How Education Has Failed Us: Consistency

When examining the very nature of our educational system, either by reading arguments for or against the overall educational reform, compounded by the fact that I personally am still a part of this system, I feel it is safe to say that our current system has its advantages and disadvantages.

And, in order to make this system better (create more advantages), I think it is very important to examine the disadvantages. It is in my view, that the most damaging way our educational system has failed the people of The United States is by breeding people who are non-consistent in their logic. I will say further, that our educational system usually (does not mean all cases) produces uneducated people that think they are educated.

So what is logical consistency, and more importantly, how does consistency or lack of consistency manifest itself to the reality around us? Let me start with the very definition of the word.

Consistency – Steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc..

This is not the only definition, however it is the definition that is relevant for this discussion.

So to answer my first question by using the definition of the word, is that logical consistency would be someone who not only follows the rules of logical conclusion, but follows the very conclusions that he or she makes even if those conclusions were unpleasant.

So how does this lack of consistency manifest into the world of education? I think the best way to describe this phenomena, is the cognitive distortion of filtering, and black and white or all or nothing thinking.

A cognitive distortion are mechanisms that can be found in any persons’ thinking that distort the reality in front of them. Which means, the reality is not True reality, and so therefore cognitive distortions are irrational in nature.

Filtering is the harder of the two to explain, so let me start with that. Filtering basically means that someone refuses to see the complete picture. A typical example of this, would be how a depressed person sees the world. A depressed person constantly dwells and “sees” the negative outcomes and consequences of everything around them. They filter out all the good stuff. The reason why filtering lacks consistency, is because anyone who lives in this world should know that anything in this world has advantages and disadvantages. To either look at the advantages and not the disadvantages, or to focus on the disadvantages and refuse to even acknowledge the advantages, is not only inconsistent but it is practicing the cognitive distortion of filtering.

The second cognitive distortion is black and white or all or nothing thinking. I will take the easy example of politics. Let us examine how this statement which is black and white in nature, is irrational. “All government regulations are bad, and all taxes should be cut in all circumstances.”

In order for any logical statement to be true, the reverse has to be true as well. Therefore, if we were to symbolize this, this is what it would look like:

A —> B if and only if

-A —> -B

So let us define these variables:

A = All government regulations

B = Are “bad”

-A = No government regulations

-B = Are “good”

Therefore, if all government regulations are bad, then no government regulations must be good.

When the American Public goes out to eat in the restaurant sector of the economy, they trust that the food that is sold to themselves are sanitary in nature. In fact, any restaurant will usually show off their “A” rating when they meet the governmental standards to approve such a rating. If those regulations were not in place, the citizen would have to inspect each and every restaurant that they want to eat at, and if they are intelligent, they would inspect a restaurant even if in the past the restaurant passed their personal inspections. Furthermore, does the citizen feel they are competent in determining on what is sanitary or not?

What about food super markets? Think about how much more time would need to be invested (money lost, because everyone is worth so much per hour) just to buy groceries?

What about bridge inspection?

What about financial regulation? If anyone has learned anything from our recent financial crisis, I hope they realized that our financial system does need some regulations. In fact, the very people that fought regulations went to the government and said, “You should have enacted more regulations so this would not of happened!” Very typical from some very irrational people.

Therefore, it is safe to say that -A –/–> -B

Therefore, A –/–> B

For the sake of saving time and energy on both our ends, I will not write out the examination of the statement ,”Cutting all taxes in all situations” is illogical. However, the same method can be used.

And so, all or nothing thinking is very irrational.

How does this all effect us in the classroom?

There are many examples, but I am going to focus on a controversial one. That is how our educational system presents Evolution into our classrooms.

I remember during my days of Honors Biology in high school, evolution was scientific fact. Which, is a very big misinterpretation on The Theory of Evolution. The Theory of Evolution is an overall theory based off of large amounts of scientific facts. There is a huge difference. Especially considering how interpretation effects scientific conclusions. All the mathematical analyses are pointless if the person doing these analyses are not able to accurately interpret what it all means.

Furthermore, there was absolutely no discussion about the criticisms of the current model, or what new findings that might be altering the whole model. I just read an article that scientists are finding more and more species of man. And, they are finding out that there is evidence that all these different species mated. Which means, there is a human diversity that they did not anticipate. Which means, how exactly do you define man? Evolution is looking to be much more fluid than it was once perceived.

So, is it possible, that evolutionary biologists do not know everything? They even admit that they don’t! Which means, just because an overall theory is predicated upon a lot of scientific facts, does not necessarily mean that it is completely right. And if you follow consistent logic, that also does not mean it is completely wrong either.

So it is very ignorant coming from a teacher who has at least a masters degree to not teach the criticisms of the whole model of how humanity got here. That is not consistent, and therefore, it is not rational. Which means this inevitably will feed more inconsistent thoughts to the students, whereby the whole process of a more ignorant mass accelerates by a snowball effect. (There are other examples of this, like the pros and cons of a capitalistic market.)

What is a solution?

I think the easiest solution would be to force school districts to teach Logic at a much younger age. I think if students are more competent of mathematical logic, this will inevitably give them a tool that will allow them to think more accurately, logically, and therefore, rationally.

And so, I leave you with one way our educational system has failed us. But I do not think that is the complete picture. There are other failures, and just to be consistent, there ways that the educational system has served the people well. However, part of the overall problem with thinking irrationally is not just cognitive distortions. Another huge problem I have run into, is what I term The Male Communicative Dominance Theory.

That is for another post.  Enjoy!

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