I came across this in a post by Mike Gene at Telic Thoughts. It’s a fairly concise outline for critical thinking, which seems to be something of a dying art:
- gather complete information – more than one source
- understand and define terms (make others define terms, too)
- question the methods by which results were derived
- question the conclusion: do the facts support it? is there evidence of bias? remember correlation does not equal causation.
- uncover assumptions and biases
- question the source of information
- don’t expect all the answers
- examine the big picture
- look for multiple cause and effect
- watch for thought stopping sensationalism
- understand your own biases and values
From Human Biology: Health, Homeostasis, and The Environment, 3rd Edition, by Daniel D. Chiras.
At a global level, I like Mike Gene’s critical thinking process. On a tactical plane, I’m concerned that without a step focused on determining the root/real cause of a problem, this process could result in a lot of time invested in fixing symptoms–not the core issue. Cause analysis is more than looking at cause and effect–it identifies the cause of the cause.
I think it’s worth a shot.
You realize, of course, that if these eleven principles were applied universally we’d lose most of our news programs, many of our universities, and nearly all of our sermons.
Hmmm. You think there’s a chance of success?