No You Are Not a Critical Thinker

Ironically, the self-congratulating critical thinker is most likely the first person to be incorrect inside an asymmetric or complex argument. Any time one assumes that they are ready to start drawing likely conclusions, without any preparation, based upon current knowledge, under a presumption of invulnerability and bearing a motivation to mock and deride – Yeah, that’s gonna work…

There are three primary philosophical problems incumbent within the fanciful aeunoia of one who virtue identifies themself as a ‘critical thinker’.

A.  First, the whole deceptive shtick concealed within the marrow of critical thinking, is the implicit premise that, because one is a critical thinker, one cannot be deceived. Everyone else is a credulous believer, only you protect the likely superior beliefs (truth). Therein resides the critical thinking abuser’s most conspicuous Achilles’ Heel. The self congratulating critical thinker is most likely the first person to be deceived, because they do not prepare with research, and they bear no introspection (self skepticism), and they believe what they are told by fellow club members, without issue.

B.  A second weakness of this flawed philosophy, resides in the implication that because one only shoots down ideas, one is therefore not promoting any ideas. Ninety nine percent of the time, with a critical thinker, this implication is far from being true (see The Appeal to Skepticism: Inverse Negation Fallacy). Trust me, they are there to promote highly specific answers which fit their religion. The inverse negation tactic is just a show they put on to convince themselves they are not.

C.  Finally, A key cognitive vulnerability of the critical thinker resides in their desire to attain celebrity, mock people and deride subjects. Critical thinkers habitually fail to acknowledge these personal bias vulnerabilities – an essential facet of skeptical or critical thought.

Individuals expressing belief superiority—the belief that one’s views are superior to other viewpoints—perceive themselves as better informed about that topic… [However} Despite perceiving themselves as more knowledgeable, knowledge assessments revealed that the belief superior exhibited the greatest gaps between their perceived and actual knowledge. When given the opportunity to pursue additional information in that domain, belief-superior individuals frequently favored agreeable over disagreeable information, but also indicated awareness of this bias. ~ Raimi-Hall Belief Superiority Study1

Critical thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Stanovich goal enabling behaviors and cognitive dispositions’ as false skeptics tout.2 – as that is nothing but compliance and the ability to spot how to comply. This is the definition of critical thinking, and it has nothing to do with what you currently know, is not an armchair exercise for the intellectually lazy – or pressure you receive from your peers, to conform to ‘rationality’:

Critical Thinking

/philosophy : skepticism : science/ : the ability to assemble an incremental, parsimonious and probative series of questions, in a reductive sequence, which can address or answer a persistent mystery – coupled with an aversion to wallowing in or sustaining the mystery for personal or club gain. Critical thinking is the ability to understand, along with the skill in ability to deploy for benefit (value, clarity, risk and suffering alleviation), critical path logic and soundness of evidence. A process of methodically and objectively evaluating how to approach a claim to verity through scientific method, while seeking new observations/questions which can be creatively and intelligently framed to challenge elements of fiat knowledge which underpin or oppose the claim, regardless of how compulsive, reasonable, justified and accepted that knowledge might be promoted or perceived.

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”
Bertrand Russell

Now the opposite of critical thinking, is actually what most skeptics practice:

Antipode Path Logic

/philosophy : bias : error/ : the inverse of critical path logic. A condition wherein an arguer develops a conclusion about a matter in absence of having addressed any critical path logic or epistemology (risk incremental, dependent series and probative questions or tests) before making the conclusion. The opposite of the condition where a person has pursued critical path logic, yet in finding insufficient evidence, refuses to tender a final conclusion or opinion (ethical skepticism).

Any time one assumes that they are ready to start drawing likely conclusions, without any preparation, based upon current knowledge, under a presumption of invulnerability and bearing a motivation to mock and deride – they bear the highest likelihood of errors in judgement. History shows that this type of thinking is foolishness. Everyone, for the most part, is a critical thinker and skeptic. They just don’t go around telling every person they meet, about such an assumed virtue identity. There is a reason for that – because they do not want to be associated with those who call themselves ‘critical thinkers’. And here are thirty reasons why.

