By Guy P. Harrison, author of Think: Why You Should Question Everything (Prometheus Books, 2013).
Students in their first year of college are experiencing a pivotal time in their lives: for the first time they are on their own, making decisions with real implications and seeing their world expand exponentially. Unfortunately, most institutions do not teach courses devoted to critical thinking, and even fewer make them required of students to graduate, despite the fact that critical thinking and logic are applicable to every discipline and are skills that students can use for a lifetime. Our students need to be armed with excellent critical thinking skills, and Think is just the book to teach them.
Think presents skepticism as a tool. Thinking like a scientist in everyday life saves time, money, and energy. Being a good skeptic simply means that one asks relevant questions and pauses to think before believing, joining, or buying something. My book shows students how to ask the right questions that will give them the information they need to make good decisions.
Contrary to popular belief, skepticism does not have to be negative. My brand of skepticism is constructive and optimistic. It is concerned with weeding out half-truths and delusions so that one can get to more of the good stuff in life. Less time spent on ghosts and Bigfoot means more time to explore, create, and learn. It is not rude or mean to insist that evidence balance the size of a claim. Good skeptics are not closed minded or arrogant; they are honest about unanswered questions and strive to be engaged with the real universe, whatever it may contain.
Widespread adoption of skeptical thinking could improve our world overnight, yet it remains missing from popular culture’s radar. Why? We might consider the last several thousand years of human history to have been an experiment that has yielded more than enough data to conclude that human beings are not so good at discerning fantasy from reality. Our brains are teeming with biases and unexpected cognitive processes. Think explains how our brains can mislead us. The earlier in life one knows about this, the better. Unfortunately, few parents tell their children about it, most teachers never teach it, and politicians never talk about it.
Think: Why you should question everything teaches the crucial lesson of how we can do better at separating truth from fiction. In line with the goals of all good teachers who care about their students’ futures, this book is designed to enlighten and motivate for the lifetime benefit of readers.
Learn more about Guy’s work at www.guypharrison.com