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On critical and hypocritical thinking

Monday, February 23, 2015

In mathematics, science and engineering, critical thinking is highly valued. It would appear however, that in the activity labelled “the art of the possible,” which has a morality of its own, a variant called “hypocritical thinking” is even more prized. One should not be surprised. In a land where lewd simulated public acts of bestiality is lauded as high national culture, deviant reasoning is bound to abound. 

Science Centres worldwide generally include a planetarium and maybe an aquarium where both local and foreign visitors congregate in a specific geographic location to view the exhibits. During the period of the self-proclaimed “greatest show on earth” scantily clad or painted unclad (if observer reports are to be believed) exhibit multi-linkage (linkage is robotic technology for a limb) body dynamics, jiggles included, at specific locations across the nation. Of course, if there was a scientific name for such a location, surely it must be “vulgarium.” 

But back to the issue of critical thinking and reasoning. Critical thinking is an intellectually disciplined process that provides an analytic tool for analysing and synthesising information to guide an action or belief. Those who practise this high and difficult system of thinking beyond their disciplines can be viewed as hypercritical thinkers as they go way beyond the norm.

On the other hand, those who are wedded to a selective and convenient type self-serving reasoning are hypocritical thinkers as their approach falls below the norm. 

The following examples would both illustrate and elucidate the different types of thinking. So, if someone were to proclaim that mature people, say people 60 years and above, must conform to some social norms, inclusive of clothing and behaviour, suitable for their age, then one would have to assume, out of logical necessity, that such people would definitely not engage in behaviour inconsistent with the stated initial premise. 

Making the front pages in the dailies last week, were photographs from a south-based “vulgarium,” presenting snapshots of, in mechatronics terminology, forward inclined-backwards body dynamics. Critical and sound reasoning would, with astounding clarity, indicate that such actions cannot be justified, especially by those who support the initial premise of mature behavioural norms.

Of course, hypocritical thinking, would obfuscate the facts and introduce special exemptions to defend the indefensible. That is what is called hypocrisy, of the worst type.

A perversion of a technique used in Artificial Intelligence (AI) called backward (no pun intended) chaining is used. In AI-based diagnostic systems (used in medicine, engineering etc) either forward or backward chaining can be used. In the former symptoms/evidence are followed to arrive at a logical conclusion. In the latter, a conclusion is assumed and then the evidence is viewed and analysed to see if they support the initial assumption.

Strict and logical procedures are employed and deviation or alteration/perversion is not allowed. This is in conformity with critical and logical thinking processes.

Perversion takes place when existing evidence is selectively applied and new premises, inconsistent with the initially stated one, are introduced to ensure that the desired result/outcome is achieved. 

So new premises introduced. Our leader is irresistible to the ladies and they therefore flock to his side for photographs. Oh and also, this is Carnival where mature people can dance with people one quarter their age, but a properly attired person with interesting stockings/leggings are a no-no. Talk about hypocrisy. This must the Trini version of Animal Farm, appropriately entitled Carnival Farm.

Bacchanal, hypocritical posturing and spin-doctoring are titillating and make good reading, for the vast majority, no doubt. But good leadership requires sound and logical decision-making capabilities. That requires good logical thinkers whose actions are consistent with their pronouncements. 


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