Category: Critical thinking
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Good day everyone,
Today we're going to talk about our common enemy: our opponents. Who are these people? Where do they come from? They never give up and never give in. No matter how many times you beat them, there's five more at the beginning of your next match. Their sole purpose in life is to ruin your day by making you lose. Opponents are the fundamental obstacle of the game: They attack you, they defend their Nexus, and they hoard gold. Obviously, nobody likes our opponents, because they're meanies trying to stop us from having fun.
We spend a lot of time on this wiki talking about how opponents might react to decisions we make. Fragile but devastating damage-oriented item builds are easily countered; your opponents will simply stun you and scatter your atoms to the four winds. Builds that forgo damage in favor of immense durability are also dealt with swiftly and efficiently by our enemies; they will pay no heed to the lump of health standing in their midst and overwhelm your poor allies until you are the only one left and an easy target. And on and on we go: opponents will dodge skillshots, initiate fights, assert map pressure and ward strategic areas. Predicting how, when and why opponents do what they do is key to understanding how to beat them.
When we are advocating our own strategies, we like to talk about how helpless our opponents will be against us. Someone might describe, for example, how their Zed combo will instantly annihilate an opposing champion. In contrast, when we criticize others' ideas, we do the opposite: your Nidalee build is too squishy! Your opponents will dodge your spears and kill you instantly!
The truth is, our opponents are players just like us, and except in the case of extremely awkward matchmaking, they are our skill level. Assuming that our opponents do everything right will lead us to playing fearfully and ceding territory and objectives we could have contested. Conversely, operating under the assumption your opponents suck will get you killed. A lot.
So, how do you interpret what your opponents are like, and what they will do? Check the title: we're going to do some of my favorite activity, critical thinking! Observe your opponent's movements, item build, and rune setup. If they play aggressively, assume that they will continue to play aggressively. If they ward a lot, assume there will be wards. If you never see wards in your opponents' inventories, you can assume that they are playing in relative darkness. If you think about the enemy team like the boss of a Zelda dungeon, these observations are the throbbing weak points under their heavy armor. So put on your deerstalker cap and think like Mr. Holmes!
In summary, we will get more out of the game (and have more fun) by understanding our opponents as human beings like ourselves, as opposed to almighty beings of supreme omnipotence or cannon fodder for your destroying pleasure.
tl;dr I will not summarize six paragraphs of text to subsidize your laziness. Learn to read or GET OUT.
( Is he gone? good, I hate that guy!)
I already made one of these for one half of a given game, so let's examine our allies! Once again, this is an exercise in putting yourself in other people's heads and seeing things from their point of view. Just as nobody likes their enemies, it's hard sometimes to find any love for the other guys on your team. They do dumb things sometimes: they troll, or feed, or rage, or fail to ward/mia/ping/farm/gank/push/group/focus/etc. And they afk. Let's not forget that they do that too.
Examine this common occurence: an ally of yours gets ganked by the enemy jungler and is killed. It's easy for you to condemn him, right? The guy's a loser to have fed so early; he probably does that all the time. He should've warded the bush, or stayed further back in the lane, or dodged a crucial skill shot. Then let's say the same jungler comes after you a minute later. He kills you easily (despite your highly skilled and strategic attempts to evade him), probably because your noob ally fed him a kill! Right?
Perhaps, but perhaps not. Try to see through the ally's vision. Maybe he's behind in farm and concentrating hard to last-hit effectively, to the point where he fails to notice an opposing jungler approaching through a carefully warded area. The opposing laner threatens to close with him, so he backs off- right into that skill shot. This paints a picture of a smarter, more aware player than a first glance does. Now let's look at the second kill: did the enemy jungler really need that gold/exp bonus to kill you? Maybe you were overpushed, or didn't have a ward yourself. Or, maybe you were too busy watching your ally's lane and trying to get inside his head.
But I digress. The point is, there's a phenomenon in psychology called actor/observer bias. This occurs when we watch another person doing something; we think it's easier than it actually is. Then, the same activity is "harder than it looks" when we do it ourselves. To avoid this fallacy, we must try to imagine that the person we're watching is doing something more difficult than it appears. Dodging a skill shot, for example, might seem easy until you try to dodge the darn thing yourself- there's not a soul among us who hasn't been caught by a Javelin Toss. despite the apparent ease of dodging one.
