, controlling microorganisms, which is more microbiology than chemistry.

But the truth is that a clever chemist could pull the wool over my eyes. I can only hope there is no such person with that desire.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby xouper » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:44 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:As I told you, Xouper, my degree is in biology, not chemistry.


Sorry, I forgot.

I didn't intend anything nefarious by that.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:10 pm

The problem isn't thinking but rather greed. Religion, that imposer of Dark Ages, is a second also ran.......its based on greed too. Greed/power==>lots of interplay. The ability to think is rewarded. Its the goals that are different.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:16 pm

The best example of the harm of gut thinking, IMHO, is driving. All of us at times will drive our cars on automatic, with the brain not engaged. This is not too bad if our driving habits are all good. But if we have built up bad driving habits, when our brain is on automatic, we may apply a bad habit (like cutting a corner) at exactly the wrong time. Oops!

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:18 pm

Thats not thinking at all...............................so, not really a best example.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:35 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:The best example of the harm of gut thinking, IMHO, is driving. All of us at times will drive our cars on automatic, with the brain not engaged.
I think driving the car without thinking is more an example of "over-learning". I think a "gut-feeling" can be installed in your brain through over-learning.

If I play a particular guitar chord 10,000 times eventually I play it without thinking where to place my fingers. I can do that for about thirty or so chords.

In the military, the IDF trains its boys and girls to over-learn things like loading artillery or cleaning their weapon. Unfortunately it also trains its boys and girls to kill without hesitation. The problem is you can't get rid of an over-learned skill. One you know how how to ride a bicycle you never forget.
:D

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:24 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:...One you know how how to ride a bicycle you never forget. :D

If only spelling and grammar skills worked that way too! :sinking:
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"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:31 am

but if I never learned spelling and grammar skills to begin with.......how can I ride my bicycle?
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby OlegTheBatty » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:24 pm

Gord wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:...One you know how how to ride a bicycle you never forget. :D

If only spelling and grammar skills worked that way too! :sinking:


Which spelling and grammar skills have you forgotten?
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:30 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote: Which spelling and grammar skills have you forgotten?

I have always had "trouble with" spelling and grammar. There is no rule that applies "all the time" and there is no logic at all. Like the Asian languages: just a whole bunch of independent rules.

so.....early in life, I made flash card of all the normal words I could not spell and I flashed those card until I knew them all. Principle/pal, successor, achievable.........etc. Now, I have forgotten most of the flash card words and have never learned the new ones: cappachinno, Machu Pichu, angrandizement.......etc.

Lots of words..........no rules.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:41 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Gord wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:...One you know how how to ride a bicycle you never forget. :D

If only spelling and grammar skills worked that way too! :sinking:

Which spelling and grammar skills have you forgotten?

I don't know, I probably forget.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Phoenix76 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:10 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote: Which spelling and grammar skills have you forgotten?

I have always had "trouble with" spelling and grammar. There is no rule that applies "all the time" and there is no logic at all. Like the Asian languages: just a whole bunch of independent rules.

so.....early in life, I made flash card of all the normal words I could not spell and I flashed those card until I knew them all. Principle/pal, successor, achievable.........etc. Now, I have forgotten most of the flash card words and have never learned the new ones: cappachinno, Machu Pichu, angrandizement.......etc.

Lots of words..........no rules.


Ahh Bobbo, you and I have conflicted many times on this forum, and I'm sure we will continue to do so. But your post, above, is intriguing. The post on riding a bicycle is totally incorrect. So my grammar and spelling is wanting. What the hell has that got to do with my ability to ride a bike??

Like your post, but is that Bobbo's cynicism, or is that Bobbo the pragmatist?

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:15 am

Humor...........not a knee slapper but as several posts linked bicycling to spelling, I thought the parallel differential might amuse.

...............it was funny when I thought of it......................
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby xouper » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:32 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Humor...........not a knee slapper but as several posts linked bicycling to spelling, I thought the parallel differential might amuse.

...............it was funny when I thought of it......................


If it's any consolation, I thought it was funny when I first read it. Perhaps I could have clicked the "thanks" button.

Sometimes humor is based on that kind of disconnect. And the disconnect was obvious, and therefore I assumed not meant to be taken literally. Apparently I assumed correctly, for once.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:38 am

xouper wrote:...I thought it was funny when I first read it. Perhaps I could have clicked the "thanks" button.

Bah! Humour is not consensus-based!






...Oh, wait, I forgot, it sort of is.... :? https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -of-humor/

...In their first study, Westbury et al. assessed whether there is any consistency in the funniness ratings of non-words. Although specific instances of humor are not always considered universally funny (consider for example popular skits from Saturday Night Live, which tickle many people but also offend others), something is objectively humorous only if there is some consensus about its hilarity. Thus Westbury and colleagues asked nearly 1000 students to rate a total of almost 6000 randomly-generated non-word strings (e.g., artorts) on funniness. The results indicated that these random non-words had reliably consistent humor ratings. If one participant found a given non-word funny, it was likely that others found that same item funny as well, and vice versa....

Never mind!

postcount = postcount + 1, I guess.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:57 am

X==no thanks required, but always noticed. Sadly, as Gord supplies, too much of my humor may only have an audience of one (2-3 is always the hope?). .........but it still makes me laugh or smile, so I post anyway. I know: muddled thinking if you don't make the consensus leap.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:10 am

All my own jokes are posted for my own benefit as well.

I mean, who else can I expect to get them all?
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:52 am

Heh, heh...........say Gord...........have you ever gone back and read one of your old jokes?

I hate it when I don't get it............sometimes the humor will reappear, but not always. Is suspect I don't go far enough back in the history to pick up whatever connection I was making.

Thats what my EGO says, and I'm sticking with it.
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:28 pm

Usually when I go back and read my old posts, I'm disappointed that I'm not that smart anymore.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby xouper » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:49 pm

Gord wrote:Usually when I go back and read my old posts, I'm disappointed that I'm not that smart anymore.


Not many people on this forum could pull off a bit of humor like that. :good: You're the genuine thing.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Gord » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:18 am

Yeah, I'm friggin' amazeballs. Just never in real time!
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby OlegTheBatty » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:11 pm

My gut has a one topic mind. Food. If the topic isn't food, my gut is not thinking about it.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby scrmbldggs » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:50 pm

Once it has its food (for thought), what is it thinking of after?
.

Lard, save me from your followers.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:11 am

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... ond-brain/

Believe it or not, Oleg, your gut has its own brain. 100 million nerve cells, more than is in the spinal cord. While the brain inside your skull is the primary human brain, the enteric nervous system has a power of its own, and both controls much of the body, and causes a lot of your feelings. If the ENS is damaged, it has serious consequences on your health.

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:13 am

Thanks Lance. I did not know of this before. I did think it was all one way from the Brain to the Gut..... who knew?

I might have joked that our "emotions" or some subset of feelings were the result of whatever the bacteria in our guts were excreting that week.....but its more than that.

Heh, heh..... "to me"-more fascinating and rewarding to send space probes to our innards rather than light years away....
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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:24 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:My gut has a one topic mind. Food. If the topic isn't food, my gut is not thinking about it.



soo... no food for thought?

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:19 pm

My gut is not a philosopher.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: Critical thinking versus gut thinking.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:24 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:My gut is not a philosopher.
.....but it grumbles.
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