6 Answers

  1. Unfortunately, science is often perceived by the average person as a source of absolute truth. Meanwhile, if we talk, for example, about economics, history, and sociology, then they did not even smell of objectivity. I always follow two principles in the initial evaluation of certain scientific information, when it comes to the social sciences and humanities:
    1. Who benefits objectively from the proposed conclusions? What classes, social groups, parties, etc. up to certain socially significant individuals
    2. What are the social consequences of recognizing the truth of these conclusions?
    Only after such an initial assessment, having discarded the ideological husk, do I begin to study the actual side of the issue. Very often it turns out that the conclusion has an objective basis, but the conclusion itself is subjective. It is ok. Just as in the natural sciences, when we get some objective results, we strive to put them at the service of technical practice, so in the social sciences, when we get objective data, we put them at the service of protecting our interests – personal, group, etc., and use them to protect and spread our worldview. Never believe in the objectivity of any ideology that declares itself scientific, see who benefits from it and decide for yourself from your own interests, and do not be fooled by the fact that this is an impartial science.

  2. A classic example.

    Mendeleev formulated the periodic law despite the fact that 10% of the elements had an incorrect atomic weight at that time.

    Was he “in his own right” and can we apply this technique to modern scientific data?

    Mendeleev was well aware of the state of affairs in chemical science and rightly believed that atomic weights are determined correctly in no more than 90% of cases. Therefore, I boldly arranged them in accordance with my hypothesis.

    In order to follow him in this way with scientific facts, you need to know very well the state of the relevant science.

    What does the law of conservation of momentum mean, for example? That in the entire history of experiments and observations, from galactic scales to elementary particles, not a SINGLE CASE has been recorded in which the momentum of a closed system has changed. Therefore, if you are faced with something like this, it makes much more sense to doubt the correctness of the observation than in the work of the law. Unimaginably more sense.

  3. Yes. Or rather, not really.

    Critical thinking involves using logic and checking incoming information. It rejects unconditional trust in dubious sources. Of course, it is not necessary to frantically rush to check every news item in the media, but you should treat them with a degree of skepticism, even if they are scientific and authoritative. Everyone can lie and speculate.

    Scientific calculations are an objective and well-established thing. Yes, you can say that the number Pi may not be equal to ~3.14, since you personally did not measure the ratio of the circumference to its diameter yourself. Yes, you can check it out yourself, but you don't have to do it anyway. Most likely, this will look like idiocy, because even though “I personally did not see it” is a good strategy, it is not the only correct one in all cases.�

    Critical thinking does not seek the truth of knowledge, but objectivity among everything. When a person tells you some information, the task of critical thinking is not to put this knowledge in your head as an absolute truth, but to remember it, but to treat it with a certain amount of skepticism.

    Critical thinking in this regard implies skepticism about all incoming information, and not just that which competes with established beliefs.

  4. If you take a particular law or calculation, question it, and conduct some theoretical or experimental research to confirm or refute it, then yes, it will be a good exercise for developing critical thinking. In science and education, this is constantly happening – from time to time, different concepts and methods are questioned, tested and proven, or the boundaries of their application are somehow marked.

    But if we are talking about generally questioning the reliability of all scientific knowledge, presenting it as something subjective and unproven – then this is certainly harmful garbage. For some people, you can see that this is just such a central worldview idea.�

    The competence of each individual is very limited compared to the general human experience, so it is better to believe what is written in the textbook of physics, chemistry or biology, or even in Wikipedia, than to look for a catch in everything and believe the distributors of conspiracy ideas. If you want to delve into the study of a particular issue-go ahead. You can try and build a perpetual motion machine, and refute Ohm's law, it will be useful for your development.

  5. So critical thinking is included in the pool of required skills for those who are engaged in science.

    How Critical Thinking Works:

    • I heard something (let's say that the weight of the package of tangerines lying on the table in front of me is 1 kg). I do not yet know if this information is reliable, and if I am asked what it is in front of me, I will answer – presumably (according to information from such and such a source) – this is a package with tangerines weighing 1 kg. But maybe they do. And this is a judgment.

    • I am seeking to clarify whether the statement is true. Why I conduct an experiment: I look at the package and weigh it. Now I have objective research data and I can already answer the question about tangerines with a high degree of confidence. And this is knowledge. It is not absolute, but it is objective, because the research data does not depend on my desire that it should be peaches and there should be three times as many of them.

    Thus, critical thinking helps not to grab the first available information and carry it further into the world, but to establish objective facts through a variety of scientific methods, separating them from opinions and judgments.

  6. “Criticism is the politeness of a researcher.” This is what I quote here from D. G. Lahuti, a well-known specialist in information retrieval, translator of the famous book “Introduction to Cybernetics” by Ashby. He put it this way:

    For Popper, criticism was the essence of discussing any scientific problem. I would have phrased this as “criticism is the politeness of a scientist” if I didn't agree with Landau's opinion that only a cat can be a scientist. So I will say that criticism is the politeness of a researcher or even just anyone discussing any problem.�



    Yes, doubt is a scientist's tool. Moreover, scientific “laws” often have the high title of a law, as a universal, necessary and repetitive connection of phenomena, and then suddenly there are reservations that these ” laws “are true only under certain conditions, within certain limits, etc.I felt a great relief when I began to perceive” laws ” as models of reality. As George Box said ,” all models are wrong, but some are useful.” When interpreting the “laws” as models, I like them much more than in the “school” version, when you have to believe in the laws, because the teacher said that everyone does this. They are all not quite correct, but in certain situations, better tools for learning and transformation have not yet been found.

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