Evidently I do not know how to think

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Hayes, Jan 20, 2002.

  1. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    Evidently I do not know how to think[​IMG].I have read posts were people use the phrase critical thinking. What exactly is this? I always thought it was a phrase one of you coined, but I read a science article were the author made the statement that it is an important way of investigating science. Unfortanatly I have a problem with Win. Explorer and I can't search[​IMG] .
    I went to high school but very little college, just a few night courses in astronomy and psychology. Most of what I know I have learned thru life and what I have learned from books. The idea of critical thinking intrigues me, could anyone point me in the right direction? Any help will be appreciated.
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Might I suggest subscribing to the magazine Skeptical Inquirer? It's a good place to start if you want to get the gist of critical thinking.
     
  3. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  4. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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    A helpful example, I think, is cable news and our interaction with it (a hot topic around here lately). Please don't divert this thread by reacting irrationally to my example. It's just an example.

    My mother-in-law (God bless her) leaves her TV perpetually tuned to the Fox News Network. Bill O'Reilly: "Bush is good." Mother-in-law: "Bush is good." Bill O'Reilly: "Clinton is bad." Mother-in-law: "Clinton is bad."

    A critical thinker will instead actively seek out a variety of perspectives on a given (and always complex) subject -- say, presidential politics -- including opinions diametrically opposed to his or her own; will synthesize the information, objectively balancing the strengths and weaknesses of every side; and will only then form an opinion, doing so with some emotional distance so as to not pollute that opinion with subjective baggage.

    In general, Americans are much better at regurgitating facts, figures, and soundbites, than they are at critical thinking, which is why presidential candidates (who are often very complex, intelligent men) are forced to dumb themselves down to easily digestible "types." Bush is, therefore, a "Compassionate conservative," an "everyman," and a "bumbling buffoon," while Gore is an "experienced leader," a "friend of the environment," and the "creator of the Internet" -- it all depends on who's controlling (spinning) the language. The fact is that none of those labels is accurate, as political, social, economic, etc issues are always much too complex to be boiled down to a simple pro or con. But recognizing that complexity, investigating it, and synthesizing it is hard work, too hard for most people (often myself included, I'm sad to say).
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  6. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    It is not a required result of critcal thinking that the outcome be negative. However, it is a common result of the analysis of many existing ideas because so many of them are ill conceived and half baked.
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    (pssst...get Carl Sagan's book, Demon Haunted World)
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    To me, critical thinking involves not accepting any fact on face value alone. You have to be skeptical. You have to doubt reality. You have to question any idea or notion. This will bring about a better perspective and understanding and your ability to judge situations and facts will be enhanced.

    Bruce
     
  9. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    Demon Haunted World... I Cant find it, is it still in print? The 16 year old kid at Waldenbook couldnt find it to order (no surprise there[​IMG] ). I dont have credit cards to order online.
    Also any other books anyone can suggest?
     
  10. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  11. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    What about websites? BrianB posted a site with a great definition, but are there any that go into greater detail?
     
  12. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    Bruce hit it right on the head! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. James RD

    James RD Supporting Actor

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    Scott - still available, try Amazon.
     
  14. Scott Hayes

    Scott Hayes Second Unit

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    JamesRD, that brings me to a browser bug page. Thanks anyway[​IMG]
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    The important thing to remember about critical thinking is that it is a discipline. It must be taught; it must be learned.

    It involves seperating one's wants or motivations from analysing a problem. One must accept any and all information on a subject, and arrive at conclusions without bias. Reasoning is done on its own, not towards a specific goal.

    Critical thinking involves understanding where information comes from. What is the motivation of the source if it is a person, and how does it affect the information? What is being left out?

    Critical thinking is the only method by which one can reach logical, rational conclusions and arrive at fact. It is the cornerstone of all scientific endeavors. Everyone uses it all the time, most don't use it enough.
     

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