I have several axes I like grinding, some of them fueled byconceits and insecurities peculiar to me, others fueled by a bona fide fear for our collective future. I want the Three Pound Brain to be a genuinely critical blog, even though I know the neural cards are stacked against me.
So ask yourself: are you a critical thinker?
I mean literally ask yourself.
The degree you answer in the affirmative is the degree to which you are full of shit. People who go to university, for instance, are inclined to think they’re critical thinkers. Why? Because so many of them either jump ideological ship or come to a more ‘sophisticated’ understanding of their ideology. But this is simpy a case of dogma substitution. “Believing the truth,” whether you’re Glen Beck or Bill Maher, is the primary sign that you are NOT a critical thinker.
Which is why people who go to church are also inclined to think they’re critical thinkers. We are taught to think that critical thinking consists in “not believing everything we hear,” when nobody believes everything they hear, or that it consists in “disagreeing with the status quo,” as if there were such a thing as one monolithic status quo, as opposed to a swamp of thousand thousand little ones, each priding itself on not believing the other ‘bad’ status quos.
We’re born being skeptical of others, which is why critical thinking consists in not believing in yourself – realizing that you personally are full of shit most of the time, and that the ‘feeling of certainty’ is the very thing that dupes you.
So the slogan of critical thinking (and this website) should be: DOUBT YOURSELF
Because you, my friend, are full of shit, no different than me, or all the billions of others you disagree with. Or are you really going to try to convince me that you somehow actually won the Magical Belief Lottery? That you somehow lucked or bootstrapped your way into the one true dogma.
So which one is it: were you astronomically lucky, hand-picked by the Almighty God, or ridiculously skilled – never mind that all three flatter you the way everybody else is flattered by their bullshit beliefs?
Or are you just another poor benighted slob?