There is a cynical, irrational but fast-growing effort to re-define the terms “critical thinking” and “critical thinker.”
It is purposeful. And it is dishonest. It is manipulative. It is invalid, and an insult to the very concept of “thinking.”
It is gaslighting of the most gaseous kind. You didn’t see what you saw. You didn’t hear what you heard. Math lies. Science is a plot. Empirical data are propaganda. You don’t actually believe that water is wet, do you?
Yes, we have a societal shortage of critical thinking. And it is reflected in the Flock of the Fleeced that now smugly dub themselves Critical Thinkers.
Yeah, I’m talking about you, Rodgers.
Critical thinking is not license to ignore or reject facts. Critical thinking involves putting demonstrable, established facts together in a sequence that leads to intellectual growth and progress.
Critical thinking challenges unproven assertions. Critical thinking asks objective questions. But critical thinking is then the willingness to accept the answers. Even answers you don’t like. Especially answers you don’t like.
Critical thinking does not exclude “conspiracy.” But neither does critical thinking embrace conspiracy without evidence, as a preferred explanation for pretty much everything.
Critical thinking does not assert arrogance. Critical thinkers realize that they are not the world’s leading authorities on every subject, and give intellectual respect to the people who are.
Critical thinking does not assume the best. But neither does it reflexively proclaim the worst, based on ignorance and paranoia.
If you insist the Earth is flat, you are not a critical thinker. You are a Flat-Earther.
If you ingest horse de-wormers, you are not a critical thinker. You are a horse-wormer ingester.
If you think Anthony Fauci has spent seven decades just trying to eff with you, you are not a critical thinker. You’re a nut job.
If you hang out at Dealy Plaza looking for JFK Jr., you are not a critical thinker.
If you assert that Big Bird is a communist puppet, you are not a critical thinker. You are Ted Cruz. That is not an intellectual compliment.
If you deny overwhelming numbers reflecting the differences in COVID outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, you are not a critical thinker. You are an ostrich.
If you are rejecting the safety of vaccines that have now been administered almost seven billion times globally with statistically NO problems, you are not a critical thinker.
If you follow your superstitions, biases, phobias, political preferences and prejudices based on “doing your own research,” you are not a researcher. You’re a shill.
If you resort to dog-whistle deflections about “wokeness,” you are not a critical thinker. You’re a carnival barker.
Here’s what Aaron Rodgers is. He is a very good quarterback. The evidence is there. Here’s what else he is. He’s an American citizen, and he has a right to speak. I’ll defend that right. Just as I will scoff at him when he calls himself a critical thinker.
Aaron Rodgers has a right to speak. He is not “immunized” from criticism, or in this case warranted ridicule.