The Powers of Critical Thinking and Magic of Positive Thinking
( Discover the True Orgins of Humanity - Define the Exsistence and Meaning of God )
Greetings and Welcome, future masters of the Universe!
Developing and fine tuning the way your brain interprets the world around you can be the best skill you may ever require, and it's quite simple!
We hope all potential Parishioners will give this a read before delving into our ideology. You'll need it!
If I Were You, and happened along this site, my critical thinking skills would kick right in. Knowing medamnself, I'd notice the absence of advertising, (not even google adsense).
I'd take note that there is no membership fees/dues or solicitations for donations, and statements making it clear to that observation.
Hmmmmmmm, I'd then peek into the html code for subtle Amazon or Commission Junction type affiliate links assuming there must be merchandise, books or DVD's being promoted or sold. Not finding any would take a nice chunk out my "On Guard" sceptisim, proceed with trepidation approach. (Pop under ads are my biggest pet peeve
So what's an obvious solid conclusion that can be made?
Appearing to have no monetary gain which strengthens the probabilty that is not a type of scam or hidden agenda, I'd make the "credibility" notation in my head and keep surfing this site if it interested me to do so.
Keep this in mind. If we as a species could ever get to a point that critical thinking was "modus operandi" standard procedure, all of humanity's problems would simply work themselves out, logically.
Should we ever embrace collective thought and found ourselves on or about about the same mental playing field of thoughts and ideas, we'd truly be an all powerful bunch of beings. Quantum physics has already embraced that whole collective thought business, in case you have not heard. :)
Imagine, all the world problems defeated in a few years. Poverty, starvation, over population, global warming, war and terror, (bla bla bla) etc. etc. etc... would all be history! Taking critical thought skills and applying the principles to your daily life might just be one of the best moves you made all minute!
Remember, assume everything is wrong until you cross reference for balance. Then cross reference that reference. The days of "flock of sheep" mentalities are over. Time to Evolve humans! Please?
So then, what does it mean to think critically?
Critical thinking is to think actively with an awareness of potential conflicts within the information you encounter from the Internet, television, news media, radio, print or any other source. 'Critical thinking' and 'critical analysis' are terms which are consistently used by academics in explanations of what is required by students in their university work as well as feedback about what is lacking in student assignments.
But what is critical thinking/critical analysis? Well confusingly, it's very hard to define. It can be thought of as better, more rigorous thinking. It has also been described as "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizsing, applying, analyzing, synthesising and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generalised by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication, as a guide to belief or action (or argument). The difficulty in defining it is partly because what critical thinking/analysis is differs in relation to the context, the situation and the material to which it is applied.
Critical thinking in your discipline
Critical thinking means different things in different disciplines. If you are studying in a health or education discipline, for example, you will be thinking critically when you apply theory to a practical situation and then reflect on what happened as a result of your application of that particular theory in that situation. In a discipline which has a less obviously practical application, for example some humanities areas of study, you will be thinking critically when you compare and contrast theories with each other, or when you try to work out gaps or flaws in those theories.
Why is it important to evaluate any information you encounter?
Information exists everywhere. Usually a substantial percentage of that information is incomplete and quite possibly inaccurate. Innocent mistakes like typographical errors often occur. There are also individuals and organizations who, for different reasons, consciously perpetuate lies or partial truths. You simply cannot afford to assume everything you see or hear is accurate and complete.
What kinds of questions should you have in mind when you encounter information?
Does the information satisfy my needs?
Is the producer of the information an authority?
Are they qualified to report the information?
Is the information current?
Is there evidence of bias or value-ladened words?
Is the information propaganda or an advertisement?
What is the producer's purpose or motive?
Is the information complete?
Are there better sources of information elsewhere?
There are many kinds of information that exist in varying quantities. Often you think you found information you can use, but is it really what you needed and in the form you desired? For example, if you were looking for facts about the planet Earth and found a book or website designed for children, you might find accurate information here, but many facts that might impact on your research would not be present, because the information source was not designed for adult reference. In this case you need something more age-appropriate - a source for grown-ups that can provide greater details.
What does it mean to be an authority?
It means the person discussing a topic has relevant expertise, which gives credibility to the information being presented. You wouldn't consult a plumber for medical advice (unless the plumber had clear expertise in that area). Remember, anyone can publish information on the Internet - or in print - and that information, however professionally presented, might be misinformed, faulty, and dangerously so if it involves health or legal information.
Determining authority is an essential part of being a critical thinker.
Information is always being created and stored away somewhere, in books, on the Internet, and elsewhere, such as microfilm or compact discs. Old information persists until someone discards it, or until someone replaces it with more current information. You usually would not base your understanding or decision on outdated information. Old, or historical information has great worth - when that's what you need - but if you need something more recent, you should continue with your research until you find more current information.
