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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

False discotomy

Republican consultant:

"The Republican party is the conservatives...the Democratic party are the liberals."

The problem is too many people believe this.

Discussion in one of my sections confirmed that at least some of those in the class are set in this black and white view of the world, polarized and false.

Most of you will not read this or will read to find ways to argue, post your own view or simply disagree. You will not read it as one part of the critical thinking process. You will jump to generalities, make political polar judgements, either want a more liberal response or label me "liberal" without understanding what I write. I am open because not to be would be to be a hypocrite. I do not intend to indoctrinate or convert others who may have opposing views, only to teach that every issue should be viewed from both sides without blind obedience or fast judgement. That's a fact, not a judgement or insult to you as a reader.

Critical thinking is not one of their strengths, yet they will say they are critical thinkers.

Being patient enough to listen to and understand all side of an issue or a problem seems to be a thing of the past in America, declining with our declining education and sense of history.

The reality is that the candidates and parties, just as we all are as individuals, are far more complex than the black and white, right or left polarity that consults preach and the media buys into.

One example is Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator and Conservative standard bearer, who raised taxes, believed in social programs to those in the most need, believed in the liberal idea of making peace with the most populated communist country in the world (one who had said they would destroy us),  and in many was a moderate and not a conservative.

Another example: I am a Democrat. I am a unionist. I am pro-life. I am anti-war but see it as a necessary evil in defense of our nation and our public safety. I believe in health care for all, in the opportunity for work, in not letting any American go without a roof or starve (biblical conservative but for some reason seen as flaming liberal by our polarized political pundits and leadership). I believe Education at all levels should be funded by taxpayers and our government. My reasons are to maintain the leadership in the US in the world, to make the potential of an educated and critical thinking based electorate and for the prosperity of our business and capitalistic system. That's a mix of conservative and liberal ideologies.

I refuse to sit by and let Obama care be overturned, because for the first time ever I will be able to get my own insurance (rejecting a potential customer due to pre-existing conditions disappear in 2013). I believe every child, woman (who are considered a pre-existing condition and whether or not they know it pay more for health insurance because of their sex), and man deserves the foundation of basic health care regardless  of income or social status.

I will fight for the liberal idea that all men (this includes women, as mankind is not one sex but a description of our species) should be treated equally, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, physical characteristics, disability or age (with obvious exceptions like kids should not fight in a war or vote, and perhaps some seniors should, for physical reasons, not drive automobiles when impaired). Under the current system economic and educational discrimination exist, easily confirmed through census data, independent studies and if you are open minded, personal observation.

I support our troops and believe that if a country does not go after those who openly seek to kill us and destroy our way of living, they should be a potential target for US Military intervention. This would include Pakistan, Palestine, and China. Notice I say country, and specifically those who seek to do us harm as individuals, and not the citizens of those nations or their infrastructure. This is painted by the polarity politicians as a Conservative Republican view. It is not, it is a protectionist view which many Democrats support (sources are Pew Trust, Gallop and other polls).

Yet these ideas are said to show I am hiding my true liberal heart, because after all you are either liberal or conservative, black or white, right or wrong.

This is known as the fallacy of false dichotomy. 

"You are are either for us or against us."

 A statement that though time has allowed dictators to take power, and one that is common among conservatives and most Republicans today (again supported by poll data).

You are either Republican or Democrat.

Conservative or Liberal.

Right or wrong.

Truth or Falsehood.


With us or against us.
First published 10/19/11

Ethics in Critical Thought and Public Speaking

ETHICS overview...starting with


Ethic include use of presentation aids

Truthful and non-harmful (declaimer or do not use if harmful).
Alert audience if any images have been altered
Does the image represent an underlying truth?
Is there a valid reason for its use?
Has the image been manipulated, and if so by whom, why and does it remain truthful?
Context. Does it hold up in context? Has it been taken out of context?
Be healthily skeptical about images and other presentation aids
(Commissar’s image, Internet contextual miss-representation, sequential manipulation, others)
Should not take the place of other evidence or support for claims.
Remember that images carry ethical responsibility and can harm or willfully mislead

Ethics


Freedom of Speech does not guarantee freedom from consequence.

All Speech or any communication can change the lives or attitudes of listeners.

You are not free to willfully harm others, in speech or action.

