Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Science and Critical Thinking

What’s the Point of Learning Science?


… or Anything Else?


They hadn’t invented kindergarten yet, so I started first grade in that little old one-room schoolhouse up on Edward’s Hill in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.

Must be I’m a bit slow, because sixty-one years later I’m still hanging out in classrooms trying to figure out this learning thing.

Here’s what I don’t get.

We’ve “progressed” from one teacher in a room of eleven kids in all six grades with nothing but a blackboard, chalk, a few books and a stove to heat lunch on to highly specialized classrooms, Masters’ Degree teachers, an abundance of electronic devices and governmental decree to leave no child behind.

We’ve also gone from writing answers on paper and doing “numbers” in our head to the super efficient world of Scantron bubble sheets and hand-sized computing machines.

All this has happened, but things don’t seem to get better in the world of learning. In fact, they seem to be getting worse.

For instance,

· kids can’t calculate without buttons to push
· memorization appears to be a… ummm… sorry… forgot the point…
· knowledge resides in Google, not minds
· CRITICAL THINKING might be a LOST ART

Having mused on these things for a few decades, I think it’s possible to give a reasonable response why learning is a good and necessary thing, and especially why it’s a good thing within the context of helping us mere mortals point to the glory of God as Creator and Redeemer.

>>>Big Point>>>



If we accept that last statement as more than Sunday morning drivel we’re beginning to catch on to the true meaning of our existence.

In concluding the “ranting and raving” for today, my next post will use the example of the profound leap of faith that the world famous physicist, Max Planck, made as his intellectual adventure ushered in the quantum age.

Bet you can’t wait, eh?

I invite you to join the group as we banter about ideas and mental images of the role that knowledge and use of science have affected our lives. More importantly, join our discussion of trying to figure out how genuine God-stuff fits into all this.

26 comments:

  1. I think intellectualism, particularly within Christianity...well, perhaps MAINLY in Christianity, is undervalued and often ignored. However, attending a Christian university for the last three years has instilled hope in me regarding this trend.

    I suppose I don't understand how one could even reason that intellectualism and critical thinking are not important in the realm of God. When I read Scripture, everything that I read pertaining to the character of God, the things that God values, etc., seems to indicate that the God that we worship is one that values thought, critical thinking, intellect, and reason. And furthermore, shouldn't we be using these things when approaching Scripture? But again, far too often we check them at the door for fear of meeting something that is unreconcilable in terms of our faith and reason.

    I think many Christians are under the misconception that if things aren't within our limited comprehension, then it must mean that we have to check our intellect at the door, and leave the rest up to "faith." But is that really what faith is? I suppose I see faith as trusting in the very fact that our wisdom and ability to comprehend IS limited, but regardless I will still fight to use it to the best of my ability....and at the end of the day, I trust that God's grace covers my misunderstandings.

    In a recent philosophy class, we were studying St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas believed that both faith AND reason were ways of obtaining knowledge. He saw faith as building upon reason, as a way of helping an individual to arrive at truth. And I suppose my point is that too often we use one or the other. I just find it so hard to look at the world that we live in and believe that we were meant to pursue knowledge and truth through one primary mode, when God so purposefully gave us both.

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  2. In today's technological culture it's easy to go with the flow and use the technology as a way to make the learning process easier. Too many people use gadgets and machines that they know nothing about and they don't even care to know how it was made, in order to find enough information to write that next 10 page paper. However, how many students will actually remember all that information in 5 years?

    School has been dumbed down to such a point, it's scary. Even though I am in college taking 300 level classes, I don't feel like it is any harder than my 9-11th grade classes in France where the teachers give you impossible homework and expect everything from you.

    In some ways I feel like those who invent all of this incredible technology, are the only ones who still use the intelligence that God gave them. And yet, these people are generally the ones who try to disprove the reality and existence of God.

