How have your beliefs been shaped from birth?
Critical comes from the Greek word krinein, meaning “to separate, to choose”; above all, it implies conscious inquiry (4).
Conscious also means to be awake or aware. This suggests that by examining our reasoning, we can understand the basis of our judgments and decisions – ultimately, so that we can make better ones.
Critical thinking requires us to support our position and also see the other side. The heart of critical thinking is a willingness to face objections to one’s own beliefs, to adopt a skeptical attitude not only toward views opposed to our own but also toward our own common sense – that is, toward views that seem to us as obviously right (Barnet et al. 12)
Issue: Gay Marriage Licenses
In a 2015 case from Kentucky, Kim Davis refused to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Who has a say in the matter? Who is affected by this issue?
Let’s work on the three questions on page 10.
Why are we talking about this issue? How does this affect people who are not gay?
Identifying and Examining Assumptions
What assumptions do you see in the Kim Davis issue?
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Critical Thinking and Ignorance
“Most of us assume whatever we believe to be “right.” Though we were taught much of what we believe before we could critically analyze our beliefs, we nevertheless defend out beliefs as the truth” (Elder and Paul).
Intellectual Humility: awareness of the extent of your ignorance.
People with a high degree of intellectual humility understand that there is far more that they will neverknow that they will ever know (Elder and Paul).
- Acknowledge that you may be wrong, until you find sufficient evidence to prove your belief.
- Notice when you argue if you are justifying your beliefs. Do you have evidence?
- Question your beliefs, especially religious, cultural, or political.
- Research from multiple perspectives.
- Explore new beliefs.
Identify weaknesses in your thinking.
- What do I truly know?
- Are my prejudices and biases influencing my thinking?
- What beliefs have I accepted without critical thinking?
- How have my beliefs been shaped from birth?