Critical Thinking Fallacies List

Critical Thinking Fallacies List-14
Once again, the primary tool is the question—or rather, a set of basic diagnostic questions that can be applied time and again when trying to assess anything from a medical claim to a politician’s promises. After weighing the evidence, one is in a better position to make a judgment call—as in, “I have five strong reasons to believe this and only two shaky reasons to disbelieve; I’ll go with the stronger case.”Another favorite question of Browne’s is, Sometimes the problem with information is not what is there, but what’s missing—whether it’s a news story that neglects to provide historical context when discussing unemployment data, a sales pitch that leaves out important details about interest repayment plans, or a politician’s promised solution that fails to mention potential downsides.

Once again, the primary tool is the question—or rather, a set of basic diagnostic questions that can be applied time and again when trying to assess anything from a medical claim to a politician’s promises. After weighing the evidence, one is in a better position to make a judgment call—as in, “I have five strong reasons to believe this and only two shaky reasons to disbelieve; I’ll go with the stronger case.”Another favorite question of Browne’s is, Sometimes the problem with information is not what is there, but what’s missing—whether it’s a news story that neglects to provide historical context when discussing unemployment data, a sales pitch that leaves out important details about interest repayment plans, or a politician’s promised solution that fails to mention potential downsides.

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“We’ve become less critical in the face of information overload,” he writes over email.

“We throw up our hands and say, it’s too much to think about.” According to Levitin, this sense of being overwhelmed makes us more vulnerable to unsubstantiated stories from suspect sources and “alternative facts” served up by spin doctors.

“You must be willing to admit you don’t know, or that you might be wrong about something.”Still, it is worth the effort, Levitin argues.

“Evidence-based decision-making leads to better outcomes—better health decisions, financial decisions, life choices,” he says, adding: “Research shows that your gut’s going to be wrong more than it is right.”Moreover, if citizens make political choices based on gut feelings, faulty evidence, and weak-sense critical thinking, they may not get the most qualified or effective leaders.

As Sagan warned in an interview with Charlie Rose just months before his death in 1996: “If we are not able to ask skeptical questions …

to interrogate those who tell us something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority …

Thus, we must continually question our own assumptions and beliefs.

Or, as Sesno puts it, “You almost have to start by asking, ”Having considered one’s biases and assumptions on a given issue, the critical thinker then goes to work evaluating statements and claims coming from others.

(It’s worth noting that Facebook is now changing its “trending topics” feature in an effort to battle fake news.)The psychologist Daniel J.

Levitin, author of the new book , says that our talent for critical thinking also has been weakened by the sheer amount of information coming at us each day through push notifications, cable news, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle.

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