There are so many problems in the world today, personal as much as in society as a whole. The question is, how can we solve them? The answer is, soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. These are arguably the most effective weapons we have against combatting these problems. Let’s explore two examples of real-world scenarios: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Gun Violence. A recent study confirmed a direct link between tumors and Genetically Modified Organisms (Food Chem Toxicol, 2012). The scientific method was used to observe, hypothesize, experiment, and verify this conclusion, via a controlled experiment with rats over the course of two years. That’s not to say that all tumors are caused solely by GMOs, but rather that at least one of the causes for tumors have been identified. As a result of this study, many countries have banned the importing, development, and sales of GMOs, including (but not limited to) Italy, Switzerland, and New Zealand (for confirmation, search “GMO Ban” from the University of Phoenix Library).
The scientific method has also been used to study the toxicity of chem trails in the air, fluoride in the water, and preservatives in food products. So why has President Obama signed into law the Monsanto Protection Act, which protects Monsanto (a large American GMO company) from federal courts? With so much evidence, one must wonder why the government is turning a blind eye (or even worse, “protecting”) these companies, at the expense of our health. Many speculate that the motive for this corruption is money, such as corporate bribery (otherwise known as “lobbying”) from big Food and Medical industries. Consider how all three organizations benefit: Food companies from the sale of their poisonous products, Medical companies from the sale of treating the poisonous effects of the food, and Government from both the corporate “lobbying” and taxation. The love of money is indeed the “root of all evil”. But knowledge is power.
The scientific method can be used to further expose this corruption, and as citizens demand that our Representative take action to remediate these problems. Another current and very controversial issue is gun control. There are many strong and valid arguments from both sides of this debate. Gun owners would argue that more “good” people should be armed to outnumber the “bad” people, and that it is our constitutional right to bare arms. However, opposing viewpoints advocate that guns are too easily obtainable, and that certain precautionary measures should be taken to avoid the issuance of a gun to anyone not qualified, such as due to mental illness or history of violent behavior. Persuasive thinking is at play during these debates. The gun owner may portray a story where gun ownership was beneficial, saving an entire family from an armed robber.
Opposing viewpoints may portray a story where a tragic massacre could have been prevented had gun control laws been in place. Notice how these arguments tug at the strings of our heart, playing into people’s emotions. In my opinion, both of these problems are not a matter of insufficient laws, but rather spiritual matters of the heart. In the early years of this nation, companies were never ordered by law to give back to their communities. Instead, company owners gave back to their communities out of the generosity of their hearts, good morals, and gratitude towards the capitalism system which has benefitted them so much. The Middle Class concept can also be attributed to company owners of good morals.
This concept was not originally formulated by government, but rather by Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, who wished to pay his employees not only for manufacturing his vehicles, but also for purchasing one of their very own. Sadly, greed and competition has poisoned the hearts of many present-day company owners to such a degree that they’re willing to do anything (including jeopardizing people’s health and cheating people out of their life savings and pensions) just to obtain a greater profit.
The same concept applies to gun violence. In the founding years of this nation, life preservation and “loving thy neighbor” was held in highest esteem. But over time, the “fun” of violent video games, movies and TV Shows, as well as the “glory” of war has slowly eroded and desensitized the moral fabric of society. Good news can still emerge from the midst of these situations. As long as mankind continues to learn (about each other, as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills), love, compromise, and unite as one, there is no problem too big that cannot be solved!
Major and minor problems arise in life, which called to be solved by using different methods. It is important that we able to utilize these methods, such as persuasive thinking and scientific thinking, in order to eliminate certain problems that may hinder us from achieving our personal goals. In the past, I have used both of these methods to solve problems that have been as simple as deciding which lotion was the healthiest choice for me and reminding my mother that I was an adult that wanted to travel. Using scientific thinking, I was able to eradicate a problem that involved using a certain type of body lotion. I went to a beauty store to purchase a new body lotion as my old body lotion was finished, and I wanted a change. I tested the scents of many lotions on the shelves and found a particular lotion that was in my budget and had a pleasant scent.
