Critical thinking is the process of carefully and systematically analyzing problems to find ways to solve them. It involves identifying several possible solutions and then logically evaluating each one, comparing them to one another on their merits, and then selecting the one that you conclude is the most promising.
An example of critical thinking applied to today:
“Last spring, the same medical experts in the government who told us NOT to wear masks, because they don’t help, now tell us we MUST wear masks, even in our private bathrooms, and never ask questions. What can explain such a change in a MEDICAL opinion?”
“Hospital professionals stopped wearing cloth masks decades ago, because they aren’t effective in any situation. If not, then why are we told that cloth masks are just as effective as the kind of masks worn by doctors, nurses and surgeons?”
“We’re told that masks are essential to stop the spread of COVID, a virus with a more than 99 percent survival rate. We’re told that it’s ‘selfish’ and a violation of others’ rights not to wear a mask. We are told by politicians (who are not doctors): If a person is wearing a mask on the sidewalk where we cross each other, that person will NOT catch a virus from me (assuming I have it), so long as I’m wearing a mask. But if I’m NOT wearing a mask, then that same mask-wearing person WILL catch a virus from me. How can both things be true, if masks prevent the spread?”
“Tests for COVID often report false positives. Nevertheless, all positive test results are labeled (by governments) as cases of COVID. You are considered a ‘case’ of COVID even if you have no symptoms — and perhaps never will have symptoms. In research, and in hospitals or medical centers, ‘cases’ refer to illnesses where people actually are symptomatic. Doesn’t it distort reality to equate POTENTIAL cases of COVID with ACTUAL cases? And aren’t there rational distinctions to be made between symptomatic people who experience mild or moderate symptoms (the great majority) and those who do develop very severe ones? Science makes these rational distinctions. Our politicans, and the people working for them, do not. Which side is more rational?”
Critical thinking refers to a willingness and an ability to ask questions — and to answer them. Critical thinkers will listen to individuals with expertise they lack. But if you’re a critical thinker you can understand, and accept, that doctors often contradict each other. The possibility of dishonesty is always there, especially in politics and government; even outside of politics and government, honest disagreement is probably the norm in medicine, especially with respect to viruses, because there’s still far more we don’t know than we know about viruses. That’s why the common cold and flu are still with us, despite treatments and cures for so many other illnesses.
I offer this post as an example of critical thinking — not just with COVID, but with absolutely anything. This is how critical thinking works. You sit down, you THINK and you REASON. During a crisis (whether an actual or a perceived one), we need rational, objective thinking even more than normal. During a crisis (actual or perceived), there are always people who will try to exploit and take advantage of you, because they know you’re afraid, and that’s the best time to exploit or control you. The worst thing you can do in a crisis is replace independent, rational and objective thinking with (1) slavish obedience to authority; or (2) unchallenged emotion, such as fear.
In absolutely every respect possible, American society (on the whole, with rare exception) is doing the POLAR OPPOSITE of what rational individuals, in rational societies, should do. It’s tragic to behold. Yet here we are.
Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason