Thinking is Critical

Chain letters. Everyone’s seen at least one and most people know the annoyance of having their inbox filled up with these things. The worst ones, though, are not the ones where you’re asked to send it on to ten people or you’ll have no love life. Those ones are relatively rare these days, possibly because they’re so banal and idiotic. You’d have to be fairly silly to think that the sending of an e-mail to the world could possible affect your future life, especially to that degree. If anything, sending that e-mail to ten people is likely to stop you having a love life, because they will then hate you for sending them spam. Carry that behaviour on and you’ll have no people in your life who would want to love you.

Via TumblrYeah…keep telling yourself that.

No, the ones I actively dislike and discourage you from sending me are the ones that purport to be useful life advice, but turn out to be complete bollocks. I’ve seen a couple in the past few months, both on Facebook, where chain letters are still alive and well in the form of shared pictures and statuses. Most of us will have seen one or two of these, and I won’t go into details of them because they’re desperately dull. What annoys me about them is not so much that they exist, but that they keep getting shared over and over. That annoys me not because of the repetition, but because it means that the people aren’t thinking critically.

Thinking critically is important. The ability to discern fact from fiction is a useful skill in life, not just in academic ventures, but also in the work place and the consumer market. There are always those people willing to take advantage of the gullibility and lack of knowledge of others, for one thing. Being able to think critically can save you being ripped off. But I get annoyed not by people who are duped by professional con artists – the point is they’re trying to be plausible and construct the con in such a way to avoid people telling the difference. But these chain letters are ridiculous. They’re usually poorly written and make wild claims somewhere in the text. It isn’t ever that hard to look at it and judge it on its merits.

Via Snopes.comAlso, Snopes exists.

Somehow this seems to have become a forgotten skill. I worry that we don’t value critical thinking, that we don’t value research, and we don’t value scepticism. People don’t seem willing to judge something critically when it is presented to them and don’t feel compelled to check claims that seem spurious. There’s also a worrying trend of people who ask questions of Facebook and Twitter that they could just Google, necessitating the existence of letmegooglethatforyou, but that’s a rant for another time.

Via Atlantico DesignsOther search engines do exist, apparently.

Of course there are times when you don’t want to think critically and social media sites are places where you can unwind and not have to be held up to a particularly professional standard, especially after a hard day at work. But when you’re sharing items warning of rapists, murderers, or the evils of margarine, then you need to be sure of what you’re sharing and why. No one wants to be without the information they need to stay healthy and safe, but spreading fear and worry on the basis of lies is not offering a good service to others. So before you click share, do me a favour and think. That way I will be considerably less likely to die of a rage-induced heart attack.

Via replygif.netAnd finger callouses.


2 Responses to “Thinking is Critical”
  1. aliciakhoo says:

    Hahaha! You write well, and it’s true…too much spam equals no love in your life lol

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