National Day of Reason

Let’s start with a prayer a poem by Kevin Young, Ode to Big Pun

I’m not a prayer
I just wish a lot

Wishful thinking maybe just as bad as prayer at achieving specific results.  Maybe prayer is just ritualized wishful thinking?  Or maybe prayer is a mashup of wishful thinking and meditation.  There has been some research about the effects of praying and there doesn’t seem to be much benefit.

As Daniel Dennett stated in the Portable Atheist, “Surely it does the world no harm if those who can honestly do so pray for me! No, I’m not at all sure about that. For one thing, if they really wanted to do something useful, they could devote their prayer time and energy to some pressing project that they can do something about.”

Back to the reason (pun intended) I am writing this post.  Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, establishing and verifying facts, applying logic, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.  Sounds like a useful thing to do.

Easier said than done.  We are inundated by so much information, it is difficult to separate facts from fake news.  That is where critical thinking comes to the rescue!  Unfortunately this skill is not taught in U.S. public schools like it is in other parts of the world.   John Dewey is one of many educational leaders who recognized that a curriculum aimed at building thinking skills would benefit the individual learner, the community, and the entire democracy.  So I used Dewey’s system to find some resources at the Denver Public Library about critical thinking such as Critical thinking skills success in 20 minutes a day and A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age along with several hundred others.

I think it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to promote the development and application of reason, not just today but everyday!

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