Critical Thinking Skills to Help Students Better Evaluate Scientific Claims

Leah Shaffer, Mind/Shift, Dec 22, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

So much of what people are calling "critical thinking" and even "digital literacy" revolves around the idea of evaluating claims. This article in Big Think is a case in point, describing efforts to engage students in assessing articles and thinking like a scientist. I think that this is misplaced, and causes students to go in search of irrelevant data, for example, that "the study was financed by an environmental advocacy group, not an unbiased source." Gak! Who, exactly, is "unbiased" on the environment? I think evaluating claims is just a small part of a much broader discipline of how to think, and this articles like this do a disservice to that broader objective.

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