"I'll tell you what kind of brains they have: gullible!"--lvrj.com
I post the cartoon above because it is interesting how it mocks human's tendency to search answers to nonsense subjects, in this case the emergenetics believers is trying predict their characteristics based on the "colors" of their brain. It also criticizes those of us who are credulous for believing in everything experts says without bothering to think rationally about what is wrong with the claim. This psychology cartoon points out our flaws for being simple-minded thinkers and lazy skeptics. The concept of critical thinking is one of the most important concepts that are constantly brought up in the past lectures.
The reason that we are lazy thinkers is because we are confident in our common sense and we always believe that we are pretty well at predicting which one is the right one. For instance in a Freakonomic podcast, Stephen Dubner introduced Tetlock, a psychologist who studied the correlation of how accurate experts predict future events versus how confident they think their prediction. They are assigned in perform a prediction survey in their own field and later the records are backtracked to see how accurate was their predictions. Tetlock then found out that relative to purely random guessing, experts "did a little better than that, but not as much as you might hope" yet they are very confident that they are right (Freakonomics). In fact, according to Tetlock the more overconfident the experts are the worse they did in the research. This demonstrates that even in experts, common sense sometimes can leads human away from critical thinking that enable us make accurate prediction. Not only that, the study also emphasizes people to not believe in wild prediction of experts but instead use their own reasoning and evaluate the claim instead of just accepting a claim because we have a hunch that it is right.
From the Lilienfeld textbook, we know that our brain always trying to make "order out of disorder and find sense in nonsense." This is why we are often vulnerable to predicting and finding the meaning and symbolic significance in every little event within our vicinity (Lilienfeld 14). There are some ways to avoid making wild guesses and using critical thinking. For example, we can evaluate the claim with skepticism and see if the claim is testable and duplicated through other studies. If there is stronger evidence on the opposite side, we should be ready to change our mind. The last and most essential principle of critical thinking is that an "extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence" (Lielienfeld 25).
Listen to the Freakonomic podcast The Folly of Predictions to learn more about critical thinking and our love for prediction at http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/14/new-freakonomics-radio- podcast-the-folly-of-prediction/
Critical thinking-- iberator.net
Lilienfeld. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding.
Dubner, Stephen. Freakonomics Podcast. The Folly of Predictions . http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/14/new-freakonomics-radio- podcast-the-folly-of-prediction/