Saturday, May 30, 2009

Information vs Education

This post will tie a bit into my previous posts "Why Should I Challenge My Own View" and "This Argument is Full of Crap!". Please read them before you read this one.

Have you ever watched Jeopardy or played Trivial Pursuit and wondered what good all that information is? Well the answer is this: to win a game. I have always been suspicious of people who are "book" smart, but can't tell you how the conclusion was obtained. When one has only "book smarts" or knows only trivia, they can answer only so many questions. They are unable to explain how the person to discovered the answer (that they are parroting) arrived at the answer.

This is called "information". You can have all the information in the world, and not understand how it all ties together. I'm not saying that having information is bad, because it is not. But having just the information limits the usefulness of that information.

When someone is trying to convince an opponent of another point of view, just spouting off facts is not usually going to convince them. They will have questions about the validity of the facts, how the facts were concluded, and what use in the real world they are. This last question is extremely important for worldviews or political positions. If one only knows the "slogans" of a worldview or political position, they are impotent to explain their reasoning.

"Education" involves understanding the "ins" and "outs" of information. If the one who holds the view cannot explain how or why their information should be believed, they lose all ability to convince. One of the best ways to "get educated" is to investigate your information or "slogans" for authenticity. I'm not talking about searching only sources that believe the information or slogan, but also those who challenge the information or slogan.

This, of course, is important not just for your "information", but also the oppositions "information". The more you are "educated" in both, the more you will be able to reliably defend your own "information".

All this can be summed up like this: Conclusions vs. reasons for conclusions. If you stick with information only, you may misunderstand the reasons. This will lead to the building of an underlying "strawman", which is detrimental if you believe it about your own information or your opponents information.

Websites:
Apologetics.com
Stand to Reason

Podcasts:
Apologetics.com Radio Show
Stand to Reason Radio Program
Just Thinking

Books:
Tactics: by Greg Koukl
Come, Let us Reason: by Norman Geisler

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