First, from Anthony Gottlieb’s review of Steven Pinker’s new book (Rationality: What It is, Why It Seems Scarce and Why It Matters):
Like John Locke before him, Pinker wants more lessons in schools about reasoning and critical thinking. There is some evidence that such lessons work. But what part of the curriculum should be scaled back to make room for them? According to one analysis of Department of Education data, fewer than half of American adults are proficient at reading. And according to one Department of Health study, a third of adults have difficulty interpreting simple health information, such as the instructions on a drug label. Maybe it is wise to learn to walk before you learn to run.
Yup, if you aren’t a proficient reader, instruction in logical fallacies and statistical reasoning will only go so far.
Perhaps Pinker should have started with the rationality of the prevailing…
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