Posted: Oct 24, 2010 9:53 pm
by Oldskeptic

Somehow I missed this thread until now. I like the idea of the book, especially that it might actually happen. In fact I’ve had the same sort of idea for a while, just not a conviction to see it through. I have made a start though, and I donate the first part of it. Use it as you see fit; in its entirety, as fodder for thought, or not at all.
Think About It!
How we often do it the wrong way - How to try to do it better


Everyone thinks that they think logically, we do, just not all of the time. Everyone thinks that they are rational, we are, just not all of the time. Everyone thinks that they are open minded, we are, just not all of the time. Many of us, though, do not like to think of ourselves as skeptical because the term seems to bring up ideas like cynical and or contrary for no good reason, and there were probably good reasons for this in the past. Not logical or rational reasons, but good reasons in that they can be explained by how people reason - more on this later.

Why do we often think about things the wrong way? Because our brain, all though it does quite a bit of thinking in the off hours, did not evolve to do much thinking. Our brain evolved to promote survival in a hostile environment, and the main concerns were finding something to eat and not getting eaten in the process - more on this later.

How can we try to do better if our brains did not evolve to think logically or rationally? Because a byproduct of being able to figure out how to find enough to eat and how not to get eaten is being able to try to figure out other things when our brain is not occupied by the two main processes - more on this later.

There is a common quip on internet forums among skeptics, “Do you have any evidence for this?” It goes like this someone posts something like, “ All that skeptics want is evidence.” then the quip, “Do you have any evidence for this?” It’s amusing as an inside joke, but it’s not really what being a skeptic is all about. There is no need to be skeptical about everything in daily life. In fact if the human brain had evolved as a skeptical organ there would probably be no humans around today. Is it a lion or a shadow that looks like a lion? It does not matter, thinking about it is not the best thing to do. Running to safety is the better option, then think about it.

The brain, yours and mine, jumps to intuitive conclusions everyday all day long about things that are of minimal importance. We would not be human or able to function the way we do without this process, but concerning things of more importance our brains are equipped to think about it logically and rationally. Part of what we all need to learn is what to spend time thinking about and how to go about it.

I’m a former working board member of Writers @ Work (The hospitality suite coordinator.) I know a bit about putting sentences and paragraphs together, and I edited my daughter’s accepted peered reviewed submission to a scientific journal. Also I'm a pretty good researcher, and have many ideas and thoughts on this subject. I would be happy to lend any help that I can.

One of my thoughts is that irrational thinking is pretty much the default, everyone does it, some of us just do it more. In my opinion it’s not an us against them scenario. This book, again my opinion, should not be confrontational, controversial Ok. It should make everyone that reads it want think about it. From the “hopelessly credulous” to the solipsistic cynic. That’s a pretty high goal I’ll admit but why not shoot for the moon in the hope of hitting a few ducks?