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Showing posts from October, 2022

How to Do Your Own Accurate Fact Checking

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.  In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. "Fake News" & Misinformation Learn how to evaluate news sources, identify unreliable sources, misinformation, and conspiracy theories Fact-Checking Links A product of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, this site is useful for checking on political claims. Politifact The Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact researches the claims of politicians and checks their accuracy. One of the oldest debunking sites on the Internet, focu

Global Governance and the Fear of the 'Other'

by Michael Corthell [I wrote this as an introduction to my theory about social behavior in the global resource-based economic system.] Fear : (noun) an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. (verb) be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening. "farmers fear that they will lose business" In both humans and in animals, the purpose of fear is to help ensure the survival of the individual. During the process of human and non-human evolution, the ones who feared the proper existential threats survived to pass on their genes. If we had no instinctive fear, we wouldn't have survived. Therefore fear is a good thing unless it is irrational.  Phobias are one type of irrational fear, but there is another that I call 'misplaced fear'. Fear of loss to the other is one that I'd like to highlight because it is the genesis of racism and by extension speciesism

Common Sense vs. Superstition

Superstition : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance,  fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. by Michael Corthell Superstitious beliefs are very common throughout the world. They aren't discussed very much and are for the most part just accepted. These false beliefs vary across cultural lines and among nationalities but they all have the same beginnings: ignorance, as we shall see. ''Religion without morality is a superstition and a curse, and morality without religion is impossible.'' — Mark Hopkins Are you a slave to your superstitions? Do you turn around when you see a black cat? Do you avoid stepping on a crack (so you won't break your mother's back!), because you are sure that your day will be ruined? Have you broken a mirror, and felt the doom that your life was ruined for the next seven years? If you feel this way, then it may be time to break the habit of superstition by standing in t

Conspiracy Theories and What Makes People Believe in Them

__________________________________ Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, whereby the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than something that can be proved or disproved. Research suggests that conspiracist ideation—belief in conspiracy theories—can be psychologically harmful or pathological and that it is correlated with psychological projection , paranoia and Machiavellianism . Psychologists attribute finding a conspiracy where there is none to a mental illness called illusory pattern perception . Conspiracy theories once limited to fringe audiences have become commonplace in mass media , emerging as a cultural phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivati

Government and Politics: The Coin of Democracy | A Solution

by Michael Corthell The Democratic Party and the Republican Party dominate modern politics in the United States. They can be seen as one coin with the Democrats  on one side and the Republicans on the other. The name of the coin is 'corruption.' How can I say with surety, that these political parties are indeed both corrupt other than saying, 'Look what they have done and continue to do!'??  All governments on Earth, past and present were and are corrupt. In fact, there has never been a truly democratic government, ever(the ancient Greeks came close).  They all were, and are corrupted by the money-based systems that support them whether it be socialistic , capitalistic , or communistic systems.  That money is the root of all evils(corrupt behaviors) is a factual statement . In America, any political candidate, particularly a national or state candidate needs money to run their campaign to get their message out, and then once installed in the elected office here come t

January 6th was the Price for Two Failed Impeachment Convictions

  by Michael Corthell  (This was written on January 6, 2021 as the insurrection was unfolding at the Capitol) Maine Senator Susan Collins said at the time she thought that the president had learned his lesson . "I believe that the president has learned from this case," she told Norah O'Donnell of CBS News. "The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson."  Right. Most people knew at the time that it was a crock and that Trump would never 'learn his lesson'. When the Senate failed to remove him last year, it all but guaranteed that Trump would try to overturn the election. (for example, as I write this on January 6, 2021, he just sent the following tweets:  ''The States want to redo their votes. They found out they voted on a FRAUD. Legislatures never approved. Let them do it. BE STRONG!''  ''They just happened to find 50,000 ballots late last night. The USA is embarrassed by fools. Our Election Process is worse t

How to Spot FAKE NEWS, Propaganda and Conspiracy Theories

by Michael Corthell What is the best way to find out if something you read online, in a newspaper or on television is accurate and not fake? You fact-check it. But how you ask? How hard is that to do? In my mind it's not very hard at all, especially when I think back to when I was in high school, and had to do all my research at the school or public library using the card catalog system .  If you can Google it, you can fact-check it, but be SKEPTICAL!  Take a look at this quick guide to spotting FAKE NEWS. 1. Read Past The Headline One way that fake news gets amplified is that busy readers may not look past the headline or opening paragraph before they decide to share an article. Fake news publishers sometimes exploit this tendency , writing the beginning of a story in a straightforward way before filling in the rest with obviously false information.  In other cases, clicking through to the article will reveal that the story really has nothing to do with the headline at all or prov

