JUDY WOODRUFF: As students across the country return to their classrooms, how can they best prepare for the academic year ahead? Daniel Levitin is a musician, author, neuroscientist, and teacher. Every September, he tells his students something they would never expect, revealed in tonight's In My Humble Opinion.
DANIEL LEVITIN, Musician/Author/Neuroscientist/Teacher: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. You may be familiar with this Mark Twain quote. It was used in the film The Big Short and in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. Twain is saying that, if you're sure you know something, you act on it with the strength of conviction, never considering that you might be wrong. If you're sure that this alternative treatment will help cure you better than Western medicine, you will forego the traditional treatment. Two-thirds of cancer patients think this way, that alternative medicine will prolong their lives.
But, in fact, patients who turn to it are twice as likely to die of their cancers, and they die earlier. If you're sure that your choice of political candidate is right, you're not gonna be open-minded about any new evidence that might come in that could or should cause you to change your mind. I'm a college professor, and I train Ph.D. students for careers as neuroscientists. They come into my laboratory full of confidence. They have been at the top of every class they have been in their entire lives. I spend most of my time trying to teach them that they don't know everything they think they do. My job as a teacher really is to unteach them. I'm always asking, why do you think that? What's the evidence? These lessons can take four to eight years. Knowledge can only be created in an environment where we're open to the possibility that we're wrong. You may recognize the Zen connection, the wisdom of insecurity. If you think you know everything, you can't learn anything. I think that all of us are capable of this kind of critical thinking. Every 4-year-old asks a series of incessant why questions. We have this beaten out of us early on by worn-down parents and teachers. But this why mode is the key to critical thinking. Think like a 4-year-old. Ask why and how. Ask them often. This attitude allows us to navigate the world more effectively, choosing among options or political candidates or medical treatments that are more likely to maximize our success and our well-being. By the way, Mark Twain is widely cited for the quote we began with, but there's no evidence that he ever said it or anything like it. The source of it is unknown. Sometimes, you don't know what you think you do.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A great lesson for all of us.
1.act on 奉行
A patient will usually listen to the doctor's advice and act on it.
He was very open-minded about other people's work.
He believes better relations with China are fundamental to the well-being of the area
4.critical thinking 批判性思维
This is important, because critical thinking and creativity demand the liberalization of learning and information.
5.be capable of 有能力的
Their example shows us what we are all capable of.
朱迪·伍德拉夫：随着全国各地的学生纷纷返校，应该如何为新的学年做准备呢？丹尼尔·列维京是一位音乐家，同时也是作家、神经系统科学家、教师。每年9月份，列维京都会向自己的学生们讲述他们永远意想不到的事情 。在今晚的《我之拙见》里将一一揭晓 。
丹尼尔·列维京，音乐家/作家/神经系统科学家/教师：这是每一位陷入困境的人都知道的事情。这是你看似知道，其实并不了解的事情 。大家可能都听说过马克·吐温的字条 。这个字条在电影《大空头》中有用到过，在阿尔·戈尔的《难以忽视的真相》中也提到过 。在字条里，吐温写道，当一个人确信自己很了解一件事，并且满怀信念全力去做这件事的时候，永远都不会想到自己可能错了 。如果一个人确信替代药物的功效要比西方药更有效的话，这个人就会放弃传统的治疗方法 。2/3的癌症患者都会这样想：那种替代药物会延长他们的生命 。
但其实，转而选择替代药物的病人死于癌症的可能性反而是另一种病人的两倍，死的会更早。如果一个人确信自己对总统候选人的选择是正确的，就不会接受任何其他证据，哪怕这些证据可以让这个人改变想法 。我是大学教授，我也为博士后学生提供职业培训，培养他们成为神经系统科学家 。他们满怀信心地走进我的实验室 。他们一辈子都是班级里的佼佼者 。而我大部分时间都在教他们一件事：他们以为自己知道的事情，其实他们并不了解 。我作为老师的职责其实是让他们忘却一些东西 。我经常会问他们一个问题：你为什么会这样想呢？有什么证据吗？这样的课，课时可以持续4-8年不等 。只有在一种环境里才能创造知识，那就是：我们接受一种可能性——自己是错的 。大家可能会联系到禅宗，禅宗就有着不把事情说死的智慧 。如果你觉得自己知晓一切，那你可能一无所知 。我觉得我们所有人都可以进行这样批判性思考 。每4年就不断问自己一系列为什么的问题 。或许精疲力竭的老师和家长在很早的时候就已经榨干了我们这样思考的能力 。但这个自己问自己的模式对于批判性思考来说至关重要 。我们要像4岁孩子一样思考，经常问为什么和怎么做，经常向他人发问 。有了这样的态度，我们就可以更有效地探索世界，在各种选择、候选人、治疗方式之间游刃有余地选择，实现成功和幸福的最大化 。说句题外话，一开始我们说到的马克·吐温字条上的那句话广为流传，但还没有证据表明他是否说过类似的话 。这句话的源头尚不可知 。即，有时候你并不了解自以为了解的事物 。