There's another psychological principle at work here. It's called the fundamental attribution error. When we do something, we judge our performance based on the situation. or the circumstances. For example: "considering that there were four people attacking me, I did pretty well in killing two of them and defending my tower". However, we do something different when we look at others. We attribute their actions to disposition. believing that they always behave the way we observe them to. A guy who feeds first blood generally isn't a loser who can't play the game. He's usually an average player who made a mistake or lagged out or just got distracted. Similarly, afks aren't always ragequits. Computer issues exist, yes, but so do emergencies, rings at the doorbell, sudden needs to go to the bathroom, etc.
This is something we HAVE to consider before hitting CAPS LOCK and breathing fire at our allies.
Hope you liked these two Critical Thinking posts, and have a good day.
Tl;Dr ^^^^ (psst. it's up there. you can read it. It doesn't take that long. you can do it. I believe in you. )
Posted on May 29, 2010 | 5 Comments
Stupid is stupid — faith doesn’t make it smart.
“To Sail Beyond The Sunset” by Robert A. Heinlein
If you have a lot of creative ideas, you will likely need some anchor to reality, some way to test the feasibility and the worth of ideas.
There are a lot of good books about skeptical and critical thinking and I think that some of the guidelines can be used not only to evaluate the ideas of others but also to evaluate one’s own ideas. Combining the rules of skeptical thinking by Christoph Bördlein and those by Carole Wade & Carol Tavris lead to the following skeptical guidelines that I find quite helpful:
I can recommend reading a bit more about skeptical and critical thinking. If you understand German, the book by Bördlein is a good start. Regarding Psychology, the Invitation to Psychology book by Wade and Tavris is helpful. However, consider that when you are dealing with highly invested individuals (e.g. charlatans, frauds, self-deceivers) that manipulation is often involved. James Randi illustrates very well that often a stage magician is needed to expose fraud, because a stage magician is able to find out which trick was used.
Fantasy and imagination is quite well and needed for creativity, but you need a firm grounding in the facts and examine what is true and what is not. Otherwise you invest a lot of energy (and often: money) in things that do not work and will never work, no matter how hard you wish for it.5 Trackbacks & Pingbacks Leave a comment Cancel reply Follow & Search Welcome :-)
Besides Blog Postings about multiple topics, the second edition of "Organizing Creativity" is freely available as PDF here .
Get the book (yup, free to download :-))
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This blog is not focused on a single topic, or method. As long as it is relevant to improving creativity (or allowing it in the first place), it's fair game. The heterogeneity of the postings can make reading this blog a bit cumbersome, at least if you are only interested in one topic. You can either use the search function (above), or use the categories or the tags to narrow down the postings you see.Categories Recent Comments
These are videos, podcasts, articles and books that, I think, provide the basic knowledge for skepticism. These are the essential tools that every active skeptic should have.
For those who don't have a lot of time to go through this whole post, here's a mini guide for Critical Thinking 101 .
*Scams, Sasquatch, and the Supernatural by Brian Brushwood
This is a great lecture by magician Brian Brushwood. It covers a lot of the basic topics of skepticism and it's fun to watch.
*Dr. Eugenie Scott: Science and Skepticism
How are science and skepticism related? Is skepticism a part of science, or is science a tool of skepticism? Dr. Eugenie C. Scott. Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education. discusses these questions, and explores the importance of teaching both science and skepticism.
*Introduction to James Randi
I think every skeptic should know who James Randi is. You should visit his website and read his book Flim-Flam! His organization, The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), offers a $1 million challenge to anyone who can prove psychic powers or anything supernatural or occult. It's been offered for over 40 years and no one has claimed it.
*James Randi's fiery take-down of psychic fraud
Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.)
*The Enemies of Reason: Slaves to Superstition
*The Enemies of Reason: The Irrational Health Service
This is the two part series entitled "The Enemies of Reason". Richard Dawkins points out some of science's achievements and makes the case that it "frees most of us from superstition". The basic topics of pseudoscience are covered thoroughly in this documentary. Part 1 is "Slaves to Superstition" and Part 2 is "The Irrational Health Service". Excellent Documentary. I have also included extended interviews with Derren Brown and Professor Michael Baum.
