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Friday, January 13, 2012


My column has attempted to direct the reader’s mind to the true conclusions which the facts, and past reality, point; a working "truth". It would be, in engineering, called "reverse engineering"—proving why a "self-evident" truth is true by merely accepting the reasons that the "working model" works. That is the sole purpose of critical thinking. Truth cannot be invented. It merely "is."

Imaginary thinking, on the other hand, creates a believable story by arranging the data to arrive at a predicted ending or conclusion, which exists, at first, only in the imaginer’s mind, which he is attempting, with all his glowing rhetoric, serious gravitas, and acting and plotting skills, to get the reader or listener to accept as truth. Truth, however, rejects all this false posturing, smooth talking, glib rhetoric, and sanctimonious plot structuring. Truth just is! 2 + 2 = 4! It’s that simple. Why, then, is it so hard for people to detect truth, and seemingly, so easy to be accept falsehoods in data and fallacies in reasoning? You can use the following little facts in your struggle to discover the truth about anything. Is the US Army Corpse of Engineers’ "explanation" of the 2011 Missouri flood rational and valid? Are President Obama’s "Tele-prompter Tidbits" about job-creation, compromise, partisanship, "equality or equity" in terms of "share the wealth" rational or valid?

1. Be alert to anyone who speaks in absolutes: who uses words such as "all, none, no one, never, always, everyone , must, immediately, or who refers to a group of people as if all the members have identical characteristics, beliefs, or attitudes. {Use this on "Tea Party-ers, OWS protesters, Libiya "freedom fighters" etc.

2. Be alert to anyone who uses emotional language and evaluative words instead of objective, factual responses.

3. Do not confuse opinion, personal bias, speculation, personal assurance, unsupported generalizations with hard, factual evidence.

4. When authority is referred to, do not automatically accept that authority unless his/hers/its credentials are relevant to the issue under discussion.

5. Make sure that the evidence is thorough, not selective.

6. THINK CRITICALLY! Never let a fallacy go by without making a mental note of it; even if you don’t say anything: say to your SELF, "THIS IS NONSENCE." Put up a RED FLAG!

Following are some others observations that help critical thinkers stay sane, in what seems, many times, to be an irrational world.

The tools of propaganda, aided by the explosion of instant texting and response, have become formidable. Some of its tools used constantly by OBAMA and others, and the news media are:

1.The "Bandwagon, aka "the Black-Bus";

2.Repetition- The theory that if you repeat something enough, people will eventually believe it.

3.Confidence- giving the impression of "knowing what he’s talking about.

4. Earnestness and sincerity-Non-critical thinkers are swayed by appearances, but stand firm against cold equations such as truth; ie, 4$ taxes-5$ government should equal--1$ even in government spending. (Just heard OBAMA say that America has "lost their ambition and imagination" which cuts to the core of Critical thinking and what I am writing right now; that "Imaginary" thinking is NOT the same as CREATIVE thinking.

One CANNOT get a patent on a figment of even the wildest imaginary art form simply because it does not produce anything of value. Creativity, turned into working models can and do get a patent. One can produce, but only in highly imaginary novels such as 1984, Atlas Shrugged, Animal Farm, the truth about the irrationality of many of the theories about producers and consumers. Creation of a business climate in which critical, creative producers are taxed, regulated, or ridiculed out of existence, has always been, both in theory and reality, both in history and imaginative works of critical writers, abysmal failures. But how many schools or colleges use these land-mark books?

For you "Global Warming" addicts, read Oct. 17, 2001 Bis/Trib , pa 7a—"STUDY: global warming behind shrinking species." And then ask why are only "humans" becoming grossly "lard-y-er"? For you voters who wanted "CHANGE" and believe that the Commander-in-chief has changed the "WAR", read Bis/trib p 4a Oct 22, 2011-"The ending was set in motion BEFORE Obama took office. In 2008, President G. W. Bush approved a deal calling for ALL U.S. forces to withdraw by Dec. 31, 2011."

The President’s catch phrase for the 2012 election is "WE CAN’T WAIT!" I hope he means "for change."


I’ll make one more comment concerning the "RIVER WATCH" disaster. If the action taken, by the Army Corpse of Engineers concerning their interpretation of past experience, their understanding of anticipated events, their use of resources under their control, their understanding and use of "timing" and their use of existing back-up resources had been used by a Military Army in combat, they would all have been drummed out of the service.

Their handling of the Missouri River Basin the last 2 years can be likened only to a two year daily "Charge of the Light Brigade." I shall write a new North Ballad—The Charge of the Water Brigade." for the next issue of Dakota Beacon. But, in the meantime, Read Robert Kelly Schneiders"s article in BisTrib Oct 23, 2011, page 6c---Then compare it with Brig. Gen John R.McMahon’s article in Bis/Trib, Oct. 24, 2011, page 8a. Schneiders says "The Corps interpretation of events is just plain wrong." Then he supports his statement with hard facts. The Corps concludes its article with this concluding paragraph: "While acknowledging the federal obligation to repair levees under Public Law-84-99, the status quo of repairing what was without thinking in broader, longer terms about other options would be a missed opportunity. Let’s learn from the past and shape the future now. We are in a unique place in history where our decisions could have a significant and positive difference in the lives of our fellow citizens in the Missouri River Basin." I defy any reader to win any battle with anything about anything with those final ORDERS!!

Citizen of ND since 1953, Ruben has BS and BA degrees from Dickinson State University, MA in English from University of Kansas, and was a Mandan High School teacher for 20 years, College faculty member at Dickinson State, Bismarck State, and the University of Mary. Married to wife Lois since 1958 with 5 children.


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Avatar for Lynn Bergman

Forget the question “Is the US Army Corpse of Engineers’ explanation of the 2011 Missouri flood rational and valid?”, hindsite’s 20-20! The corps today (January 16th, 2012) announced a planned increase in flows to become effective Wednesday the 18th. That as Bismarck residents of the flood plain are very concerned about an ice jam holding at state 11 feet or so! If that public pronouncement doesn’t alert the populace to the insensitivity and out-of-touch status of the Corps, or perhaps a total lack of coordination between City and County officials and the Crops, then we sure are not paying attention are we?

Lynn Bergman on January 16, 2012 at 09:23 pm
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