Freedoms are not rights, but privileges. They can be abused or even taken away when they interfere with the rights of others.

Define ethics.

The study of human moral conduct or the branch of philosophy that addresses the right and wrong in human conduct.

A set of moral principals.
Moral, correct, right, proper, just, righteous, honorable, decent, upright, principled, fair, honest, good, virtuous, noble.
Varies by culture and individual, but generally a map or plan to determine right from wrong, truth from falsehood, acceptable form unacceptable.


Click on read more below to continue reading....

Understanding Others

Try to understand where others are coming from

When you speak, debate or post on a blog keep in mind that there are others who have screens/filter, life experience, views or even tramas you may not be aware of.

For example being too honest in a discussion about rape, may harm or create a reaction you could easily misinterpret from someone who has been raped or who may be close to someone who has been raped.


On a common gathering topic, if you talk about how celebrities have no right to an opinion or say and continue to harp on how celebrities do not know what they are talking about, be aware that an actor, family member or friend of a celebrity may be in the room. As you now I sit on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, so I can argue with knowledge and experience on educated, world traveled and intelligent most (but not all) actors and celebrities are. Do not believe media hype.


All professors are not liberal, and even those who have liberal leaning views, may have conservative views on some issues and be middle of the road on most. And professors, like actors, are more likely to be well traveled and educated even if your view of intelligent may be different than theirs.


Attack instead of consider the views of others seems to be a trend that could tear apart our democracy and our civility.  Not acknowledging the validity or experience of another post or another point of view cannot be tolerated in a civil society.


It is why we teach and hope to pass on "critical thinking" in this and other classes.


The truth is not one sided, and not vested in any one person.


Experts in any given field will disagree on most issues, so it is vital we all agree to disagree.


By this point in the term you should have learned not to believe slogans, sound  bites, things repeated too often around the dinner table or office. Do the research and keep your mind open. If you disagree, contribute without attack or confrontation. We have learned about persuasion, the fallacies, demographic differences, screens and filters (Noise), differences in individual experiences, and the importance of being tolerant and open minded.


Above all we should have covered and worked together to understand the experience, point of  view and reasons behind the views of others.


To say that it is OK not to allow people to no have insurances for financial reason, because insurance companies refuse to carry them or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age or physical conditions is not the way to have a discourse. To propose a future and a way to transition to a healthier society would be a positive way to proceed on the same argument. Not everyone has money. Not everyone can afford Whole Foods or have the transportation to go to places that offer healthier eating. Not everyone is literate or speaks English. These are realities that should be acknowledged and not attacked.


One sided or unfeeling attacks t fly in the face of critical thinking.


In Critical Thinking you should put yourself in the others shoes and acknowledge the other side. It does not mean you have to accept any alliterative view, but you do need to know it, acknowledge its value and then use your knowledge in your balanced argumentation to support your points or agendas.  It is a requirement of the course within speeches. It is also something that is key to a democratic society.


I am really surprised that there are a few students who take this as a personal insult or attack to disagree or to have and post an opposing view to their own.


I find it hard to question that perhaps there is a need to protect those who are already sick, were born with the wrong color skin, are the wrong sex or through no fault of their own are poor. But I know there are those who empathy is structured differently or who have a different priority or view of how the universe should work.


I do understand.


However civic public discussion must be two sided, and open to opposing views for it to fit the purpose of this blog, most courses and our need to regain a civil society.


Respect, not inquisitions.


Understanding age and those who are different in any way is part of the process of open critical thinking.


Most courses I teach require this understanding and encourage an open mind, not attack, of others.


I am open to other views, and welcome those different than the ones I state openly on the first day of classes I teach or in my public communications.


I hope that most of you know that the "news and views" in this blog are not all my own. Some are written by others (acknowledged in the post), gleaned from media, presented to be a "devil's advocate" or presented to create two sided discourse (not argumentation), interned to assist in speech topics, content and to provide a platform for applying the concepts of the course (Communication, media and Critical Thinking) in the wider context of society.

Resources and Study Links

Up Resource and Study Materials

Sample outlines, help for each speech, help for research and references.
These do not apply to this or any specific class, course, section, school or text. Ignore chapter or page references unless you use them as a source in other research.

