Critical Thinking #3: Logical Fallacies

So far in this series, we’ve explored the concepts of critical thinking and a hindrance to it, cognitive biases.

In this article, we will discuss a second hindrance: “logical fallacies.”

What is a Logical Fallacy?

Again, let’s define some terms:

logic
reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity
fallacy
a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument; a failure in reasoning which renders an argument invalid

So putting them together, we arrive at this:

a mistaken belief, especially one based upon unsound argument, caused by a failure to accurately assess reality.

Accordingly, such arguments and their conclusions should always be regarded as invalid. The use of logical fallacies as rhetorical devices are one of the primary tools of propagandists to exploit biases, both real and imaginary, within their hearers.
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Critical Thinking #2: Cognitive Biases

In the previous article in this series, we discussed what defines the term “critical thinking” and why Christ-followers should care about it. In this installment, we’ll discuss the topic of cognitive bias.

Bias is easy to grasp because we’ve all encountered them in others, especially those of us who are not Caucasian, though we all tend to be completely oblivious to biases within ourselves. We who have performed some serious self-examination during our getting free from various addictions, abuse/neglect, or a bad marriage or two have been brought face-to-face — often quite painfully! — with their presence in our own thought-lives so those barriers to our recovery can be removed.

But before we proceed further, again let’s establish some solid definitions to work with:
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Critical Thinking #1: What is It?
Why Should We Care About It?

Introduction

We Christ-followers are constantly bombarded by opposing narratives proclaimed by those trying to sway public opinion to support of their personal and political agendas, public and hidden. These narratives are most often presented with a total disregard for reason and/or reality and/or biblical morality.

The intentions and motives of those presenting us with such narratives vary wildly from the ostensibly altruistic (we need to remove racism/poverty/etc. from the face of the earth) to the overtly selfish (males self-identifying as females should be allowed to compete in women’s sports).

Those who have studied history call it like it is: propaganda.

The only effective tool available to detect and/or oppose propaganda is applied logic aka “critical thinking.”

Tragically, Christendom (the organized expression of Christianity in the earth) is certainly no better off than pop culture when it comes to clear-headed thinking, rational analysis, and avoidance of bias and fallacies.
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Why Should We Care About It?”