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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Critical thinking 101

Another point made in the below-mentioned article, “Begging to disagree”, was that "disagreements have often produced deeper understandings than either side had before confronting each other's arguments."


Says Sowell,
Where an argument starts is far less important than where it finishes because the logic and evidence in between is crucial. Unfortunately, our educational system not only doesn't teach critical thinking, it is often itself a source of confused rhetoric and emotional venting in place of systematic reasoning.

It is hard to think of a stronger argument for teaching people to examine arguments critically than the tragic history of 20th century totalitarianism and its horrors in peace and war. Dictators often gained total power over a whole nation by their ability to arouse emotions and evade thought.

Watch old newsreels of Adolf Hitler and watch the adoring and enraptured look on the faces in his audience. Then read what he said and see if it makes any sense whatever. Yet he convinced others — and himself — that he had a great message and a great mission.

Instead of trying to propagandize children to hug trees and recycle garbage, our schools would be put to better use teaching them how to analyze and test what is said by people who advocate tree-hugging, recycling and innumerable other causes across the political spectrum.

The point is not to teach them correct conclusions but to teach them to be able to use their own minds to analyze the issues that will come up in the years ahead, which may have nothing to do with recycling or any of the other issues of our time.

I’m sure not going to argue with Sowell on this one. I couldn’t agree with him more. It's one of the principal reasons we homeschool our children.

Note: Keep Sowell’s statements in mind for the next installment of my review of The Abolition of Man...tie-ins to come.


  • That was a very good article. Thanks for sharing it.

    By Blogger Elena, at 9:20 AM  

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