“Learning without thought is a
Suggested supplemental material:
“Skepticism & the Media (Penn & Teller)
James Randi [all videos] (“The Amazing Randi”)
“Jonathan Edwards” (Michael Shermer)
Skeptic magazine (www.skeptic.com) Anything by Michael Shermer
Skeptical Inquirer magazine (www.csicop.org)
Critically evaluating information
5 Critical Questions
“The Disillusioning Lecture”
“Don’t Believe Everything You Think”
How we “think” to see the world,
How we “want” to see the world.
The Importance of gaining a different view
The willingness to change.
Science (defined) - “to know.”
Natural explanations for natural behavior
The state motto of Missouri
Changing HOW you think, not what you think
The whole science-religion debate
Magic, Psychics, Mediums etc.
Debunking 101 (ex. Randi’s “Aura Test”)
Looking beyond the surface (5 issues)
(“American Idol® syndrome”)
Urban legends/Opinions are not facts/Prejudicial
Thinking/ Confirmation Bias/Hindsight Bias
An approach to thinking
characterized by skepticism
and thoughtful analysis of
statements and arguments.
Focus on observable data
Focus on meaning
Where do we obtain our information?
Correlation does not imply causation
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely
rearranging their prejudices.” -William James
Principles of Critical Thinking
Do not oversimplify or overgeneralize
Examine definitions of terms, assumptions
Be cautious drawing conclusions
Consider alternative interpretations
Arguments directed to the person
Appeals to authority
Appeals to force
Appeals to popularity
Characteristics of critical thinkers
Ability and willingness to evaluate evidence
Recognize and evaluate arguments
Appreciate the value of critical thinking
Impose criteria upon thinking
“I have no particular talent.
I am merely extremely inquisitive.”
- Albert Einstein
FIVE CRITICAL QUESTIONS
What am I being asked to accept / believe?
Is there evidence available to support the claim?
Can the evidence be interpreted in another way?
What evidence would help evaluate the
What conclusions are most reasonable?
EVIDENCE BASED RESEARCH
QUALITY OF THE EVIDENCE
5 CRITICAL QUESTIONS