Informative Speaking Assignment PowerPoint

Informative Speaking Lesson Notes

Persuasive Speaking Lesson Notes

Extemporainous speaking, eye contact, demographics, other

Jillian's Notes


The following are links to locations on this blog, working as of the date this was scipted. If they do not work, use the search feature on the blog or e-mail art.lynch@artlynch.org.

Click read more to see the list of links...


What is Critical Thinking?



Souce:http://www.virtualsalt.com/think/introct.htm

You've been thinking all of your life, of course, for thinking is simply the interaction of ideas. However, thinking is somewhat similar to other skills, like writing, drawing, or fixing cars. Practice and education can improve it. So even though you "know how to think" already, you can improve your thinking by learning about the tools and mental habits that produce the best thinking.

Analysis. Critical thinking might be defined as an approach to ideas from the standpoint of deliberate consideration. You hold an idea at arm's length and examine it before accepting it into your mental framework. Another way of defining critical thinking might be as a habit of cautious evaluation, an analytic mindset aimed at discovering the component parts of ideas and philosophies, eager to weigh the merits of arguments and reasons in order to become a good judge of them. Analysis is the ability to break arguments or claims down into parts and to discover the relationship between the parts. The arguments can then be evaluated.

It follows that sometimes the evaluation and judgment will be positive. Whether you are evaluating record albums, people, cars, political parties, recipes, controversial issues, books, vacation spots, whatever, there is a range of arguments stretching from good to bad about each thing, and sometimes the net result of the evaluation will be that the thing is good and worthy, right and true. Critical thinking, then, is not a cynical, negative force designed to improve your fault finding. In fact, if this class merely strengthens your ability to depreciate the arguments of your opponents, I will not have succeeded in teaching you how to think critically.

Critical thinking should be a constructive force and attitude, for examining all ideas and arguments, including your own dearly held ones, and for separating the ideas from their vehicles, to divide true from false, accurate from distorted, complete from incomplete, and so on. In fact, far from being an expert at fault finding, a critical thinker will be even more open to opposing arguments and ideas, carefully considering the merit and weight of each one, recognizing that he or she, the critical thinker, can always learn something from others, and might even be wrong in a current position.

Good thinkers develop the habit of analysis and take the time to think about claims and issues instead of just reacting to them. Thinkers take claims apart and see what is going on.

Click on "read more" to continue or click here to link to source web page.

Liberals and Human Learning Theory


Philosophy shapes research. Research shapes practice. Education Philosophy and Theory: Experience, Influence, Practice

     Education has long borrowed from and been influenced by different philosophies, some rooted in classical traditions, and some modern or post modern. From these philosophies, researchers have developed specific theories to understand and improve the process of learning. Education has a rich and complex wellspring of philosophical traditions and theory upon which to draw and practice. Among these philosophies are liberal, progressive, behaviorist and humanist schools of thoughts, which continue to influence and complete for attention among American educators.
Click on "read more" below for further discussion and insights.

Bias and the Prism of Time vs. Reality: We view movies through the lens of our times

Where do I go for more?


Communication Concepts, Topics and Lists


These are presented for reference and study use only. They are not intended to replace lecture or your current text. Chapters and page numbers may from another course. Use these as you choose. Many are quite useful.

For additional links click "read more" below...

Try to understand where others are coming from

When you speak, debate or post on a blog keep in mind that there are others who have screens/filter, life experience, views or even traumas you may not be aware of.

For example being too honest in a discussion about rape, may harm or create a reaction you could easily misinterpret from someone who has been raped or who may be close to someone who has been raped.

On a common gathering topic, if you talk about how celebrities have no right to an opinion or say and continue to harp on how celebrities do not know what they are talking about, be aware that an actor, family member or friend of a celebrity may be in the room. As you now I sit on the National Board of the Screen Actors Guild, so I can argue with knowledge and experience on educated, world traveled and intelligent most (but not all) actors and celebrities are. Do not believe media hype.

All professors are not liberal, and even those who have liberal leaning views, may have conservative views on some issues and be middle of the road on most. And professors, like actors, are more likely to be well traveled and educated even if your view of intelligent may be different than theirs.

Attack instead of consider the views of others seems to be a trend that could tear apart our democracy and our civility.  Not acknowledging the validity or experience of another post or another point of view cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

It is why we teach and hope to pass on "critical thinking" in this and other classes.

The truth is not one sided, and not vested in any one person.

