Scientific Thinking LO21962
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 11:33:23 EDT

Replying to LO21951 --

Replying to L021951 (At de Lange <>)

I would like to start off this response on a personal note before diving
more into my intellectual constructions. Thank you At for your time,
effort, and what I see as your passion for understanding. I have been
sitting here at my computer for the past two hours attempting to deal with
the many thoughts and feelings that have been stirred within me after
reading your response to my contribution. It is not often that I have this
feeling when engaged in a "discussion". It has a quality of importance
that strikes deep within me. I was then attempting to understand both the
personal nature of that quality and resolve the dissonance provoked in me
by your response.

The dissonance resolution about information for me is the easier of the
two processes. I have become skilled in that process and arive at some
satisfactory furthering of my understanding, research more on the topic,
and/or bracket the topic to a further date or importance category.

My rationale for communicating my experience is in an attempt to further
express my insights about "Scientific Thinking", and more specifically,
advanced thinking processes in general -- Sceintific Thinking being a
useful set of tools in that advancement process.

One of my general goals is to mature intellectually. It is also one of my
"social causes" to help further the concept that intellectual skills, the
tools of Scientific Thinking being one category, are on a continum and not
so much a hardwired Stanford & Binet "intelligence scale"/IQ ratio that is
stagnate. If intelligence is more a skill than solely a genetic
predisposition, the more accurate assumption drawn from that observation
concludes that intellectual abilities are plastic and subject to
progressive advancement when effort is so applied in the direction of
increasing competency. The alternative perception, that intellectual
skills are rigid, immobile to progress, precludes that humans can learn to
develope their thinking skills.

After teaching such skills as statistics, and experimental methodology, I
have to conclude, because of the overwhelming evidence of progression of
the students, that when effort is applied, from both student and teacher,
these thinking skills do advance. I have even conducted crude experiments
in non-academic settings of teaching "non-students" advanced
multi-demensional statistical theory with people who were predetermined in
their minds to be "not a math or logic person". At that point in my life I
crossed some threshold of understanding where I noticed how important the
way information is presented positively correlates with the students
ability to process that information.

I see the perception of the caste of intelligentsia beginning to be

I previously mentioned this quality I was experiencing while reading Ats
reply. It was an admixture of emotions, attention shifting, and thoughts.
What emerged was a new feeling. I will make the connection between this
new feeling, my past contribution on "Scientific Thinking", and my present
thoughts in my conclusion.

In my past contribution I used the concept of Representative Heuristic to
help illuminate the issue of why some people don't recognize or
understand. I was also attempting to create some dialogue and
understanding about the possibility of looking at thinking on a continum
from unconscious and unskilled thinking processes to the opposite end of
the scale to aware, highly developed, and mature thinking skills, again
the Scientific Method being a set of tools that are useful on moving more
towards mature thinking.

At in his response posed some concerns that I was having a tendency of
seeing the unconscious reasoning process as "negative". My clarification
on that is not the unconscious information, sensations, or experiences are
negative, but the reasoning, the problem solving (the heuristic), has the
possibility of being faulty, innacurate, or plain old delusional. To help
validate that observation, human history is more than replete with
examples of highly irrational thinking and behavior where large groups of
people, an often random genetic group profile, have supported the
irrationality with an intense emotional fervor.

That even in our present society of scientists there still exists some
researchers the search for personality, responsibility, and developmental
related genetic codes. This rigid and immobile belief that humans have a
predestined, unwillful, out of control existence, has a representative
heuristic value on our society. Those explanations for human behavior is
still in a hot pursuit. The concept of predestination rather than
proclivity or susceptability, with the ability to explore beyond the
present competencies, still exists.

I will now attempt to tie together my three main points. The points are,
the quality I spoke of in the first paragraph, the concept of intelligence
skills on a continum, and lastly the "mentality" of intelligence related

The feeling I recognize was a combination of enthusiasm and awe. That
there I was conversing across countries with someone about thinking. In my
presonal reflection I had no memories of anyone explicitly saying things
in regards to how to, why to, to learn to be a better thinker. Sure I
learned many things and in many contexts. I learned study skills, and was
self-taught as an adult. But never did I get presented an explanation that
I could become better at my thinking. That even in studying scientific
processes my memories were of "this is how scientists do their work". As
opposed to learning the thinking style of scientific reasoning.

Thinking had this quality of assumption. That my whole point of using the
example of the representative hueristic was that, as At so precising
coined "mind engineering", was that without willful awareness that one can
improve their thinking skills how would someone even begin? Or even more
awe generating, at what level are people even aware of that they aren't
thinking? That they might be using some process or reasoning, a heuristic,
forwhich if they thought about it, might not make any sense at all.

In my curiousity I wonder what might happen within society if more
emphasis was placed on thinking skills, self reflection models of
potential rather than labels, in the early years of "schooling".

I have seen it mentioned in this list several times about logic skills
etc. being taught early on. I think there is one step before even teaching
those thinking skills. That first step being assisting people in being
aware, conscious, cognizant that they can learn to use their brains more
efficiently. That what ever their genetic make up might be that we as a
collective society haven't even begun to touch on what the outer limits of
thinking skills are. That it is only within the past ten years that I have
seen a significant focus on DEVELOPING cognitive skills of, logic,
scientific method, creaitivity, intuition, outside of the five accepted
senses awareness ( was that PC or In 1992 history was made in
the psychological community when a parapsychology study was printed in a
"main stream" journal. This event was a first, even though years and
thousands of studies had been conducted. This is another example of
collective irrational thinking, the exclusion of data because it doesn't
emotionaly fit ones present model.

Ok...stepping off my soapbox now...taking a deep breath...ahhhh...

Just some thoughts on the matter,

Glen R Burns


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