    It is interesting to me that we all believed Darwin to be absolute truth, and now we are slowly learning more and more about the microscopic world and the universe we live in which gives us obvious proof that God is real. This thought also connects to your other post entitled "Does God exist...in reality." I do believe that the universe gives us enough scientific evidence that God is out there somewhere.

    I only wish He could be looking down on children who are using their everything to the fullest to honor God through their research, their critical thinking, their love for others, their inventions, their every minute of the day. We were not made to sit around and watch TV all day, or to complain when our teacher gives us a huge paper to write for the next day. We were made to grow in knowledge and strength and love and in communion with God. We have all become lazy and try to do the minimum in everything we do. All over proverbs there are warnings, like proverbs 6:6 :"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!"

    I believe that science and God are greatly intertwined. As Christians we have a spiritual obligation to learn as much as we can. When we learn more about science, it can only encourage us in our walk with God as we discover how beautifully and perfectly He made the earth and everything in and around it.

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  3. I would agree with the fact that students are losing the ability to learn, and every year it seems to get worse. I blame this on our fast paced life style. Students no longer have the ability to sit in a class room and fully engage for the entire time. Since, everyone is busy all the time, trying to become successful, we no longer stop and think. The computer, cell phone, calculator, G.P.S. does everything for us. All of this has been created so we can create a successful life. What's sad is the fact someone could be very successful, and have no idea how to learn without using technology devices.

    I believe God gave us our minds for a purpose. In the Word, it takls about how when our mindi s transformed our hearts are changed. We are losing the ability to think, and it scares me to think what is going to happen to our hearts. Everyone is so busy already, no one even has the time to stop and say hello. If there is no time to stop and say hello, how is there time to stop and think about the great wonders of the world God created.

    Without the ability to critically think, how are suppose to ponder what the scripture says and how it can affect our lives. And most of all, if we are focused on becoming successful, and getting the most out of our time by using techonolgy devices, how are we ever suppose to stop and listen to the voice of God???

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  4. WRITTEN BY MATTHEW SEYMOUR
    The problem of technology and learning today is that we have become a microwave fast society. We expect results in learning as fast we expect our dinner to be cooked in the microwave. We cram so many requirements into a class. If you fall behind you are in big trouble. Cramming 30+ students into a room with one teacher and expecting all students to learn at the same fast pace is unreasonable. People learn in different ways. Some learn visually, some audibly, others need hands-on activities. There are many learning styles and today's classrooms are not organized around them at all. Students of today are also more concerned about the A on their report card than they are for actually retaining knowledge. Cram studying and cheating have become common practices.

    Now to technology. Technology is an excellent tool. But we abuse these tools and forget how to work without them. Many cashiers have trouble doing basic arithmetic because the register automatically calculates it out for them. Accessing information on google only takes a minute or two. Why take a few extra minutes to memorize information if you have such quick access to it? We gain knowledge on how to work computers, but we lose the knowledge on how to do the work ourselves. Understanding how to do things without technology is important. Understanding how technology works is also important. We are called to be good stewards of the earth so being good critical thinkers on how to best manage resources, people, and the environment is vital to our calling as Christians.

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  5. MP


    The education system in the United States has definitely progressed from what it was sixty years ago. With this progress have come technological advances, such as calculators, cell phone, computers, etc. Along with technological advancement, I have to agree that the quality of learning in schools has somewhat diminished. This is not to say that the reason of diminished learning in schools is due to such advancements; I believe it is due to the abuse of the technologies that have been implemented.

    I remember that when I was young, I had to learn to do math in my head, without a calculator. It was until I got to the more complex math (i.e. calculus) in high school that I was allowed to use a calculator for my homework and tests; other than that, no calculator. I have tutored elementary kids in fourth, fifth, and sixth; I am surprised to see that they are allowed to use calculators to solve fairly simple math. It is true, and saddening at the same time, that our kids today are not even able to calculate simple math without the use of a calculator. But is this the sole fault of the student? I don’t think so. Multiple factors are involved: the student, teacher, education system, and abuse of technology. The calculator…it is a great invention that saves time. But what has happened with it? It seems that today students learn to simply press buttons to find what the product of 13,345 and 1567, without learning the concept of multiplication, in this case.