The first day I used the lotion, I noticed that my skin was irritated and a few tiny bumps appeared on my arms and legs. Over the next few days, I still used the lotion, and the irritation grew worse; there were more bumps, and they were beginning to itch. The irritation never occurred when I used my old lotion, so I began to believe that was the problem. Kirby and Goodpaster (2007) state that the basic steps to solving a problem using the scientific method are observation, hypothesis formulation, experimentation, and verification (p. 221). I observed my skin breaking out after I bought the new lotion; I did not break out before I purchased the lotion, nor did I break out with my old lotion.
I formed my hypothesis after that: “If I use this new lotion, then I will break out,” or “My new lotion is causing me to break out”. Next, I conducted a small experiment. I stopped using the lotion for a week, and I noticed that my skin began to clear up, and it felt less irritated with each day that passed. I concluded that my hypothesis was correct shortly thereafter, but to verify that conclusion, I bought an unscented, medicated lotion, (similar to my old lotion) and began using that. With this medicated lotion, I noticed that there were no negative changes with my skin. One part of the verification process was unintentional, though. One day, my arms were
a bit dry after swimming with friends, and the only lotion I had in my purse was the scented lotion that I once hypothesized was causing my skin irritation. I did not believe I would break out again, but shortly after, my skin was irritated, red, and there were bumps on my arms. To this day, I stay away from lotion that is scented because my skin is very sensitive. This problem was much easier to solve than my problem that needed to be solved with persuasion. Persuasion is not one of my strengths, but I needed to use it in order to solve a problem I was facing. Ever since I received my first computer at the age of 10, I have spent a lot of time on the internet, chatting with peers and making new friends. I am an introvert, which is defined as “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings,” (Dictionary.com, 2012). I do not like being big crowds, and I feel more comfortable talking online with friends, than I do with talking to people in public.
In 2009, I met someone from Tennessee, and for three years I have chatted with her via instant messenger, spoken to her family, video chatted via video messenger, spoken on the phone, etc. We became very good friends, and I brought it to my mother’s attention that I wanted to travel to Tennessee to visit my friend. My mother’s immediate response was to deny me. Her argument was understandable, but I quickly realized that I had to do attempt to persuade her. As most children, my first reaction was to declare that she was being unreasonable, whine, and grovel. Of course, that did not work, so I decided to go another route. The first step that I took was asking my mother exactly why she did not want me to travel to see my friend. As she began to list the reasons, I made sure I listened.
Next I made to make sure that my mother knew I saw her side of things. I understood why she was so adamant about not letting me go. I had spoken to my friend for years, and I felt as though I gotten to know her very well, but meeting someone in person will always be different- despite how well you know them online. There was also a chance that my friend and I would not get along in person, and I would be stuck in a state for a period of time where I did not know anyone else. After explaining many of the negatives, I began to give her positives. I wanted to let her know that I had a plan. I had my own money saved to travel. I told her that she could speak with my friend’s mother so the two could get to know each other a little better. I researched the town in Tennessee, so that my mother could see that my friend lived in a quiet neighborhood where there was little crime. I had to also remind my mother that, despite her being my parent and wanting what was best for me, I was a 21-year-old young woman.
When it was all over, I asked for my mother’s response. She said that I could travel to Tennessee, but there was a stipulation: my mother wanted to accompany me on the trip. I ended up compromising, so that my mother’s mind would be at ease and I could still go to see my friend. With my first problem, I learned something about my body: in order to keep my skin healthy, I had to avoid certain lotions that would lead to irritation. With the second problem, I had to remind myself to act as an adult and not to succumb to manipulative tasks when trying to persuade a parent. In the end I had to compromise, but the end result was still much better than not being able to see a friend that I cared for dearly. The two problems were handled differently, using two different methods of thinking, but both of my problems were solved in the end.
Dictionary.com. (2012). Introvert. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/introvert Kirby, G. R., & Goodpaster, J. R. (2007). Thinking: An interdisciplinary approach to critical thinking (4th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.