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Well, it’s complicated: How to stop living by what you think …

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A review of Harvard University professor Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now sparks education professor Paul Thomas to sound off about gun violence in a blog post on Medium. In essence, the book reviewer and, subsequently, Thomas call Pinker out for “reaching beyond his area of expertise and treating an entire field as if [experts in the field] do not exist.” Admitting he, too, may be stepping outside his scholarly realm when it comes to gun violence, Thomas urges readers (and himself) to “stop living by what you think and start living by what you know.” Thomas says only then, “with a historical, and checked perspective … can we begin to construct a vivid and accurate picture of why the U.S. suffers so much gun violence and so many mass shootings.”

The simple principle caught the attention of blogger John Warner in Inside Higher Education. He says, “Thomas models a process he himself undergoes in thinking about gun violence that is essentially, ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself.’ Thomas asks: What do I know? How do I know it? And most importantly: What don’t I know? as a process for uncovering truths. It is a process scholars should be comfortable and familiar with.”

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