One of the favorite phrases used by creationists when they’re trying to legislate their beliefs into public school science classes is “critical thinking.” They mindlessly chant that teaching “both sides” of the imaginary scientific controversy about evolution will benefit students by training them in critical thinking.
But what are creationists talking about when they speak of critical thinking? It appears in the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom Act (where they call it “critical inquiry”). They never define it, or give any examples. Nevertheless, they insist that it’s a worthy goal to pursue. We’ve written about it before — see What Is “Critical Thinking”? There we concluded:
Critical thinking (or critical analysis) means starting with a desired conclusion (or worldview, or presupposition) and then criticizing (that’s the “critical” part) any unwanted conclusion that was obtained with another worldview — scientific materialism, inductive reasoning, logical thinking, or whatever term one might prefer. That’s the goal of the enemies of our civilization.
Today we bring you some confirmation of our definition. It comes from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG). Their new post on this topic is Critical Thinking Questions. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
We are all bombarded with truth claims. The news you hear, the blogs you read, the television shows you watch — all want you to believe what they are telling you. To really determine what is true and what is false requires that you test everything in light of the only source of ultimate truth — God’s Word.
So how do you know if the latest fossil find actually lives up to the exalted claims of the headline? How do you evaluate the claims of the history lecture at the public library? How do you train your children to spot the false thinking in that cute dinosaur cartoon? … The answer is to ASK the right critical thinking questions with the Bible as our foundation.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Not very subtle. Let’s read on:
When we look to God’s Word as the standard for understanding truth, we have a solid foundation from which to begin applying critical thinking to claims we hear. Further, God does not leave us alone in this endeavor. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and other believers to support us. Working together with the body of Christ from a biblical framework and empowered by the Holy Spirit, you can discern truth from lies, even in areas where you may not be an expert, by asking the right critical thinking questions.
You don’t need to be an expert. Just ask “the right critical thinking questions.” AIG then gives us a specific methodology. The bold font in the three bullet-point items is theirs:
Whenever a truth claim is presented, you have to determine whether you will accept it as true or reject it as false. Here is a framework that you can use, as well as teach to others, to evaluate those claims. When you hear a claim, stop and ASK some questions:
• What is this person’s Authority to make such a claim?
• From what Starting point is this person looking at the world?
• How do they Know what they claim to know?
Ah, so that’s the framework for critical thinking! Observe that it’s not even remotely like the scientific method, but this is what the creationists want your children to learn. Regarding the first item, authority, we’re told:
When addressing the issue of authority, you must decide the threshold you require based on the way you intend to use the information. Look for the appropriate level of authority for the situation, acknowledging that you must ultimately trust others to some extent when evaluating a truth claim. … Use critical thinking to analyze their worldview in light of Scripture and consider how they claim to know what they know.
Yes — to evaluate someone’s authority, just look to see if they have a scriptural worldview. Simple. Then they turn to the next item — the starting point. They say:
Once the authority question is answered, you need to try to discern the starting point of the person making the claim: Does this person base their thinking on human philosophy or God’s Word? In other words, do they have a biblical, Christian worldview or a humanistic worldview? Ultimately, these are the only two options — you either trust God or you trust man. Although humanistic philosophy must borrow ideas from a Christian worldview in order to make logical arguments, it is very dangerous to make human reasoning the absolute standard.
It seems to us that the questions of authority and starting point are really the same. They both demand a scriptural approach to the issues. Now we come AIG’s discussion of their third item — how does the expert know what he’s talking about? AIG instructs us:
Is the claim being made an interpretation of data or the data itself? Most often, the claim is an explanation or interpretation of the data. Evaluating whether the interpretation is correct is the goal of this framework.
Ultimately, the knowledge claim must be compared to the truth of God’s Word. If the truth claim disagrees with a clear meaning of Scripture, it must be rejected.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! All three points in their framework for critical thinking are the same! No evidence, no reasoning, no testing — just bible, bible, bible. Near the end, they say this:
Admittedly, this is a simplistic critical thinking tool — hopefully simple enough for a child to use. But it is also flexible enough to allow for extensive study within each area so that it can be used on complex truth claims. If you will stop and ASK about the ideas you are receiving, you will be able to discern whether they are true or not.
So there you are, dear reader. That’s creationists’ critical thinking. Surely you agree that it’s a worthy goal to pursue in public school science classes.
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.