    Technology is so cool, handy, and efficient. It is almost impossible to do work today without the use of technology, so the key here is to use technology as a tool for learning not as the main source for learning. Regarding learning, I believe students should initially be taught the concepts without the use of technology, and once they grasp the concept they should be allowed to use technology to facilitate their work. Going back to the calculator example, it would be helpful for the student to learn math by hand, and once they understand the concept behind simply using the calculator, they should be permitted to use the calculator.

    I firmly believe the “learning thing” is a life-long process with no end. Yet in today’s education system, it seems although learning is a check off item on a student’s to-do list. Once, it is checked off, it is checked off. Is this truly learning? I have the impression that students simply want to get their good grade without having to go through the effort to evaluate and criticize what they have learned. Getting an A or a good grade appears to have taken priority over becoming critical thinkers. My English professor once made a comment that “many students today are more focused about GPA, GPA, GPA, that they have lost the ability to critically think.” I am a senior and throughout my years at APU, I have noticed this increased focus on getting an A, rather than understanding the core concept of the subject students are studying. But what is this doing? It is simply producing paper-smart people, when faced with a critical thinking question/situation plus without the access to a computer to “google” things up, do not know what to do. Why? Because they have not exercised their minds to think critically.

    Technological advances are efficient tools, with a side effect of making individuals dependent upon it. In business, technology produces efficiency, resulting in less human effort; this not needed effort is shifted somewhere else. I think the same was occurred in the education system: technology has allowed for more efficiency, but has also resulted in less student effort. But the question here is, “Where has the student’s effort shifted to?” It seems that with technological advances the art of critical thinking diminishes, making technology and critical thinking appear mutually exclusive. But, I disagree that they are mutually exclusive. I reiterate: critical thinking with the use of technology as a tool can do and create marvelous results.

    Ultimately, I believe God requires us to be critical thinkers. As believers, we seek to be more like Christ; Christ was a critical thinker who challenged the disciples to think “outside the box.” Christ used parables to teach his disciples; oftentimes the parables weren’t meant to be taken literally—they had an underlying concept, which Christ encouraged his disciples to discover. We should do likewise; whatever material we are given, we should evaluate it and criticize it so that we could grasp that underlying concept. It is obvious that critical thinking requires time, research, and evaluation. In trying to reason God’s existence and his creation of the world, we as believers have no option but to exercise critical thinking, ultimately making learning necessary. I believe one of the purposes of the Bible was for believers to engage in learning…learning about God, making it obvious that God wants us to be learners. Learning points to the existence of a supernatural being, so it is our call to engage in it. It is quite difficult, impossible, to tell others about God without the core concept of learning. To teach others about God, first we must learn about the Bible, read it, and critically think about it, before we can explain it to others.

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  6. SU

    From reading all of the comments above, I definitely hold similar views on America's diminishing education system and the destructive repercussions of technology.

    Sometimes I wonder if technology could or will EVER be a benefit to our learning. I've always heard that kids under the age of two who are exposed to a lot of television are more likely to develop ADD or ADHD. And as a child grows, technology, whether it be a calculator, a television, or a computer only seems to be a hindrance to one's full potential to learn. Although there are many educational programs or computer games, I still feel that they do more harm than good for a student. The idea of sitting down all day, staring at a computer, and regurgitating information doesn't seem to do anything for a student's ability to think critically or analytically. Although technology has made our lives much more efficient and convenient, I feel that it has strongly failed to fulfill its goal to enhance our learning ability.

    In regards to Christianity, I firmly believe that God calls us to be critical thinkers, to use our minds to the best of our ability. For example, why would God want ignorant people to love and worship him? Wouldn't he want people who know about him, know his desires, his passions, study his word to be in love with him, rather than serve out of ignorance? It would seem to me that that would be a sort of false love. A significant way to develop a relationship with God is through studying his word. If the process of using our minds was not valued by God, why would he create a primary tool to grow in our faith that requires the use of our minds and the ability to focus, meditate, and concentrate?

