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Jaime Lubin

TEDx Zapopan speaker,

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Critical thinking versus opinion.

In many TED Conversations I've noticed the fear to the critical thinking that has been replace by opinions.

Why is so easy to say nonsense without the minimal aproach to knowledge

Why this simple magical fantasies in our times?

Are we in the threshold of a new dark age?

What can we do to recover one of the most precious human gifts?

How can we unmask all the liers and hoax-makers?

Why we have to believe them?

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    Apr 16 2012: Re: Mary’s quote:

    “Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking: ‘Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.’”

    I find the term “critical thinking” potentially misleading. A common understanding of “critical” implies to criticize or judge. People not exposed to the academic meaning are excluded from the discussion.

    Our State’s mental health system decided it was important that clients had input into their treatment, and that all of their rights were respected. They engaged in an “intellectually disciplined process of actively (and so they thought) skillfully conceptualizing applying analyzing and evaluating” how to ensure this would accomplished. A client came to me after three visits to a Community Mental Health Center, and I asked what she worked on. She said “Nothing, we just filled out a bunch of paperwork.” I asked her some questions about her concerns and experiences and encouraged her to pose questions so that our discussion became a mutual exploration of understanding and clarifying what was bothering her and what she could do about it. After three sessions her problems were resolved. I later received a 23 page report from her previous therapist, which verified that my client had input into her treatment and that her rights were respected.

    The academization of critical thinking has turned it into something you need to take a course in order to learn. I would recommend dropping the term “critical thinking” and simply emphasizing the importance of asking helpful questions to get a clearer picture from a variety of perspectives. Every child does this naturally.
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      Apr 16 2012: Bob, again I state that the definition is clear and concise.

      Look, when we see, have experiences, think about our experiences, and talk about them, we can then in the future make choices based on all that has happened in the past........the Council says that it is an intellectual discipline....which is nothing more than the use of our mental faculties, which we are all endowed with.

      I really think that many people today are not exposed to thinking about their thinking.........It starts early. Not only should children be told and encouraged to ask why? But parents should ask children why? Why do you feel that way. Why did you choose to act in such a manner. Open, honest communication with lots of questions encourages critical thinking.

      We want people to be alert and think before acting.

      Today, with all this technology, people believe all kinds of things they read on-line and see on tv.......people are easily lied to. Why? Because their mental faculties are not trained to perceive when they are being misled. There is a lack of love and consideration out there Bob. You sound like a wonderful well-intentioned individual who will go the extra mile to help someone in need......it is a rarety in many institutions, and a global issue in my opinion.

      To me critical thinking does NOT imply criticize or judge......no sirry...........it implies critical as in your life depends on it!!! Use it or lose it......a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      It would be a shame that many TEDsters, feeling the same as you, stayed out of this conversation, because it is a very important one. And you have shown, what a misunderstanding of an expression can result in.

      Jaime asks a very important question here. It is not for intellectuals. I am not an intellectual....again, I repeat, I am an elementary teacher, wife and mom, who loves to cook and listen to music, and cross-stitch, and hike in the mountains. And I love to talk about all kinds of subjects, including our thinking.
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        Apr 16 2012: Mary, I agree that the "official" definition of critical thinking is clear and concise to anyone who has completed a few years of college. I am not sure it is helpful in helping people to clarify what is true and relevant.
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          Apr 17 2012: OK, I'll agree to that (although some high schoolers I know are pretty bright), but ok. But I don't think that people in general need to know the definition of critical thinking to put it into practice. Do you?

          Look Bob, let me ask you this, because I really am interested, not only in understanding you, but also in helping adults I know with this issue.

          Do you feel there is a lack of critical thinking in adults?
          If yes, which adults do you feel lack this skill the most?

          And secondly, have you helped someone to overcome critical thinking problems/issues?

          I really will appreciate your insight, and experiences.

          Thanks, Mary
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote "But I don't think that people in general need to know the definition of critical thinking to put it into practice. Do you?" I think the definition and the term itself interfere with people putting it into practice. Why not simply talk in terms of clarifying or asking questions that help one understand and see a larger picture more clearly.

        Mary asked: "Do you feel there is a lack of critical thinking in adults?
        If yes, which adults do you feel lack this skill the most?" I believe that the lack of ability to ask good questions is one of the most pressing problems facing our world today. The adults who seem to lack the skill the most in my opinion are politicians and the journalists who Interview them and never never seem to follow up with questions that actually get to the truth.

        Mary asked: And secondly, have you helped someone to overcome critical thinking problems/issues? -- I've worked as a teacher and counselor for 36 years with the goal of helping students and clients to see and think more clearly. I facilitated and empowerment program for people in poverty, called the Hard Times Café, for nine years. A major thrust of my work there was ensuring that the consensus decision-making process was clear and inclusive. Patrons formed self managing teams that operated all facets of the program, including office management, accounting, starting and operating businesses, strategic planning, and overall management of the program and weekly meetings. In my opinion, mostly all of the 1200+ people who participated in the program demonstrated an ability to clarify and ask helpful questions that allowed them to see a larger picture more clearly from various perspectives. It was the most efficient operation I have ever seen. The training manual for this program is available on my website www.bobvanoosterhout.com under empowerment.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob said: "I believe that the lack of ability to ask good questions is one of the most pressing problems facing our world today. The adults who seem to lack the skill the most in my opinion are politicians and the journalists who Interview them and never never seem to follow up with questions that actually get to the truth."

