“I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” — Popeye, the sailorman
Given the subjects that I usually read and write about on this blog, critical thinking really comes in handy. Not that I’m some great logician or anything. Far from it! But, over the last few years, I’ve been exposed to the discipline of informal logic by some pretty darn good thinkers. (At least, I think they are.) I’ve noticed that I am now more apt to notice logical errors & fallacies when reading or listening to someone’s arguments for his/her position on a particular topic. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I get lazy about it, but it is helping my thinking process. And, yes, this applies to matters of science, politics, and religion (including theology, philosophy/worldview, & apologetics), as well as day-to-day issues.
I recently came across a great primer on informal logic and critical thinking in the book A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Testby Kenneth R. Samples, who teaches on the subject. It was a great summary, and I thought it so valuable that I decided to adapt Samples’ presentation into a series of blogposts.
Now, some of you are thinking that this sounds like it’ll be dull, or hard, or both. But, it’s not really all that difficult, and I think it’s actually kinda fun! When the pieces come together in your mind and you’re able not just to recognize bad thinking but also see why it’s bad, it’s really cool! Not only will you become a better thinker, but as a result you’ll be able to formulate better arguments and, therefore, be a better case-maker & debater on the subjects you hold dear.