Sloppy Thinking: Exhibit #3

I’ve begun, from time to time, to respond to various ideas that I think are prime examples of sloppy thinking. The following is a quote from magazine publisher, Malcolm S. Forbes:

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an educated one.

Among other things, an educated mind is capable of distinguishing truth from fiction. It can take the facts it now possesses, observe its environment with fresh insight, listen to a spectrum of perspectives, deliberate with sharpened cognitive skills, reach conclusions and then say, concerning certain ideas, “No, that’s incorrect. I’m not open to that.”

Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought. – G. K. Chesterton

The mind that has no fixed aim loses itself, for, as they say, to be everywhere is to be nowhere. – Michel de Montaigne           



Filed under Apologetics

10 responses to “Sloppy Thinking: Exhibit #3

  1. Margaret Wallace


  2. Drew Kelly

    Johnny, I hope you are well in body, mind and spirit. A question on your Michel de Montaigne quote. If we take that to (or perhaps beyond) its logical end, does he also mean that God, who is also everywhere, is then nowhere?
    And, I occasionally find myself everywhere and nowhere at the same time, at which point I start singing Nowhere Man

    • Drew- First of all, I would love to hear your rendition of the Beatles’ classic.
      Secondly, I actually had the same thought concerning Montaigne’s quote. He, of course, is referring to a scattered mind rather than than omnipresence.
      Hope you’re well, as well.

  3. “To thine own self be true.” Oft misinterpreted. Shakespeare meant it satirically…the meaningless ramble of a befuddled (re: no-minded) old fool (Polonius, “Hamlet”). (h/t Anthony Esolen: That said, I am probably as no-minded as any of us…easily distracted and consumed with banal trivialities. Though…trying not to be.

  4. Drew Kelly

    And why does the Dan Quayle quote “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” come to mind when I see that picture?
    (Yes, I’m getting a lot of mileage from that quote.)

  5. Mark Tank

    Maybe my mind was in fact empty, until I read Forbes’ quote. Now that he has educated me and my mind has been opened, I must conclude that the quote is empty-headed, and therefore I disagree with it. 🙂

  6. Jenifer McDermott

    To me, the educated mind IS an open mind – not in the sense of being scatterbrained and easily influenced, but receptive to new discoveries and perspectives. The tasks of youth are different from those of maturity and seniority; one abandons some convictions and gains others as one moves along hopefully towards wisdom. The eternal verities and principles may never change but the educated mind never ceases the quest for learning.

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