Improving Critical Thinking Skills

by GloomySunday 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • GloomySunday

    I'm out of the JW religion, but still have trouble thinking critically. When I was in, I had no idea what a logical fallacy was, I used all sorts of false arguments, yes, even "If man evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?". I would fall for just about everything. Including conspiracy theories, aliens, and all of that.

    I was homeschooled, and raised in the religion from birth. When I entered my teens, I started to notice flaws in the arguments, and left, but I still have trouble spotting fallacies (mainly because I don't know about all of them). Although, I have spotted a few on my own.

    I feel intimidated when debating, but I've only been out for less than a few months, so I may not know too much. I have this left over instant-obey-and-submit wiring burned into my mind, because they would use intimidation to persuade me.

    I was just wondering if anyone else had trouble thinking critically when leaving, or if anyone could recommend some books on how to spot propaganda, or to think critically, and so forth.


  • CrackingTheWhip

    Look up "logical fallacy" and "propoganda" on wikipedia. That should get you started. They are pretty comprehensive, but take your time and let each point digest, understand how they are used.

    I am signed into this course on coursera:

    That may be worth your time. You will get out whatever you put in.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    You are about to go from homeschooled to auto didact. Good work!

  • Narcissistic Supply
    Narcissistic Supply

    read, read, read. Talk to people. Everybody learns in different ways. You'l get there.

  • Hortensia

    It takes a while to change the way you think. I had to read a lot, surround myself with sane people and make a lot of mistakes. It was all worth it to be able to think clearly, spot bullshit, and know WHY it's bullshit.

  • Gopher

    Sunday: Here's a webpage you may find interesting: It talks about nine strategies for critical thinking in everyday life.

  • scotoma

    One of my favorites is: Attacking Faulty Reasoning - A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments. T.Edward Damer That book has been my bathroom reading for the last 15 years. I read it everytime I use the toilet. One Fallacy at a time. Read some General Semantics (Look it up) General Semantics drills you in the two most important questions: 1. What do you mean? 2. How do you know? Also learn the Neurolinguistic Meta Model. Next you need to read some books like I am right/You are wrong so you can cut back on being too argumentative. If you get too good at arguing you will lose friends and family.

  • LisaRose

    Realizing that you need to improve in this area is the first step, many never get there. is a good quickie lesson in how we were all manipulated by the Watchtower. There are a lot of evolution related threads here, we have a lot of people with her good critical thinking skills. The common ancestry thread is great for that.

  • besty
  • DJS

    Lots of good advice as usual on this topic. I would suggest 2 things. First I would read a book or an article on debating strategies. I think it will help you to understand the tactics people use when they don't have a sound argument. A sound bite is included below. But it comes down to facts and logic about those facts. The second thing I would suggest is to read a book on intelligence analysis. I developed an Intelligence Analysis course several years ago that I taught at one of the local colleges. Studying the subject and teaching it helped me to understand the process of how to separate "wheat" (intelligence) from "chaff" (fluff, filler, nonsense). And it helped me to fairly quickly drill down to the essence of any argument and not waste valuable brain space and energy on inconsequential data or arguments.I apply these concepts in everything. The course was patterned after the same course taught at West Point Military Academy. One of my old profs is a counselor there and they helped me develop the course. The process has changed my life for the better. If interested I have several books to recommend. Finally I would say to study, read, research, take a class, go to college. Do anything that expands your mind out of the encapsulated cocoon created by the WT. There are two intellectually-honest debate tactics: 1. pointing out errors or omissions in your opponent’s facts?2. pointing out errors or omissions in your opponent’s logic Rules of debate All other debate tactics are intellectually dishonest. Generally, the federal rules of evidence of our courts attempt to make the argument or debate there intellectually honest. Roberts Rules of Order, which were written by my fellow West Point Graduate (Class of 1857) Henry Martyn Robert, are used to govern debate in many organization meetings. For example, one of Robert’s Rules, Number 43 says, “It is not allowable to arraign the motives of a member, but the nature or consequences of a measure may be condemned in strong terms. It is not the man, but the measure, that is the subject of debate.” Most of Roberts Rules relates to procedure like limiting debate. Those rules are irrelevant to an online debate like that between me and other real estate investment gurus. Some debate organizations have rules like the Code of the Debater from the University of Virginia which says among other things: “I will research my topic and know what I am talking about. “I will be honest about my arguments and evidence and those of others. “I will be an advocate in life, siding with those in need and willing to speak truth to power.” I disagree with the phrase “those in need” above. It should say those in the right.

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