A look at some of the principles of critical thinking.
A look at some of the flawed thinking that prompts people who believe in certain non-scientific concepts to advise others who don't to be more open-minded.
*Arguing With Ghosts
A brief look at the pointless exercise of telling people, rather than asking them, what they believe.
*An Introduction to Skeptical Activism by Dr. Steve Novella
This is a great lecture by Dr. Steven Novella. Dr. Novella, from the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast and president of the New England Skeptical Society. gives a lot of insight into skeptical activism and the basic things that every active skeptic should know. This lecture was hosted by the New York City Skeptics .
The Skeptics Guide 5X5 podcast is five minutes with five skeptics. They discuss a single topic for five minutes and the panel consists of the cast from the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast. Including: Dr. Steve Novella and Rebecca Watson from the Skepchick blog.
This excellent Wikipedia article lays out the basic characteristics of scientific skepticism and skepticism in general.
*A Field Guide to Critical Thinking
James Lett from Skeptical Inquirer offers an excellent guide on how to think critically and scientifically about the world.
*Scientific Skepticism, CSICOP, and the Local Groups
Scientific skepticism defines skepticism around the principles of scientific investigation. Specifically, scientific skepticism addresses testable claims; untestable claims are simply outside the realm of science.
This brief guide by psychology professor Ray Hyman, a member of the CSICOP Executive Council from the beginning, has for many years been used by Skeptical Inquirer’s editorial staff and widely distributed to authors and others.
*Critical Thinking: What Is It Good for? (In Fact, What Is It?)
Nearly everyone is in favor of critical thinking. This is evidence that the term is in danger of becoming meaningless. Skeptics should spearhead the effort to clarify what critical thinking is-and what it is not. The stakes are high.
*Teaching Pigs to Sing: An Experiment in Bringing Critical Thinking to the Masses
A skeptic encounters psychics, astrologers, and other strange creatures and discovers firsthand how they react to science and reason. Included: a fable about testing the Tooth Fairy.
*How To Argue
A great article on how to argue effectively by Steve Novella.
*Playing by the Rules
It is useless for skeptics to argue with someone who doesn’t play by the rules of science and reason. If no amount of evidence will change your opponent’s mind, you are wasting your breath.
*The Basics: Critical Thinking, Informal Logic, The Scientific Method
Mark Roberts has put together a complete package of links including Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit and a simple guide to common logical fallacies. These links will provide you with just about all the basic knowledge you'll need for Critical Thinking 101.
*Critical Thinking by Robert T. Carroll
The author of The Skeptic's Dictionary put together this topical index for critical thinking. Very useful resources here.
*Logic & Perception by Robert T. Carroll
The author of the Skeptic's Dictionary has provided a lot of information on logic and perception. Always good to have working knowledge of these concepts. If you go to the root for claims of ESP, Psychics, Ghosts or any other weird thing, you will find that the explanations are often psychological or illogical. This link provides you with a wealth of information.
*The Fallacy Files
The most definitive website you will find for teaching and examining logical fallacies. Each fallacy on this website is thoroughly explained with examples. The website's Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies is quite useful .
*Top 20 Logical Fallacies
The rag-tag team of skeptics that make The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast give you the top 20 most commonly used logical fallacies.
*How to Win Informal Arguments and Debates
The title says it all. The basics on how to make effective arguments in debates.
*Propaganda and Debating Techniques
Orange-Papers.org gives you some great propaganda and debating techniques.
*The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
This book should be required reading in every high school and college. This is the most popular and most recommended book in the skeptical community. It's easy to read, covers the basics of skepticism thoroughly, and chapter 12 is Carl Sagan's famous "Baloney Detection Kit". A must read for all skeptics and all people.
* Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions by James Randi
The classic work of the master investigator of psychics and scam artists that includes his many personal investigations within the world of the paranormal. A must read!
