Critical thinking… or lack thereof…

Today’s “big news” is “Balloon Boy was a hoax”…

And, the usual upshot of this is that the media and the public is howling for blood.

“We were duped!”

“The police didn’t do their job!”

“It’s the media’s fault!”

The fact is that everyone is to blame for this (except for Balloon Boy, himself. He’s a minor and it is hardly his fault IF his parent’s concocted this whole “show”) — If, indeed, it turns out this is a hoax.

God or Nature gave humans a brain. We have it not just to keep our ears apart. It is there to enable us to think and to make sense of the world and to survive.  That entails “Critical Thinking”. Unfortunately, most of us seem to use our brain, if we use it at all, more to keep our heads from imploding.

We don’t think, let alone think critically.

We use our brains the way water finds it’s way down hill. Whatever the most convenient path to a conclusion, that’s the one we take, even if it results in us accepting the most nonsensical and ludicrous possible outcome, that’s the one we chose and “By Gum!” that’s the one we are going to stick to.

Even better when someone else comes up with the “results” so we don’t actually have to do any thinking for ourselves.

Why should we be surprised that 1) someone tried to pull one over on us and 2) succeeded on pulling one over on us?

And, quite obviously, this was not exactly a methodically thought out “hoax”. Else, it wouldn’t have depended on the involvement of a small child who would easily spill the beans.

The police obviously didn’t think it through, either. Consulting with experts might have clued them into the fact that the balloon probably wouldn’t have been able to ascend to the heights it did with the child in tow. Using their brains might have given them the edge on the less than stellar planning of the parents. Just looking at the balloon might have given them pause to question. Did it actually LOOK as though it was carrying a weight?

The media didn’t bother checking facts or hesitate for one second to authoritatively tell the public that a child was aboard this unlikely vehicle.

The public, always willing to jump on any bandwagon, no matter how shoddily built or how absurd, went along for the (usual) ride.

Even after the fact, talk shows lined up to interview the child. His parents were more than happy to parade their child in front of the media. And, surprise, surprise, the child said something that didn’t fit the scenario. “We did it for a show”.

Of course, this, coming from a small child, could mean anything. It could have meant that he associated the cameras with TV shows and his reenactment was “for a show”. No, obviously, it MUST mean that the whole scenario was “a show”. Of course, it seems it likely was.

Adults brought up short by a child’s words and the media circus starts falling all over itself to blame everyone else for being “taken in”.

There’s a children’s story most of us remember. It, too, is about a hoax. A ludicrous, fanciful, nonsensical farce so unthinkingly silly that it couldn’t possibly work but does… until undone by the words of a child. “But he’s not wearing any clothes!”.

newclothes

Humans are so ready to believe the most nonsensical and absurd scenarios rather than use their brains, ready to accept “facts” presented rather than learn the REAL facts for themselves, and then blame everyone but themselves for falling for nonsense.

People are ready to believe that hundreds of people could “manufacture” a moon landing, and then every single one of them could maintain complete silence for 40 years. Somehow THAT scenario is easier to believe than the one that had man ACTUALLY walking on the moon.

People are ready to believe that Iraq had nuclear weapons despite ample evidence to the contrary presented to them, both before and after that fact. Yet, they are also willing to believe that their own President would actually be willing to kill several thousands of his own citizens in order to bring about a war that was already inevitable by virtue of the nonexistent nuclear weapons.

Further, they are willing to believe that many of their own citizens would go along with this “conspiracy” and murder fellow citizens and remain silent, despite seeing the evidence before their own eyes.

Some of these same people actually believe that the Holocaust was “faked”.

I honestly despair of a world which consistently accepts the most idiotic conspiracy theory without once asking any one of the 5 W’s — Who, Why, What, Where, and When.

Yes, people have come up with actual conspiracy plans and have perpetrated them on us. Bush did it with his “weapons of mass destruction” nonsense which, had people actually listened to the actual experts would have avoided this terrible war in Iraq. Anyone who doubted was “A’gin us” and obviously an America-hater.

Instead, the masses fell for this one hook line and sinker and then made up an even more insane and diabolical “conspiracy” to blame the same person who pulled the wool over their eyes with a simple plan.

They never once ask themselves “Why?” or, if they do, come up with an equally nonsensical “Reason”.

Why would Bush need to murder thousands of innocent people (or as some conspiracy theorists would have us believe thousands on non-existent people) when he already had the war in the bag with his faked satellite images and arm-twisting of various countries in the UN Security Council? How would he buy the silence of the thousands of people who would have been required to keep Schtum about a conspiracy on this scale? No, easier to believe the most nonsensical and complicated and fiendish scenario rather than believe the simplest truth. America was attacked in its heart, in front of our very eyes and that in the days preceding the attacks, the media had been reporting that an attack was forthcoming (A fact… and a fact forgotten even by the media who had broadcast it).