Experts in any given field will disagree on most issues, so it is vital we all agree to disagree.

By this point in the term you should have learned not to believe slogans, sound  bites, things repeated too often around the dinner table or office. Do the research and keep your mind open. If you disagree, contribute without attack or confrontation. We have learned about persuasion, the fallacies, demographic differences, screens and filters (Noise), differences in individual experiences, and the importance of being tolerant and open minded.

Above all we should have covered and worked together to understand the experience, point of  view and reasons behind the views of others.

To say that it is OK not to allow people to no have insurances for financial reason, because insurance companies refuse to carry them or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age or physical conditions is not the way to have a discourse. To propose a future and a way to transition to a healthier society would be a positive way to proceed on the same argument. Not everyone has money. Not everyone can afford Whole Foods or have the transportation to go to places that offer healthier eating. Not everyone is literate or speaks English. These are realities that should be acknowledged and not attacked.

One sided or unfeeling attacks t fly in the face of critical thinking.

In Critical Thinking you should put yourself in the others shoes and acknowledge the other side. It does not mean you have to accept any alliterative view, but you do need to know it, acknowledge its value and then use your knowledge in your balanced argumentation to support your points or agendas.  It is a requirement of the course within speeches. It is also something that is key to a democratic society.

I am really surprised that there are a few students who take this as a personal insult or attack to disagree or to have and post an opposing view to their own.

I find it hard to question that perhaps there is a need to protect those who are already sick, were born with the wrong color skin, are the wrong sex or through no fault of their own are poor. But I know there are those who empathy is structured differently or who have a different priority or view of how the universe should work.

I do understand.

However civic public discussion must be two sided, and open to opposing views for it to fit the purpose of this blog, most courses and our need to regain a civil society.

Respect, not inquisitions.

Understanding age and those who are different in any way is part of the process of open critical thinking.

Most courses I teach require this understanding and encourage an open mind, not attack, of others.

I am open to other views, and welcome those different than the ones I state openly in of classes I teach or in my public communications. As stated these are only as examples or to stimulate selection of speech topics by students (feel free to take any and all positions on an issue, event, viewpoint or informative topic).

I hope that most of you know that the "news and views" in this blog or others are most often not all my own. Some are written by others (acknowledged in the post), gleaned from media, presented to be a "devil's advocate" or presented to create two sided discourse (not argumentation), interned to assist in speech topics, content and to provide a platform for applying the concepts of the course (Communication, media and Critical Thinking) in the wider context of society.





Week One Com 101 Concepts



Use of the blog:
-       Communication Course supplemental materials
-       Opinions and view to consider and provide feedback on
-       Ideas for topics, thoughts, application to the communication process
-       Further investigation of communication
-       Issues, news and events to spur discussion and debate
Review of Syllabus
Resources
-       in book, online
-       on Art Lynch blog,
-       in lecture
Who am I?
-       Bias
-       Stereotype
-       Prejudice
-       Impressions
-       Change
Communication Model
-       Full model and elements
-       Understanding Noise
-       Understanding Culture
Environment and Context
The brain and listening
Introductions
Getting Started

Integrating Presentation Media



This guide is written in part by the authors of the authors of the text, "Public Speaking, the Evolving Art (ISBN-13:978-0-534-636727-9). It is a summary and should not take the place of reading the textbook or using the other resources provided on Angel by the publisher, course instructor or school. Additional information has been added. It is intended for informational educational course work application only.

Chapter Summary

Speakers use presentation media to draw attention to their topic, illustrate an idea, evoke an emotional reaction, clarify points, support an argument, and assist with audience recall. General guidelines for designing effective visual media include keeping it simple, emphasizing only key ideas, showing what you can't say, using close-ups of photographs and other images, combining variety with coherence, and using large, readable lettering.

Traditional visual and audio media such as overhead transparencies, flip charts and posters, white boards and chalkboards, document cameras, video, handouts, models, and sound recordings allow you to enrich your speech. Digital slides have become a frequently used form of presentation media. Although some speakers rely too much on digital slides, the versatility of software programs such as Keynote and PowerPoint offer tremendous flexibility in creating dynamic visual and audio materials.

