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Can You Think Critically?

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posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:25 AM
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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 it.
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 of nonsense.


***
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 them:
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)




posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:33 AM
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Well said, I totally agree.

Some people are convinced better by fiery speeches than by pure facts laid out simply without bias



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by Amberry
 


Nice! I love it when threads start out with definitions of some of the terms that will be discussed! That way people aren't squabbling over the same silly things just because they use different meanings of a word.

What would be really awesome is to turn this into a critical thinking/logic thread, with definitions of all the different types of arguments and fallacies (ex. define straw man). But maybe there is a thread like that somewhere already.
edit on 15-6-2011 by AlphaBetaGammaX because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:40 AM
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reply to post by Amberry
 


Good post... now if we could only get Al Gore to read it



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:43 AM
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reply to post by Amberry
 


The Greater the philosopher the greater the faculty for critical thinking! Yet the greatest of philosophies is open to debate and criticism. I wonder if there is a human mind capable of perfected unbiased thinking and reasoning?

I am hopeless at it! I have a bias and an agenda, I admit. I hold it sacred and defend it because my whole life and experience are based upon it. Originally it was put through all the tests I could throw at it and passed the test!



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:44 AM
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yes i have encountered some trouble as well in this area when trying to show a different side of a point,
sometimes you post sources and information, then you get a response that goes,
"ye just making a blog, and using an encyclopedia doesn't make you right"
apparently that is a valide counter point.....

it gets annoying, and just makes me walk away...



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 11:52 AM
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reply to post by Revolution9
 


Yeah I really like the part of this article that explains that even when you beleive one thing, you can still keep an open mind to the other person's position and not bully him with your opinion but rather discuss and listen why it's different, that way both sides get something out of the debate, even if they don't change their point of view.



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by Amberry
 

Do you have evidence for these claims? A link maybe? Pics or it didn't happen.



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.


What!? Since when do religions get a pass? They need to be subjected to testing most of all.



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Wrong ! When the religion is constituted to a God who has left no objective evidence of his existence for
specified reasons of his own. That belief not so much needing to be a religion must get a pass. So to speak.

Randyvious

Snf excellent thread.
edit on 15-6-2011 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 15 2011 @ 06:02 PM
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Great thread topic,

I think that many people try to think critically, however there are those who are emotioned based. We've all seen it here. I know I lost my filter at times and spout emotionally rather than rationally. I try, not always succeeding, to take a second before replying to a thread that peaks my interest. Look at the thread from all angles and then reply. Though sometimes I have to throw a lil snark in for fun.


As much as some here who like to be,
, we are not Vulcans. We are Humans, a emotion driven race.



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