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Critical thinking is a class everyone needs to take.

Updated on November 9, 2012

Listening to the news interviews during the election season made me shudder with distaste and fear. There are more people who know nothing about critical thinking skills, articulation of thought and argumentative reasoning than I once believed there were. With so many people going to college in our world today, I would have expected that a few of them would have been interviewed and could express themselves clearly. I guess my expectations were too high that many people had already been instructed in the art of critical thinking. The masses appear to be decidedly determined to listen to media spin and the mighty opinions that control the information feed we call news.

I find it most interesting that people enjoy using fallacies in their arguments, detailing how someone is a communist, an idiot or any number of racial slurs that hearken us back to about 100 years or more ago. The defenses people discuss are illustrative of "news-speak" as one might find in the very old literary story: "1984". There are no justifications or evidence for the vitriol, merely strategically placed words that appear to illustrate intelligence. But there is where there is an epic fail. Instead of being intelligent, they come across like buffoons, spouting information as though they were facts and dispelling others counterarguments as incongruous to their own beliefs.

Everyone needs to spend a semester or more working with critical thinking in order to understand how their beliefs were formed and in order to ascertain if they are in fact their own values, or that of a wider base who has corralled them into their corner. We really do not know what we think until we spend time dissecting and looking at it. We form preconceived notions that appear to be what the truth is to some, but we have not examined it for ourselves many times The key is not to be driven to change beliefs, if you do not choose to, but to be open to listening about new ideas with the caveat that one can take what works for them and leave the rest. This time spent in conjecture is what makes us brilliantly individual.

There are many people who are unwilling to move forward in their lives, living in a comfortable shell that has been worn out and in need of replacement! Change is constant and to remain mired in the ideas people espoused hundreds of years ago without any thought to update them makes the world stagnate and rot after awhile

Argumentation is not fighting, it is discussion that asks us to take a stance and defend it while allowing the opportunity to see the world through a clearer lens that allows for growth. If I remain thinking in the same way my 19 year old self did, I always remain 19 in my mind. It does not allow room for any ideas to progress and to bring new ideas and wisdom into my world.

Every student needs to take a critical thinking class to show them how to open ones mind to differing ideas and opinions. To allow for people to share their experiences and offer their views in a world that is defined daily by the very people who live in it.When I hear outdated remarks and verbal prejudice being spewed I realize just how volatile people are and how closed minded they allow themselves to be. The world is moving ahead, but some of the people in it remain mired in quicksand. But it is shifting sand of ones own making. There is always a choice to look at the way you think about something and to work to be a more tolerant and compassionate person, if you allow yourself to critically think and improve your ability to look at somethign in a new way

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Critical thinking


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    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      agree...looks like Louisiana and Texas are trying to put in motion a succession from the union, as is Mississippi. While I do not really "care" it is troubling.

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      5 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      And we need it soon, Aley. I fear the nation is more polarized with prejudices today than at any point since the Civil War.

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      thanks so much Tom. No, I meant EVERYONE needs to take this class!!! It is one many older, less educated people need even more than their younger counterparts!

      This distresses me "I wrote an article about marketing myths about smoking in which I addressed critical examination. Some of the comments about how repulsive smoking is left me wondering how the point of the article was missed so badly?"

      Oh my! I laid out lots of reasons for things in my life only to be given an ad hominem fallacy attacking me and not the argument! This is terribly distressing....and yes, we need to educated people on how to comprehend the point of something!!!

      thanks for your kind post and for responding here!

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      5 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      This is such a tremendous article, Aley. However, I would suggest that it applies to more than just students, unless you mean students in a more general term such as those who study. Even then, we can go beyond that and suggest that those who do not study begin to do so.

      I wrote an article about marketing myths about smoking in which I addressed critical examination. Some of the comments about how repulsive smoking is left me wondering how the point of the article was missed so badly.

      We tend to put up defenses for our prejudices so strongly that we negate a valid point or consideration while making claims that reach the point of irony: retired military and social security recipients talking about how devastating entitlements are; people claiming socialist economics are terrible, but what a great deal serving in the military is because they cover housing, food, medical, and education.

      We know that gravity can draw a small meteorite to Earth which becomes just a rock. Most people cannot fathom how gravity works with thoughts. Many people came to similar conclusions in the recent election, more on one side than the other. Each person came to their conclusion for their own reasons, but that individuality was lost through absorption to the larger and simpler mass of similar choice.

      Again, what a wonderful article. Bravo to you!


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