How to Think Critically
Steps to Become a Critical Thinker
In America, the success of our children's education is measured by how many facts they've memorized.
If you wanted to read the entire Encyclopædia Britannica in 1810, you could do it in about 67 days. That's assuming it took you 2 minutes to read a page, and you read for 8 hours a day. By 2010 that time had more than doubled to 136 days because of all the information added.
Just 12 years later, in January of 2022, it would take you more than 73 YEARS to go through only the English entries of Wikipedia; and that's without ever taking a weekend off!
Memorizing all those facts is simply impossible. It's also pointless since we can answer so many questions in seconds. Why remember trivia when you can ask Alexa, Siri or Google?
The myth is that anyone can "do their own research" to unlock the truth. There's so much information out there; your inexperience will inevitably give you blind spots.
The idea that spending a few minutes on Google can replace decades of professional experience is laughable. We know so little about so many subjects we cannot understand our own ignorance. In other words, we're too stupid to know just how stupid we are.
Don't worry; everyone is in the same situation.
Every day you're bombarded with information about health and fitness products that promise to change your life. Sifting through the avalanche of data can overwhelm you unless you apply critical thinking. You don't have to be an expert in everything, to make more informed decisions. You just have to learn how to judge claims based on facts and logic.
To become a critical thinker, there are some tools you'll need. In mathematics, we learn the basics, then build on that to more advanced concepts. Counting is followed by arithmetic, number theory, geometry, algebra, etc.
David Hundsness proposed a series of EIGHT STEPS for Critical Thinkers. We expand on that and provide a list of those STEPS explained in articles and videos, using the health and fitness industry as examples.
If you want to learn how to become a critical thinker, read one STEP a week. Spend the time looking up anything you don't understand. Become familiar with the concept so you can explain it to someone else if asked. Once comfortable with the subject matter, move on to the next STEP.
Our goal is that once you finish the STEPS, you'll be able to look at claims, ideas or promotions and determine if it's something you should spend your time or money on. You should also be able to rationally explain why an idea, viewpoint or product is, or is not worthwhile.
Here are the STEPS.