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Hi folks.

 

I'm reading the book Practical Logic: An Antidote to Uncritical Thinking - 5th Ed. by Douglas J. Soccio & Vincent E. Barry, Harcourt Brace Collegte Publishers, (1998). I think we could all benefit from studying logic and learning of to construct and present cogent arguements. That's the purpose of this thread, i.e. to discuss critical thinking and its application to scientific dicussions. If not that then I'm hoping to hear about how you folks choose to reason about/present an argument.

 

I'm only up to page 47 so far but I love this book. It teaches you how to more efficiently reason out an argument and to more easily to spot logical fallacies, like ad hominems and strawman arguemets. It talks about certain aspects of arguments such as cogency and its qualities such as reasonableness, relevancy and sufficiency. It also talks about critical thinking which it defines as follows

Critical thinking is the conscious and deliberate scrutiny of cases and arguements to determine whether or not they meet the criteria of reasonableness, relevancy and sufficiency.

 

If gives a partial list of characteristics of critical thinking

 

1. application of the criteria of reasonableness, relevancy, and sufficiency to all important claims

 

2. distinguishing what is important from what is not according regularly reevaluated principles

 

3. careful attention to the meaning of terms

 

4. balanced use of relevant expertise

 

5. unwillingness to accept any claim that is inconsistent with out own carefully anylyzed experience.

 

6. careful assessment of motives (or own and others)

 

7. respect for conflicting views when they are reasonably defended.

 

8. refusla to take legitimate criticism of arguements pesonally.

 

9. asking interrelated and relevant questions.

 

10. a willingness to be moved by reason

 

11. being open to the possibility of error.

 

12. willingness to suspend judgement until sufficient evidence is found

 

13. objectivity

 

Uncritial thinking is characterized by the following

 

1. unwillingness to coinsider the possibility of being wrong

 

2. confusing arguments with those who advocate them

 

3. taking criticism of arguements personally

 

4. indifference to evidence

 

5. drawing hasty conclusions based on limited personal experience

 

6. contempt for those holding conflicting views

 

7. fear of contempt for others culture.

 

8. impatience with questions

 

9. inappropriate dogmatic assertions of absolute certainty

 

10. hostility to reaonsable demands for evidence

 

11. inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority.

 

This last one confuses me. What is an example of "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority."?

 

Thanks.

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I believe what they are discussing is what is commonly referred to as the fallacy of argument from authority.

 

First, let's be clear, not all arguments based on authorities are fallacious. If my cardiologist gives me a recommendation about my heart, I'd fully expect him to know what he's talking about. If, however, he gives me a recommendation about neurosurgery, I would be well within my rights to conclude he might not know what he's talking about.

 

In the book Logic Made Easy (D. Bennett, 2004), the author defines the fallacy of appeal to authority thus:

 

Appeal to authority...establishes the strength of an assertion on an authority, but one who is not qualified to lend weight to the current argument.

 

An expert, by contrast, is typically considered to be someone who works in the field on a daily basis - Einstein, for example, would be considered an expert in relativity, and his statements and equations could be (and are) used to bolster points made in discussions on that field. However, I would not necessarily use his opinions to bolster a case of forensic anthropology, since his expertise in that area is not well defined (and most likely is non-existent).

Edited by Greg H.
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I believe what they are discussing is what is commonly referred to as the fallacy of argument from authority.

Thank you for your response. Yea. I know that its referring to argument from authority. I believe that's obvious. And I undestand that not all arguments based on authorities are fallacious. Argument from authority is a valid technique in reasoning. That wasn't the question. I wanted an example of the inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority.

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Thank you for your response. Yea. I know that its referring to argument from authority. I believe that's obvious. And I undestand that not all arguments based on authorities are fallacious. Argument from authority is a valid technique in reasoning. That wasn't the question. I wanted an example of the inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority.

 

My apologies. One such example would be consistently quoting people speaking as authorities outside of their fields of expertise. Like using Kent Hovind as your expert on evolution.

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My apologies. One such example would be consistently quoting people speaking as authorities outside of their fields of expertise. Like using Kent Hovind as your expert on evolution.

Are you sure about that? It says "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority." That means that when I'm given an exepert opinion and an opinon from "mere authority" I should be able to distinguish between the two. I guess I'm wondering what "mere authority" is?

 

Speaking as an authority outside their field is no authority at all. I think that's a given.

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To my way of thinking "Expert" is subordinate to "Authority", so that statement doesn't make sense to me in your list. The expert appeals to authority when they need to...that is their reference.

 

The difference is something like this I think:

 

"I taught you everything you know but not everything I know.".

Edited by StringJunky
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Are you sure about that? It says "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority." That means that when I'm given an exepert opinion and an opinon from "mere authority" I should be able to distinguish between the two. I guess I'm wondering what "mere authority" is?

