posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:25 AM
When I first joined ATS I've had an impression of an educated critical thinking open minded community, which shortly dissolved because of quite a few
posts that try to sound "critical" but which really is biased criticism with no reasoning at all.
In a friendly manner I'd just like to share this little article to remind what really critical thinking is to those who forgot or didn't know about
I'm not a moderator and quite new to the site but I really care about the quality of what I'm reading and don't want to have to skip through pages
According to Beyer (1995), critical thinking means making reasoned judgments. The word reasoned means that people's judgments should be logical and
well thought out. There are four basic criteria for critical thinking that people should remember when faced with statements about the world around
1. There are very few "truths" that do not need to be subjected to testing.
Although people may accept religious beliefs and personal values on "faith," everything else in life needs to have supporting evidence. Questions
that can be investigated empirically should be examined at face value but should always ask, " How do you know that? What is the evidence?"
2. All evidence is not equal in quality.
One of the most important steps in critical thinking and one that is often overlooked is evaluating how evidence is gathered before deciding that it
provides good support for some idea. For example, there are poorly done experiments, incorrect assumptions based on correlations rather that
experiments, and studies in which there was either no control group or no attempt made to control for placebo effects or experimenter effects.
3. Just because someone is considered to be an authority or to have a lot of expertise does not make everything that person claims automatically true.
One should always ask to see the evidence rather than just take some expert's word for anything. How good is the evidence? Are there other
alternative explanations? For example, Linus Pauling, a famous and respected scientist, made claims about the benefits of vitamin C for curing the
common cold. Although research is beginning to support the idea that vitamin C may help fight cancer, research has also found that even larger doses
of this vitamin don't cure the common cold (Padayatty & Levine, 2001).
4. Critical thinking requires an open mind.
Although it is good to be a little skeptical, people should not close their minds to things that are truly possible. At the same time, it's good for
people to have open minds but not so open that they are gullible and apt to "swallow anything." Critical thinking requires a delicate balance
between skepticism and willingness to consider possibilities - even possibilities that disagree with previous judgments or beliefs. for example,
scientists have yet to find any convincing evidence that there was once life on Mars. That doesn't mean that scientists totally dismiss the idea of
life on Mars, just that there is no convincing evidence yet. I don't believe that there are Martians on Mars, but if I were shown convincing
evidence, I would have to be willing to change my thinking - as difficult as that might be.
(Saundra K. Ciccarelli, J. Noland White (2008) Psychology)