I'm completely new here. Until a week ago I had no idea such thing as the "skeptical movement" even existed. And this has introduced me to a whole new way of looking at skepticism that I had never considered before. But I'm still a bit... skeptical about all of it
A few times during the SGU podcast I heard them talk about the need to promote science
and critical thinking
. And I read and hear that same thing on other places coming from other skeptics as well.
I can perfectly understand promoting science
. Simply teach science to those who don't know it - seems simple and I very well support doing so. On one podcast it was reported that 50% of americans thought humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs. That was jaw dropping and it only confirms to me how urgent it is to teach science. It's very easy to understand the benefits of doing so. Seems like a no brainer to me.
I can partly understand promoting skepticism
. Because part of skepticism is understanding pseudosciences and what they're doing wrong. So debunking pseudosciences which exploit people for money seems like a very noble thing to do. And I applaud all skeptics for doing so, I'm sure you're making the world a better place, so keep up the good work. But that's not all that skepticism is. It's also critical thinking.
But I cannot understand promoting critical thinking
. Not that I would disagree with it. I think it would be great. Teaching people what is science and what isn't, is just a bandaid fix. We need to go for the root and teach people how to think. If you make a gullible people understand why one UFO picture is a fake. He will say he understands, but then he'll point to the next picture and say "oh but what about THAT one!". So it would be great to teach people how to think. But how could we possibly do that? Even Neil Tyson when asked this question didn't know how to answer "our best bet is to just get out of your kid's way, and hope they learn how to ask questions for themselves". But that's not scientific. How can we be sure that every kid has the potential to understand critical thinking?
I've always had this impression since I was a kid. That some of my friends would jump into conclusions while others would be more careful and ask questions before making a decision. And that I couldn't turn one into the other. As I grew, my experience only reinforced this theory. That you cannot possibly think people how to think. Gullible people will never grasp critical thinking. I was never able to teachsomeone how to think. I cannot even imagine how could I possibly try to teach critical thinking. Which partly defeats the purpose of the skeptical movement and promoting critical thinking. Sounds like a battle you cannot win.
My theory is that critical thinking is a natural born skill. You are born with it or you're not. No one can teach you that.
But of course, I'm always open to maybe being wrong. Maybe I'm missing something. So what do YOU think? What am I missing? How could you possibly teach critical thinking? If you had to make the curriculum for a science class with the goal of turning kids from jumping into conclusions to question askers by the end of the course. How exactly would you go by doing that?