It's a beautiful day here today. I decided to sit alone and think for a while. With our sound bite world, these periods of reflection are rare. Most of my days are spent trying to think over, or talk over someone else. Booming music, news readers, sportscasters, kids, folks talking on cell phones, announcements, all day television, traffic noise, crowd noise, and a host of other interference keep us from thinking. In days past men valued their time to think and reflect on things happening around them. Now Facebook and other social sites provide ample evidence of people talking without thinking much.
Critical thinking is a difficult task. We have to examine every statement and postulate for accuracy and relevance to determine if it can be used to support whatever hypothesis we proffer. If the subject matter is emotionally charged, a comment on religious matters, or related to politics, it is often filled with self serving issues unrelated to the matter being discussed. By throwing oranges and peanuts into a discussion of apples, the real truth of the issue can be confused and lost in the fog.
I've read recent articles published in what now passes for news sources that were filled with old talking points that have already been widely published and accepted by the general public, but which have no basis in the truth. The authors were not present when the events being reported were taking place, they know no one who was, and they are basing their opinions on what someone else has written on the subject using the same flawed point of reference.
We have Hollywood actors roaming around spouting their opinions on a wide variety of subjects because they have the time, money, and forum to do so. I'm not saying they are not valid opinions, but as a populace we can't just accept that they are correct because of their popularity. We must examine not only the content, but the motives behind the comments. We must look at the supporting statistical data used to bolster any argument and determine things like the size and make-up of the test group, any preexisting conditions that might affect the data, and the methodology used to gather the information desired. We just can't accept data because it comes from a source that has been around for a while. Real critical thinking means that we can't make broad generalizations from a specific incident. Each incident stands on its own and must be examined in that light.
Thinking is hard work. When I play, I play hard. When I work, I work hard. When I think, I go to sleep.
Don't be swayed until you examine the facts for yourself. Many cases sound good until the defense is presented.