Everyone thinks, right? It’s what we do. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet, it seems more and more these days that people, rather than exercising critical thinking, are okay with allowing their thinking to be biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced.
So what is critical thinking? Well, it’s not negative thinking. It’s not being argumentative. It’s not being blindly critical of someone or something. Critical thinking is the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It involves the objective evaluation of data, facts, observable phenomenon, and research findings.
Seems simple enough. Don’t take things at face value. Gather the relevant information, objectively evaluate the facts, and come to a well-reasoned conclusion. Easy-peasy.
Apparently it’s not so easy-peasy. Our educational system seems to be more intent on indoctrination than on teaching students to think critically. As a result, a large numbers of Americans are uncritically consuming “fake news,” falling for conspiracy theories, and believing all kinds of crazy, baseless assertions about their fellow citizens.
America now has a reality TV star and questionably successful real estate mogul in the Oval Office. This man has a tendency to tweet to all the world his immediate, uncritical reactions to whatever he hears or sees. He has neither the interest nor the patience to gain any depth of understanding regarding those areas for which he, in his role as president, is responsible for.
This ill-informed man was able to persuade enough gullible Americans, who lack sufficient critical thinking skills, that he has all the answers. Without the ability to distinguish fake news from real news or to understand the basic workings of their own government, they fell hook, line, and sinker for his claims that he alone knew better than the generals or than anyone else how to “make America great again.”
And even with ample evidence that our president lacks the temperament, the emotional skills, and the intellectual competence to master the role into which he was elected, there are still those who look at him uncritically and believe him to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
We are witnessing the death of critical thinking in America.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “critical.”