The Value Of Critical Thinking – Part 2
We talked about critical thinking a couple of days ago and I have been pondering: how in the world can I communicate why critical thinking is valuable? I am sure you agree that thinking about stuff is important. But what are you thinking? Are you letting your upbringing, religious ideas, set attitudes, and incorrect facts cloud your judgment and affect your perception of reality?
Critical thinking is a set of skills, very specific skills, that help us figure out facts from beliefs and attitudes so that we can think clearer and come up with a better problem definition and solution to our problem. Not that all of the solutions to problems will be ethical ones, and that is a separate consideration, but they will be more precise.
I was first exposed to critical thinking back in 2002 as I was attending college for my Bachelor’s Degree. I noticed right away that it helped me cut through all the noise and pick up the important data as I was solving computer problems. You think there are gremlins in your computer system? I don’t… computers are logical and solving computer problems is much more straight forward than solving other kinds of problems. The issue is finding enough good information to get to the root cause.
Working in a group setting, you often get information that is less than factual but if you ask good questions, you can often decide when you need to check facts and when you can believe them. When you have enough real facts, often the answer is illuminated.
I have heard the argument that critical thinking is anti-religion and I did have my concerns. However, critical thinking is about facts, data, and logic and religion is about belief and morals. There is nothing wrong with taking factual data and brainstorming several solutions, then evaluating them for ethical issues. So religion does have a place just not in the initial study. Often people do have misconceptions about what their religion is and should probably do a study of their own… unfortunately most people are very passionate and refuse to believe that things are different than what they’re being told. So don’t be that way!
So critical thinking is valuable for problem solving. It is probably the most valuable thing I learned in college, because it was the basis for learning. It helps add meaningful information to your information vocabulary that you can use in the future. Make sure to review the following articles for more information: