The End of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason) dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Enlightenment was based on ideas centered on the sovereignty of reason and the evidence of the senses as primary sources of advanced thinking. These ideas led to new ideals and practical applications such as scientific advancement, constitutional government, liberty, toleration, and the separation of church and state, to name a few.

Essentially, the movement was centered around logic – that “P implies Q” – that is, a hypothesis implies a conclusion. If the hypothesis (or facts/findings) are true, then the conclusion will most likely be true; however, if the hypothesis is NOT true, then the conclusion can be either true or not true . . . in fact, the conclusion can be whatever you want!

Manipulation of the “facts” – using, instead, “alternative facts” that are just made up – is a common technique these days by politicians and politically-skewed news organizations (like Fox News, Breitbart, etc.). Devoted followers accept what these politicians or cable news opinion commentators say as gospel.

Adept speakers can articulate clearly whatever they want from false hypotheses to steer devoted followers to whatever conclusion they want . . . their followers march along like a bunch of shropshire sheep or lemmings jumping over a cliff.

This represents a total rejection of the “Age of Enlightenment/Reason” for followers of such biased “news” organizations. The “Dunning-Kruger Effect” seems to apply to many, and there is evidence, based on neurological studies, that this might be the result of pre-frontal cortex dysfunction in the brain – leading them to seek simplicity that does not require critical thought.

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Such a phenomenon is sad – even dangerous – in the quest to maintain and “keep” (as Benjamin Franklin said) our Constitutional Republic.

One thought on “The End of Enlightenment

  1. Deborah Loeff

    Exactly summarizes state of affairs. We have a deeply flawed education system which has neglected and abandoned education of youngsters using questioning, challenging and techniques of critical thinking.

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