Social issues

Consider one of the following current social issues – or one of your choice:

Gun violence
Racism
Economic inequality
Sexism
Violent crime
Immigration
For the initial post, address the following:

State your position on one of these issues – are you for, against, or neutral? Explain why. Avoid vagueness or ambiguity in your response. Make your position very clear.
Examine how you have formed that opinion.
How well do you think you know the facts?
Do you know and understand statistical information that applies to the issue?
Do you think you have formed your opinion using only System-1 thinking, or have you applied System-2?
What part have heuristics, cognitive bias, and dominance structuring played in how you have formed your opinions?
The initial post is not about how “correct” your position is; it is about how you arrived at your position on the issue. This discussion requires the application of metacognition – thinking about how you think.

Follow-Up Post Instructions
Respond to at least one peer. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.

In your responses, look for another student’s post, either on the same or a different issue. Choose, where possible, a peer whose initial post has not yet been examined by another student, and examine it. Do you agree or disagree with your peer?

Is your initial reaction to your peer “So, right; you bet!” or is it “So wrong, you’re all wet!”
Examine carefully your thinking in response to your peers:
What part, if any, have facts, heuristics, or dominance structuring played in your response?
What part, if any, has cognitive bias played in your response?
You should also look at responses to your initial post:

Did your peer fairly evaluate you? Discuss this with your peer.
You may find that just a minimum of three posts is not sufficient to discover whether you can identify these elements. You will have to make a judgment call: do the minimum three and miss out on the deep thinking required by this exercise, or go beyond the minimum three and begin to understand your thought processes and the concept of critical thinking.

A very valuable final post would be to discuss your judgment call: perhaps you “got it” in three; perhaps you opted for more than three; perhaps other demands on your time did not allow you to exercise as much deep thinking as you would have liked to do. Perhaps you did not see much value in the discussion – a very valuable final post would be a brief statement of why you found it so. Do not be shy about critiquing the exercise. Look at “A Poorly Crafted Assignment” in section 11.1 of the text in which the authors critique a similar assignment.

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