April 11

Today’s meeting was a continuation of yesterday’s presentation and discussion. Steven finished his overview of the themes for the spring term: Battling Pseudoscience, Pseudoskepticism, and Conspiracy.

Pseudoscience:
An idea or belief system that tries to use scientific language and/or emulate scientific processes but fails to abide by the rigorous methodology and standards of evidence that characterize true science.
Interesting topic we discussed:
The ratio of things one wants to hear to things one does not want to hear in pseudoscience vs legit science.

Pseudoskepticism:
What is it? It is used to refer to those who declare themselves merely “skeptical” of a concept, but in reality would not be convinced by any evidence that might be presented.
Really good article to check out

 

Conspiracy:
What makes something a conspiracy?

We discussed these topics and methods or techniques to fight these oppressive thinking methodologies.

Yesterday focused on the principles of critical thought. Critical thinking is NOT just thinking about something hard or for a long time. It’s simply not.

However, it is the list after this paragraph. Each item on this list is not a difficult concept or task to grasp and the average 5 year old is capable of executing most of them. The trick is application.

A critical thinker:
1. Is open-minded and mindful of alternatives
2. Desires to be, and is, well-informed
3. Judges well the credibility of sources
4. Identifies reasons, assumptions, and conclusions
5. Asks appropriate clarifying questions
6. Judges well the quality of an argument, including its reasons, assumptions, evidence, and their degree of support for the conclusion
7. Can well develop and defend a reasonable position regarding a belief or an action, doing justice to challenges
8. Formulates plausible hypotheses
9. Plans and conducts experiments well
10. Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context
11. Draws conclusions when warranted – but with caution
12. Integrates all of the above aspects of critical thinking