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Responding to thought processes

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Recent letters have demonstrated a number of textbook examples of errors in thinking such as circular reasoning and polarized “either-or” choices. The human mind often adopts these since they offer shortcuts for making quick decisions. But by doing so, the mind ignores other important factors of reality.

Consider the simplistic “either-or” thinking. Almost all issues exist on continuums of possibilities. An either-or example is “tall or short.” In reality there is a long stretch from the shortest known to the tallest/longest known. Further, in the future there may be even shorter or longer discoveries. As well as measuring the people in a room, city or country, apply this principle to particle physics or measuring the cosmos – the same concept applies. Humans are always on the frontier of new knowledge.

Sisler (3-6-19) believes that America suffers from too much tolerance (right/wrong, Christ/chaos) and prefers the either-or model. Perhaps the innocent person in prison would challenge this simplification.

Onsager (3-6-19) believes that the violence of the 20th century proves that humans have made no improvement. Researcher Steven Pinker states that we now live in much less violent times than in our past history.

What is “truth”? Theological dogmatists say that they already have it. Others say that our thoughts and measurements only sample bits and pieces of “what is reality.” When there are new discoveries, new questions and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” inevitably arise and further directions of inquiry are required. Humans keep on refining and the process goes on. Some people cut off this process and believe that it is over and at that point they have an “illusion of truth.” Their search has ended because they arbitrarily say so – not because they have found the truth. Truth is illusive, maybe forever.

Gene Johnson


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