2 thoughts on “Paying Attention

  1. It is pervasive. Simply look at the reaction to the situation in Ferguson. We know very little about what happened. People are responding to assumptions and outright lies. What little we know factually contradicts the ‘eyewitness’ testimony of his accomplice. Yet that is what is believed because it is what they want to believe. The news media is complicit if not responsible for much of this. As a comparison, on the same day a black cop shot and killed an unarmed white man in Colorado. Nobody has heard of that incident.

    One of the books I was required to read in my doctoral program was “How To Lie With Statistics”. Our society has essentially given up critical thinking. We question very little and make almost no effort to resist our tendency to uncritically accept. Unfortunately the Supreme Court has ruled that outright lying in political commercials is legal. This single fact means that we need to question and research everything we are told in such commercials. Who will take the time and effort?

    1. Wayne, agreed. One of the books I’m reading for a class right now is Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy. Overall the book is making some good points, but it opens with a long string of statistics, some of which seem questionable, and some of which are examples of strongly skewed statistics that have been used for a while (for instance, that half of all marriages end in divorce). Statistics are useful at times, but its very difficult for me to trust presented statistics without seeing the raw data behind them.

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