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There is a cynical, irrational but fast-growing effort to re-define the terms “critical thinking” and “critical thinker.”

It is purposeful. And it is dishonest. It is manipulative. It is invalid, and an insult to the very concept of “thinking.”

It is gaslighting of the most gaseous kind. You didn’t see what you saw. You didn’t hear what you heard. Math lies. Science is a plot. Empirical data are propaganda. You don’t actually believe that water is wet, do you?

Yes, we have a societal shortage of critical thinking. And it is reflected in the Flock of the Fleeced that now smugly dub themselves Critical Thinkers.

Yeah, I’m talking about you, Rodgers.

Critical thinking is not license to ignore or reject facts. Critical thinking involves putting demonstrable, established facts together in a sequence that leads to intellectual growth and progress.

Critical thinking challenges unproven assertions. Critical thinking asks objective questions. But critical thinking is then the willingness to accept the answers. Even answers you don’t like. Especially answers you don’t like.

Critical thinking does not exclude “conspiracy.” But neither does critical thinking embrace conspiracy without evidence, as a preferred explanation for pretty much everything.

Critical thinking does not assert arrogance. Critical thinkers realize that they are not the world’s leading authorities on every subject, and give intellectual respect to the people who are.

Critical thinking does not assume the best. But neither does it reflexively proclaim the worst, based on ignorance and paranoia.

If you insist the Earth is flat, you are not a critical thinker. You are a Flat-Earther.

If you ingest horse de-wormers, you are not a critical thinker. You are a horse-wormer ingester.

If you think Anthony Fauci has spent seven decades just trying to eff with you, you are not a critical thinker. You’re a nut job.

If you hang out at Dealy Plaza looking for JFK Jr., you are not a critical thinker.

If you assert that Big Bird is a communist puppet, you are not a critical thinker. You are Ted Cruz. That is not an intellectual compliment.

If you deny overwhelming numbers reflecting the differences in COVID outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, you are not a critical thinker. You are an ostrich.

If you are rejecting the safety of vaccines that have now been administered almost seven billion times globally with statistically NO problems, you are not a critical thinker.

If you follow your superstitions, biases, phobias, political preferences and prejudices based on “doing your own research,” you are not a researcher.  You’re a shill.

If you resort to dog-whistle deflections about “wokeness,” you are not a critical thinker. You’re a carnival barker.

Here’s what Aaron Rodgers is. He is a very good quarterback. The evidence is there. Here’s what else he is. He’s an American citizen, and he has a right to speak. I’ll defend that right. Just as I will scoff at him when he calls himself a critical thinker.

Aaron Rodgers has a right to speak. He is not “immunized” from criticism, or in this case warranted ridicule.

One Response

  1. Rodgers? He truly believes he is “better/more important” than the people around him. Special people don’t have to abide by the rules. A few other words to describe his behavior: disdainful, haughty, insolent, lordly, overbearing, proud, and supercilious. Basically he is “showing scorn for inferiors,”
    Don’t get confused by his justification. The explanation/justification he provides is just to pacify the common folks.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.