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Critical Thinking is Not Conducted in a Vacuum

By Denis Korn

Seriously reflect on this post!

Seriously reflect on this post!

I consider this to be one of the most important posts I have made, because of the seriousness condition of the current state of our nation.  This will be a significant year in defining the direction of our society and the foundations created for our children and grandchildren.  Before we examine the issues relating to the title of this article, I would like to share an observation that makes the importance of the critical thinking process even more crucial as each day unfolds.

I believe that the polarization and the schism of our society is complete.  The indoctrination, manipulation and dumbing down of the population is an intentional process that began decades ago by those who do not have the best intentions for our country.  The signs of this acute and agonizing polarization and discord are everywhere and in your face – politics, education, media, radical and apocalyptic Islam, health, race relations, philosophy/ideology, military, immigration, constitutional rights, sexual/gender behavior, finance and in many other facets of our culture.  This not a time of simple disagreements, opinions and perspectives.  It is the blatant manifestation of what is referred to in Ephesians 6:10-12 as spiritual warfare.  The dark side has control of the major sources of communication, education and political influence and is fighting for the soul of our nation.

First stated in the Gospels by Jesus himself and later during a critical time in our nation’s history by Abraham Lincoln (see the comments at the end of this article regarding his House Divided speech)  – “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:24,25)  This is why it is essential that the discerning and thinking remnant in our land be vigilant and active in combating the evil in our midst.

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Attitude – Critical Thinking – Knowledge – Trust – are the most essential attributes of the preparedness planning process – and are required for acting appropriately in the times confronting us today!

In the 6 years of posting articles on this site, one of the most popular posts has been Barriers to Critical Thinking & The 7 Essential Questions for Reflection.  While I believe that developing critical thinking skills is essential in all aspects of our life, it is especially important when you are evaluating and determining sources and provisions for emergency and disaster preparedness.  Your comfort, health and survival depend on appropriate, sensible and accurate decisions.  The correct and proper decision making process relies on essential critical thinking skills.  Knowledge and discernment competency are vital to the emergency preparedness process.

Because of the importance of applying critical thinking, especially during these times of great confusion, uncertainty and deception, I am offering some observations that I hope will help in motivating you to look closely at the critical thinking process.  There are numerous books and resources available to help you in developing critical thinking skills.  The purpose of this article is to offer some helpful insights into the critical thing process that will hopefully motivate you to seek further understanding.

It is obvious that those with political and economic power do not want a thinking and accessing population.  The deception and manipulation of facts and events have reached epic proportions.  All sectors of daily life have been compromised to achieve a massive dumbing down and indoctrination of the masses – media, government, schools, science, academia and entertainment.  The urgency and importance to our society, families and nation for an informed, thinking, rational and discerning populace is vital if we are to remain a sovereign people living in freedom and opportunity.  The future of this country and our children depends on the outcome of events that will unfold as the year progresses.

What is Critical Thinking?

“Critical thinking is the careful, deliberate determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim – and of the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it.  The ability to think critically is vitally important; in fact, our lives depend on it.  The way we conduct our lives depends on what we believe to be true – on what claims we accept  The more carefully we evaluate a claim and the more fully we separate issues that are relevant to it from those that are not, the more critical is our thinking.”

“We do not do our critical thinking in a vacuum, of course.  When we are confronted with a claim, usually we already have a certain amount of information relevant to the topic, and we can generally figure out where to find more if we need it.  Having both the desire and the ability to bring such information to bear on our decisions is part of the critical-thinking process.  Critical thinking involves a lot of skills, including the abilities to listen and read carefully, to evaluate arguments, to look for and find hidden assumptions, and to trace consequences of a claim.” (From Critical Thinking, Sixth Edition – Brooke Noel Moore, PhD & Richard Parker, PhD)

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively;
  • comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems. (From Critical Thinking – Concepts & Tools, Seventh Edition – Richard Paul, PhD & Linda Elder, PhD)

It is important to realize that everyone resides at a different level in the process of developing critical thinking skills.  Be encouraged to continue to pursue your thinking skills development, and to put into practice what your have learned.

Here are some thoughts from a paper I wrote titled “Critical Thinking is not Conducted in a Vacuum” that I distributed to the Critical Thinking class I taught at our local college a few years back.  I know it might be a bit “academic,” however I feel it offers some valuable food for thought.

Vital components:

  • Critical thinking skills are developed and refined by: habits, discernment, learning tools, knowledge, practice, principles, motivation, and an effective educational process.
  • The foundation for thinking is based upon: personal core beliefs, perceptions, presuppositions, and one’s worldview.
  • Critical thinking takes place in a philosophical, societal, and cultural context and is basically oriented from two standpoints:

~ Practical and pragmatic – essential for daily life situations centered around personal – social – political – religious circumstances.

~ Theoretical and academic – consisting of inquiry into the theological (the study of religious faith and God’s relation to the world), metaphysical (of or relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses), cosmological (the nature of the universe), ontological (the nature and relations of being), and epistemological (the nature and grounds of knowledge).

The entire study of, and search for truth (that which is – not an opinion) begins with one’s personal worldview – it is not an exact science, it is not something you can expect to pick up after a few class assignments, memorize, and reiterate on a multiple choice exam (which you know a do not give) – it is a process, an attitude, a relationship, an adventure, and a journey of discovery – it is filled with twists and turns, exaltation and distress – the rewards regardless of the obstacles, uncertainty, and confusion are as Socrates would say, “the way we ought to live.”

To discover truth and the Truth is an innate human need for many, if not most, of us.  It will validate and strengthen worldviews that are proper, and change worldviews that are flawed – if we don’t let the barriers to critical thinking get the better of us.  This process is also an essential component of the development of critical thinking skills.  Each one of us are responsible for discerning the variances and nuances in the identification of truth.

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Here are the comments regarding Abraham Lincoln’s speech.  They come from www.abrahamlincolnonline.org.  Abraham Lincoln’s insights then have profound implications for our nations current struggles.  I pray it is not too late for our country!

Lecturn in Representatives Hall, Old State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois
Representatives Hall Lecturn
© Abraham Lincoln Online

House Divided Speech

Springfield, Illinois
June 16, 1858

On June 16, 1858 more than 1,000 delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title reflects part of the speech’s introduction, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a concept familiar to Lincoln’s audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).

Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically incorrect. Lincoln read the speech to him before delivering it, referring to the “house divided” language this way: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.” (Emphasis mine. The peril is of today as it was then – can our nation accept a true spiritual and perceptive leader today as it did in Lincoln’s day?)

The speech created many repercussions, giving Lincoln’s political opponent fresh ammunition. Herndon remarked, “when I saw Senator Douglas making such headway against Mr. Lincoln’s house divided speech I was nettled & irritable, and said to Mr. Lincoln one day this — ‘Mr. Lincoln — why in the world do you not say to Mr. Douglas, when he is making capitol out of your speech, — ‘Douglas why whine and complain to me because of that speech. I am not the author of it. God is. Go and whine and complain to Him for its revelation, and utterance.’ Mr. Lincoln looked at me one short quizzical moment, and replied ‘I can’t.'”

Reflecting on it several years later, Herndon said the speech did awaken the people, and despite Lincoln’s defeat, he thought the speech made him President. “Through logic inductively seen,” he said, “Lincoln as a statesman, and political philosopher, announced an eternal truth — not only as broad as America, but covers the world.”

Another colleague, Leonard Swett, said the speech defeated Lincoln in the Senate campaign. In 1866 he wrote to Herndon complaining, “Nothing could have been more unfortunate or inappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it was an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place.”

 

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