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CRITICAL THINKING: Dedicated to the humble pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

Location: #philosophy
Members: 61
Latest Activity: Oct 22, 2017


Why, you may ask, did I say that this group was about the humble pursuit of knowledge and understanding? What is humble about it?

Well, the reason I wanted to create this group was because of my extreme disappointment with the lack of critical thinking around us today—even among intelligent people. This is not due to a lack of available information. It is not because of a lack of education. And it is certainly not due to a lack of rational thinking, because even ignorant people can be rational within the confines of their own mistaken beliefs.

No! It is because that in order to understand the world, and even to understand ourselves, we must first admit our ignorance. We must first admit that there are things that we do not know, that there are things that are worth learning, and that there is an inherent uncertainty in our beliefs and our perceptions.

Humility is the whetstone that sharpens our dull intellect. Intelligence is nothing without it.

The practice of critical thinking should be made in a spirit of humilty.

Here we will explore how to think. We will examine why we believe. We will challenge our assumptions.

There will undoubtedly be some crossover between this group and my other group THE NAKED APE, especially when it comes to the brain, perception, and cognition. But I think I’d like to make attempts to confine the discussions here to the methodology of thinking, and keep posts on biology and psychology on THE NAKED APE.  

Threads on woo, stupid beliefs, and other nonsense belong more appropriately to my group WHEN PIGS FLY.

Threads on cognitive biases, skeptical thinking, logical fallacies, and general knowledge and comprehension are welcome here.


Critical Thinking Web
Foundation for Critical Thinking
Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies
Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory 



Discussion Forum

In defense of dangerous ideas

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Heather Spoonheim Jun 29, 2011. 24 Replies


Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member May 21, 2013. 23 Replies


Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana Mar 30, 2013. 12 Replies

Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth

Started by Sydni Moser. Last reply by Adriana Jun 29, 2011. 11 Replies

Taxonomy of logical fallacies

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana Jan 15, 2013. 10 Replies

Giving Ockham's Razor its true dimension

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana May 6, 2011. 9 Replies

Sporting superstitions: Why do we have them?

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Michel Apr 20, 2012. 5 Replies

Rapture Ready: The Science of Self Delusion

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member May 23, 2011. 5 Replies

Religious issues

Started by Marianne. Last reply by Marianne Oct 25, 2011. 4 Replies

Reflective equilibrium

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Adriana Oct 16, 2011. 4 Replies

College Students Not Learning Critial Thinking Skills

Started by Jacob W. Andrews. Last reply by Jacob W. Andrews Apr 7, 2011. 4 Replies

Comment Wall

Nice Comment

You need to be a member of CRITICAL THINKING to add comments!

Comment by Stephen on October 22, 2017 at 2:06pm

"The Bible is not divinely inspired. It didn't come out of a vacuum. The ideas in it were rehashed Mesopotamian, polytheistic, pagan religious tropes. Old ideas adapted from various sources including a huge Zoroastarian influence into what became monotheistic Judaism."

Professor Christine Hayes PhD of Yale University explains it here in these series of lectures.
Link to part 2:
Link to Professor Hayes' bio:

Comment by Doone on July 7, 2014 at 8:05am

A Switch For Consciousness

JUL 7 2014 @ 7:29AM

Scientists seem to have discovered one:

In a [new study], Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe how they managed to switch a woman’s consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum. The woman has epilepsy so the team were using deep brain electrodes to record signals from different brain regions to work out where her seizures originate. One electrode was positioned next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before.

When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn’t respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments (Epilepsy and

Comment by A Former Member on May 21, 2013 at 12:01am

There can be no doubt that distrust of words is less harmful than unwarranted trust in them. Besides, to distrust words, and indict them for the horrors that might slumber unobtrusively within them — isn't this, after all, the true vocation of the intellectual? -- Václav Havel

Comment by Claudia Mercedes Mazzucco on April 10, 2013 at 12:02pm

We are scientists at heart, and scientists generally retain a good-faith interest in facts and the truth or at least they retain some kind of innate curiosity.

Comment by A Former Member on April 1, 2013 at 10:20pm

Our comforting conviction that [the] world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance. -- Daniel Kahneman

Comment by Doone on January 24, 2013 at 7:59pm

A retrospective editing of consciousness

A new study has found that conscious experience can be altered retrospectively, so that experience of visual information can be changed almost half a second later by manipulating where our attention is drawn.

The research, led by cognitive scientist Claire Sergent, involved asking people to stare at a centre point of a screen with two empty circles either side.

At some point, one of the two circles would fill with randomly oriented stripes for just 50ms (one twentieth of a second) and afterwards the participants were asked to say which direction the stripes were pointing in.

Crucially however, each time this happened, one of the two circles would dim either before or after the stripes appeared.

This would happen at different times – from 400ms before the stripes appeared, up to 400ms after the stripes appeared, and the dimmed circle might appear on the matching side to the stripes or on the opposite side.

Dimming one of the circles grabs your attention. It makes you instantly focus more on whichever side of space it happens.

For example, if the left-hand circle dims, it grabs your attention, and if the stripes then appear on the left, you’re more likely to make a correct judgement about which direction they’re pointing because you’re already focused on this area. But if the stripes subsequently appear on the other side, you’re distracted and you do worse.

The key discovery from this experiment was that this also happens if the dimmed circle appears after the stripes. Up to 400ms seconds after.

In other words, you perceive the original visual details that would otherwise have escaped consciousness if your attention is drawn to the area after the picture disappears. It’s like a retrospective editing of consciousness by post-event attention.

This suggests that consciousness isn’t ‘filtered’ sensory information, but an active ‘conclusion’ drawn from information distributed across senses, space and time.

Link to locked scientific study.
Link to open-access commentary from same journal.

Comment by Michel on January 15, 2013 at 10:37am

Yes, good video, thnx for posting.

Comment by Adriana on January 15, 2013 at 7:08am
Good video, Dallas, it made me think about how it was when I grew up under a dictatorship.
Comment by A Former Member on January 14, 2013 at 10:15pm

New video added to the homepage info. 

Comment by Doone on November 11, 2012 at 8:59pm

The Roots Of Epistemic Closure

K.C. Cole turns to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow to grasp why we have trouble grappling with unpleasant realities:

Essentially, we have two different thought systems that work very differently, and Kahneman refers to them throughout the book as characters he calls System 1 and System 2. System 1 is a marvel honed by millions of years of evolution that runs on automatic (and can’t be turned off). It’s a virtuoso at jumping to (usually correct) conclusions on the basis of very little information. A master at coming up with shortcuts (heuristics) that usually work, we couldn’t get through a minute of our day without it. As Kahneman points out, most of what we know about System 1 would have “seemed like science fiction” 30 or 40 years ago. Unfortunately, System 1 can’t be reflective. It can’t know what it doesn’t know, but it always knows that it’s right. And because it works so much faster and more smoothly than System 2, it almost always overrules our more rational selves.

System 2 is generally clueless about System 1’s flaws. It’s too slow and inefficient to handle immediate matters; it consumes huge amounts of energy, takes effort and time, and requires a great deal of self-control. Since “laziness is built deep into our nature,” we mostly glide along on System 1. System 2 is supposed to be the overseer, the skeptic, the doubter, but it’s often busy and tired and defers to System 1, which is gullible and biased. In fact, System 2 is often an apologist for System 1. “Its search for information and arguments is mostly constrained to information that is consistent with existing beliefs,” Kahneman explains.

Earlier Dish on Kahneman herehere, and here.


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