PRACTICING PEACE: 20 Ways to Become More Compassionate

"WE will have peace if WE have the WILL'' by Michael Corthell   The world needs more compassionate people to make our planet a happier and more peaceful place to live during normal times. We are not in a normal time right now, so it is vitally important that we become more compassionate toward everyone and every being. Here are 20 ways we can become more compassionate today. 1. Be selfless. Put yourself in others’ shoes. Place your happiness in the happiness of others. Instead of just thinking and caring for yourself, start caring for others. Break free from selfishness. Compassion is a great journey to go out of yourself and start caring, helping, and making other people happy. Learning how to be selfless is a great start to becoming a more compassionate person. 2. Be humble. Free yourself of pride. Stop feeling superior to others, don’t act like you know everything, admit your own mistakes, and learn to forgive people. If there’s humility in your heart, it woul

Imagination: The Creative Workshop of the Mind

Imagination: the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. by Michael Corthell If you can imagine something, you can take an image that exists only in your mind and make it real. Napoleon Hill, in his book, Think and Grow Rich says that there are two types of imagination: Synthetic Imagination. '' Through this faculty, one may arrange old concepts, ideas, or plans into new combinations. This faculty creates nothing. It merely works with the material of experience, education, and observation with which it is fed. It is the faculty used most by the inventor, with the exception of the "genius" who draws upon the creative imagination, when he cannot solve his problem through synthetic imagination.'' Creative Imagination. '' Through the faculty of creative imagination, the limited, finite mind of man has direct communication wi

How to Develop and Maintain a Passionate Curiosity 

Curiosity: The Passion to seek, and to know. by Michael Corthell To be an entrepreneur or a genius is to be passionately curious. But what if you lack the passion to know things? Can you develop it. Yes, just like anything else—'if there's a will, there's a way.' The important thing [in life] is not to stop questioning… Never lose a Holy curiosity. —Albert Einstein Why? It keeps your mind active and healthy. Curious people always ask questions and look for answers. Exercising your mind has the same result as aerobics has on your body. It keeps your mind open to opportunities and new ideas.   Curiosity builds the anticipation of new information and ideas. Therefore you will recognize a good idea more readily when it comes. It opens up new worlds and possibilities. Being curious will allow you to see new worlds and possibilities which are normally not visible to your old, non-seeking mind. New ideas are hidden below the surface of normal, everyda

American Patriotism vs Nationalism: Where do you stand?

by Michael Corthell January 25, 2021 Nationalism and patriotism can be viewed as two sides of the same coin but there is a major gulf between the two. America is an exceptional nation, I say this not because I was lucky enough to be born here. I believe that America is exceptional because of the shared values, and our willingness to help other countries share our experience by enjoying the same types freedoms written into our Constitution . Looking at nationalism, America's strong national identity has always manifested itself in the form of patriotism. Out of many nations we make up one nation, a nation made up of cultures from every country in the world, therefore American nationalism shouldn't exist... In America, we have no shared ethnic heritage. Writings from our country’s founders show men who envisioned a land made up of oppressed peoples from all the nations on Earth who were fleeing political or religious tyranny. Today, as I write this America just survived an insur

Change: Adaptation is a Necessary Skill

by Michael Corthell If someone says to you, ''Tell me what to do!''  What is the best answer? There are millions of answers, and it is okay to honor their request, especially to help them out of a 'spot', but a better request for them to make is this, ''Please help me train my mind to adapt to any circumstance.'' This is very much like teaching someone to fish, rather than just giving them a fish.  Helping other people to find within themselves the tools not only for survival but to also grow and THRIVE is good. ''Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.'' —Stephen Hawking While answered questions and planning are necessary, people who accept life on life's terms, the stoics, don't need an answer for every question or a plan for every single contingency. They simply do not worry. Why is that? Because they have confidence in themselves. They believe that they'll be able to adapt to any situation an

How to Be Prepared for Criticism

by Michael Corthell Many people cannot bring themselves to take chances in life or business, because they fear the criticism that may follow if they fail. The fear of criticism then becomes stronger than the desire for success. I think all of us have this fear to one degree or another. To some this fear, of what others will say, has been an insurmountable barrier to achieving success and the life they want. ''Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.'' That childhood sing-song idiom that echoes from our childhood may be true, however, the words of a critic always give us pause, because no one enjoys being rejected. Let's look at ways to minimize this instinctual fear. First look at reality.  Many people see things as they really are. But some people see the worst in everything. They of course have a negative mindset. When you are critiqued it may be wise to ''take it from whence it came''. ''