Critical Thinking Amidst the Information Wars

By PatrickLockwood

Seems like we’re bombarded nowadays with news, media, and youtube videos that push and pull us in multiple directions.

This political group says hate Trump. This other political group says Trump is the best thing since sliced bread. Popular YouTubers and commentators on news channels tell very convincing stories about events that have happened. But, the problem with all of these overly convincing and emotionally appealing views is that they simply are too simple. If anyone has a neat and tidy view on an event or a person, there are likely biases at play. If anyone tells you “I know the truth!” I might be a little skeptical.

Why? Well, people are complex. The events that happen involving us and surrounding us are even more complex. There are so many nuances, so many forces at play. Often, we don’t have access to secret documents, conversations, financial statements, (etc.).

Let me propose a series of skills to help us all think more critically about the news, TV shows, and conversations we’re all a part of nowadays:

1. Responding vs. Reacting (Often our automatic reactions mislead us), learn more:

2. Knowledge vs. Intuition, what we think we know may be more about intuition:

3. Appeals to Authority (Terrible way to argue, authorities are fallible):

4. Abstraction (Understanding our ability to make things happen in our mind):

5. Johari Window (A method for analyzing ourselves, and how we see the world):

6. Active Listening (We often struggle to hear each other):

7. Good Faith Argument (We need to be able to talk things out in a collaborative way, here’s how):

8. Grice’s Cooperative Principle (Helps us learn how to speak openly and efficiently):

Hopefully these 8 tips help us consume and communicate information better. Let’s win the information war, to have a healthier and more collaborative community.

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