The Critical Thinker Dirty Thirty

No You are Not a Critical Thinker – IF YOU:

1.  Believe that your current level of knowledge is a sound basis from which to resolve a complex or multifaceted persistent mystery.

2.  Believe that ‘assailing the facts’ – is tantamount to investigation.

3.  Research ‘skeptic’ literature first as you investigate anything.

4.  Think anything can be probed or resolved from a pub stool or while imbibing alcohol.

5.  Believe that you are adequately prepared in the now, to ‘Ask a Question’ (the first step in the pseudo-scientific method).

6.  Habitually avoid your past or qualifications (other than club membership).

7.  Overblow an irrelevant past, education, honors or qualifications set (even if it contains a PhD).

8.  Believe that ‘critical thinkers’ are people who think exactly like you – ironically. Then exacerbate this by gathering into a club with them, as if that is going to add value to a challenging subject; ignoring the history that such action never has served to resolve anything.

9.  Seek celebrity and money through being one.

10.  Virtue signal as a means to enforce your correctness.

11.  Think the world is bifurcated into believers and skeptics.

12.  Employ the terms ‘woo’ or ‘pseudoscience’ when referencing an entire field of study.

13.  Use the term ‘woo’ at all.

14.  Bear the Pollyanna delusion that teaching critical thinking will make it all go away.

15.  Speak often and equivocally of ‘doubt’.

16.  Are able to explain pretty much everything.

17.  Find the answer to always be simple.

18.  Never fail to produce the most likely answer to a mystery.

19.  Pretend that serious investigators have genuinely wanted or sought your opinion.

20.  Find your biggest thrill in discrediting persons, based upon a priori ‘plausibility’.

21.  Cite any form of absence of observation/research as evidence of absence. Especially if you cannot even tell when you have done this.

22.  Consider a plausible explanation to be congruent with a scientific hypothesis.

23.  Think that observations are ‘claims’.

24.  Think a person’s lack of skill in describing a phenomena or taking a clear photo of it, is evidence of its absence.

25.  Regard plausibility as ‘likely proved’ – and call something debunked from there.

26.  Go only deep enough into ‘the evidence’ to find a tidbit to confirm your a priori bias.

27.  Hold a goal of social praise or mocking others.

28.  Assume that others are not critical thinkers or skeptics – simply because they hold open a disposition or might not agree with you.

29.  Declare something as unlikely, without any study or statistics to underpin such a claim.

30.  Call yourself a critical thinker.

That is pretty much it. In any one drunken session at your local watering hole, you will find probably all 30 of these violated in any given evening.

Critical thinking. Remote viewing, for those who do not believe in remote viewing. Ethical skeptics demand more than this, of themselves and of their ‘thinker’ friends.

The Ethical Skeptic, “No You Are Not a Critical Thinker” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 7 Jul 2018; Web,

  1.  Michael P.Hall, Kaitlin T.Raimi; Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 76, May 2018, Pages 290-306;Is belief superiority justified by superior knowledge?;
  2. Stanovich, K. et. al.; Heuristics and biases as measures of critical thinking: Associations with cognitive ability and thinking dispositions;
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Thomas Donlon

The thing about people who love to mock others, is that they see conversations and research, not as a quest for truth but as a quest for status. So a mocker enjoys putting others down, because it makes himself feel superior by comparison. One problem with this mindset is that when/if anyone comes along and points out new information or a new angle of thinking to the mocking skeptic, information such as a better analysis perhaps, then they aren’t looking at the value of what they can learn, they immediately think the person giving the new information is doing so… Read more »

Thomas Donlon

Hi TES, As usual I appreciate your well-thought out response. Your comment about fear … it is something that I think people of truth likely struggle with. It was just a few days ago that I gave the issue quite a bit of thought. Because I’m a believer in God, I dealt with the issue by praying about it. I recognized that I can easily be misled by fear and I prayed that it would neither stop me from doing things I should do, nor make me do things I ought not to do. (I think I was focused on… Read more »


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