Skip to main content

6 Lessons on Thinking Critically

Just finished reading the short book Thinking it through by Martin Salter. The book is very helpful in helping us to think clearly about issues. Here are some very helpful observations I picked up from it:

1. A helpful tool for processing questions is the "six honest serving men": who is the authority; why are they the best person to speak on the question; how do they come to their conclusions; what exactly is the question for consideration; where, geographically and culturally, is the question being discussed; and, when, historically, are we thinking about the question? 

2. The challenge of sound thinking is determining which authority (or combination of authorities) is best placed to inform a particular decision. We all appeal to some authority; the question is whether that's a good call or not. 

3. It is important to recognise the limit of each authority's voice in the discussion if we are to come to an informed and balanced conclusion. This means that we need to devote sufficient care to sifting multiple perspectives in an objective manner.

4. There are six competing authorities that influence our thinking on issues : tradition (forebears); reason (experts); intuition (ourselves); book (religious or otherwise); experience (ourselves or others); and, society at large (majority view).

5. We need to remember that the strength with which we hold any view is no measure of its truthfulness. It is possible to be sincerely wrong. In the same vein, an argument is not discredited merely by the status of the person holding it.  

6. It is not enough for our authority to have knowledge, we also need them to be good. We need an authority who knows all about our problem and the solution, and who can be trusted to be good in telling us that which is most beneficial to us, whether we like it or not (not a Harold Shipman). 

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2019

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor

Beverly Knight closed the opening ceremony of the Paralympics with what has been dubbed the signature tune of the Paralympics. I had no idea Ms Knight is still in the singing business. And clearly going by the raving reviews she will continue to be around. One media source says her performance was so electric that "there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as she sang the lyrics to the song and people even watching at home felt the passion in her words" . The song was Gloria Gaynor's I am what I am . Clearly not written by Gloria Gaynor but certainly musically owned and popularized by her. It opens triumphantly: I am what I am / I am my own special creation / So come take a look / Give me the hook or the ovation / It's my world that I want to have a little pride in / My world and it's not a place I have to hide in / Life's not worth a damn till you can say I am what I am The words “I am what I am” echo over ten times in the song. A bold declaration that she

Why has God ordained prayer?

One of the most important truths we need to grasp in our life with Christ is that God ordains both the end and means of achieving that end. He determines the outcomes and how those outcomes are brought about. Unless we understand this truth we are likely to be unfruitful in our lives. For example, we are likely to fall into a sin of prayerlessness. Many of us do not take prayer seriously because deep down we do not realise that unless we pray, we won’t have that which we desire God to for us. We often do not have things, because we do not ask for them( James 4:2). God can give us things but not without prayer. He has promised us to call on him and He will answer us (Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 91:15).  Now,  in order for us to really believe this truth that God will not give us what we desire without prayer, we need to be convinced on why God has ordained prayer as a means of delivering outcomes. I think once we understand that it will help to take prayer seriously. I found this explanation g

How Churches Decay

Whenever and wherever the doctrines of free grace and justification by faith have prevailed in the Christian Church; and according to the degree of clearness with which they have been enforced, the practical duties of Christianity have flourished in the same proportion. Wherever they have declined, or been tempered with the reasonings and expedients of men, either from a well meant, though mistaken fear, lest they should be abused, or from a desire to accommodate the Gospel, and render it more palatable to the depraved taste of the world, the consequence has always  been, an equal declension in practice. So long as the Gospel of Christ is maintained without adulteration, it is found sufficient for every valuable purpose; but when the wisdom of man is permitted to add to the perfect work of God, a wide door is opened for innumerable mischiefs. JOHN NEWTON ( Source : A Review of Ecclesiastical History)