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Author Topic:   What Does Critical Thinking Mean To You?
Phat
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Posts: 14587
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
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Message 1 of 339 (721765)
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


Having been at EvC forum since 2004, (or thereabouts) I have found that my time here has been a learning experience in some ways, and a soapbox to attempt to teach others. On the one hand, I have been exposed to dialogue with some very intelligent people. On the other, I have tried time and time again to show why my belief is not in vain. My question to myself---as well as those of you who choose to dialogue with me in this topic----is whether my critical thinking skills have improved here at EvC or whether I have, in fact, merely confirmed that I am still (and forever more) a dogmatic Christian believer.

I also ask all of you what critical thinking means to you and whether or not your basic beliefs have changed since you came to this forum.

Faith & Belief?


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Admin
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Message 2 of 339 (721785)
03-12-2014 8:52 AM


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Coyote
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(2)
Message 3 of 339 (721801)
03-12-2014 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


I also ask all of you what critical thinking means to you and whether or not your basic beliefs have changed since you came to this forum.

To me, critical thinking means following evidence rather than beliefs, especially when evidence contradicts beliefs.

Perhaps it could be said that critical thinking is the opposite of faith?

Critical thinking also implies examining the evidence rather than just accepting it blindly.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?--Robert A. Heinlein

It's not what we don't know that hurts, it's what we know that ain't so--Will Rogers

If I am entitled to something, someone else is obliged to pay--Jerry Pournelle

If a religion's teachings are true, then it should have nothing to fear from science...--dwise1

"Multiculturalism" does not include the American culture. That is what it is against.


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NosyNed
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(2)
Message 4 of 339 (721802)
03-12-2014 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


Reasons
Part of critical thinking, to me, is having a reason for accepting something. The quality of the critical thinking is, in part, determined by the solidness of the underlying reasons.

Also critical thinking should always carry some degree of tentativeness to it. That may vary from very, very little tentativeness (almost totally sure) to a great deal indeed.

We can discuss what makes a good supporting "reason" as we go along.


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Faith 
Suspended Member (Idle past 68 days)
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From: Nevada, USA
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(1)
Message 5 of 339 (721803)
03-12-2014 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Coyote
03-12-2014 11:06 AM


Critical thinking is what leads to faith in the right things.

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Diomedes
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Posts: 959
From: Central Florida, USA
Joined: 09-13-2013


(1)
Message 6 of 339 (721805)
03-12-2014 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Coyote
03-12-2014 11:06 AM


To me, critical thinking means following evidence rather than beliefs, especially when evidence contradicts beliefs.

Perhaps it could be said that critical thinking is the opposite of faith?

Critical thinking also implies examining the evidence rather than just accepting it blindly.

I pretty much echo Coyote's sentiment on the definition of critical thinking.

As a sidebar, 'faith' is often used somewhat ambiguously. One can say they have 'faith' that their car will start in the morning. But it isn't a spiritual statement. At least, for most of us. One would probably be better off saying they have 'confidence' that their car will start in the morning.

Ultimately, from my view, faith at its core level means accepting something with limited to no evidence. Or perhaps, accepting something despite contrary evidence. Critical thinking means using deductive logic and evidence to draw a conclusion.


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Taq
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(5)
Message 7 of 339 (721813)
03-12-2014 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


I also ask all of you what critical thinking means to you and whether or not your basic beliefs have changed since you came to this forum.

For me, critical thinking means that you try as hard as you can to disprove your own ideas. In the world of science, the strength of a hypothesis is completely dependent on the strength of the null hypothesis. A better way to phrase it is trying to come up with every possible way that you could be getting a false positive, and then testing for those false positives.


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Taq
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Posts: 8429
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 8 of 339 (721815)
03-12-2014 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Coyote
03-12-2014 11:06 AM


To me, critical thinking means following evidence rather than beliefs, especially when evidence contradicts beliefs.

For me, critical thinking is the process that you use to follow the evidence. What is evidence, and what is not? What evidence would disprove your ideas? How do we determine that our empirical measurements are reliable? That is where critical thinking comes into play for me.


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ringo
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Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 9 of 339 (721817)
03-12-2014 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Taq
03-12-2014 11:38 AM


Taq writes:

For me, critical thinking means that you try as hard as you can to disprove your own ideas.


Yes, the most important criticism is self-criticism. It's easy to see the speck in somebody else's ideas - unless it's blocked by the beam in your own.

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NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 10 of 339 (721834)
03-12-2014 1:10 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Diomedes
03-12-2014 11:13 AM


Ultimately, from my view, faith at its core level means accepting something with limited to no evidence. Or perhaps, accepting something despite contrary evidence.

