The Myth of Critical Thinking

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    There are hazards in every kind of thinking. Collective thinking is also the basis of objectivity.

    Individual thinking is far more hazardous.

    By the way, since your Wikipedia seems to be working today, have you read that article on perception yet? The abysmally bad record of individual human perception is one of the many reasons why we need other people to correct our mistakes.
     
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I have to wait and check with other people first to see if what I perceive as your post is really what it appears to be. Perception is just so unreliable ya know..

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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Me too. Whenever I post anything I'm always prepared to be corrected. Only a fool would think he was always automatically right.
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. I see something strange and unexpected. So I say "Holy shit! Do you see that??"

    I think that this mostly concerns the issue of objectivity. We want to identify those things that really exist in the common reality we inhabit, and aren't just a figment of a particular individual's imagination or fantasy.
     
  8. Kittamaru Never cruel nor cowardly... Staff Member

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    Hrm, so one of your first actions upon your previous ban expiring is to come here and insult large swathes of the forum at large, for... what purpose, pray tell? Your ego, perhaps?
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Agreed.

    This is why it is so important to think critically, for yourself, rather than relying on some kind of inferred authority from somebody else.

    It also explains my emphasis on learning how to think, as opposed to learning what to think.
     
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  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Look at UFO groupies for a good example of this.

    So, ignore "skeptical" explanations and objectives. Be "creative". Use your imagination to come up with your own really cool idea about what that light in the sky might be. Then tell your friends!

    Like, you can end up referring to everybody who you perceive as the "outgroup" as "all the idiots here", for instance.
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I wonder how many of them have actually studied logic, epistemology, metaphysics or the philosophy of science, or even taken one of those 'critical thinking' classes that many colleges offer. Not very many, judging from the quality of most of the posts here.

    It's ironic since many threads on Sciforums aren't science threads at all. They are either moral condemnation threads (the political threads are typically that) or philosophy threads, opining on what can be and can't be real, about fundamental ontology and about how best to reason about such things.

    That's probably true. If you thought like them, you would dismiss any possibility of such things because they wouldn't conform with your worldview.

    I think that they might have a point. You do seem to me to be hugely credulous and accepting of anything that makes reality seem more wondrous to you. So in a way, you and them are flip sides of the same coin. They have a preexisting premise that reality contains no such things, and you have the preexisting premise that it does (or should). And in both cases there's quite a bit of moral condemnation of opposite numbers.

    As for me, I don't want to prejudge things that I don't know. I don't believe in the actuality of most of the things you believe in, but accept the possibility (whether large or small). None of these things plays a big role in my worldview. I live my daily life in the world of common-sense. But when I start to philosophize about that world, I realize that I understand very little of it.

    I think that I'm coming at this issue from a different direction than you are. I'm not motivated by wanting to defend UFO's, ghosts or bigfoot. I'm more interested in the 'critical thinking' classes that so many colleges offer. I'm probably one of the few Sciforums participants who is formally qualified to teach 'critical thinking' classes. So their content and the motivation for offering them interests me. As I already indicated, I'm a little skeptical about them and wonder how much good they do the average student who enrolls in them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    You're taking that quote completely out of context. As you will recall, you disputed the time of sunrise and/or the time that the planet Venus rose at a particular location on a particular date. I linked you to some software that you could use to verify for yourself that the times I had given were correct. Despite that, and without doing any checking for yourself, you continued to insist that I was wrong. In other words, you continued to insist on a falsehood, in spite of being presented with clear evidence showing that falsehood, that you could confirm for yourself with only a little effort.

    Like I said at the time, you can only lead a horse to water. If he is too stupid to drink the water that is offered, there's really nothing more you can do to help.

    To summarise: my "idiot" comment, which you quoted, referred to nobody else but you, and to nothing else but the specific matter that we were debating at the time. It remains a valid comment. You have never conceded that I was right all along. To my knowledge, you never did download any software or do any checking for yourself. What you did was you literally chose not to look at the evidence, because it didn't suit your bias.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! So when James R calls someone an idiot it's ok, but when another member does it it isn't ok. You're as full of shit as you always are James. Spare us your petty excuse-making and lead by example if you want any credibility around here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    While I agree with the truth of that statement, I also must object to the limiting message.

    What good is a forum that just repeats mainstream knowledge without offering alternate or opposing perspectives. That would be utterly boring.

    And if the alternate proposition does not hold up, then that only serves to reinforce the mainstream viewpoint, no?

    A perfect example is Bohmian Mechanics. Once discarded as woo, it is making a strong scientific comeback because it solves existing conflicts in mainstream QM.
    In addition;
    http://www.bohmian-mechanics.net/

    The new proposition offered by Prof. Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose that micro tubules in the brain and body function as tiny quantum computers, is exciting in scope and possible utility.


    The same goes for Renate Loll's "Causal Dynamical Triangulation" (CDT)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_dynamical_triangulation

    As with all established concepts, new information or propositions meet with skepticism and often cutting edge research is regarded as woo, untill experimental evidence forces you to call it new science....

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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't intend any 'limiting message'. Actually, more the reverse.

    I simply wondered how many of those who throw the phrase 'critical thinking' around have ever taken a 'critical thinking' class, let alone have any expertise in the subject of understanding and assessing reasoning in its diverse employments.

    That would seemingly require some familiarity with problems of ontology (what really exists), epistemology (what can be known by beings like us) and logic. To say nothing of the philosophy of science and the many other special subjects that present unique problems of their own.

    True. I've long said that the 'fringe' fora (and the 'religion' forum) had the potential to host Sciforums' most interesting threads. That's because they address the problem cases, the edgier situations where our familiar intellectual certainties bump up against the boundaries. Fundamental philosophical problems are revealed when that happens.

    I was basically just criticizing the tendency to use the phrase 'critical thinking' as if it was a cudgel, a magic phrase that somehow effortlessly dismisses and silences people who say unwelcome things. 'Critical thinking' needs to be more than a oppressive slogan used to enforce conformity, it needs to become the object of critical thinking itself.

    I should add that I'm not attacking critical thinking in general. Thinking well is obviously necessary in everyday life, to say nothing of when we address more perplexing technical questions. I'm just suggesting that it's a lot more complicated than it's so often presented in classrooms full of bored freshmen. Understanding what it means to think well in this or that kind of situation delivers us to the boundaries of human knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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  17. sweetpea Valued Senior Member

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  18. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Whe everybody agrees who the idiot is, it's a collective conclusion.

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  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    James R isn't everybody.
     
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Like the religion forum, the fringe forum also represents an arena where members with opposing worldviews can slug it out, often to the detriment of the conversation. That's why people become so passionate there over such trifling matters of ghosts in photos and ufo sightings. One little case like that threatens to up end their whole scientistic paradigm where everything is taken to be mundane and well-understood. I'm of the mind that anomalous events occur quite regularly in our reality and that these cases represent something like another reality poking thru our overrationalized barriers. Like you point out, these cases become the most interesting because they represent facts about reality that seem to escape the fields of scientific study. What are we missing in our theories about the world that allows these odd and mysterious quirks to occur every now and then?
     
  22. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Name six people who disagree with him about who the idiot is.

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  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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