As we navigate life, the ability to think critically will be very useful. Sadly, most people we meet daily are not critical thinkers. Conversations with people who can’t think critically become pointless arguments based on opinions and faulty assumptions. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It possesses the ability to understand the logical connection between ideas and rationally make an informed decision. This requires that we learn a particular set of skills called critical thinking skills. Here are 3 things we need to know about critical thinking:
Critical thinking involves evidence–never get involved in a conversation on any subject where you cannot provide credible evidence. In this social media-driven age, personal opinions and alternative facts is the order of the day. Critical thinkers don’t make claims they cannot back up with evidence. No matter how loud we may argue a point or eloquently we sound in our discourse if we can’t provide the evidence for our claims, they amount to nothing. When we engage others and they make claims, the sensible to ask is “where is your evidence for making such a claim”? Never be so gullible you will accept what everyone says simply because they have some credentials or notoriety.
Critical thinking requires trusted sources–in meaningful conversation sources are important in what we believe and accept. If the source is faulty, it is also likely that our belief system will also be faulty, nobody expects a house with faulty wiring to function efficiently. Don’t just accept things at face value check the source. The internet is a great tool for learning, but not all information to be found on the internet is useful. Google, Bing, and other search engines are good but not always 100 percent reliable. When we engage in critical thinking, we ask “who or what is the source of this information? Can it be trusted? We have all seen what alternative facts can do to the political decisions of an entire nation. Guess what? These facts came from a source, but can the source be trusted?
What is our motivation? Everybody is motivated by something. What we believe, what others believe, and the evidence presented is part of our motivation. One deterrent of critical thinking is our biases to overrule the evidence before us. Understand in the process of conversation, everyone has an agenda they believe is important. If our voice is the only valid one in the room and other facts and opinions are ignored or given no place in the conversation, critical thinking has not taken place. We are at liberty to believe whatever we want, but critical thinking helps to replace faulty belief systems with evidence. Evidence can only be accepted when we are motivated to receive truth, regardless of whether we like the source.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by questionable information and where everybody on social media is an expert, critical thinking is important. In everything, we must put on our thinking caps, analyze, process, and evaluate before we engage or respond in conversation. Critical thinking must be evidence-based, rely on trusted sources, and be motivated by the intention to seek and accept the truth.