* How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age by Theodore Schick, Jr. & Lewis Vaughn 6th Edition
This text shows people how to assess the most perplexing and ingrained beliefs about the paranormal, supernatural, and mysterious. Its central premise is that well-founded beliefs of any kind require good reasons, that sorting good reasons from bad is possible (even in the realm of the mysterious), and that learning this skill is both useful and empowering. How to Think About Weird Things demonstrates step-by-step how to apply principles of critical thinking to countless extraordinary claims, and shows why the principles themselves are valid.
*A Complete Book List
This is a COMPLETE book list of the best skeptical books you can find.
This should provide you with all the tools you need to fight the good fight against pseudoscience, superstition, and all other forms of non-thinking.
Did you know that you can support the work of the Skeptics Society by donating to us via PayPal or eBay. You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the Skeptics Society via the PayPal Giving Fund. or favourite us on eBay Giving Works. and specify the percentage of your eBay sales that you’d like to donate to us. Your donations directly support the work of your Skeptics Society.
Shop at Amazon using our affiliate links. and the Skeptics Society will receive a small commission from your purchase.
(I’m sorry this is going up so late everyone! Apparently my WordPress account treats the blog from a course I taught last summer as my “default” blog, so when I clicked “Add a New Post,” it published this there instead of here, which I just noticed.)
I wanted to say a little bit about the psychological research on reasoning and critical thinking that I mentioned in our last meeting, and connect it to Barr & Tagg’s discussion of the divergence between “teaching” models and “learning” models. The paper I was thinking of is called “Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory” (reference below). The paper surveys a lot of the psychological literature on reasoning, and a few of the findings are, I think, especially relevant to how we approach assessing outcomes, and pedagogy more generally:
The upshot is that in general, people are quite capable of engaging in critical thinking, but you have to put them in the right context in order for it to happen. Since fostering critical thinking skills is one of the main goals I think we all have as teachers (especially in tertiary education), this is important stuff to know, and there are a number of fairly obvious ways of integrating these lessons into our courses (e.g. group debates).
I confess that I almost wrote “teaching critical thinking skills is one of. ” in the last sentence, which I think speaks to how ingrained the “teaching” model of which Barr and Tagg write is in our (at least my) thinking about our role in education. The pervasiveness of the “teaching” model, and the problems inherent in it, are especially salient to me because insofar as “critical thinking” has become part of the curriculum in a formalized way, it often falls to philosophy departments to design and instruct such courses. My sense is that at many places, these courses take precisely the approach we know (from the psychological research) to be singularly ineffective: presenting students with lists of good and bad reasoning rules, and having them memorize these rules on the assumption that if they know the rules, they’ll apply them correctly across academic and everyday contexts.
That this sort of approach should be our default response to calls for improved critical thinking among our students makes a lot of sense in light of Barr and Tagg’s analysis. If we’re operating under a “teaching”—as opposed to “learning”—model, it’s easy for us to assume that if we stand in front of a class and feed students information that, if absorbed and integrated correctly, would improve their critical thinking, we’ve done our jobs. Thus, the challenge of making critical thinkers out of our students illustrates, I think as much as anything could, the urgency of attending to and assessing learning outcomes. It’s only by attending to what we actually want to accomplish when we say we want to “improve critical thinking”—and define our objectives in terms of what we want students to be able to do. rather than in terms of what information we’ve dispensed—that we’re in a position to determine whether we’re succeeding. In many cases, it seems, we’re not, which is all the more reason to think that the current turn toward assessment is on balance a very good thing.
On a more practical note, I do know of one professor in our department who, precisely in response to the research discussed above, has integrated group debates into one of his courses. I plan to ask him about his experiences, so hopefully I’ll be able to report back with more on how to implement assessment in a “learning” model in light of what we’ve learned about how human reasoning works.
Barr, R. B. & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning—A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change: The magazine of higher learning. 27 (6), 12-26
Mercier, H. & Sperber, D. (2011). Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 34 (2), 57.Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Mark, I’m glad you brought up critical thinking in more detail, because like your post shows, it’s such a slippery term. You note that we cannot teach critical thinking, but instead, we must consider what we want “students to be able to do.” Kreber (2009) studied how faculty in different disciplines defined critical thinking and found that each one had a distinct understanding of what students should be able to do. For instance, English faculty prioritized the text: “Everything we talk about emerges from a text. So the sort of thinking processes would be those sorts of hermeneutic or analytical skills. What is this text doing?” On the other hand, Physics faculty prioritized problem solving: “It’s the analytical problem solving… Being able to look at a mathematical equation and not just see the symbols but see the underlying physics to it… Much of physics is this ability… to do the manipulation.” Both these faculty members considered these skills “critical thinking” and use the label accordingly. Further complicating matters, disciplines have specific ways of validating if critical thinking has occurred. English faculty ask “do you agree” while Physic faculty ask “does it work?” I think this is why assessment can be very tricky to coordinate across disciplines. At the end of the day, we have different understanding of critical thinking and different ways of validating if it happened.
