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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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September 21, 2023

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Being culturally informed allows for perspective

Welcome to our University, whether you’re a new or returning student.

Universities are in the knowledge business. This requires a healthy regard for facts, coupled with the awareness that some may be overturned in the future. Sometimes, “settled science” becomes unsettled.

Two plus three stills equals five in base-ten math, but the world is not flat. Popular opinion is not the arbiter of truth. At a university, we’re exposed to a lot of new ideas and opinions and their acceptance should depend on critical thinking. It’s an important skill to develop and the faculty should assist in this effort.

But faculty are human and, in today’s polarized world, occasionally forget their role as teachers and instead become advocates for a cause or point of view, rather than examining all sides of an issue. Regardless of the field of study, facts and opinions are different.

Some advocates substitute platitudes for analysis. Economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University has developed a simple test to detect platitudes: is the opposite position creditable?

For example, if someone favors “sustainability” without further elaboration, imagine another disagreeing and endorsing policies that promote non-sustainability. If the second opinion seems irrational, then the first probably contains platitudes. And a platitude plus forty-nine cents buys a postage stamp.

Occasionally, students encounter a class in which the criterion for passing seems to be agreeing with the instructor’s viewpoint. In that case, they will soon become adept at distinguishing information from indoctrination.

The world is more complicated than portrayed in the media. Knowing all the facts, or at least both sides of a discussion, leads to the realization that no situation can be adequately covered in a Tweet or thirty-second sound bite.

Example: thirteen people died in eleven accidents involving vehicles with faulty GM ignition switches. According to Car and Driver magazine, of those killed, seven wore seat belts; three did not; and the others were listed as “unknown.” [One fatality occurred when a passenger left the vehicle after the accident and was killed by a drunken motorist.]

One driver was under the influence of drugs; three under the influence of alcohol; one possibly had an epileptic seizure; and three were listed as “unknown.” Only three had no known impairments.

Knowing all this, is GM less liable? Probably not, but there’s obviously more to the story than the simplified media version of eleven accidents and thirteen fatalities in vehicles with defective switches.

So again, welcome to the University. The world is much more complex than it first appears. Our task, as student or instructor, is to learn how to make sense of it.

And that can take a lifetime.

Respond to Phil at

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