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  8. I agree with all of the responses above, and I too believe that the concept of learning is being taken away from students due to advance technology and tools because they tend do the learning for us. It is far too often students turn to the internet for research, looking something up on Google and finding the answer in matters of seconds, however it is somewhat of a disadvantage as students are not really able to sulk in the information and learn more in-depth on a particular topic as if they were to use books. Don't get me wrong technology is great; however it puts a damper on students learning.

    I also believe the concept of learning can be practiced in many different ways, it just depends on what a student wants to take from it. Some students prefer to do the minimum work possible and just answer the question and have something to turn in for a grade, while others who are more curious will go above and beyond and do more research than required -that person is bound to be more knowledgeable in the end in regards to that particular assignment. Learning involves effort, desire and motivation by a person and quite frankly some people do not have it in them.

    Learning does not strictly have to come from books or professor, in fact you can learn a great amount from peers and people you are surrounded by. Learning can come in so many different forms whether it's books, magazines, newspaper, the internet, television, or even other people. There are so many ways to learn and endless opportunities to gain knowledge and to be informed it is amazing.

    Although the concept of critical thinking is slowing diminishing in schools, there are other things that force us to think critically, a prime example would be God’s words. The words in the Bible really force us to think and evaluate how we live our lives, encouraging us to find better ways to become better Christians.

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  9. I can agree that kids today are losing something by giving in to all the new technologies that advance their learning. But these advancements are going to happen whether we like them or not. We cannot stop technology from advancing to new heights and the ways things are today, more and more discoveries are happening daily. However, these new findings, I believe, make it easy for us to get caught up in them and allow us to lose focus on God.

    It is known that now a days, kids are getting more experienced with technology at an earlier age. This I do not agree with because it takes away from the youth of this age. They are looking for all different types of ways to be more grown up, when in fact they are missing out on a very important part of their lives. In my opinion, these advances in technology do not help our youth to learn. I would rather have them learn the conventional way with no computers or calculators. But we have to understand that it is difficult to keep the kids "in the dark" and away from technology.

    As for the religious aspect on this subject, I do believe that it is easy to get caught up and lose sight on the things that matter most. We need the Lord's help more then ever right now with our current situation. The world has become so fast-paced that we are more focused on our physical appearance and popularity then our spiritual appearance and relationship with God. If the kids of this generation see their parents more involved with social groups instead of religious communities then they will follow suit.

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  10. I have mixed feelings about this topic because I can see both sides of the argument, and both have valid points to make. It's true that kids are becoming extremely tech savy at increasingly younger ages; and not only are they good at using technology, but they assume that it is the only way in which they can accomplish computations or assignments. I agree that kids should continue to be taught the "conventional" way of figuring things out, however I also think that their education should include ways to constructively utilize technology as well. If kids can be taught ways to solve problems, using technology, then hopefully this can create a drive in some to discover and create new things that can be done with what they have been taught.

    Kids need to be taught how to learn and discover, not just what buttons to push in order to get a result.

    Learning about and how to use technology is a good thing, but realistically most of what kids might learn in their classrooms will be outdated and useless by the time they graduate. But if they can learn that exploration and discovery is possible through the use of technology, then I don't see a problem with kids being involved with technology.

    God has given humans the ability to think, discover, and innovate. And while it seems that our society is trending towards not using these abilities to their full potential, there is no reason why this cannot change. In regards to these things being utilized through technology, I believe that the best place to start is with children in the classroom. If done properly, our society has the potential to benefit exponentially from their future discoveries and, hopefully, their desire to learn and discover will be contagious.

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  11. Curtis Smith

    I do agree with comments made above. I don’t know that putting a value on impatience is such a good thing. In today’s society everything is made for our convenience. Technologies are developed to do things in the shortest time possible. The bible clearly speaks about having patience and letting her have her perfect work. And because patience is such a huge part of being a Christian, why do we then value something that is crippling our walk with God.

    The effects of today’s technology do set a standard in how our minds develop. When you speak to those who have a good handle on knowledge and wisdom, they describe the journey of attaining knowledge as the most important aspect of the learning experience. From the outside looking in, I see the result as the most important outcome. But those who have discovered the solution, they say the journey is how they came to find the answer.

    With all of todays new and in some ways crippling technologies, there is still no lack when it comes to those who have high levels of intellect. I am more so concerned with the thought that we are growing less and less patient. As Christians we know that we are to be selfless in how we love one another and in how we live. Our life is no longer our own, but we give our will over to Christ when we made the commitment to accept him in our heart. However it is easy to forget that when it isn’t very convenient.

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  12. JB

    It is very interesting to think about whether school and education has advanced with technology or has been dumbed down. It is a different era now because any one can access the answer to almost any question they have via the internet, which is now on most of our cell phones. Answers that took hours to figure out years ago, now take merely seconds. So although we are not necessarily learning the "old" way of doing things, we are having to learn in this new era of everything at our fingertips.

    I believe that God instilled wisdom and knowledge in all of us, and in today's society everything it seems is always being done at a million miles a minute, therefore it becomes increasingly more difficult to put all of our focus on God. The more we get caught up with the easy solution and the newest technology, the more we are pushing God away and becoming engulfed in worldly goods. I am not saying do not use any new technology because i believe God gave us the ability to innovate and discover new things, however this should not be our primary concern.

    It seems that schools these days, even christian ones, forget this and would rather see students graduate with A's than graduate with a strong walk with God. Students are not being taught how to problem solve and critically think through problems, but rather are learning facts that they will probably never remember in a couple years. It is easy to forget the take time every day and praise God in such a high stress environment, However i believe that this is the most important thing.

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  13. Being that I am currently in the process of obtaining my degree in Liberal Arts and will ideally be 'in the front lines' so to speak by Fall 10'this problem has indeed monopolized much of my thought... Especially in the last few months.

    The concept that learning is 'necessary', is I believe impossible to debate. However, the conflict that ensues when discussing what learning is necessary and what learning is not necessary amazes me.

    Our grandparents believed strongly in the Three R's, reading, writing, aRithmetic... Our parents most likely believed in a more progressive form of learning that integrates the 'three R's' with music, art, philosophy, politics, science, and of course the 'newest technology'... Typewriters. My generation seems to touch on all the subjects listed above but then expound... Not only do you learn about all the subjects listed above but you must also learn the other point of view for all the areas of learning... In some cases their may be several 'other points of view'... And while learning all these things we also need to focus on what is socially acceptable or rather 'politically correct'. We can never offend ANYONE! Except for people who have strong beliefs in ONE viewpoint... Because 'those' people are close minded. The one commonality with all the generations discussed, those in charge of the education system view all these subjects 'necessary'. Needless to say the generation that follows has been bombarded with tests and standards to ensure that all this learning be taught!

    However, I ask... Is it all 'necessary'?

    What if we were to go back to the simplistic view of the 3 R's? Would peoples learning be stifled, would we in attempts to focus learning destroy the possibility of a 'well rounded' education?

    Now. The big question. Are the 3 R's even important any more? In the age of technology that we live in... We have movies to watch instead of reading books... Calculators to do math instead of a pencil and paper... And computers enable us to not only not know how to spell or use correct punctuation, but we don't even need to write legibly...

    So without the 3 R's what would we teach? Technology? Is that all that matters in this progressive world we live in? What about human relations? Public speech? Personal conversation? Are these all soon to be things of the past? What is the responsibility of a teacher to teach?

    I agree. Unfortunately I am part of a generation that doesn't know how to think. And we're teaching our kids to do the same. But who's to blame? Technology?

