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Critical Thinking


Critical thinking contributes to a satisfying existence. 


Principles of critical thinking include:

•  independent confirmation of information

•  substantive debate by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view

•  in science, there are no “authorities” who are infallible

•  test fairly and quantitatively more than one hypothesis

•  if two hypotheses explain the data equally well, usually the simpler is correct


When discussing issues avoid:

•  ad hominem comments

•  argument from authority 

•  argument from adverse consequences

•  appeal to ignorance 

•  special pleading

•  begging the question (aka assuming the answer)

•  observational selection (counting the hits and ignoring the misses) 

•  misunderstanding of statistics

•  non sequitur

•  post hoc, ergo propter hoc — “It happened after, so it was caused by”

•  meaningless question 

•  false dichotomy — considering only the two extremes in a continuum of possibilities 

•  confusion of correlation and causation

•  straw man — caricaturing a position to make it easier to attack 

•  suppressed evidence or half-truths 

•  weasel words

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