Critical thinking involves evaluating the evidence behind a claim, drawing reasonable conclusions from that evidence, considering alternative explanations for these and other research findings, and considering the source of the research in order to minimize any preconceptions and biases that can preclude people from actively questioning statements. Thus, critical thinkers are open to new information, ideas, and claims; however, this open-mindedness is tempered by healthy skepticism. But there are occasions where others will try to discourage critical thinking.
Consider for a moment what critical thinking entails, for it is the active process of evaluating evidence, drawing reasonable conclusions from evidence, and considering the source of and alternative explanations for these and other research findings. This step-by-step process, which is a major precept of the scientific method, is undertaken to minimize any preconceptions and biases that may cause people to blindly accept statements instead of questioning their empirical veracity. Critical thinkers are open to new information, ideas, and claims; however, this open-mindedness is tempered by a healthy dose of skepticism. When critical thinking is discouraged, the reason behind it usually involves people’s refusal to have others question their beliefs, morals, and teachings.
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