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Critical Thinking

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 6 August 2010.
Planet PHP

By now, I hope we've all read Is Google Making Us Stupid from The Atlantic. Here's the quick version, which ironically makes the author's point:

People are changing the way they interact with the world, which is changing the way their brains model the world, which is changing their brains. We're not exercising the critical, reflective part of our brains; instead, we're using almost exclusively the parts that focus on quick, immediate activities. We're skimming everything rather than thinking more critically, more reflectively.

The reaction to the Shirley Sherrod case is an excellent example of this. Rather than step back, the NAACP and White House jumped on it and stepped in the heaping pile of burning feces that was laid at their doorstep.

So what's this got to do with thinking and Twitter and such? Well, it's the reason I've started blogging again. I don't want to lose my ability, what little it sometimes appears to be, of critical thinking and reasoning so I'm starting to blog more.

I noticed my thought process was becoming much more reactionary and shallow. I was allowing the insignificant to bubble up and take over. Rather than ponder something and try to write out, I was firing off a quick tweet and calling it a day. Couldn't fit it in a tweet? Oh well, it must not be that important.

So that's why I'm coming back to blogging. The first four years I ran this blog, I had over 100 posts each year-closing in on 200 in 2006. Starting in 2008, however, I let it slide. 66, 22, and then only 13 posts so far this year. I'm working on reversing that trend.