Black-and-White Thinking: An Example

I’ve complained many times on this blog about scientists who engage in black-and-white thinking. Here is an example of such thinking outside of science:

At the mosque, Haniyeh addressed the campers on the importance of reciting the Koran. “There are two kinds of people,” he advised them. “Those who know the Koran is right and who follow it, and those who turn their backs on the Koran.”

6 Replies to “Black-and-White Thinking: An Example”

  1. I like to categorize this as “binary” thinking. There is also linear, numbers based thinking and qualitative thinking. Something like JS Mill’s Utilitarianism is the classic idea of “numbers based” thinking, which basically dilutes the entire human experience to a math equation. The problem is that it’s never that simple. You can never dilute your life to a yes/no question or even a numerical question. I like to say that rather than thinking in numbers or yes/no, we think in terms of colors.

    New Age, but also some flavors of Buddhism and Taoism are two examples I can give of “color based” religions that aren’t black and white.

  2. yes, it could be called “binary thinking”. But the fact that the two sides are usually considered good and bad (as in this example) is conveyed better by the term “black-and-white thinking”. And while all my Chinese students know what “black” and “white” mean, few of them know what “binary” means.

  3. New Age “religious blather’ isn’t black-and-white thinking.

    That doesn’t count, it’s no thinking at all, just kind of fluffy “press release” like. 😀

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