          Even if the right questions are asked Bob, politicians skillfully dance around the answer.....

          Politicians are critical thinkers, but their use of it falls into the definition that I provided before:

          "Critical thinking........when grounded in selfish motives, is often manifested in the skillful MANIPULATION of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’ vested interest."

          Like Jaime said 4 days ago, "plastic language"......."noisy tsunami".......that is why we, the common people have a need for exercising our thinking abilities, to recognize when we are being lied to.

          Thank you so much for answering my questions. It has been a pleasure to exchange thoughts with you.

          Be Well.
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote: "
        "Critical thinking........when grounded in selfish motives, is often manifested in the skillful MANIPULATION of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’ vested interest."

        I disagree with this statement. Clarifying and asking helpful questions leads to the truth. If critical thinking is simply skillful use of language to achieve a potentially selfish goal, it is best not to teach it.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob wrote:
          "I disagree with this statement."

          You are disagreeing with the horse's mouth.....in other words, the people who say what critical thinking is and isn't. You are not disagreeing with me.

          Bob said earlier:

          "I believe critical thinking is natural. We simply need to model, promote, and support it. Imagine the effects that might have on our educational, political, and economic systems"

          Because critical thinking happens naturally, some learn to maneuver it for their advantage.
          You cannot tell me that when people ask insightful questions it is only for a common good.

          Alot of corrupt individuals have studied humans, and they know how we tick, and they manipulate knowledge of events and ideas and humans. Or do you disagree with this also?

          Critical thinking, can be used for good but also for bad...........Sometimes we want to be wise in our own eyes.
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          Apr 19 2012: Mary, the folk at the website you quote, who claim to be THE authoritative source on "critical thnking" are no more "the horses mouth" than we (, Bob, Jaime, Paul & me )who are using the term in a non normative way but a way that jibes one with the other .

          Jaime's original question posited "critical thinking" as the opoosite of "opinion" ..as being rooted in different soil and yielding different fruit. The view we are putting forth, that critical thinking ( as the opposite of mere opinion) is a natural state doesn't challenge or invalidate or conflict with more conventional views and teachings of "critical thinking"
          as a skill.

          However to think of "critical thinking" as the opposite of opinion..to think of opnion as something that is acquired and imposed on top of that..is very fruitful and empowering.

          When it comes to the great wisdom paths there is no "horse's mouth" there are many different paths that all converge in the same place.

          The thing we must wrestle with and oversome to move us forward is this realm of opinion and meme which masks truth and lulls the senses into a stupor of blin acceptance. That is the primary condition to which, I think Jaime speaks in framing this question.

          It doesn't really matter what name we give to the opposite of that ..but it is the opposite of that that is the way out,
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote "You are disagreeing with the horse's mouth.....in other words, the people who say what critical thinking is and isn't. You are not disagreeing with me"

        I don't have a problem disagreeing with the horses mouth. I often disagree with people at the other end of the horse as well.

        Mary wrote "Because critical thinking happens naturally, some learn to maneuver it for their advantage.
        You cannot tell me that when people ask insightful questions it is only for a common good."

        Asking clear questions gets one to the truth. Any deviation or manipulation is revealed through the process of questioning. If critical thinking promotes something other than that, I have no interest in it.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob wrote: "I don't have a problem disagreeing with the horses mouth. I often disagree with people at the other end of the horse as well."

          In an attempt at honest communication, one cannot help but deal with all kinds of individuals. Hopefully, noone on here belongs to the latter, because sadly, that would not be conducive to upbuilding interaction.

          Bob wrote: "Asking clear questions gets one to the truth. Any deviation or manipulation is revealed through the process of questioning. If critical thinking promotes something other than that, I have no interest in it."

          Well Bob, I still think that knowing that some people use questions to maniputalte others' thinking is important to acknowledge, because having this knowledge allows us to discern when someone is using this tactic and then we can act accordingly.

          Some people, in an attempt to hide truths will answer any given question with: "why do you want to know?"...........and although we have a right to know why people ask us questions, when that reply comes from someone who owes you an answer, well then, they may be revealing they have something to hide. Oh, I'm not sure you will be able to read and subsequently understand what I just typed, but I hope so. This point of mine comes from alot of experience dealing with many individuals and watching interactions between them.

          I agree with alot of what you have said, and I appreciate the interchange of your ideas and opinions on this subject.

          Thank you. Have a great day.
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      Apr 16 2012: Ok Bob as you said "asking helpfull questions to get a clearer picture from a variety of perspectives"...

      I asking you (and I hope sincerely to be helpfull)...Have you read "The deliberated dumbing down of America" from Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt?

      Do you know the "Lugano Report" from Susan George?

      In that two seminal papers,the education is in the center of the storm, as here and now.

      Well Bob, theres just two different perspectives about the use, missuse and abuse of critical thinking.
      As I see in your profile that you are a current College instructor and counselor and "...(sic) living with heart, understanding and exploring the potential of human nature, and working to solve problems us from living life to its fullest"...
      Unfortunately is not in my hands to drope the term of "critical thinking". The critical thinking is not to be learned but discovered. The veil of ignorance occult all our natural and cultural gifts in this new dark age.
      The pianist Glenn Gould said...:"For me is hard to understand very simple things".
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        Apr 16 2012: Hi Jaime, I have not read either of those authors. Thanks for the suggestion. My belief is that the frames that we use to define our reality are defined and passed down to us without much questioning. My work involves helping people see larger, clearer frames that allow us to work together to recognize and realize our potential.

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