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ASk - Metacognition: Thinking about Thinking

Our brains are a great advantage to our continued survival, but they do have some inherent flaws.  It is important to consider why you believe what you do in order to guard against common cognitive errors.  


  • Why is critical thinking important to the average person and to society as a whole?
  • What are the neurological, psychological, and cultural barriers to critical thinking?

Related Reading:

  • Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World.
  • Shermer - Why People Believe Weird Things.

Useful Terms:

  • critical thinking: Applying systematic logic and doubt to any claim or belief; thinking carefully and rigorously.
  • delusion: A fixed, false belief that is vigorously held even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence.
  • heuristic: A cognitive rule of thumb or mental shortcut that we subconsciously make that may be true much of the time but is not logically valid.
  • logic: A formal process or principle of reasoning.
  • metacognition: Thinking about thinking; examining the processes by which we think about and arrive at our own beliefs.
  • methodological naturalism: The philosophical assumptions that underlie scientific methodology; specifically, the assumption that all effects have natural causes.
  • pseudoscience: A practice that superficially resembles the process of science but distorts proper methodology to the point that it is fatally flawed and does not qualify as true science.
  • scientific skepticism: A comprehensive approach to knowledge that emphasizes critical thinking and science. Skepticism combines knowledge of philosophy of science, scientific methods, mechanisms of self deception,and related fields to approach all claims to truth in a provisional and systematic way.
  • valid: An argument in which the logic is proper and not fallacious.

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  • Carolina

    I am eager to learn, this group sounds like tons of information and knowledge.

    March 30, 2013

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