Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thinking Clearly

Stand to Reason has an outstanding group of tips to help you think clearly, derived from James Beverley. Review these yourself, share with your family. The guidance presented here will definitely help you be discerning during this presidential campaign!

Emotion does not settle issues of truth.
Tradition is not always right.
Do not give human authority figures uncritical allegiance.
Be careful of the way you use words. Words are tools. They must be used properly and carefully.
Do not force people into limited or false options.
Do not use name-calling or put-downs as a debate tactic (argumentum ad hominem).
Be careful of accusations based solely on the presumed origin of a given idea or practice (the genetic fallacy). The popularity or unpopularity of something does not make it either true or false.
The fact that something is either an old or a new idea does not automatically make it correct (chronological snobbery).
Be careful in the use of “guilt by association.” Do not dismiss good ideas or practices by letting your imagination take them to inappropriate extremes.
Be prudent when using the “slippery slope” argument (not all slopes are slippery; i.e. “b” does not necessarily follow “a” in all cases.).
Be alert to cause and effect errors (post hoc propter hoc).
Make sure that conclusions follow from adequate evidence and support (non sequitur does not follow). Do not accept clich├ęs or popular slogans uncritically.
Do not “stack the deck,” i.e. only point out observations that support your pet theory, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
Be wary of generalization. Remember that the truth is not always in the middle.
Do not take ideas or people out of context.
Understand that spiritual discernment means being ready to admit to weakness or limitation in that very gift; being willing to abandon “shortcuts” in return for the demanding spiritual disciplines that produce lasting fruit; and resisting the temptation to judge the hearts of others.

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