[extropy-chat] Critical Thinking

Lee Corbin lcorbin at tsoft.com
Sat Mar 11 01:21:43 UTC 2006

I wrote some sentences stating my belief that the propensities
to think critically are carried in our genes, and hence will not
submit to being taught, that's all:

> >>> By their natures, it seems (speaking in the identical
> >>> twin sense), some people are more judicious than others,
> >>> that is, capable of more carefully and objectively
> >>> weighing evidence.
> >>
> >> This "seeming" seems to be stating only that we observe that some
> >> people of equal training or lack of it in critical thinking exhibit
> >> unequal levels of same.  This says nothing about whether critical
> >> thinking is teachable.
> It doesn't and my objection was not answered by this response.

Well, now it *should* be.  I thought that it was obvious that
the more it's by nature rather than by nurture---that was my
claim---the less it's teachable. I've seen you again and again
write as though you had put no effort at all into what the 
person was getting at.

> >> If critical thinking can be shown to
> >> be useful and the components essential to critical thinking can be
> >> identified along with techniques to deploy them and this information
> >> and these techniques can be learned then I see no basis for "serious
> >> doubt".
> >
> > Well, that's a big *if*.  I was saying, "I don't think so."
> We know critical thinking is useful.  We have identified aspects of  
> critical thinking.  I have several books on my shelfs that attempt  
> this and have exercise to teach such techniques.  So where is the  
> basis for your doubt or claim that this is "a big if"?

Where is the evidence that some children over a respectable
period of time have been successfully taught to think critically?
That is the basis of my calling what you wrote a "big if".

> > I see a strong parallel: "teaching criminals to change their
> > tendencies" is as difficult---I claim---as changing people to
> > become critical thinkers. As Gibbon said, "The power of
> > instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those
> > happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous."  You'll
> > only succeed teaching people who want to learn.
> Claims without backing beyond assertion don't make for good discussion.

I *said* that that's the way I see it!  You want proof that that's
the way I see it?  I merely ventured another opinion that your 
assertion contained a big "if" and you seemed to want evidence
for that!?  And NOW, you are telling me that it is I who need
evidence? Good grief.  I give up.


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