My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I believe that we live in a "dumbed down" country. So Nichols's book just reinforces my current thinking. Politicians, business executives and just about every facet of our culture are steeped in ignorance, exaggerations, spins and lies. There was a period of time were most people would be shocked by lies or exaggerations spouted publicly. Not anymore! If one reads the comments sections from news blogs or social media sites, one questions the rationality of many of the writers. It seems that many Americans have lost the ability to filter truth from bull shit. There are some good insights in this book – – not sure people will find them surprising--- definitely worth a read.
Listed below are some insights from the book that attracted my attention:
"Americans have reached a point where ignorance, especially of anything related to public policy, is an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to insulate their increasingly fragile egos from ever being told they’re wrong about anything. It is a new Declaration of Independence: no longer do we hold these truths to be self evident, we hold all truths to be self evident, even the ones that aren’t true. All things are knowable and every
opinion on any subject is as good as any other."
"Not only do increasing numbers of laypeople lack basic knowledge, they reject fundamental rules of evidence and refuse to learn how to make a logical argument. In doing so, they risk throwing away centuries of accumulated knowledge and undermining the practices and habits that allow us to develop new knowledge."
"The most important of these intellectual capabilities, and the one most under attack in American universities, is critical thinking: the ability to examine new information and competing ideas dispassionately, logically, and without emotional or personal preconceptions."
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