 

Speaking as an authority outside their field is no authority at all. I think that's a given.

 

When you're making a statement of fact, you're speaking as an authority on the subject. Specifically, I am referring to these two definitions of the word authority:

 

6.

A conclusive statement or decision that may be taken as a guide or precedent.

7.

Power to influence or persuade resulting from knowledge or experience

So therefore, recognizing an expert from a mere authority is to recognize when the person making the statement has the knowledge (i.e. the expertise) in that field to make such a statement and have it be recognized as more than just a random opinion.

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Are you sure about that? It says "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority." That means that when I'm given an exepert opinion and an opinon from "mere authority" I should be able to distinguish between the two. I guess I'm wondering what "mere authority" is?

 

Speaking as an authority outside their field is no authority at all. I think that's a given.

 

It's not a given for everyone, though. There are many instances of "So-and-so is smart, therefore s/he must be right" out there. You can substitute "has an advanced degree", or an equivalent, for "smart".

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It's not a given for everyone, though. There are many instances of "So-and-so is smart, therefore s/he must be right" out there. You can substitute "has an advanced degree", or an equivalent, for "smart".

Quite true, quite true.

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Hi folks.

 

I'm reading the book Practical Logic: An Antidote to Uncritical Thinking - 5th Ed. by Douglas J. Soccio & Vincent E. Barry, Harcourt Brace Collegte Publishers, (1998). I think we could all benefit from studying logic and learning of to construct and present cogent arguements. That's the purpose of this thread, i.e. to discuss critical thinking and its application to scientific dicussions. If not that then I'm hoping to hear about how you folks choose to reason about/present an argument.

 

I'm only up to page 47 so far but I love this book. It teaches you how to more efficiently reason out an argument and to more easily to spot logical fallacies, like ad hominems and strawman arguemets. It talks about certain aspects of arguments such as cogency and its qualities such as reasonableness, relevancy and sufficiency. It also talks about critical thinking which it defines as follows

 

 

If gives a partial list of characteristics of critical thinking

 

1. application of the criteria of reasonableness, relevancy, and sufficiency to all important claims

 

2. distinguishing what is important from what is not according regularly reevaluated principles

 

3. careful attention to the meaning of terms

 

4. balanced use of relevant expertise

 

5. unwillingness to accept any claim that is inconsistent with out own carefully anylyzed experience.

 

6. careful assessment of motives (or own and others)

 

7. respect for conflicting views when they are reasonably defended.

 

8. refusla to take legitimate criticism of arguements pesonally.

 

9. asking interrelated and relevant questions.

 

10. a willingness to be moved by reason

 

11. being open to the possibility of error.

 

12. willingness to suspend judgement until sufficient evidence is found

 

13. objectivity

 

Uncritial thinking is characterized by the following

 

1. unwillingness to coinsider the possibility of being wrong

 

2. confusing arguments with those who advocate them

 

3. taking criticism of arguements personally

 

4. indifference to evidence

 

5. drawing hasty conclusions based on limited personal experience

 

6. contempt for those holding conflicting views

 

7. fear of contempt for others culture.

 

8. impatience with questions

 

9. inappropriate dogmatic assertions of absolute certainty

 

10. hostility to reaonsable demands for evidence

 

11. inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority.

 

This last one confuses me. What is an example of "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority."?

 

Thanks.

 

(Bypassing your question)

 

I see no reference to freethought.

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(Bypassing your question)

 

I see no reference to freethought.

From what I read in your link freethought doesn't apply to the list of criteria for critical thinking. Critical thinking is about taking a given case and presenting a cogent argument to support its premises. That doesn't apply to freethought. That seems to be an entirely different subject.

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From what I read in your link freethought doesn't apply to the list of criteria for critical thinking. Critical thinking is about taking a given case and presenting a cogent argument to support its premises. That doesn't apply to freethought. That seems to be an entirely different subject.

 

Yes indeed and further the use of the word critical ( and criticism) needs comment for it is used here in its formal sense.

 

As such you must start with something to criticise!

Edited by studiot
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Yes indeed and further the use of the word critical ( and criticism) needs comment for it is used here in its formal sense.

 

As such you must start with something to criticise!

This would be a good place to mention straw arguments since we get them a lot and giving them a name and recognizing them will help us identify them more readily. This too is a term that appears in discussion forums.

 

This text defines a straw arguemnt as follows

attackiong a straw arguement occurs when a weakened imitation of an opponent's arguement is attacked instead of the opponents the opponents's original arguement because the imitation is easier to refute. The weakened imitation is known as a straw arguement.

I'm sure we've all seen these in our travels. :rolleyes:

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This would be a good place to mention straw arguments since we get them a lot and giving them a name and recognizing them will help us identify them more readily. This too is a term that appears in discussion forums.

