critical thinking

Critical thinking 101

If I could get Americans to just do one thing, it would be to take nothing at face value. Everything in our society has been reduced to a sound bite, and too few of our fellow citizens have any curiosity beyond it. What a difference it would make if our citizenry would take the time after seeing a headline or watching the 30 seconds devoted to a story on the nightly news to explore the dynamics that led up to the story and consider what the motivations may have been by the people involved. You can take it to…

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As long as you’re thinking

Today, I changed The Bubbler site subhead from “I don’t care what you think, as long as you’re thinking,” to “More than 700 timeless posts on conservative thinking.” That’s right, I hit the 700 post mark today, and I couldn’t be more excited. While I’ve been writing this for nearly three years, the ideas captured in The Bubbler have been developing and brewing for more than 30 years. While there are many sites dedicated to conservative reactions to the news and issues of the day, I thought there was a gaping hole regarding conservative thought. Conservatives often assume their…

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What does critical thinking look like?

People talk about things like “common sense” or “critical thinking.” They’re easy to say. And we all feel like we’re speaking a common language when we say them. But what do those phrases really mean? Here’s an illustration: Today, I saw someone post this on Facebook: “People are dying all over the world… And our “leader” is getting excited about his “tv ratings?!?!” That was followed by this: I read this post, in its entirety, and the first thought I had was, “Is this really true?” They I wondered how does she know that’s what he was doing. I…

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Critical thinking: the first step toward conservatism

I was recently looking at a picture on a photography site. The picture was nowhere near as intriguing to me as the statement that accompanied it: “Ever since my first encounters with many of the great photographers who inspired me, I became aware of the value of turning my attention away from the main event. So often, the temptation is to look where everyone else is looking. But, time after time, I have chosen to observe what’s going on by looking in the other direction – before, or after, or at the edges of the main attraction. There, I…

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What is critical thinking?

I remember looking at a picture on a photography site. The picture wasn’t very memorable. What intrigued me was the accompanying statement: “Ever since my first encounters with many of the great photographers who inspired me, I became aware of the value of turning my attention away from the main event. So often, the temptation is to look where everyone else is looking. But, time after time, I have chosen to observe what’s going on by looking in the other direction – before, or after, or at the edges of the main attraction. There, I find the textures, moods,…

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If a tree falls in a forest, who has the greatest interest in planting another?

No one plants more trees than the people who cut them down. Deforestation has been an issue for a number of decades, but it really started taking off as a popular concern in the mid-1980s, when organizations like Greenpeace and Earth First!, along with Al Gore, started gaining media coverage. Earth First!, in particular, initiated tactics like blocking logging roads, tree-sitting, and tree-spiking, to stop logging and raise awareness. People who tend to take things at face value, isolate their thinking to the “fact” they’re given, and shy away from critical analysis will hear something like “there are 8…

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Don’t consider the source

Consider the content of what is being said. Considering the source is one of the greatest wedges dividing our society. It allows us to avoid the merits of an idea by destroying the reputation of the source. Instead of stopping and considering the idea or information being shared, people are becoming way too quick to dismiss what they’re hearing because of who’s saying it. Think what you want of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (just to pick two examples), but there’s a reason they say the things they say and do the things they do. (And you’re not them,…

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