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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: On critical thinking | If mouth is moving … | Reasoning laughable

August 1, 2021 at 1:50 a.m.

On critical thinking

Nice to see Mike Masterson endorsing critical thinking and rational discussion, as well as affirming his right and ability to question the validity of information "being spewed 24/7 by a clearly biased national media." I just wonder which national media outlets he means, because they are by far not all equal either in their "spewing" or in their commitment to reporting objective reality, and one's search for the truth can easily be reduced to looking for confirmation of one's own biases and preconceptions. Garbage in; garbage out.

While I suspect that Masterson is more likely to question the reporting of the mainstream media than the spewings of Fox News, Newsmax and OAN, he didn't say so in this column. But he did make one point that is clearly absurd: "Questioning reality does not make anyone a conspiracy theorist ..." Really? My critical-thinking alarms went off at this point because questioning something that is by definition real, on the basis of stuff that isn't real (the election was stolen, covid vaccine makes you magnetic, Antifa organized the Capitol riot) is the very essence of conspiracy theories. If you are thinking critically, reality is, in fact, the one thing that you shouldn't be questioning. So I'm not sure that Masterson fully grasps what it means to think critically.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to determine how good you are at critical thinking. It is the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, a standardized test that measures how consistently you draw sound conclusions from known facts. Care to check it out, Mike? Or do you have it on good authority that standardized tests are a deep-state mind-control device, a communist plot, the Devil's handmaiden, or ... ?

ALEX MIRONOFF

Fayetteville

If mouth is moving ...

It amazes me that there are a few people left in Arkansas like Mr. John Barton who apparently does not realize that if a politically elected Democrat's mouth is moving, they are lying. "Live not by lies."

JOHN EMMONS

Hot Springs Village

Reasoning laughable

I almost laughed at the "reasoning" Sarah Huckabee Sanders used in her recent guest column to explain why she got a "Trump Operation Warp Speed" covid vaccination. (I thought the "Trump" vaccine was a bleach injection!) Scientists have been studying coronaviruses for years, and pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines soon after the virus genome sequence was published.

What Sarah did not say is that, except for Trump and cronies, most people took the virus pandemic very seriously. Among his many false statements, Trump kept saying the virus was not going to be a problem, and that it would just disappear soon. This was done to the detriment of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who lost their lives. His actions suggest that he was not, and is still not, interested in the health of his fellow Americans.

As I see it, Trump and his cronies were the ones who damaged the entire vaccination program with their lies and not listening to the medical experts. By not paying attention to scientists, Trump wasted precious time that could have been used in developing a vaccine more quickly.

Trump's never-ending politicization of vaccine development was, and still is, deplorable. Every time Trump got before the camera, he battered and gagged the scientists and did not let them do their jobs because he wanted "credit" for development of the vaccine for his economic and political purposes. People should "filter out" Sanders' and Trump's feeble lies and garbage. The unvaccinated should listen to the medical experts ... if they value their lives.

Even though we have had some really bad ones, I believe Sarah Sanders is not intellectually, nor fundamentally honest enough to be the governor of Arkansas. Perhaps Sanders needs to go help Trump run his sideshow since she has already proven to be very good at that.

LOUISE HENDERSON

Hot Springs Village

Distinct odor's in air

Thank goodness for the ACLU and the federal judiciary, or we would have no protection against the mostly rural, small-town, Bible-besotted Republican yahoos like Jason Rapert who write the laws in this state: laws denying women their right to control their own reproductive choices; laws limiting voting rights to disenfranchise those who might vote against them; laws that criminalize local enforcement of federal gun restrictions; laws forbidding teachers from discussing with their students the shameful history of slavery and racism in America; laws limiting access to proper medical treatment for transgendered youth; a stand-your-ground law that will probably result in harmless people being shot by fear-crazed gun owners; and, in a shameless act of anti-scientific piety and self-importance, a law denying local governments and school districts the right to have mask requirements and other safety precautions to protect the health of their students and citizens.

Arkansas, the Natural State, recently reported the largest per capita percentage increase in new covid cases in the country. So can someone please explain how Asa Hutchinson was elected to head the National Governors Association when he can't even convince a majority of the population of his own state to get vaccinated? He can't keep his state's legislature from passing anti-democratic and mean-spirited laws, many of which will be struck down by federal judges and are thus illegal. It just proves the old saying, "A fish rots from the head down."

DAVID ELI COCKCROFT

Little Rock

A misguided agenda

Texas Democrats fled their state in a childish attempt to get their way. These "champions of freedom and democracy" loudly and frequently proclaim their unwavering support for "our democracy" but they chose to forsake the democratic process when flummoxed by the majority. Unable to get their way legitimately using the democratic process, they abandoned their duties to the citizens of Texas using undemocratic methodologies in an attempt to subvert the will of the people. After all, the people of Texas did elect a Republican majority.

Democrats unwilling to accept this simple truth are actually more akin to deceitful secessionists than to the very democratic processes they purport to treasure. It seems democracy and the rule of law are only important when they support their misguided agenda.

JEFF COOK

Springdale

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