Saturday, January 28, 2006

Critical Thinking

This will be a bit different.

Two things came together over the last few days.

I was looking at a website that bills itself as a resource for writers writing about forensics and medicine. The person has gotten books published, so one could imagine that he had the knowledge and credentials to write this stuff. But in reviewing his material I found errors and misinformation. I may or may not go over some of those errors in future posts.

That brings me to the other "thing". I was reading a commentary elsewhere on the Internet (isn't it fun to stumble across divergent things- possibly material for future posts). One of the main points of the commentary was that we, as a people, must become better at critical thinking. We have an abundance of information available to us, but are often unable to weigh the evidence and make rational decisions about the information we are presented with. Without filtering and "judging" the information we are inundated with we risk being overwhelmed and "programmed".

I don't think schools teach critical thinking anymore. (I know they don't dwell on current events and their impact) This is a profound disservice to kids who will be adults someday and will have to sift through the information and make decisions about it. But even we adults, dulled by the massage of TV and other media sources, are fast losing the ability as well. One of our main responsibilities as citizens, as consumers of media, and as decision makers (big and small decisions) is the ability to critically evaluate information literally thrown at us these days. I do it, to the point of angering my wife as a criticize media folks on TV and the radio continuously. If we don't think critically about all the information we have access to, with a little bit of doubting, we run the risk of believing and accepting that information at face value when it might not be worth the silicon it is written on.

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