Asking the Wrong Questions

I rely on critical thinking to understand issues.

Critical thinking takes some effort—not a lot, but some. Unfortunately, it seems like more people reach conclusions based on emotions than data. Now there’s nothing wrong with emotions; they are powerful and probably what makes us human. However, emotions are rarely a useful tool for understanding or solving problems.

Take the issue of global warming. To convince us it’s real, we are exposed to unverifiable claims and sad photos of Arctic animals whose world is melting. Many respond by feeling that global warming is real and humans caused it.

On the other hand, dealing with data takes effort to reach a conclusion. According to ongoing measurements conducted by the US Navy, the sea level near Norfolk, VA has risen 18 inches in the past century. The Navy has added a second level to their piers to deal with projected increases in the sea level. Quantitative data was collected, analyzed, conclusions and recommendations found, and appropriate action taken.

But there’s something missing when compared to the media’s focus on global warming.

[Take a moment to think—what’s missing?]

There’s no focus on whether humans caused it or not. Why?

It doesn’t matter.

Whether or not people are the cause, they can be the solution. People don’t cause hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. However, when such events occur, humans can clean up, rebuild, and mitigate future occurrences.

Therefore, I suggest we stop arguing about the cause of global warming and focus on correcting it. Fix it first, then we can leisurely assign blame.

2 responses to “Asking the Wrong Questions

  1. Hola Steve: Great post…provocative even. I hope you and all your readers don’t jump all over me, but I am not a climate change kinda guy—even though I was witness to the effects of “purple rain” here in the Los Angeles area many years ago, and it was very bad air back then.
    What intrigued me most about your post was your call NOT to focus on blame, but rather to “mitigate future occurrences” and “focus on correcting it”…[and] “Fix it first.” So being that I am more “solutions-driven” than “problem-oriented,” I said to myself, “Self, how do I go about fixing climate change?”
    I began with my usual ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS—which means to create the bridge over which information, knowledge, inquiry, exploration, discovery, and realization pass to actual life, living, being, and doing. For example, what do I worry about most? What are the causes of my worries? Can any of my worries be eliminated? How? Which of them might I deal with first? How do I decide? Are there other people with the same problems? How do I know? How can I find out? If I had an important idea that I wanted to let everyone (in the world) know about, how might I go about letting them know?
    What is “progress”? What is “change”? What are the most obvious causes of change? What are the least apparent? What conditions are necessary in order for change to occur? What kinds of changes are going on right now? Which are important? How are they similar to or different from other changes that have occurred? What are the relationships between new ideas and change? Where do new ideas come from? How come? So what?
    If you wanted to stop one of the changes going on now (pick one), how would I go about it? What consequences would I have to consider? Of the important changes going on in our society, which should be encouraged and which resisted? Why? How? What are the most important changes that have occurred in the past ten years? Twenty years? Fifty years? In the last year? In the last six months? Last month? What will be the most important changes next month? Next year? Next decade? How can I tell? So what? What would I change if I could? How might I go about it? Of those changes which are going to occur, which would I stop if I could? Why? How? So what?
    When I hear or read or observe something, how do I know what it means? Where does that knowledge come from? What do I think are some of man’s most important ideas about change with respect to progress? Where did they come from? Why? How? Now what? What’s a “good idea”? How do I know when a good or live idea becomes a bad or dead idea? Which of man’s ideas would we be better off forgetting? How do I decide?
    You see, Steve. That’s what’s so beautiful and significant about ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: They have the power to make us think, think deep, and perhaps change our thinking and even our behavior afterwards. And like in the age-old adage—“When Peter talks about Paul we can learn a lot about PETER—we learn the most about others by the questions they ask…not the statements they make.

  2. Steve,
    Why does there have to be blame? Being pragmatic, would it not be cause and effect? I’ll stop here as this is where I would enter the emotional zone.

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