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Entry 1087, on 2009-09-11 at 20:53:52 (Rating 3, Skepticism)
Recently while searching for information to confirm or refute an unlikely story a friend sent to me I came across a web site which, as well as disproving the story, gave a brief explanation on how to think critically. This started me thinking that I should write a blog entry about critical thinking but I didn't really have time to do that properly so I came up with this poorly considered rant instead!
Many people seem to have a very poor idea of how to evaluate how accurate or factual a claim might be and some people (including the friend mentioned above) just continually churn out fake stories. Sometimes they even re-issue a story that has already been shown to be false and there's really no excuse for that.
In many cases it doesn't matter. If the story is just one of those inane little feel good stories which periodically infest the internet then that's fine, but many are politically motivated and belief in those can be a problem. At the top of the list are stories about controversial subjects like global warming. People who distribute fake stories about global warming are really doing a great disservice to everyone because its an issue which affects everyone and everyone should know about.
I'm sorry to have to mention this but I find that right-wingers are the worst perpetrators of these falsehoods. They tend to be serious global warming deniers, for example, and often indulge in other conspiracy theories which suit their political whims, especially stories against their opponents like suggesting Barack Obama isn't a US citizen and other nonsense.
Its strange really because the same people are often very distrustful and cynical about most other things. They automatically reject what most politicians, scientists and academics say, for example - unless it fits their political biases of course then the same person instantly becomes someone worthy of admiration!
I have no statistics proving this point and I'm sure there are many examples of more left oriented people suffering from similar delusions but I'm just saying that I think I have detected a trend of some sort there.
So that's why I think critical thinking is important. In the future I should try to get back to the original idea and discuss how to think critically.
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