 

This text defines a straw arguemnt as follows

 

I'm sure we've all seen these in our travels. :rolleyes:

 

And I am sure we will all see them again.

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From what I read in your link freethought doesn't apply to the list of criteria for critical thinking. Critical thinking is about taking a given case and presenting a cogent argument to support its premises. That doesn't apply to freethought. That seems to be an entirely different subject.

 

Maybe you're right, it may be a different subject.

Following your list of critical thinking, a catholic priest can "critically think" of a religious text by

 

1. application of the criteria of reasonableness, relevancy, and sufficiency to all important claims

 

2. distinguishing what is important from what is not according regularly reevaluated principles

 

3. careful attention to the meaning of terms

 

4. balanced use of relevant expertise

 

5. unwillingness to accept any claim that is inconsistent with out own carefully anylyzed experience.

 

6. careful assessment of motives (or own and others)

 

7. respect for conflicting views when they are reasonably defended.

 

8. refusla to take legitimate criticism of arguements pesonally.

 

9. asking interrelated and relevant questions.

 

10. a willingness to be moved by reason

 

11. being open to the possibility of error.

 

12. willingness to suspend judgement until sufficient evidence is found

 

13. objectivity

 

A Freethinker will do more than that. He will "not accept ideas proposed as truth without recourse to knowledge and reason. Thus, freethinkers strive to build their opinions on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or the intellectually limiting effects of authority, confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmas". (italics from the wiki article)

Edited by michel123456
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Hi folks.

 

I'm reading the book Practical Logic: An Antidote to Uncritical Thinking - 5th Ed. by Douglas J. Soccio & Vincent E. Barry, Harcourt Brace Collegte Publishers, (1998). I think we could all benefit from studying logic and learning of to construct and present cogent arguements. That's the purpose of this thread, i.e. to discuss critical thinking and its application to scientific dicussions. If not that then I'm hoping to hear about how you folks choose to reason about/present an argument.

 

I'm only up to page 47 so far but I love this book. It teaches you how to more efficiently reason out an argument and to more easily to spot logical fallacies, like ad hominems and strawman arguemets. It talks about certain aspects of arguments such as cogency and its qualities such as reasonableness, relevancy and sufficiency. It also talks about critical thinking which it defines as follows

 

 

If gives a partial list of characteristics of critical thinking

 

........................

11. inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority.

 

This last one confuses me. What is an example of "inability to distinguish expertise from mere authority."?

 

Thanks.

 

The "Peter Principle" indicates a belief that the Boss knows best may be a fallacy. He may represent the highest authority but may not have the most expertise.

 

"The Peter Principle is a belief that in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization's members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, "employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence." In more formal parlance, the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle, a humorous [1] treatise, which also introduced the "salutary science of hierarchiology."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle

 

 

 

 

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This is wonderful. Everyone chipping in with other ways of thinking is a great way to add to the spirit of this page. I want to thank everyone for their contribution and sat "Keep'em cummin". :)

 

Note: Somethings wrong. Several times now I've posted a message only later to see it missing. What's going on?

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This is wonderful. Everyone chipping in with other ways of thinking is a great way to add to the spirit of this page. I want to thank everyone for their contribution and sat "Keep'em cummin". :)

 

Note: Somethings wrong. Several times now I've posted a message only later to see it missing. What's going on?

Well, this post arrived! Nice to be appreciated. Are you sure you remember to hit the "Post" or "add Reply" button after typing? (Possibly out of sight below).

Edited by Joatmon
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Well, this post arrived! Nice to be appreciated. Are you sure you remember to hit the "Post" or "add Reply" button after typing? (Possibly out of sight below).

I do have a psychological disorder which affects my memory. ADD etc. It's terrible. I lost my keys again today the third time within the last month. It sucks big time. So sure, that could be the case. Or maybe I only hit preview! Yeah! That's the ticket! I think that's what I did! Yay! I figured it out. Thanks.

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I do have a psychological disorder which affects my memory. ADD etc. It's terrible. I lost my keys again today the third time within the last month. It sucks big time. So sure, that could be the case. Or maybe I only hit preview! Yeah! That's the ticket! I think that's what I did! Yay! I figured it out. Thanks.

 

That happened to me too. I also had the bad experience to lose entire posts due to a default of the server.

Now, before posting, I always make a Copy (Ctrl C) of the text before posting so that even in the event of full failure, I can save it in a Word file by pasting it (Ctrl V).

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I think the "preview not post" is the root of the problem. I can confirm that no posts whatsoever have been deleted from this thread. Like Michel I have a backup to cutnpaste to - any post over a couple of lines I tend to write in gedit and paste in

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