Why do we stay ignorant?
There are in fact two things, science and opinion;
the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.
Hippocrates, Law, Book 1
“Agnotology: The Cultural Production of Ignorance”
Stanford Professor Londa Schiebinger invented the word Agnotology - the Cultural Production Of Ignorance. Epistolmolgy is the study of why we know what we know, Agnology is the study of why we don't know things. Why does our culture deliberately avoid or push a side knowledge? Why do we believe nonsense? Who controls information, and what mechanisms work at the individual level to control knowledge.
Truthiness is a term coined by Stephen Colbert, on the first episode of his TV show on Comedy Central, the Colbert Report. It refers to our tendency to believe or not believe something, not based on facts, evidence or logic, but by whether it "feels" true.
Examples of Agnotology: Agnology.com
This web site misspells the word, and has a religious view of knowledge vs a scientific basis of knowledge.
Other examples:The AIDS epidemic, Global warming, Mental health...
Russian Health care:
For centuries the Russian medical establishment believed that germs just appeared, therefore sterilization and Lister were ignored, resulting in terrible health: one reason Tuberculosis is rampant. See the book Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett
This posting from the blog Critical Thinking
Why Americans Can't Think (actually this applies to everyone...)
I have been teaching high school science for nine years. Each year I have a surprising number of students who resist vigorously any request to think for themselves. Many students (in some classes, the overwhelming majority) expect to have information poured into their heads, without having to struggle with difficult concepts, synthesize information, apply concepts to novel situations, or solve challenging problems. Very few students will ask questions during class, outside of class or even through email. They often come to class with preconceived notions that are not true (e.g., the idea that we come from monkeys), which only makes it harder to understand the truth (e.g., that we share a common ancestor with monkeys). Some students believe that all knowledge is relative; therefore, evidence from controlled scientific experiments is no more valid to them than the information presented in an advertisement. Others believe that science is just another religion and they are free to believe in it or not. And some resist thinking about anything that is difficult to understand or that requires them to focus and concentrate.
Being able to think critically and independently is a skill that most people are not formally taught. It is a skill that is not easy to teach nor is it explicitly included as a discreet standard in the California state standards for high school education.
Some other factors contributing to the inability to think critically:
• Thinking takes time (who has much of that these days?)
• Thinking may lead one to conclusions that are frightening or that compel one to act
• Government and media censorship limit access to information and warp the facts
• Thinking might require going against the mainstream
• Thinking might require giving up long held beliefs
• Thinking might require giving up important social relationships
• If one thinks for himself and is wrong, who is he to blame?
• Each time we have to solve a problem or think for ourselves, we bring with us our own biases that might impede our understanding
• Biases develop over one's lifetime, as a result of the influence of family members, peers, colleagues, and are difficult to overcome
# posted by pantagruel1 : 9:15 AM