Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Lack of scientific and critical thinking

A good illustration of the inability and unwillingness of people to think critically and scientifically: On the one hand, the contents of these pages are likely to strike the average scientist as too speculative, poorly referenced, poorly researched with regard to other authors, and otherwise unsatisfactory. On the other, if I were even half as stringent (as on these pages) in the office, I would be considered an over-zealous pedant and nit-pick, and (if reviewing the work of others) a besser-wisser—possibly even an idiot.

The way most people think resembles throwing darts at a map to find the location for a new home: The first idea, solution, or formulation that springs to mind is automatically chosen—with no regard for efficiency, effectiveness, side-effects, special cases, and, notably, alternatives. Worse yes, convincing someone to re-consider is all but impossible. Pointing out overlooked aspects or making alternative suggestions only seems to make the decision firmer still.

In fact, I suspect that the point behind much of didactics, in particular maieutics, is to circumvent pre-conceived opinions, avoid stubborn and/or blind adherence to old ideas, etc.—not to facilitate the attempt to understand, but just to make the students willing to even make the attempt.

Wikipediaw has a lot of information on cognitive biases. I would recommend anyone to read through the many entries. (This includes those who, like I do, consider their own susceptibility to be reasonably below average: No-one is actually spotless in this regard—and the own perception of susceptibility may, it self, be influenced by a cognitive bias.)