The false analogy: when the apple insists on being a pear

The false analogy or the faulty analogy consists of the incorrect use of the analogy argumentative scheme without first meeting the requirements of a correct comparison.

Two false oppositions: reason vs. faith and science vs. religion

"Intelligent, scientifically trained people no longer believe (or can no longer believe) in God."

Non Sequitur: A forced conclusion is not really a conclusion

Needing to process a multitude of complex information in a short amount of time can lead to erroneous reasoning. When a conclusion is supported by weak or irrelevant arguments, the reasoning falls into the category called non sequitur—does not follow, or irrelevant argument.

Appeal to ignorance: Why it is useless to hide behind your finger

The appeal to ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam) is an error in thinking which argues that a conclusion is true because there is no evidence against it, or that a conclusion is false because there is no evidence in its favour.

How to make sure we have a rational faith

Fundamentalist movements, extremist and sectarian religious beliefs, manipulations of the mass of believers, conspiracy theories within religious sects, and other such threats, emphasise the need for critical thinking.

Equivocation: Playing hide-and-seek in communication

When what someone says can be interpreted in multiple ways, we are in danger of coming to an understanding which is different to their intended message.

The questionable cause fallacy: Correlation does not equal causation

The questionable cause fallacy, described by the Latin phrase cum hoc ergo propter hoc, is an error of thought which leads us to believe that one event causes another event simply because the two events occur simultaneously. This error can easily be reinforced if the simultaneity of the two events is often repeated.

The problem with chronic desiderative thinking

“Yeah, I understand what you’re saying about Christianity. I’ve been there, a long time ago, but now that I’ve moved on, I have a different relationship with the universe and things are going much better for me on all levels.”

How to critically evaluate a text

Almost a century ago, writer Virginia Woolf noticed people’s tendency to approach books “with clouded and divided minds, asking fiction to be true, poetry to be false, biographies to be flattering and history to chime with prejudices.”

There is no such thing as absolute truth or absolute values. True or false?

By their very complexity, situational moral decisions demonstrate that there is an absolute good that we seek. Moral principles work together for the absolute good.

No matter what we do, we are merely puppets on a string. True or false?

When it comes to conspiracy theories, the public quickly becomes polarised. On one hand, you have the “experts” who reel off reliable information with credible arguments from confirmed cases. On the other hand, there are the “uninformed,” completely disinterested in the subject or outright rejecting it as a myth.

The applications and pitfalls of critical thinking

Critical thinking is not a cure-all, but it proves very useful in dealing with, clarifying, and solving some decision-making problems, as well as the thought and belief disputes which occupy our minds.

What is critical thinking and how can one encourage the disposition to use it?

As Christians we are interested in a perpetual spiritual, moral, general human perfecting. But can we really succeed without perfecting our way of thinking, our capacity to understand, and thus without increasing our intellectual capital?

Thinking as self-defence

No one has ever seen a thought, not even a neurosurgeon. However, today we know more about the way we think than what we were able to visualise, yet still less than we would like to know.

Reading polls: How do we evaluate surveys carefully?

Many news programmes, speeches, or press articles refer to at least one poll. When designed and conducted well, polls are an excellent means of measuring public opinion on a particular topic. Unfortunately, not all surveys are well compiled, relevant, representative, or honest.