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.

No more phone calls

Last Friday was my last day at my job.

This is good news and bad news.

Good news: no more annoying phone calls.

Bad news: no income.

More bad news: taking annoying phone calls is the only thing I have any real experience doing.

I want to work for myself.  That’s going to be difficult.  I have no experience.

I’m going to have to get another job.

Not a phone job, though.

I avoid the news

I used to obsess over the news.  I’d check the Drudge Report multiple times a day.  I’d read all kinds of news articles all the way through.

I was miserable.  My wife told me I spent too much time reading the news.

I stopped going to the Drudge Report.  I checked the news less.

I started feeling better.  But still not great.

I find that I feel better if I don’t check the news at all.

Watching the news is depressing.  I gives a skewed view of the world.  It’s almost all negative.  Sometimes there will be a positive story thrown in.  But most good news doesn’t get reported.

If you’re a news junkie, try avoiding the news for 30 days.  If anything really important happens you’ll still hear about it.  See if you don’t feel better.