By treating your presentation media as essential components of your speech that require careful preparation and delivery, you can maximize their impact and avoid common problems associated with their use. The key to success in using presentation media is balance: Give media the proper support role in your speech. With all the resources available to you today, remember that you are the best delivery system for communicating ideas to your audience.

Note that presentation aids includes photographs, video, music, smells, sights, flip charts, posters, overheads, models, demonstrations and other media besides electronic. Do not become too PowerPoint dependent, or for that matter dependant on any one media.

Always be ready to present your speech without an aid or all of your aids, as technical limitations, lost luggage and other events may require adaptation and presentation without any one or multiple outside support aids.

For additional information, click on "read More" below.

Information, Media and Community

http://transition.fcc.gov/osp/inc-report/The_Information_Needs_of_Communities.pdf


Non-profits, Citizens, Journalism Schools, Public Broadcasting and Government


Click here to read on this topic, or click the link above to read the full report on the changing media landscape in the broadband age and the media needs of communities.

A decline in who we are?

The news media has picked up on what has been on on-going discussion in the Chronicle for Higher Education and among educators: the decline in education.

Of concern at the college level is the decline of standards in critical thinking and research, the shift from scholar to customer, and from the search for truth to how to make more money and increase your personal lot in life.


Critical thinking means many things, but for this purpose the ability to reason through and understand all sides of an issue or problem and be open to altering your own view or acknowledging the strengths as well a weaknesses of opposing viewpoints.

In other other words: think.

Teaching at the high school, trade school, community college and university level, teachers and faculty observe that students want to go the easy way: to teach to the test, to have their views be heard without any reference or serious consideration of the views of others, to not have to delve into such valuable resources as history, philosophy, psychology, religious studies or anything that may require and understanding of society differing from the one they grew up in and accept as the one true way.

Too many students want it their way...their view and vision of the world to be the one and only acceptable way of doing or seeing things. [This may explain the election of a government that no longer compromises and governs but sticks to black and white constants over a functioning society]. 

Research is an 8 letter 4 letter word, beyond quick Internet searches, Google, Wikipedia and whatever is fastest and easiest to find.


Some schools no longer allow faculty to encourage, much less require, scholarly juried sources of academic material. It has become OK to use pulp magazines and Internet sites that present the misinformation or sales bias material provided by public relations and advertising sources as "fact" (without any indication of the source being anything less than balance and academic). [I have worked in the media and know how these "sources" the students feel should be accepted are generated.] These schools call themselves colleges and/or universities. Even public universities have eroded the standards of research and ability to reason through all point of view and question the authenticity of not only opinion but of facts.

Those same students then complain about getting a B instead of an A, credits not transferring and faculty members who dare to present views or opinions that do not fit with their own.

Education as a customer service institution has grown as state budgets get tight, increasing consumer centered generations take over decision making positions and the model of public-private partnerships and government backed student loans fuel the engines of education.

But can a student be a customer? Are teachers there to help students grow into citizens, decision makers, leaders and excel or to simple train them for the jobs they perceive as allowing them to pay off their student loans and have a better life for themselves and their family. The American Dream as money and not as a concept of democracy, public service and social interdependency may already be so entrenched that the solid liberal arts education of the past, the self thinkers who built this country, may have gone the way of the dinosaurs for most of America.

Can a student be an informed customer if they are not aware of the inaccuracies of thought, of how others think, of a changing work beyond YouTube and Facebook?


While seeking to better yourself, and by extension your families wealth and well being are a key part of American capitalism and most say American democracy, should it be the foundation of how decisions are made, the motivation for our educational standards and actions, the root source of who we are?

That's another debate, one that requires critical thinking skills, research, being open to a wide range of views and the overall needs of society as well as self.

Are we capable of such a discussion? Are we teaching our future generation of leaders to be able to make solid decisions on these and other key issues?

Or are we teaching them to get what they pay for, demand what they want and believe what they already believe?

And what of the educators and administrators?

Are we hiring teachers who read, question, put the pursuit of knowledge first or who are seeking steady jobs working with age groups they like being around? Are we hiring administrators who hire and fire, move chess pieces around and who are more interested in balancing budgets than rewarding employees who push their students to think, funding programs that help students to push the envelope and opening the door to debate and critical thought? Are they setting prohibition and policies or allowing for faculty to stretch and challenge students? And are they bean counters or innovators?

A discussion for another time.

-Dr. Art Lynch