Personal Barriers To Critical Thinking

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Fear interferes with critical thinking on an individual level or at an institutional level.

Galileo's conflict with the Catholic Church is an example of institutional fear.

Peirce referred to this as "the method of tenacity." Having a clear set of beliefs and opinions helps to make sense of things, provides comfort and doesn't leave you in a state of indecisiveness.

A person is "tenacious" or stubborn, in Peirce's sense, when he clings stubbornly to his beliefs even when evidence and new facts emerge that place his views in question.

The lying and deception being imposed upon the people by the government, media and the self-serving has reached epidemic proportions - so many folks are reacting not thinking - fear, selfishness and confusion has robed our populace of the basic fundamentals of thoughtful reasoning.

"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out" without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp.Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.Because a person's beliefs and worldviews provide comfort and guidance, anything that places those beliefs in question is threatening.Fear may prevent you from pursuing a line of questioning or from confronting evidence and facts that may force you to reevaluate your position.Do we choose freedom and being responsible for our choices and the rewards that follow, or are we going to thoughtlessly and recklessly react without engaging in a critical thinking process?As an observer of the current events in our society, it is blatantly obvious that those in positions of leadership and influence -government, commerce, media and education - are suffering from "serious delusion and self-interest syndrome." The polarization, manipulation and deterioration of our society is so insidious and pervasive that I continue to pray and yearn for our citizens, educators and leaders to embrace and embody the skills of critical thinking, truthful evaluation, selflessness and discernment.People's thoughts and beliefs help them to make sense of the world.When the context changes or your beliefs become problematic, you are compelled to "fix your beliefs." This is done through opening the road to inquiry.The Church felt threatened by Galileo's heliocentric view of the universe and stubbornly clung to the geocentric view that places the earth at the center of the universe.The barriers to critical thinking, in Peirce's terms, are anything that blocks the road to inquiry. Critical thinking takes effort, patience and a willingness to explore, analyze and consider different points of view.

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