Fostering diverse cognitive talents

Society of Lady Reason (SOLAR) is the Elysian Trust’s social-club/think-tank hybrid for people who demonstrate a very strong ability in critical-thinking as determined by standardized testing. This translates into a CQ (critical-thinking quotient) score in the upper 99.9th percentile on accepted critical-thinking tests, such as the Watson-Glaser. SOLAR is a society for constructive skeptics. It is also an information-literacy resource for people who not only want to know if something is true but if it is relevant. What Wikipedia is to information, SOLAR is to information-literacy. Its think-tank operates as a questions-and-answers service. Anyone can send a question or article to SOLAR, and the group will evaluate it through a critical eye. If there are fallacious reasonings, broken truth-preserving clauses, or a need for clearheaded analysis without rudeness, send a topic, question, article, or issue our way (membership @ elysiantrust dot org), and Solarians will work on it.

The Society of Lady Reason—commonly abbreviated as SOLAR—started off as an email discussion group for individuals from the Critical Thinking Community organization who wanted to have logical sparring partners in order to better improve their own reasoning skills. SOLAR was quite possibly the only place on the internet where a participant could respectfully, but nevertheless clinically, dissect and point out the logical errors in another person’s argument, and the other person would thank them for doing so!

Some people mistake SOLAR for a high-IQ society, but it was never that and never will be. SOLAR was always a club for members who dedicate themselves to applying logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and careful reasoning to the analysis and discussion of claims, beliefs, and issues.

Where intelligence (at least the kind that IQ tests test for) is generally regarded as something that is mostly biological, critical thinking is recognized as a learnable skill. Think of the difference between a naturally athletic street brawler and a well-trained martial artist. You can’t really teach athleticism, but you can teach structured self-defense. Similarly, as the martial artist of moderate athletic ability can often subdue a stronger but poorly trained attacker, in SOLAR a better trained critical thinker could often neutralize the commentary of someone who is “smarter” in the IQ sense, but nevertheless committing fallacious errors.

As a SOLAR member once put it, “In the absence of rigorous discipline and vigilance, smart can open the door to intellectual laziness, which leads to relying on sophistic arguments and straw men to play roles better filled by critical thinking and logic. Being smart is no defense against being stupid.”

The email discussion group no longer exists, but SOLAR now has a Facebook group to continue the effort of facilitating a place for people who:

1) Want to improve in the area of critical-thinking and improve the methods of critical thinking.
2) Are constructive skeptics. This is a brand of skepticism that is not a breeding ground for those who are angry at the world, condescending, rude, or are actually cynics.
3) Are interested in advancing information-literacy.

V&S Evaluative Services
Some members from Volant and SOLAR work together to provide an academic consulting service. SOLAR’s part of the service focuses on program evaluation with an emphasis on creating ways for programs to operate better than they already do.

Admissions & Membership
If you are interested in joining SOLAR, we require a test score in the upper 99.9th percentile of selected critical thinking tests. Currently, the three most accessible ones are the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (level Z), and the CCT-G835

If you have taken another critical-thinking test you believe may qualify you for SOLAR, you may submit that as well, and we will assess it.  Additionally, we require an affirmation from you that you understand SOLAR requires civility among discussants and that you will participate in the group discussions.

You may email your test scores and affirmation to our membership officer at membership at elysiantrust dot org.

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