345-101-MQ, Knowledge and Critical Thinking
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy Critical thinking is the process by which we develop and support our beliefs and evaluate the strength of arguments. This semester we will practice some of the most central skills of critical thinking and focus on applying those skills to belief systems. We will examine the utility of critical thinking through various anecdotes in the history of science. These anecdotes will reveal that the success of sciences is due to critical thinking, lateral thinking and logical rigor. We will contrast success of the sciences with the failures of various pseudoscientific systems and ideas. We will also see that many of the pseudosciences, which are still present in popular opinion and pop-culture, may reveal deep inadequacies and inconsistencies when they are critically scrutinized.