Friday, 20 January 2012

Question everything: thoughts on critical thinking

Past the middle of January, and finally a first trace of snow here in Skåne. I've complained about Scanian winter before (rain, mud, icy winds, sleet...), but this is just ridiculous. By meteorological definition it's not even winter yet. A year without a winter, even a tiny joke of a winter, is just sad. An endless, depressing autumn carrying on forever. And not even the fine parts of autumn: the morning mist, the occasional sunshine, the multicoloured leaves. No. Just the endless, icy rain and mud, mud, mud. Is it due to this pesky global warming, or just a random fluctuation? Hard to tell, I guess, but if the trend of warmer weather continues I think there might be just cause for blaming global warming for stealing away my precious winters.

From one dooms-day topic to the next. The other day I went to a lecture by Toru Suzuki, one of the activists who helped uncover massive corruption in the Japanese whaling industry. Not only did he paint a sinister picture of how far governments in general are willing to go to keep uncomfortable truths from their citizens, he also had a great deal to say about the nuclear power-plant business in Fukushima. Apparently the situation is still far from under control, direct evidence contradicting comforting statements from the Japanese government. It is in my (by now) scientific nature to be sceptical about such possible conspiracy theories, but I think in this situation the scepticism is better applied against the people with the power and the economical interests. If only because the consequences of just letting it be has a far from zero possibility of having truly apocalyptical consequences. 

My belief is continuously reinforced, that when dealing with people or organisations with large economical interests in the situation they are commenting upon, putting on a tinfoil hat just might be justified. I also have a quite strong opinion on whether or not nuclear power is a good and reliable source of energy or not, but that I will orate about another time. My motive just now is simply to encourage scepticism and free thinking. Question everything, all the time. And to minimise the risk of you sounding like a pestilent four-year-old, or worse: a hypocrite, start with yourself and your own way of living, thinking and being. If everyone did this on a regular and continuous basis, the world might become a better place. It would for sure become a more interesting place.

On a related note: please oh please people watch the documentary film Forks Over Knives. It examines the claim that plant-based, whole foods can prevent —and even reverse— most of the deadly diseases (such as various forms of cancer) that have escalated in the western societies over the past century. A radical claim, right? Well, watch the movie, think about it critically, then throw yourself into the debate on the subject! I'd be delighted to discuss, over the internet or over a plate of vegan cookies if anyone'd care to come over. Or sit at home and ponder in silence, whatever floats your boat. Just keep an open mind!

Love and critical thinking,

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