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How People Accept Second Hand - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 15 November 2011 From Lazy Consumption to Active and Creative Production of Information and Knowledge People are too self-assured that the earth is round, when it may be flat or a different shape. Alan Lightman suggests this self-assurance in his essay, Is the Earth Round or Flat?…
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Download file to see previous pages Robinson laments that schools stifle creativity by undervaluing “mistakes” and promoting certain intellectual norms. Lightman wants people to stop being lazy in consuming second-hand information, because this is a medieval way of learning, and to start becoming active and creative producers of primary information, which can be the only true source of knowledge. People lazily consume second-hand information and treat them usually as knowledge often automatically and blindly, as if by faith. Scientists and educators tend to go out and test their theories, but people in general, sit back, receive information, and rarely test the latter's veracity. Lightman asks if people have “personally verified” (17) if the earth is flat or round. He discounts the existence of the “globe” and “Apollo pictures” as proof that the earth is round (17). These are not enough evidence that the world is round, because someone else has made them or collected them, and this does not mean that their proof is immediately true. Lightman does not also hold what geodesists say as true, though their whole profession may lie on understanding the “detailed shape of the earth” (17). Lightman does not easily believe them, because they have their own “measurements,” which may be wrong too. ...
Ariely investigates why people seldom change what they do and how they think. He conducts several experiments and comes up with his theory, the “personal fudge factor,” where people accept a certain form of irrationality, which they believe is enough to help them still believe that they are “correct.” The problem with the “personal fudge factor” is that people no longer test their “intuitions,” says Ariely. Being incorrect to some degree may be enough to make an intuition entirely incorrect. When people just accept intuitions and never test them, that is plain laziness. That laziness, nevertheless, sacrifices the pursuit and attainment of tested information that may be the only basis for correct information. This laziness brings people back to the medieval-period approach to learning, when the masses accept what people in power say is right. Philosophers once dominated the production of knowledge because of their influence, but the problem with them is that they rarely apply the “scientific method” in their practice (Lightman 19). As a result, they have theoretical conceptions on the shape of the earth. People then believed for centuries that the earth was flat without even testing its validity. People in power also use history to tell their own versions of the story. For instance, it is only until recently that people learn how Columbus and other European settlers in the Americas had killed millions of Native Americans, because of the former's colonization goals. Before, people live in comfortable knowledge that the European invaders brought “civilization” to the native “heathens.” The same promotion of ignorance can be said with schools. Schools had also ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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