The Idea Emporium
Dr Zee's Jiffy Spiffy
1 - EVIDENCE
2 - LOGIC
followed with ...
MORE HIGHLY NON-SECRET
BUT FIRST, much more about ...
THE HIGHLY NON-SECRET INGREDIENTS
and of course check evidence,
recognize the limits of the evidence you have.
SO, GET EVIDENCE.
CHECK THAT THE EVIDENCE IS ACCURATE.
GET MORE INFORMATION FROM MORE SOURCES.
KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN TO
STILL FURTHER INFORMATION.
NOTE - AN OPINION IS ONLY AS GOOD
AS THE EVIDENCE IT HAS TO TO BACK IT.
FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE THERE'S ALWAYS
EVIDENCE FOR BOTH SIDES, NOTE THAT
GOOD INFORMATION GATHERING REVEALS THAT
SOMETIMES THE EVIDENCE IS ON ONE SIDE.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE
FOR JEWISH INFERIORITY,
GAY AND LESBIAN INFERIORITY.
YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME? EXCELLENT.
NO REASON TO BELIEVE WITHOUT CHECKING THE EVIDENCE.
YOUR TASK, IN THAT CASE: GO GET OTHER EVIDENCE,
AND CHECK THE VALIDITY OF WHAT IS PRESENTED AS EVIDENCE.
As they say in the movies,
"THE FACTS, MA'AM, NOTHING BUT THE FACTS."
It doesn't matter how well you think,
if your facts are screwed up, skip it.
If you're not sure how good or bad your information is,
at the very least acknowledge it. That way you're
acknowledging you may be building a palace
on a foundation of sand. Much better than hiding this -
and then oops, there goes the palace into a heap of rubble
with just one heavy rain.
This is vital: before you can do any good thinking,
logical thinking, before you whip out any fancy critical thinking skills, you need to wade through the whole pool of facts and opinions, to sift through what is fact, and what is assumed as fact but is unfounded opinion.
Sorting through facts and opinions, and especially generating lots of new facts, is what got Galileo and Copernicus to stop being able to believe that the sun went around the earth and not the other way around.
Differentiating between facts and opinions is essential. Self-styled experts (doctors!) long pronounced that mothers should not breastfeed, should not feed infants on demand, should not do the things that most mothers urgently long to do. No, to be good mothers, they had to rein in their desires.
It has turned out that the so-called experts were relying on unsubstantiated opinions, all now debunked. They had no facts, had done no research.
People say all kinds of things, as if they were facts:
God made us ...
When God made us ...
What God wants ...
Opinions are equal ...
But ... if you care about what is critical thinking, you need to first justify the validity of whatever you are saying, you need to care about the validity of the data you're thinking about. Thinking skills can't do anything if they have no solid information to think about.
Of course, a good critical thinker will be more likely to spot when facts are missing, when people are jumping to conclusions for no good reason. Logical thinking starts with thinking logically about the pool of facts and opinions.
So, ingredient one: facts.
Essential mindset one:
respect for facts.
This does not mean bowing down to experts. It does mean learning, checking, verifying, going further. The facts do not mean one has to give up hope, given a gloomy forecast: it is a fact that not all gloomy forecasts come true. Still, note that German Jews who
listened to Hitler's message of hate were more likely to find a way to leave Germany, than those who could not believe what they were hearing.
Okay, assuming you have a good foundation of facts, and a clear assessment of the limitations of the data, what's next?
HIGHLY NON-SECRET NGREDIENT TWO:
(question - logic, what's that?)
(question - reasoning, what's that?)
AND IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW
TO USE LOGIC, LEARN.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF SOMETHING IS BACKED BY LOGIC?
SEE IF IT IS VALID, BY USING THESE 2 RULES:
* 1 - IS THERE ADEQUATE BACKING FOR ANY STATEMENT? -
THAT IS, ARE THE REASONS GIVEN ENOUGH TO SUBSTANTIATE
* 2 - DOES THE CONCLUSION FOLLOW FROM WHATEVER
IS USED TO JUSTIFY IT?
SO, FOR THOSE WHO THINK EVERYONE IS WHERE
THEY ARE MEANT TO BE, SUCH A BELIEF MEANS
EVERY STARVING BABY IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE,
EVERY PERSON BEING MURDERED
IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE,
EVERY PERSON DYING OF CANCER
IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE.
DOES IT MAKE SENSE THAT EVERY BABY STARVING
TO DEATH IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE,
THAT EVERY PERSON BEING MURDERED
IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE,
THAT EVERY PERSON DYING OF CANCER
IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE?
* 1 - NO BACKING HAS BEEN PROVIDED FOR THE VIEWPOINT
THAT EVERYONE IS WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE.
* 2 - SO OF COURSE THE CONCLUSION DOES NOT FOLLOW -
IT HAS NOTHING TO FOLLOW FROM
IF ONE DOES TRY TO USE LOGIC, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS:
* IF PEOPLE ARE ALL WHERE THEY ARE MEANT TO BE,
THIS NECESSARILY MEANS THAT SOMEONE OE SOME FORCE
(A GOD, FOR EXAMPLE) MEANS THEM TO BE WHERE THEY ARE -
BEING RAPED, MURDERED, STARVED, DYING OF CANCER, ETC.
THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
IT LACKS ALL LOGIC.
