Critical Thinking Doesn't Mean Just Criticizing
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January 29, 2011
Sound thinking in every realm of life is more practical than poor thinking. When an individual is skilled in their thinking it pays off by saving time and energy. When an individual uses sound thinking they are able to control life circumstances whether good or bad. Halpern, D. (2003) states, “Critical Thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome.” (p. 6). Critical thinking can be also considered as teleological in nature. As well critical thinking concerns the attainment of goals and the desired outcomes from achieving them. Critical thinking is not meant just for criticizing. It is the ability to effectively evaluate evidence and use intellectual tools to avoid being gullible to highly questionable or absurd ideas. The development of critical thinking skills is vital because the skill enables people to operate in a capacity to participate effectively in society, make complex choices, commit to social justice, and reflect on beliefs and actions. Advances in technology have placed an abundance of information at the world’s finger tips. Without critical thinking a person will be unable to separate what is valuable from information that is useless. Critical thinking can be compared to strenuous movement because thinking is hard work. For example at the end of ones day if that person stayed open minded and grasped onto different ideas, that person must now evaluated the evidence supporting those ideas. The National Science Foundation surveyed public attitudes and knowledge about science, they found that 70% of American adults said they were interested in science, but fewer than 30% could give a passable definition of a scientific experiment or hypothesis. Therefore even if a person has general knowledge of critical thinking it will not ensure they will be able to recognize the difference between true and false teaching if they do not have an understanding of what constitutes scientific evidence. With proper instruction a humans thought process can become broadly applied, spontaneously generated, precisely focused, intricately complex and more insightfully divergent. To develop these skills will take practice, concentration and coaching. Critical Thinking must include critical reflection on what passes for critical thinking. However critical thinking can restrict a person to the use of criticism to approved topics and can cause one to wonder into unconventional fields of criticism. Critical thinking is not essentially a negative enterprise but should maintain the kind of criticism which is not aimed at rejection, but considers apparent knowledge on its merits, retaining whatever survives critical scrutiny. Being critical has its positive and negative sides. A writer can compose a review of an article that may or may not agree with the readings presented. The writer’s response to the material will depend on their attitude and what type of approach they are trying to bring out of the material. Therefore critical thinking is not to be taken as simple criticism. In order for a person to be an effective critical thinker they cannot accept information at face value in a non-critical or non-evaluating way. In order for critical thinking to have a positive impact in a person’s life they must have the skills of logical analysis and understand how to apply these skills. According to Passmore (1967), being critical is not simply a habit, a skill, or mastery over the art of logic. Passmore goes on to describe critical thinking as more of a character trait that causes one to ask questions about information received. A critical thinker knows how to consciously apply tactics to discover facts and understanding there meanings. The Stanley Milgram Obedience study successfully shows how a higher authority...
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