Delusion is also accepting things despite evidence to the contrary. How do you draw a line between Faith and delusion?

I think critical thinking simply means examining the reason for your beliefs as well as examining your perceptions. Since our perceptions are colored by our experiences and prior adopted beliefs, challenging the evidence is simply not enough.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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Stile
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Posts: 4001
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 11 of 339 (721836)
03-12-2014 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


Critical Thinking
Phat writes:

I also ask all of you what critical thinking means to you

A few items to it, all equally important and all never-ending:


  • be honest
  • have a reason/method for your conclusion
  • be okay with being wrong
  • look for more information
  • re-evaluate your conclusion upon learning new information
  • when the information contradicts your reason for your original conclusion... accept that you were wrong and change your conclusion
  • understand that "your current conclusion" is only based on the information you have... not some sort of accurate-representation-of-reality... no matter how much information you have

...and whether or not your basic beliefs have changed since you came to this forum.

Maybe? I don't tend to keep a timeline

On the other, I have tried time and time again to show why my belief is not in vain.

Why?

I mean, I understand trying to show others what your belief is and how you arrived there. That's one thing.
But trying to show others that your belief is not in vain? Why do you care if others think your belief is in vain or not?

If you care because you want "everyone to have peace in their lives" or some other nice thing... then... yay!
If you care because you want the approval of other people... then I don't think you're doing it right. I think that's a counter-productive motivation for such an important belief.


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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8948
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 6.9


(2)
Message 12 of 339 (721839)
03-12-2014 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
03-12-2014 11:10 AM


Backwards
Critical thinking is what leads to faith in the right things.

This is clearly the exact inverse of what others are saying so I suggest that "Critical thinking" might not be the best words to use for whatever it is.

Critical thinking is based on the inputs and process never on the conclusion. The process leads where it leads and isn't defined by the end point.


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Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 40 days)
Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


(2)
Message 13 of 339 (721840)
03-12-2014 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
03-12-2014 1:16 AM


Well, my own ideas on the subject would go something like this. We have a way, the best way, of answering factual questions. It's called the scientific method. If critical thinking is something different from this (as is suggested by it having a different name) it is awareness of the various pitfalls in thought that make us do something other than follow the scientific method.

For example, the scientific method tells us to judge theories against reality. It does not explicitly tell us not to judge them by whether the originator of the theory was by our standards a good or bad man, that we shouldn't care whether Mendeleev was a bigamist, Haldane was a communist, Newton was a weasel, Huxley was a racist, Turing was a homosexual. Critical thinking does explicitly tell us that, it names the fallacy and explains why it's no good. The scientific method tells us how to reason well; critical thinking tells us how to spot when we (or others) are reasoning badly.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 14587
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 14 of 339 (721841)
03-12-2014 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Stile
03-12-2014 1:17 PM


Re: Critical Thinking
NoNukes writes:

I think critical thinking simply means examining the reason for your beliefs as well as examining your perceptions. Since our perceptions are colored by our experiences and prior adopted beliefs, challenging the evidence is simply not enough.

Good point.

Stile writes:

I understand trying to show others what your belief is and how you arrived there. That's one thing.
But trying to show others that your belief is not in vain? Why do you care if others think your belief is in vain or not?

If you care because you want "everyone to have peace in their lives" or some other nice thing... then... yay!
If you care because you want the approval of other people... then I don't think you're doing it right. I think that's a counter-productive motivation for such an important belief.

Its not approval that I seek. Its feedback. Bouncing ideas off of others sends the ideas back at me...with a different perception...so that I can reevaluate and search further.

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Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 40 days)
Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


(4)
Message 15 of 339 (721843)
03-12-2014 2:01 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Faith
03-12-2014 11:10 AM


Well, that's a completely useless definition. Offer it to a Satanist, and he'll conclude that "critical thinking" includes all the reasoning that led him to have faith in Satan, and so he'll include (maybe, for example) listening to what Ouija boards tell him under that rubric.

Or suppose, as you do, that Christianity is correct. Now suppose someone becomes a Christian because a Magic 8 Ball tells him to, he asks "Is Christianity correct?" and the oracle of the pool hall tells him "YES". Is that an exercise in critical thinking? It led him (you think) to have faith in the right things, but was he a critical thinker when he decided to put his faith in the 8 Ball?

Or if someone dreams that he wins the lottery, so he buys a ticket, and then just happens to win, unlike all the other people who had a similar dream and bought losing ticket, is that critical thinking? Was it critical thinking when he did it, but not when all the people with losing tickets did exactly the same thing?

If critical thinking means anything, it must be defined as a way of thinking, not by the outcome.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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