If you’ve been reading SEB for any amount of time you’ve probably already heard me bemoan the low level of “critical thinking” most people seem to use when deciding what to believe and what not to believe. I rant about the lack of critical thinking skills among Americans in particular quite a bit, but I’ve never actually talked much about exactly what critical thinking actually is. Most folks seem to think that it involves being overly or unnecessarily critical of ideas you don’t agree with mainly because the word “critical” has taken on a negative connotation and is often used as a condemnation of someone else’s dislike of a concept as in “Don’t be so critical.”
In actuality most folks who have healthy critical thinking skills find that applying them almost always results in a very positive result as they help them to make good decisions about any number of things they’ll come across in day-to-day life. There is a definite benefit to developing and employing the skill of critical thinking and it is definitely a skill that only gets better the more you use it.
Guest Bastard Eric decided the other day that he wanted to hone his critical thinking skills a bit more and set out to see if he could find a good resource on the web to do just that. His search has turned up what may be one of the best websites devoted to critical thinking I’ve ever seen: Critical Thinking On The Web. I’ve not had a chance to dig through the whole site yet because it has a cubic ass-load of information about the what, why, when, where and how of critical thinking both on the site itself or linked to it off-site. If you really want to learn more about this skill and how it can be useful to you then you should definitely check out that site. If nothing else you should read the essay titled Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts(PDF file) for an overview. That way when you hear me whine about the lack of critical thinking skills people have in the future you’ll have a better idea of what I’m bitching about.