    What about all the great things that technology has brought? The ENTIRE WORLDS knowledge is at our fingertips. Just click. There it is. Facts, figures, pictures, videos, alternate view points. Click. Are we perhaps being so overloaded with information that we don't need to think anymore? Why bother... When you can click? Honestly... I'm not sure. Other than what my heart of hearts know... We are designed as intellectuals. We are designed to pursue God. We are designed to pursue knowledge.

    I have one more point that I think is worth noting although somewhat un-related... I guess it's just food for thought. Who would you say is the master teacher? At risk of sounding 'churchy', for me the answer is simple, Jesus Christ. What 'technology' did Jesus have? The only tool of any kind he was ever recorded to teach with was when he wrote in the sand. What opposing view did Jesus teach? He didn't teach opposite views, he taught the truth. What was most important to Jesus, as a teacher? I would say, love.

    So although I don't know the answers to many of the questions above... I do know that in my pursuit to be a teacher, I will do my best to exemplify my Maker, Jesus Christ. That's all I can do.

    Now am I saying that I won't use technology, or that I won't teach alternate view points? Of course not... But I will do my best to teach what I know to be true. And I will do my best to love above anything else.

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  14. The increasing abundance of commercially available technology holds great potential that may be applied either for the benefit or detriment of its users. The determining factor is primarily the character of the person making use of technology.
    Google is an incredibly powerful tool which enables people to spend less time on peripheral activities in order to more efficiently achieve important goals. If a dictionary is not on hand, Google will serve the same purpose. If a mailing address is needed to send a package, Google can provide it. Of course Google may be used to find ways in which one may waste his time, but it might also be utilized to minimize mundane but necessary activities.
    Microwave ovens allow us to reheat food much faster than conventional ovens, but also offer us easy access to loads of unhealthy processed foods.
    Calculators help engineers to avoid making harmful errors and give them more time to dedicate to creative thought and problem solving, but enable children to get by without learning the fundamental rules of mathematics.
    More examples come quickly to mind, but the point which repeats itself time and again is that technology is as useful as the person who makes use of it. What does this mean for education?
    Schools need to actively counter the tendency for students to become dependent upon technology by minimizing or removing computer usage in the classroom until high school, at least. Calculators should be forbidden in class until students have made it through algebra and geometry. Once students have learned necessary fundamentals, they may slowly be given more leeway in regard to the use of technology. At that point computers and calculators become tools in the hands of proficient people, whereas they would have inhibited intellectual growth at an earlier stage.
    Aside from reserving technology for the mature, education must involve not only practical and intellectual development but also character enhancement. This may not be possible any longer within the school system, but must be provided by family members. Two young women might have an equal understanding of how to use the internet and yet the difference in the ways they use that tool will largely stem from how their character has developed. Was one taught to value hard work and responsibility while the other was not? The answer to that question will make a world of difference in the use of technology.

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  15. Jessica LuchtenburgApril 27, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    As humans, I believe we were made in the image of God. Genesis 9:6b (NRS) says, “…in his own image God made humankind.” Therefore, we were called to live excellently as He is excellent. If we do not live up to our potential, what image are we throwing on our faith and our God if we profess to be Christian? If we were made in the image of God, God thinks (because we think). Why did God create us? –To bring glory to Him. And so, we must give glory to God through the excellence of our thoughts and through exploring the brains He gave us so we do not remain merely stagnant. In this way, we can strive to mirror and reflect our God to the world around us.

    Looking back on history, many Christians were great thinkers and discoverers –Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Lord Kelvin… Why then are Christians now seen as the sub-brilliant scientific thinkers? Automatically by naming a scientist as a Christian he or she loses some credibility. Why is this? We must reclaim our role as contributors to the thinking community and show that science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive but rather intertwined because our God created the natural world; in science, we discover more closely the world He made. We can start reclaiming our credibility in science by holding ourselves to high standards in thinking and seeking to be at the forefront of research and science.