Is the information you found biased in some way?
Information rarely exists in an objective form, even if you're working strictly with numbers (for example, statistics). While it might not seem like it, much of the information you encounter is presented or phrased in a way that favors one point of view over another. For example, statistics cited by one politician may be deliberately presented in a manner unflattering to the opposing political party. This happens regularly during election years. Bias runs rampant elsewhere, such as journalism and advertisements, and it's often difficult to detect. Consulting multiple persons and sources of information is one way of detecting and overcoming biased information.
What about funding? Is the seemingly knowledgeable professor swaying his true thoughts on say, alien visitation? Perhaps taking a sceptical stance because his funding for research comes from say, a hard right conservate administration with a very large Christian base? A-huh A-huh. And the real bummer is that the Federal Government primarily funds about 90% of all scientific projects and establishments.
Covert or Overt Commercialism
Why are commercial sources of information a problem?
In the business world, everything is money. Profit motivates people. Companies offering information or publishing ads usually want to make money. Many commercial entities sincerely want to guide people to helpful products or information, but most companies must turn a profit by any means possible, even at your expense. Commercialism runs rampant on the Internet. Websites offer free information because their costs are offset by advertising space sold. Some search engines, for example, present results based not on what's relevant to your research, but instead what company or person has paid to have their information shown to you. The only safe place to conduct your research is at your school or local library.
What's the Motivation?
Whoever's making information available - what's their
motive? People publish information for many reasons; in every case it is
for some reason. A company publishes ads to sell products. A scientist
publishes research to make it available to the scientific community for
further study. A politician makes statements in support of her or his
campaign or party. Someone writes a bad review of a book or movie because
they didn't like it. Whatever the reason, it's important to remember that
information does not exist on its own: people prepare and present it in
hopes of achieving some goal.
You cannot assume that goal is simply to educate you in an objective manner; that is rarely the case. Consider why a person, website, book, or any other source is presenting information. Perhaps their intention is, in the end, good, but you cannot afford to assume this is always the case.
Thinking about Completeness and thoroughness
Is the information you're examining complete? We
usually encounter bits and pieces of information and are left on our own
to assemble "the big picture." If we do not consult a variety persons or
sources of information, we will be limited to whatever we've heard, seen,
personally concluded or imagined. Unless we are informed outright, we
often don't know if we're not being told the complete story. Using the
obvious case of fiction, a novel said to be "abridged" contains only a
fraction of the complete story.
While parts you missed might not be "important" to the plot, you're literally not getting the whole story. Omissions prevent us from considering all the facts: our understanding will be based on incomplete information. Outside of the world of fiction, such omissions can be dangerous. You must actively seek out the whole truth to the best of your ability.
In Search of Better Sources
Are there better sources of information available
elsewhere? You should always seek out the best - that is, the most current
and definitive - source of information available. Finding a superior
source is a challenge, which is why you should start your research at a
library, where a librarian, knowledgeable of sources, will assist you.
Even after finding what appears to be an excellent source, your search has
not necessarily concluded: there could always be a newer publication that
more completely addresses a subject. Note: "better" does not always mean
"newer": some of the most "definitive" texts were actually written
Consulting the creators and primary sources of information yields higher information value: for example, why assume an opinion on ancient cultures and mythology is true just because it came from a professor at an esteemed university? Definitive doesn't always mean from someone of high stature; sometimes it just means consulting the most direct or publically recognized information source.
Study this pic for a moment. What do you see first?
As you look at the graphic, you can see LOVE or HATE. Of course you can also see both, but if your eyes get drawn in to see HATE, you might not easily see LOVE, and vice versa.
I think this is a groovy analogy because it dipicts the importance of critical thinking, and how easily we humans can make different judgments based on varied interpretations of the identical data or information before us. Hopefully, by gaining the disciplines of critical thought, you'd always stop and consider the possibility that it could be interpreted differently. Ya dig?
Critical Thinking Test! -- Explore all the possibilities of interpretation before clicking on the "Pussy Files" link.
What should you take away from this tutorial?
Information you encounter may contain defects. Those defects may be purely accidental or secretly intentional. Never make conclusions without all the facts. Consult multiple resources and seek out superior sources. Remember anyone can publish anything on the Internet. Be aware there may be bias, misrepresentations, or ulterior motives working behind information encountered; the hidden agenda might be to sell you something or to exploit your ignorance.
Try to see "the bigger picture," performing additional research as necessary until your needs are truly satisfied. Above all know most people of science are your allies in your struggle against disinformation: try to always start your search for knowledge at accredited academic institutions, online or other wise! If you read books or publications, try to cross reference the Author's sources and see if any concur. Cross reference data as much as possible and enjoy the new found benefits that critical thinking can afford you. And perhaps even enlightenment! * Doh!