Journal 1: Thinking about thinking

Prompt for #1:

  1. Include a brief summary of all the texts that we engaged with for the week (Bunn, DasBender, Savini) Keep them brief; I want the bulk of your response to be reflective. Try to summarize each reading in a sentence or two, focusing on the main idea(s).
  2. Explain how these texts can help you as a “critical thinker” not just in the classroom, but in the world.
  3. Read the following quote by Carl Sagan, American astronomer, educator and author (and then answer the question that follows it): “It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones.”

What is Sagan saying? How does it relate to the articles you have read this week?

Once you have finished and posted your response, please reply to two classmates. Make sure your comments to classmates have substance.

Online Discussion Requirements:

  • Your post must be a minimum of 350 words. There is no word minimum on peer replies, but you must show that you have engaged with your peers’ responses and not simply said “I agree” or “Great post!” A substantial reply could be anywhere between 50 and 150 words. You are not required, but you are encouraged, to continue replying to one another throughout the weekend. Remember, this is the space for class conversation as we are not together in person. Conversation is where the opening up of perspective really happens.
  • Ad Hominem attacks will not be tolerated. If you disagree with someone, critique the argument, not the person. And do it respectfully and constructively.
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