Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sigh... How To Be Stupid Teaching People How Not To Be Stupid

Where to begin?

  • This film extols "critical thinking" (a position with which I am sympathetic) but it exhibits very little of it.
  • It is narrated by an anonymous "voice-of-God" speaker who makes a number of statements which we (the viewers) are encouraged to accept because -- wait for it -- he says so...or maybe because we already accept them.  Virtually no logical argumentation is in evidence, no weighing of alternatives is apparent, no references are cited and, as far as I could tell, no further reading is suggested.
  • This film is an infomercial trying to sell us a commodity called ""Critical Thinking"; perhaps it serves a purpose as a "battle cry"; perhaps it gives comfort or amusement to the already-converted.  What it does not do, in any meaningful sense of the words, is educate or instruct. 
  • Stylistically, this film has all the wit of Plan 9 From Outer Space.
  • Critical thinking is not the same as philosophical realism; David Lewis was a modal realist who believed that every possible world actually exists, that reality encompasses every possibility.  David Lewis (although I believe he was wrong) was a critical thinker.
  • Nobody really "waits until all the facts are in" for the simple reason that, in the real world, under real constraints of time and resources, it is almost always impossible to tell when "all the facts are in".  Clinging to mottoes does not encourage critical thinking.
  • This film pays lip service to the complexity of situations and to "shades of gray"...and then fails to exhibit any appreciation of either in the black-and-white opposition it presents between "critical thinkers" and "wish fulfillers".
I could go on...but you get the idea.

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