(1) Thread on ways to fact check stuff.

Question: What does the term critical thinking mean?

A: Criticizing someone


B: Thinking about a piece of information with a critical eye; questioning what it means and how credible the information is.

(2) The answer, of course, is not (A) "Criticizing someone."

Since I'm not about to stop using the term "critical thinking," nor stop using the approach itself, here is a short primer on why I believe the approach is so important.

I will use as an example a conversation I had today.

(3) I had tried to help a fellow Quod when she answered this question posed to me by someone else.

To get the most out of this thread, pay attention to specific words used, like:


(4) In my response I was careful with word choices. I do know quite a lot about the subject of Churchill, but when someone nearby knows a lot more than me, I defer to them.

Because it's NOT about ego. With me it never is. I am constitutionally unequipped to place ego above reality and fairness. I even sometimes defer to the greater subject knowledge of people I don't like. No risk of that this time.🍎

And I hinted at two methods I use to think critically about the relative bias of a source.

(5) People are of course free to chime in with replies to the questions asked of others out in the open. I sometimes do that, after first checking the existing replies and if I have other info of value to add.

The free and civil flow of ideas is beneficial. Everyone has something to contribute. We each learn new things every day that emerge in unexpected ways.

(6) Sadly, my attempts to further assist ALL potential readers and the one to whom I responded, would be rejected by her and those who mindlessly* favorited certain toots she made.

I could tell from the first toot, which used the seemingly innocuous term "interesting."

The e. Coli levels detected on the sidewalks of central San Francisco are interesting. Anything at all can be seen as interesting.

I care more about info that is valuable and, on-topic.

(7) It's interesting to note that my response that "George Orwell was a Communist" was a short, factual statement, not an elaborately presented argument for or against any position.

Reasonable responses might have included for example:

>Can you expand on that?

>He was, but the Ricks book that I read argued x...

>Which kind of Communist was he?

>I didn't know that. I'm annoyed at what I was taught in HS and college.

(8) Oh and a point about the word "reasonable."

It doesn't always mean:
>well intentioned

Every word has more than one possible meaning, so consider it in CONTEXT.

In this context, I am using the word to mean:

Every single word should be considered before replying. You might have misunderstood it.

(9) While there were numerous off-topic points in the reply that I could have dwelt on (if I was of a mind to take them personally and consider them condescending), I focused on only one of them.

Somewhere along the line I've absorbed the idea that it's most efficient and effective to tackle the clearest example or assertion out of a group of them.

Do these toots sound condescending or constructive, to you?

(10) I chose to comment on the Ricks book without first finding out more about it bc frankly, there was already enough to go on.

But since I have a curious mind and Churchill is a favorite subject of mine, I did an internet search for the book, and chose a review by a supposedly non-socialist reviewer (some dude at the Cato Institute.)

After reading the book review I decided to add to my reply with it.

Again, NOT in order to criticize anyone, but to help EVERYONE.


(11) And again, I reiterate for anyone who doesn't know me, I have no particular respect for people with a degree in history, pol sci, or anything else, when it comes to learning, thinking and writing about such subjects.

(Even though I am degree qualified and 25-years career experienced to be able to wipe the floor with Cato Institute writers and most of the US federal civil service.)

Because to use that fact would be to use the Argument From Authority logical fallacy, and...

(12) I'll leave you to do an internet search for that term. I had to, thanks to not learning it in the crappy Marxist 1990s degree program I bought instead of a down payment on a home.

I believe anyone with an IQ over 60 can & should use the internet to learn about previously baffling academic subjects in which they are interested.

When people refuse, they're either being lazy, or acting in bad faith. So I make no apologies for mocking them after they've falsely accused me of incivility.


(13) Once again, my points flew over the head of my reluctant interlocutor as fast as American and British bombers flew into harm's way over Germany in WWII.

Again unnecessarily defensive, and cherrypicking a quote from the article which, if it was read in full in the few minutes between toots, shows she has marketable and likely unnoticed talents in speed reading and analysis...

... the quote only adds more fallacies and distortions about the subject of Orwell and Churchill.

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