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  16. I agree with MP in that "students should initially be taught the concepts without the use of technology, and once they grasp the concept they should be allowed to use technology to facilitate their work." People today completely take technology for granted and use it instead of using their own minds. I think that technology should be used to push us to use our minds more critically and logically instead of taking the easy way out. I also agree with MP with the fact that "getting an A or a good grade appears to have taken priority over becoming critical thinkers." I see so many students around me that only worry about getting good grades or passing classes instead of actually learning something from their teachers. A lot of the time they want those grades becuase they either need to keep their scholarships to stay in school or they just need to pass the class to get through school so they can earn a degree and eventually get a job somewhere to make lots of money which is really what most people want in life, tons of money to make themselves "happy."

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  17. Emily ArmstrongMay 6, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    While I do realize that there is a lack of the same kind of thinking that was often used in our classrooms before the dawn of technology, I disagree that critical thinking is a lost art.

    Because of all of the new technologies that are present in today's society, there is even more of a call to be efficient and know data. While memorizing facts and calculating numbers might be a thing of the past, children today are forced to learn to type 100 words per minute and know how to work speed dial on a cellular phone. I think the knowledge of how to control our new technologies is vastly underrated. When trying to explain how to use something as simple as a laptop computer or a cellular phone to my Grandparents, or even my parents, I see looks of awe and confusion.

    I still remember showing my father a graph I made on a graphing calculator and him being stunned at how I could have possibly created that.

    Just because there are new technologies available to us, does not mean that things are easier or that knowledge itself is obsolete. New knowledge and ways of thinking are no more less critical than old ways of thinking. If anything, we are coming leaps and bounds in the way that we see things, opportunities and the world around us.

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  18. Helen SchoenenbergerMay 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I agree with what Emily Armstrong said about critical thinking being a lost art. The 20th century is consumed with technology and although it helps people out we have relied on it so much it’s become unhealthy. I for one can admit that as I sit down and write a research paper I rely on spell check to check my every word I spell. Soon I become so confident in writing on a computer that when I go to turn in a blue book I feel embarrassed that I can’t seem to spell some standard words or I second guess my spelling. I love technology because of the great advances it carries in my life but sometimes it’s more harmful then I may think. I believe critical thinking is a very helpful thing for the human mind. It helps us cop with everyday reality in life.

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  19. All of these statements are very good and I understand the danger of future generations, but Isn't some progression (with the help of technology) a good thing? Technology has propelled us along all these years we have been in existence. I don't believe it is a crutch but rather I see technology as a set of training wheels. It helps us do things we never could have done on our own.

    I am not afraid the future generations will die bc they can't take care of themselves. They use the highest and most upgraded technology available to them and that is helping in the progression towards greater ideas of technology. I believe kids still have their imagination and critical thinking, but I believe they think differently than us.

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  20. Jeremiah MasopustApril 7, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    In going off in agreement with what Jesse just commented on:
    Technology has exponentially opened up opportunities for us to enhance the quality of our lives in the present. Such things as having internet access virtually anywhere in the United States is a huge feat that just a few years ago, was only a dream...and I can remember that far back to when I had to wait for my dial up modem to connect to my home computer. Having a seemingly infinite amount of data and information made available to us online has almost become our new "white noise of my generation." It may be there for our use, but because of our continual conditioning to it, I can honestly say that I miss over the fact that I have a vast amount of potential knowledge that can be accessed to with just a couple clicks.

    Maybe it is my way of rationalizing it, but it almost seems that this overload of information has been detrimental to my curiosity of learning new things. I find my securities: my facebook, my favorite music playlist website, my email, and my favorite sports website... all of these envelop my time because it is immediate and easily accessible while I let the purpose of the internet (education) slip right past me.

