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Five Ways To Sharpen Your Critical Thinking

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I'm more than guilty of being belligerent on this forum at times, as many of you will know! Then I came across this gem from the BBC and Open University, really recommend having a look at this! Critical appraisal of our behaviour on social media is very important :)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/ideas/videos/five-simple-ways-to-sharpen-your-critical-thinking/p0929tns

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For once I actually would like a "Like" button 👍

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53 minutes ago, esme said:

For once I actually would like a "Like" button 👍

Thanks Esme, you might remember me asking for one for quite some time! Hahah :)

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It is a good, precise presentation.

I hope that it is used in schools (as well as being watched by the wider public).

I looked for a transcript, but there does not seem to be one?

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39 minutes ago, enntee said:

It is a good, precise presentation.

I hope that it is used in schools (as well as being watched by the wider public).

I looked for a transcript, but there does not seem to be one?

OU will very likely have a transcript if they published this as Open Educational Resource, it might be worth having a look on their site? It is very good and totally agree, this has to be taught in curriculum, starting at primary school!

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I'd never heard of "Sea-Lioning" before, I've seen it used a lot but never knew there was a term for it

 

"Sealioning is a harassment tactic by which a participant in a debate or online discussion pesters the other participant with disingenuous questions under the guise of sincerity, hoping to erode the patience or goodwill of the target to the point where they appear unreasonable." - Miriam-Webster

 

You learn something new every day

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6 minutes ago, esme said:

I'd never heard of "Sea-Lioning" before, I've seen it used a lot but never knew there was a term for it

 

"Sealioning is a harassment tactic by which a participant in a debate or online discussion pesters the other participant with disingenuous questions under the guise of sincerity, hoping to erode the patience or goodwill of the target to the point where they appear unreasonable." - Miriam-Webster

 

You learn something new every day

It's new to me also.

 

I imagine some people just like to argue; esp. on social media or internet forums where there is a degree on anonymity.

 

Perhaps these 'sea lions' like to feel 'right' or perhaps they just like to dominate others. I would guess both have pretty dire psychological drivers; for example people who want to dominate others, may have deeply rooted feelings of being vulnerable or dominated themselves.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, tzijlstra said:

OU will very likely have a transcript if they published this as Open Educational Resource, it might be worth having a look on their site? It is very good and totally agree, this has to be taught in curriculum, starting at primary school!

I asked them, via Twitter, and they said that an " Open Trancript" link was there.

It took me a while to find it.

It only became visible when I turned my phone screen round to landscape!!!

Edited by enntee

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Excellent advice. The problem of course is that those who would gain most from this are those who will never read it. Very few discussions on any platform are truly balanced and this tends to stifle debate by reducing everything to binary opinions. BBC Question Time is a prime example, ironically.

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Posted (edited)

The transcript is to the right of the screen, opposite the video. 

Quote

Made in partnership with The Open University, with OU consultants Dr Mark Pinder and Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett. We’re lucky to live in an age where the sum total of human knowledge is pretty much available at the click of a button. We’ve never had access to so much information. But not all of what’s out there is quite what it seems. So here’s a few strategies to navigate your way through. And avoid falling out with people along the way. TITLE CARD: FIVE WAYS TO SHARPEN YOUR CRITICAL THINKING MADE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE OPEN UNIVERSITY 1. BEWARE OF CONFIRMATION BIAS We all enjoy that sweet dopamine hit of feeling like we’re right. In repeated experiments, psychologists have shown we’re much more likely to accept something as evidence if it confirms what we already think we know. And much more likely to discount information if it contradicts our views. It’s what’s known as “confirmation bias”. It’s one of the key “cognitive biases” that humans have, and it operates at an unconscious level - affecting our ability to process information. This is especially true for issues which are emotionally charged, or where our views are deeply held. But it can come into play at any time. So don’t rush to decide. And be actively prepared to change your mind. 2. EMBRACE NUANCE AND COMPLEXITY So many of our discussions take place on social media platforms where algorithms reward our desire to see and hear our views confirmed. But in life, most situations are nuanced and complicated – acknowledging that can enrich the way that we view the world. For example, what colour is the sky? Well, the obvious answer is blue. But at sunrise or sunset, it can be red. On a cold misty morning, white or grey. At night, midnight blue or black. But imagine for a moment the blue of the sky on a sunny day. Is it really blue? The colour blue has a short wavelength, meaning it scatters more than other colours – making it more visible to the human eye. So the sky looks blue to us humans, even though there’s a whole spectrum of colours out there. Even something that seems totally self-evident can be more nuanced than you think. 3. PRACTISE INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY One approach to, well, arguing, is to let go of the idea of being “right”. Or at least seriously consider that you might be, actually, be wrong. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can lead to much more productive outcomes. Really try to understand where the other person is coming from. It’s what’s called “intellectual empathy”. It can be challenging. But that’s the point. This can only work when both parties are engaging in good faith. Arguing just to waste somebody’s time, known online as “sea lioning”, not only makes you that guy or girl people avoid at parties, but we are intellectually, socially and politically worse off for it. 4. CHECK YOUR SOURCES It’s more important than ever to know where your information is coming from. That sciency-looking graph about the dangers of feral Dalmatian puppies might look very convincing, until you dig a little deeper and find it was commissioned by fur-coat-coveting Disney villain, Cruella de Vil. Be on the lookout for ulterior motives and vested interests. Becoming literate in the basics of scientific methodology, the use of data and the way it’s presented are all weapons in your arsenal when it comes to critical thinking. 5. AVOID FALLACIES Whether engaging in online debates or arguing with Uncle Frank, it’s very easy to lose our cool and resort to some less-than-sound tactics. One common tactic is what philosophers call “The Straw Man” fallacy. Instead of engaging with the actual belief, you engage with a caricature. For example, if I said, “I prefer hamsters to gerbils,” you might respond: “Oh, so you want to drown all gerbils?” A viewpoint that’s much easier to take down. Another fallacy is the “ad hominem fallacy”, where you discount an argument because of your opinion of the person making it. This can lead to ad hominem attacks, which is basically Latin for name-calling. In that situation, it’s fair to say that everybody loses. Engaging in critical thinking isn’t as fun as picking up a pitchfork, or feeling like you’re fundamentally right. But in the long run, it leads to a more curious, educated and harmonious society – which ultimately is the biggest win of all.

Edited by Jomie

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Mr T

 

Critical Reasoning.A Practical Introduction .3rd edition .Anne Thomson. Pub .Routledge. ISBN 10:0-415-44586-3,

It does  what it says on the cover.

Practical exercises in reasoning. Well worth having on the bookshelf.

Stay well.

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17 hours ago, Shreddie said:

Excellent advice. The problem of course is that those who would gain most from this are those who will never read it. Very few discussions on any platform are truly balanced and this tends to stifle debate by reducing everything to binary opinions. BBC Question Time is a prime example, ironically.

Excellent reason to keep highlighting resources like this :)

I am beginning to see a gradual understanding in my direct family/friends that they need to be more considerate when using things like social media. That is positive and we need to keep that momentum going!

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