Friday, January 17, 2014

ResearchMethods: The Night Sky, Critical Thinking & Science - Part 2 - Amazing Randi (U1-P2) [VID] Sp14

Have some claims that you doubt?    Why do you doubt them?

How does critical thinking fit into this?
Is Amazing Randi a critical thinker?  What is it that he does that makes him a critical thinker?
What are his relevant skills and attitudes?

To get answers to those questions check out the Amazing Randi video below.

James Randi is another one of my personal critical thinking heroes.

How does critical thinking relate to science?

Consider this Albert Einstein quote:
“All of science is nothing more than refinement of everyday [critical] thinking.”  - From "Physics and Reality", 1936

Yes, I inserted "critical," but I don't think Einstein would have objected.

Or as I like to put it: "Science is critical thinking on steroids" or "Science is extra careful critical thinking."

How does skepticism relate to critical thinking?

What is Skepticism?

Michael Shermer in Skeptic magazine writes:

"Some people believe that skepticism is rejection of new ideas, or worse, they confuse "skeptic" with "cynic" and think that skeptics are a bunch of grumpy curmudgeons unwilling to accept any claim that challenges the status quo. This is wrong. Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas--no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position."

Shermer adds:

"Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, that involves gathering data to formulate and test naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena. A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions. Some claims, such as water dowsing, ESP, and creationism, have been tested (and failed the tests) often enough that we can provisionally conclude that they are not valid. Other claims, such as hypnosis, the origins of language, and black holes, have been tested but results are inconclusive so we must continue formulating and testing hypotheses and theories until we can reach a provisional conclusion."

How does skepticism relate to critical thinking?

Are you a critical thinker?  Are you a skeptic?

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