    The things I listed above are not bad in and of themselves. It is just like anything else; "too much of something is not good for you." I can admit that I spend too much time on these leisurely things. So I do not think that our increase in technological capabilities is wrong; by all means, it is the opposite. It is just a matter of where your priorities fall. Luke 12:34 says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The place I find myself dwelling most of the time is where I can identify where my priorities are. If I can learn how to manage the technology used in my daily life, I believe it will challenge me to learn what else is out there, to broaden my knowledge. It is mainly an question of willpower.

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  21. People have debated the existence of God for thousands of years. Most conclude that it cannot be proven—one way or the other. It is surmised that the correct answer lies in the area of abstract philosophy and the metaphysical. Others become agnostics, asserting that they “don’t know” if God exists. Those who do accept God’s existence often do so passively, merely because they were taught it from childhood. Some do not even care. Such people probably cannot be moved from their apathy. Atheists have concluded that God does not exist. These people represent a special category that God describes as, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God” (Psa. 14:1). This scripture is repeated in Psalm 53:1. This booklet will explain why God calls atheists “fools.”

    KiKi YE

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  22. Over thirty-seven years ago, I learned of absolute proof that God exists. My studies lasted 2 1/2 years. I came to realize that I did not have to accept His existence “on faith.” Since that time, science has learned much more and the “case” for God’s existence has become far stronger than at any time in history. This booklet presents numerous absolute, immutable proofs that God does exist. After reading it, you will never again doubt the answer to this greatest of questions! Some proofs will amaze you. Others will inspire you. Still others will surprise or even excite you. All of them will fascinate you with their simplicity. We will first examine some traditional proofs and then consider material that rests on the cutting edge of scientific understanding, before returning to established proofs. You will learn from biology, astronomy, chemistry and mathematics.

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  23. There is an all-important question that is inseparable from the question of God’s existence. The question of whether life on earth exists, because of blind, dumb luck and chance, through evolution, or because of special creation by a Supreme Being, cannot be avoided in studying the existence of God.

    KiKi Ye

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  24. I learned that it takes far more “faith” to believe in the intellectually chic and fashionable evolutionary myth, than it does to believe in the existence of God. In fact, I learned that evolution is based entirely on faith, because no facts or proof have ever been found to support it

    Tianzhu Qin

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  25. Hi Professor, I think this blog post is quite spot on. And honestly, needed for me right now as I'm feeling a bit burnt out by education in general. Your concerns about critical thinking are completely valid, and I happen to worry about most of them myself. I especially find myself amazed by how much we depend on Google and the internet for knowledge. If we want to know the answer to something, we can immediately ask Google and find an answer (for almost anything). We have progressed technologically and yes, in many ways, generations are becoming less and less 'critically' minded. But I would also make the case that this generation is counter-acting the loss of critical thinking. Over and over we are told we are a 'generation defined by technology and social media.' Yes, we may be more vain and self-aware than ever before, but I think this self-awarness can translate into critical thinking itself.

    I personally recognize the huge role technology plays in my education. I am not involved in a single class that doesn't require me to make use of technology. But, I can tell you this, college and education have sparked a level of critical curiosity that can't be satisfied with a Google search. Every day I learn new things in my classes, sometimes they're exciting discoveries and sometimes they are tough questions. But my college and learned experience has been defined by the talks I've had with my close friends. The talks that run for hours on end where we wrestle with tough questions. Questions that, like I said, can't be answered by Google or a Tweet or an Instagram. So, while I would agree that technology may be overtaking many aspects of education, I would have to disagree that students now think any less critically than they have before.

    - Natalie Lance

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  26. I totally agree that the progression that technology has brought us is a good thing. There are so many things we can do now that people could have never imagined. Whether it me in medicine, or space exploration or social media or smart phones - technology has brought us forward in great ways. And I really like how Jessie said, "I don't believe it is a crutch but rather I see technology as a set of training wheels." I have to insert a little Spiderman quote here: With great power comes great responsibility. The technology we have is, without a doubt, a great power. And we have a responsibility to use that power wisely and not lose hold of our critical thinking skills or our ability to live in the present without technology. And I think it is possible to do that.

    - Natalie Lance

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