Critical thinking

Critical thinking isn’t taught in elementary schools.
 
It isn’t taught in secondary schools, either.
 
Students may learn it in college.  After having “Don’t Question Authority” shoved down their throats for over a decade.
 
Assuming they’re ever taught it at all…
 
I’ll define critical thinking for those never learned. It means not assuming everything they hear is gospel truth.
 
Consider who’s speaking.  What do you know about them?
 
Are they trustworthy?
 
What biases do they have?
 
Where did they get their information?
 
Is there other information out there which contradicts the information they’re giving you?
 
Are there any logical fallacies in their argument?
 
Ask whatever questions you can think of.
 
Do your own research.
 
Too many people think “being informed” means being spoon fed stories by some talking heads on TV.
 
They don’t question what they hear if they consider the “news” organization “trustworthy.”
 
They accept everything coming from the network as truth.
 
Too many people will accept what a government official says without question.
 
Maybe not if it’s an elected representative.
 
But if it’s someone from the FDA.  The CDC.  The USDA.  Everything they say must be true and unbiased.
 
Listened to and followed without question.
 
Who died and made them God?

Question authority

Don’t believe everything you hear.

Even if it’s on the news.

Even if it comes from an “authority.”

“Authorities” are just people.  With their own ideas.  Their own flaws.

Their own agenda.

How did this person get the authority they claim?

Some people have authority from God.  God doesn’t give his authority to just anyone.  If an authority in the Church tells me something I believe it, unless I have a good reason not to.

Is this person an elected official?  In my mind that gives them some legitimate claim to authority.  I’m more skeptical of them, though.

Is this person an unelected bureaucrat?  I may listen to what they have to say, but I won’t necessarily believe it.

Do they represent a large corporation?  I’ll hear them out, but I know they’re trying to make their corporation look good.

Are they a teacher?  Who taught them?  Where did they get their information?  Did they do their own research, or are they just regurgitating what’s in the textbook?  What are their biases?

Is this a TV news anchor?  Next, please.

Always maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.

I’m rebellious

I’ve always hated being told what to do.

Even if it’s something I need to do.  Even if it’s something I’ve been trying to do.

A year or two ago I was trying to quit drinking Mountain Dew.  I went to see a nurse practitioner about something else.  She told me to drink less Mountain Dew.  I drank twice as much after she told me that.

Then there’s that obnoxious anti-piracy “public service announcement.”  “You wouldn’t steal a car.”  Oh yeah?

I was dropping my kids off at school this morning.  The principal was making an announcement that students who were being violent would be suspended for a day or two.  This sounds totally reasonable.  But for some reason I resented her for saying it.

I wouldn’t consider myself an anarchist.  But I am a minarchist

I question why a lot of authority figures have any authority.

Some people in power seem to think I’m too stupid to make my decisions. I think they’re too stupid to make my decisions. I’m in a much better position to know what I need than they are.

Who are they to say I have to buy health insurance?  That should be my decision.

I understand the need for certain laws. It’s not okay to hurt other people or violate their property.

I do have a problem with laws that are “for my own good.”

I hate that I work to support a system I don’t believe in.

I hate that I have no real control over where my tax dollars go.

I hate feeling obligated.

I hate feeling powerless.