Ascendant and Descendant Types of Thinking and the Impact on Tolerance as an Educational Value
Keywords:ascendant thinking, descendant thinking, education, education policies, cultural conflict, secularization, religious thinking, tolerance, critical thinking, science
This article will explore the pattern of conflicts between secular thinking and religious beliefs from the perspective of critical thinking and analyse the potential that this conflict holds for increasing tolerance inside mixed society such as in Romania. It is often said that the ability of thinking critically deeply erodes the propensity towards religious faith and there are numerous study results that back up this assertion. This article tries to explain that religious faith becomes fully understandable only in some larger pattern that shapes morality, cognitive strategies and social practices and this is true for secular thinking as well. We can name this patterns ascendant, respectively descendant. Ascendant thinking derives and explains higher level practices beginning from lower level entities through progress and emergence and for this kind of thinking, morality and cognition are an open fields that can be indefinitely improved. This kind of thinking embraces novelty and creativity and aims at human beings becoming capable of managing this novelty. The descending model derives from and explains the lower levels through complex and immutable entities and will tend to see novelty as change capable of breaking their models and therefore act towards neutralizing novelty through interpretation. Information and practices that cannot be neutralized will be counted as abnormous. The article comes forward with a comparative analysis between these two opposing patterns, showing that this interpretative frame is valid in retrodiction and that it can fundament concrete predictions. It will also show that critical thinking is permitted and can fundament a space for compromise and dialogue between religious and secular people.
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