Critical Thinking. Allegedly?
Posted: 08 February 2010 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So, I wonder how many in this group consider themselves “critical thinkers?” Do you feel you need to have a firm grasp of logical fallacies, or is it enough to kind of “go with the flow” of scientific method and hold closely to the consensus of the skeptical community?

Maybe those are two points on a continuum that has other factors besides, but another question is this: if you’re honest about it, when you consider the ethic of critical thinking, are you mostly critiquing your own thinking most of the time, or is that high-powered skepticism pointed in someone else’s direction?

Your thoughts?

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Posted: 16 February 2010 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t consider myself a critical thinker. I try to be but it is complicated by not having been taught the concepts of critical thinking. I’ve read articles on critical thinking and I try to use the ideas in everyday life but it is not automatic. It seems easier to recognize non-critical thinking in others and that usually triggers what passes for critical thinking in me.

Perhaps a lecture or short course in critical thinking is in order. Do you think “the Skeptics Toolbox” is a good place to start or is there a shorter program available?

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There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Isaac Asimov, from a 1980 column in Newsweek

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Posted: 16 February 2010 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Different Fred - 16 February 2010 11:02 AM

I don’t consider myself a critical thinker. I try to be but it is complicated by not having been taught the concepts of critical thinking. I’ve read articles on critical thinking and I try to use the ideas in everyday life but it is not automatic. It seems easier to recognize non-critical thinking in others and that usually triggers what passes for critical thinking in me.

Perhaps a lecture or short course in critical thinking is in order. Do you think “the Skeptics Toolbox” is a good place to start or is there a shorter program available?

The Toolbox certainly couldn’t hurt, though a shorter course is not available through us yet. I know there will be a segment about the falacies in our upcoming Humanism 101 course, so you might consider signing up for that one. If you can’t wait for the Toolbox, that one is just around the corner.

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The cosmos is also within us: we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

-Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

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