"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peterson Syndrome

I won't get into my reasoning and thoughts about predestination. That's a subject that I wouldn't discuss with someone unless they were a fairly accomplished Bible scholar and over the age of 30 and it would help even more if they had children.  I only mention that to say this: I am very blessed that I did not start college until I was almost 26 years old.  I had been orphaned at 13 and lived at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch. I had intellect, but no wisdom, and no one to help me or make me realize that good academic scores would realize a big payoff in the future.  After graduating high school, it would be straight into the work world.  Before beginning college I would have had at least six very different jobs.  One of them involved digging in the hot sun to install phone cable with a guy who had a Ph.d.  in some liberal arts field that I don't even remember.  By the time I was 20, I was THE store manager for an auto parts chain. I would go on to more things, and all of that experience gave me some wisdom.

Don't ever confuse knowledge with wisdom.  You can know a lot of crap that is factual and not have "a lick of sense," or wisdom.  You can spend a lot of your time and intellectual power to learn a lot of facts and information that is very useful, or stuff that won't make a pile of dirt worth of difference to your well-being.

My hard won wisdom borne of experience was with me when I started taking the requisite classes for my associate of arts degree.  So, when I had to sit in a college classroom and listen to some instructor pontificate on a subject, my BS meter would go off like a Geiger counter at Chernobyl. I was nothing like the teenagers fresh out of high school who sat there listening to every word that came out of the instructor's mouth as if it was all beyond question.  I had many "lively discussions" with many of my professors, to the shock and disbelief of surrounding students, especially when I made them admit their errors and biases.  It was a couple of years into my college work and also teaching Creation/Biblical apologetics that I discovered what the problem was in academe.  Which brings us to the following quote by Joe Huffman regarding his naming of the condition that we conservatives encounter in people on the left:  Peterson Syndrome; named for Jan Peterson who advocates for the Brady Campaign.  [Hat tip to Kevin at The Smallest Minority]

She is frequently incoherent. She cannot distinguish the difference between intentions and results. If she is a liar she would not repeatedly make these kind of mistakes. Or if she is a liar then she is very very smart and skilled to consistently use the same sort of tool without ever slipping up.

I claim it is not necessarily and in fact probably isn't stupidity. If this were stupidity then this sort of faulty thinking would not continually show up throughout human history even with people that are exceedingly well respected. Every age and society has stupid people in it and they are easily recognized and the instances of them being well respected are exceedingly rare. This is some other type of mental disorder.

This mental disorder can be, and has been, easily detected. Ask the question, "What is the process by which you determine truth from falsity?" People suffering from this mental disorder not only won't be able to supply an answer but frequently cannot even understand the question. The question is nonsensical to them. They are lacking a thinking process. Hence, by necessity, they fail to process information. Asking them to supply a process when they are totally unaware of the existence of such a concept results in the same sort of difficulty as asking a person blind since birth what color the walls are. They have no common basis with the questioner such that they can even understanding the question. This is the same sort of response we get from her. She cannot understand concepts that to us are intuitively, blindingly, demonstrably, obvious. It is nearly impossible for us to believe that she does not understand what we are saying. But if she were blind you would not claim she was stupid or a liar if she did not know the color of the wall.

Joe describes the condition, but does not offer a cause.  This is what I would like to rectify.

The problem begins when the philosophy of education shifts from teaching students HOW to think to just teaching them WHAT to think.  I wondered how we got to this model of education in the United States and most of the western world. In my own autodidactic studies, and teaching of apologetics, I saw the need to demonstrate to my students how important it was to use logic to determine truth.  I had known that in the past, even high schools had debating classes and competitions, but this had become passé.  That's where the breakdown of education had begun.  Having to learn how to reach a conclusion and then articulately defend it is the real measure of knowledge.  With rare exception, such learning is now missing from all "higher" education past the twelfth grade.  When that which is supposed to pass for education has been reduced to merely memorizing facts and information with no understanding of how the information should be usefully applied, society is heading for disaster.

History bores the snot out of kids in the public government school indoctrination centers because it has been stripped of the information that makes it relevant in the name of "separation of Church and State."  Math is boring because it isn't coupled to history and the significance of what each discovery in the field did to improve the human condition. Science is boring to many students for the same reason.  I've always loved science and thought it was fun, but it had nothing to do with what I learned in school.  It was because I was always finding stuff on my own and doing my own experiments.

How many people understand syllogism?  Far too many people cannot recognize a false premise to start with.  This is what creates the famous GIGO condition that software engineers and other scientists in the hard sciences are painfully familiar with (Garbage In, Garbage Out).  If the basic facts or information is flawed, no amount of wishful thinking is going to create a better outcome.  Not within the confines of this space/time continuum.  That is the first lesson of logic.

This will be my first essay on understanding the Peterson Syndrome.  If you'd like to contribute your thoughts on the matter, email me at:  moses5768@yahoo.com.

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