THE LOST ART OF CRITICAL THINKING-PART 1
By Debra Rae
August 29, 2010
Part 1, Critical Thinking, A Broad Stroke
Contrary to popular application, the “critical” in critical thinking doesn’t mean categorizing political opponents as “idiots”! Far from it.
Thinking reasonably, reflectively, and deeply is an essential (that is, critical) skill. Its focus determines what one believes—and how he acts out those beliefs. For good reason, the God of the Old Testament implores His own to “come, let us reason together.” Note that He doesn’t compel them to rally for the purpose of contentious wrangling.
To qualify as a reasoned critical thinker, rather than a squabbler, one considers alternatives and their counterexamples; moreover, he explores consequences. That is to say, his posturing is proactive, not reactive.
Significantly, a critical thinker learns from history and from his own mistakes so as not to repeat missteps unnecessarily.
That said the art of critical thinking springs from basic knowledge. While remaining open to new information, a critical thinker evaluates his sources with due diligence, applied discernment, and careful circumspection. He is not a metaphorical lemming destined to suffer the fate of those who go along unquestioningly with fashionable partisanship, trendy enlightenment, or fantastical delusions.