Active Thinking Topic 33 -  The Best Questions Start a Journey

Tuesday 7 June 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: ZOOM online

Focus Questions

1. The answers you get in life depend upon the questions you ask ... Agree or disagree? Exceptions?

2. What kinds of questions do you ask personally? Do you ask nested questions? Do you ask questions that seek answers to general principles and patterns, or are your questions purely of a personal survival & comfort kind?

3. People prone to conspiracy theories do see patterns and ask questions about the patterns. Why do they wind up with non-credible answers? [Of course, sometimes there are conspiracies which really are conspiracies. We have laws about those, especially in business law).

4. What is a STEM-type question set you don't know the answer to? How would you formulate such questions? How would you go about looking for an answer? ["STEM" = science-technology-engineering-math. Example: Lead question: How can solar energy be captured 24 hours a day?]

5. What is an Education-type question set you don't know the answer to? How would you formulate such questions? How would you go about looking for an answer? [Example: lead question - Why do some people learn languages effectively, while others never seem to succeed?]

6. What is a Life journey-type question set you don't know the answer to? How would you formulate such questions? How would you go about looking for an answer? [Example: lead question - What is a successful life? ]

7. Explain your notion of how classical scientific method works.

8. How does classical scientific method differ from faith or magical thinking.

9. Why do you think AI might be a threat to classical scientific method, and a boost to faith based choices? (What kind of faith?}

10. Can a machine or an AI system ask a question? If so, how would its question types differ from human sourced questions?


Extra Reading

Thor May (2015) "What is your understanding of “Active Thinking”? What other kinds of thinking (human or non-human) are found in the known universe?". Discussion Topics @ 

Thor May (5 March 2017) "Where do ideas come from?" Discussion Topics @ 

Thor May (30 April 2017) "Reasons for Questioning". Discussion Topics @ 

Thor May (December 21, 2019) "Question Everything - The Key to Creative Change". Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, ALS 50 @ 

Thor May (1987) "Super-Culture And The Ghost In The Machine". The Passionate Skeptic website @  [Quote: "At the PNG University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea in 1987. I found my untried liberal conscience struggling to comprehend the sheer incompetence of people faced with institutions and technology which didn't seem to work. Many of the locals were bright and friendly enough, but somewhere a spark of insight was missing. Much later, surveying Australia with the naked eyes of a returnee, it was all too clear that the paralysis of imagination was a universal problem".]

Thor May (22 April 2000) "Teaching as a Subversive Activity". The Passionate Skeptic website @  [Quote: "Enter the teacher. A teacher's role is to induce new knowledge into the knowledge systems of other beings. A desperate task, universally unwelcome to the owners of those working systems, no matter that they willfully put themselves in harms way by enrolling for a "course" in this or that. Until the moment of having to learn new knowledge, it doesn't occur to them that a threat to old knowledge is being posed. They bite, swallow a mouthful of the new stuff, and gag. It's foreign matter... "]

Laura Spinney (9 January 2022) "Are we witnessing the dawn of post-theory science? - Does the advent of machine learning mean the classic methodology of hypothesise, predict and test has had its day?". The Guardian @ 

"As Pablo Picasso put it in the 1960s, “computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” The Guardian @

Masaki Iwabuchi (September 8, 2019) "How to ask Creative Questions as a Designer". Ux Planet website @  [Thor, comment: this is quite useful, not just for UX designers]

Zain Rizvi (n.d.) "Become Creative by Asking Better Questions". Zain Rizvi blog @ 

Aaron Morton (about 2011) "Why You Need to Ask More Creative Questions". Lateral Action blog @ 

Hannah (September 17, 2015) "The Creative Power of Questions". Kashbox Coaching @

Jeroen de Ruijter (n.d.) "How asking questions can help you to become more creative". Hat Rabbits website @ 

Garreth Heidt Perkiomen (n.d.) "Teaching Creativity by Asking Questions". Creativity at Work website @ 

Stuart Layt (May 27, 2022) "Changing your mind is good for you, just don’t expect your brain to agree". Brisbane Times @

 [Quote: "Scientists say a new research review confirms that changing your mind is usually a good idea, although our brains are wired to make us think it’s bad. “Across the research we see people are more likely to improve their behaviour, to provide correct answers, to be more accurate, if they do change their mind.” He said that was in direct opposition to the fact that changing our minds is hard because of how our brains process information. We are more likely to remember bad events than good ones, so a change of mind that doesn’t benefit us is more likely to be remembered than one that did"... The research has been published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences (  )]


The Best Questions Start a Journey   (c) Thor May 2022

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