Humans have an amazing brain and yet spend most of their lives not using it.

We have a capacity to do all sorts of good for the planet and for our fellow human beings. Yet, we spend most of our brains’ resources foolishly. Wasting them on conspiracy theories and hoaxes,  either believing in fake ones or allowing ourselves to be fooled by real ones.

If the majority of us took the time to use our brains, we wouldn’t have a media that spent all its energies trying to entertain us or falling in line with the politicians. We wouldn’t have politicians so willing (and able) to pull over on us the most blatant of scams. We MIGHT even have politicians we could trust and for whom we could be justly proud.

We wouldn’t be spending time and energy on the “Balloon Boy Hoax” or one fraction of a second even considering either the nonsensical “Moon landing” or the truly offensive “9/11” conspiracies.

—-

On a personal note….

It was several hours between the writing of this and posting it. Those several hours was spent at the hospital with my mother who thought that, rather than call me down “all the from upstairs” it was a good idea for an 85-year old who can’t stand on a firm surface without risking taking a tumble to climb on a chair some feet away from the patio door in order to close the curtain.

She fell and took a few yards of shin off, necessitating a trip to the hospital.

I guess, given my “Elk wrangling” of last Autumn, I don’t have a lot of room to talk. But it reminds me of a friend of my ex-husband’s who had to sit down with his parents and tell them not to be doing “stupid things” after his mother, aged 89, fell off the roof while shovelling snow. “I don’t mind going to the hospital if you have a heart attack or a stroke. I am tired of rushing there after you’ve done something stupid.”

Don’t cry for Michael Jackson.

I couldn’t care if Michael Jackson was the “King of Pop” or the king of Spain. Talented, he may have been. A sad, sad person so unhappy with himself that he had to carve himself up into a freak… Sure. But to admire him is offensive to all those children who he molested.

The accolades being heaped on him by the famous and the fans does a disservice to all those children yet to be molested by other pedophiles who see in him a kindred spirit.

Sure, he was acquitted but it wasn’t his innocence that got him off. It was his money and his fame that “acquitted” him. He paid off the parents of the children, something that those children will live with for the rest of their lives. Shame on him, shame on the parents, and shame on his excusers.

He and OJ will have plenty to talk about when they meet up.

“King of Pop”?… Maybe.

Pedophile?… yes.

Hmmmm…. What to think?

[livevideo id=8BC92CF8473C46AE980E461980C994AA]PANIC!!!

Just received an email via the gov’t email system from the department I work for. Occupational Health Advisory – H1N1 Virus // Avis relatif à la santé au travail – virus H1N1″

As usual, it is in French first with a notation that English follows.

The French version has two long charts. The first (Section 1) has two scenarios. The first for “civil servants residing at Mexico (or in other areas touched by the respiratory disease caused by the flu virus H1N1)”, which is then subdivided into two sections for those whose work does not come into contact with the public and for those whose work puts them in direct contact with the public. Those both have 5 rather lengthy points of instruction.

Section 2 is for civil servant who travel to Mexico to work (or in other areas touched by the respiratory disease caused by the flu virus H1N1. Again, that is subdivided into instructions for those on Assignment with or without a supervisor (I think. The Google translation was rather odd), and those traveling on business of short duration. Those both have the same sort of lengthy list of procedures.

The English version has the same preamble about the virus, its cause, and the travel advisory recommendations outlined by Health Canada.

This is followed by a single chart, the only instruction of which is “7. Get annual influenza inoculation”.

I fell a little like “Bob” in “Lost in Translation” when the director of the Suntory ad that he is doing explains rather lengthily what he wants Bob to emote and the translator says “He says he want you to look at camera with more intensity.”…

Okay, okay… I know it was a mistake. Obviously, when whoever sent out the directive, they didn’t copy it all out but you would think that something of this importance, they would ensure the whole thing was sent out. Wouldn’t you?

It makes me thing of the time during the SARS epidemic they sent out an Interdepartmental directive that there was no need to panic and that anyone returning from China or the Far East, would be carefully checked out before returning to the workplace. There was no need to isolate them or (basically) treat them like the had come into contact with the plague. All employees returning from countries of concern were to be treated with discretion and with an eye to privacy and respect.

Almost immediately, there was a “reply all” from a certain executive secretary from a certain office VERY high up on the chain asking “What about [naming a certain employee] who has been in China for the last XX number of weeks. “Should she be quarantined until they were sure she was not ‘infected’ with the virus or should she be ordered to remain home?”

Obviously, this person did not actually READ the directive and didn’t know any better than to do a “reply all”. Everyone in the entire ministry, several thousand employees and contractors, received this “reply all” email and knew that a certain employee was returning from China.

So far, there has been no “reply all”, this time.

pandemic-flu

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