1. Knowledge is acquired only through thinking, reasoning, and questioning. Knowledge is based on facts.
    1. Belief is not knowledge. Beliefs are opinions acted upon as if they were facts.
    2. Opinions are not based on facts, knowledge, or reasoning.
    3. Critical thinking is an active process based on applying analysis, the synthesis of data, and your ability to assess the information being received.
  2. It is only from learning how to think that you learn what to think.
    1. The unquestioning acceptance of what another says as fact is not learning nor is it part of the skill of thinking critically. It, in fact, inhibits any learning from taking place
    2. Learning how to think does not involve rote memorization.
    3. To become educated you need to learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize, assess, and apply data for yourself.
  3. Critical thinking is an organized and systematic process used to judge the effectiveness of an argument.
    1. It is void of emotional constrictions and is, consequently, unbiased.
    2. In order to be most effective as a critical thinker you must have data and facts available for a rebuttal of an argument.
    3. Effective argumentation is based on empirical evidence.
  4. Critical thinking is a search for meaning.
    1. The meaning is for yourself in what an author or speaker says, implies, and insinuates.
    2. It is a way of making sense out of what you are reading or hearing in order to find the validity of the data being presented.
  5. Critical thinking is a skill that can be learned.
    1. It is based on active, logical reasoning, on facts and evidence. and a desire to learn.
    2. Your attitude toward learning is all-important in being a critical thinker. It is important that a high value be placed on learning in order for learning to be useful.
    3. The skill of critical thinking is learned by doing and by an inter-change of information and ideas with others who are assessing thesame things. In this way one's ideas and arguments can be pre­sented and evaluated.
    4. You must be actively involved in exchanging thoughts and ideas in order to become a critical thinker. Sitting passively by is not how any skill is learned.


Source: The Gospel Truth: The Heresy of History This is an excellent, succinctly written book on the story behind the Bible.

General Semantics There is no subject that causes more confusion between things real and things not-real is the misuse of language, confusing word for things. A grasp of this subject is essential to critical thinking.