Sloppy thinking is common but not helpful

The Wall Street Journal asked a bunch of “experts” why they thought businesses had such a hard time finding employees with the skills that companies want. Among those providing answers was a man who put the focus on writing skills (something close to my interests). He offered several hypotheses about why students were such poor writers, which he defined mostly in terms of grammar and punctuation:

We can posit several hypotheses for the deficiencies:

— Students do not read very much in their leisure time.

— They spend more time playing videogames and watching TV.

— Their skills are eroded by texting and social media formats.

— Their communication habits are reinforced by peer groups.

— For some students, English is not their native language.

However, I believe the root cause of the problem is that our schools are not placing sufficient emphasis on writing and grammar. We need to change our priorities.

What struck me about this list was the total lack of testing or investigation about any of the claims. He dismissed some and embraced others — complete with a call to action — with no real effort to explore the plausibility of any of them.

I see a lot of this kind of thinking in the church. We leap from “here is a problem” to “here is a possible reason for the problem” to “we must do this! now!”

It is sloppy thinking and not likely to solve our problems — in writing or the church — except by accident.