Most people avoid logical thinking as if thinking skills were rotten slimy fish corpses washed up on a hot beach. "My opinion is as good as yours," they proclaim - and they're shocked when asked to back up this opinion. "What makes you say that?" I mildly query. "What do you mean?" they retort, as if I had blasphemed against the mightiest deity in the universe.
For such people, good thinking, thinking skills, logical thinking - these count for nothing against the great god of Uncritical Acceptance of Rigidly Held Opinions.
It's not that these people are unaware that critical thinking skills exist. It is as if these are to be used like weird foreign spices - as sparingly as possible, never at home, and definitely not every day - including not at school (where opinions, rather than thinking skills, are widely celebrated these days). Ordinary thinking means, for such people, not thinking. It means stating, rather than showing - for example it often means stating opinions in the mistaken belief (utterly in defiance of fact) that these are all as good as each other.
Facts and opinions. For these people, it's generally a fact that their opinion is as good as anyone else's, that it's wrong to be judgmental, that we are all where are meant to be. Whatever the opinion, this is not to be questioned - just like the church viewed it as an unquestionable fact that the sun revolved around the earth.
What is critical thinking? For them, it might mean thinking where they feel criticized, and no one should have the right to criticize them.
But what is critical thinking, really? It's thinking that works for everyone - nice clear logical thinking, with thinking skills that are for everyone. It's not just their opinions which are only as good as the evidence for them - it's everyone's opinions.
But what is critical thinking, really?
Logic. Fish are animals. Dogs are animals. Dogs are fish. NO!
Logic. Fish are animals. Animals have long hair. Therefore fish have long hair. YES - except that someone failed to get their facts straight.
So USE LOGIC, but be sure to go through step one -
CHECK THE FACTS.
3 - ACKNOWLEDGING
WHAT ONE DOESN'T KNOW,
WHAT THERE ISN'T
ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROVE,
OR WHAT WE JUST
HAVEN'T CHECKED ENOUGH
4 - ACKNOWLEDGING
WHAT ONE DOES KNOW
(EVEN IF THIS GOES AGAINST
5 - FACING FEARS -
* OF BEING MADE FUN OF,
* OF BEING THOUGHT STUPID,
* OF BEING MADE AN OUTSIDER,
* OF BEING CONSIDERED JUDGEMENTAL,
PREJUDICED, AND SO ON,
* OF HAVING TO BACK AN OPINION
INSTEAD OF RELYING ON
"MY OPINIONS IS JUST AS GOOD AS ANYONE'S"
* AND MORE.
STILL ANOTHER TOP
6 - RECOGNIZE THE BARRIERS,
EVIDENCE OF HUMAN RESISTANCE TO EVIDENCE:
SMOKING IS HARMFUL TO HEALTH.
PEOPLE LONG DENIED THE EVIDENCE.
MORE EVIDENCE OF
HUMAN RESISTANCE TO EVIDENCE:
THE EARTH ROTATES AROUND THE SUN.
THE EVIDENCE WAS NOT WELCOME.
FOR EVIDENCE OF THIS,
READ UP ON GALILEO AND COPERNICUS.
IN CASE YOU STILL NEED EVIDENCE,
LOOK AROUND YOU.
YOU ARE SURE TO FIND LOTS OF EVIDENCE.
THESE BARRIERS ARE REASONS WHY,
THOUGH THE INGREDIENTS FOR GOOD THINKING
ARE TOTALLY NON-SECRET,
MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT GOOD THINKERS
SO, USE LOGIC AND EVIDENCE -
THE PRESCRIPTION TO COUNTERACT
THE MONSTER AMONG US.
copyright © Elsa Schieder, 2009, 2011, all rights reserved
COMING SOON ...
Why do mental weaklings kick sand
in the face of mental giants -
and HOW do they get away with it?
If it's in the constitution, does this matter any more
than if it's printed on a roll of toilet paper?
All soon at Zee's Cafe Cafe.
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To go from Thinking Skills
to This Is Stupid, opinions that defy logic,
To go to What Is Critical Thinking,
Definitions of Critical Thinking,
top of page
Thinking Skills Urgently Needed!
But What Is Critical Thinking, Logical Thinking?
What Are Critical Thinking Skills?
Where Do Facts And Opinions Fit In?
Here: 2 Non Secret Ingredients.
The Idea Emporium. What is critical thinking?
Here: Top 2 Non-Secret Ingredients.
Also, 5 Benefits of Critical Thinking.
And Top Barrier.
The Beginning: Thinking Skills.
comments, responses, further thinking, more ideas
Critical Thinking Skills ...
available to all,
underused by most -
not touched by many -
as if thinking skills were leprosy,
that could deform anyone
The Idea Emporium.
Thinking skills for everyone.
All highly non secret.
Good thinking versus logical fallacy, bad thinking..
The Idea Emporium
- why and what
How does one make sense of reality? How does one think about it?
What is happening? Why is this happening?
And with that I come to ideas - ideas about reality, ideas that need to
be checked against reality, not just believed in like the tooth fairy
is accepted by a child. But how does one check them? What qualifies as
proof, as evidence.
And why, so often, is evidence of
no interest to people?
All that in The Idea Emporium.
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2009, 2011 - all rights reserved
publishing house - FlufferDuff Impressions 2009, 2011