Friday, June 24, 2011

Critical Thinking - Basics

Critical thinking is the dimension for those who make rational decisions based on facts.  They demand evidence of claims and require that things make sense.  Critical thinkers look for some consistency in the information they are given.  Being open-minded means being open to change your mind when the evidence points in a new direction.  It does not mean accepting everything that you hear.

The other night a local news reporter presented a story on childhood obesity.  Just minutes later there was another story from the same reporter about how cuts in school budgets could reduce the number of school buses forcing more kids to walk to school.   I know it’s not usually proper for reporters to make offhand remarks or editorial comments on the news, but I wondered how many people made the connection.

It would be a shame if everyone, including the news people themselves, has been trained to view everything in isolation, as independent events, without questioning how they may be related?  This acceptance of inherent inconsistency or contradictions carries over from these seemingly insignificant examples to more problematic acceptance of advertising or political campaigns.  I am always alert to these contradictions, these little ironies.  It leads to questions, and questioning first is always safe than accepting ideas at face value.

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