What is “critical thinking”? It simply means that you
take any statement of “fact” and ask the question: “Why do I know that this
is true?”. It does not mean that you adopt an opposing or hostile view, but
rather that you assume the role of investigator/evaluator.
For example, currently the question of whether or not to
clip a bird’s wings is hotly debated. On each side of the issue are people
who passionately believe that clipping (or not clipping) is detrimental to a
bird’s health and safety. When making your own decision about whether or
not to clip your bird, you will want to listen to the arguments of each side
of the question and then evaluate the objective (not emotional)
reasonability. And the question “Why do I know this is true?” is your tool.
Begin with the statement “Failing to clip your bird is
irresponsible.” Now ask “Why do I know this is true?” The answer may be
because an expert said so. OK. Now ask “Why does the expert know this is
true?” Once you get past the because-an-expert-said-it response, your
question will uncover facts (which are measurable and verifiable) that help
you evaluate the position. It helps you cut through hearsay and emotion,
and get to the bottom line so that you can make your own informed decision.