Source: Kreber, C. (2009). Supporting student learning in the context of diversity, complexity and uncertainty. In C. Kreber (Ed.), The university and its disciplines: Teaching and learning within and beyond disciplinary boundaries (pp. 3-18). New York, NY: Routledge.
Thanks Lisa. I was definitely just using the term “critical thinking” as we use it in philosophy, where we emphasize construction and evaluation of arguments. I think that when we (philosophers) envision the best-case outcomes for our “critical thinking” training, we imagine our students will develop a generalized skill to critique the arguments of, say, a politician or columnist (e.g. by spotting dubious unstated assumptions)–creating an informed citizenry and all that.
The issue of what “critical thinking” means in different contexts is an important one. On the one hand, there’s surely nothing wrong with people in different fields using the same term to mean different things (happens all the time). The worry, I guess, is that a vague term like “critical thinking” can foster a sort of laziness, where instead of *really thinking* about what outcomes we want to see from students and how we would measure them, we say we’re going to “improve critical thinking.” The Kreber study you mentioned seems like a really good approach, in giving educators an opportunity to reflect on what outcomes they want for their students (and at that point, it probably doesn’t matter whether people are calling it “critical thinking” or something else).
This is very interesting. I will be curious to hear if the group discussion improved the instructor’s sense of whether or not critical thinking was going on. Here is the AAC&U rubric for critical thinking in general education, which is designed to feed into a variety of disciplines:
I really appreciate your insight that people can and do think critically if in the right context for doing so. One thing we really struggle with in sociology courses (and I’m sure in many other disciplines as well) is that ascertaining impacts of certain points of view often feels to students like we’re finding holes in their own personal experiences and interpretations of those experiences – the ways they go about interpreting the everyday. The response is often that these subjects are too hard to discuss in a place like a classroom because of “all that judging” that happens or is perceived to be happening when a student feels like it is their own everyday-perspective being questioned. So creating the context where people feel “safe” and where we really examine the social origins and impacts of perspectives is a tricky balance.
Thanks for sharing, Mark-
I agree that critical thinking is often a blanket term that varies among disciplines. I often think the concept of “teaching” critical thinking to students is often misconstrued with helping students to recognize and evaluate their ability to think critically. In the discipline of dietetics, it’s imperative for students to develop proficient critical thinking in order to effectively acquire and interpret appropriate data when assessing patient care as practicing Registered Dietitians and researchers.
Interesting enough, my discipline has been recently investigating the conceptual framework revolving around the development of critical thinking skills as beginner/novice as dietetic student through the transition and utilization of intuitive skills as Registered Dietitians.
Source: Charney and Peterson. Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Abstract: Critical Thinking Skills in Nutrition Assessment and Diagnosis.Volume 113, Issue 11. Page 1545, November 2013
In the first of a two-part article, we explore what it means to think critically and how it can benefit your leadership and your business.
The phrase 'critical thinking skills' is often heard in business circles or seen listed in job requirements and MBA program descriptions. However, it’s not always clear what it actually means. True critical thinking involves an intervention in one’s own thought process in order to efficiently solve a problem. Unfortunately the administrative demands on today’s educators don’t leave much time to teach this process; as a result, there are an enormous amount of people in our workforce who lack this understanding.
What exactly is critical thinking?
Whenever any of us approach a problem, we bring biases to the table . often unintentionally. Prior experiences, cultural influences, assumptions about knowledge on the subject, or public opinion all play into our thought process, whether we’re aware of it or not. The challenge in critical thinking lies in first becoming aware of those biases, and then in stepping outside of them to clearly reason your way through a problem. Successful critical thinkers make better business decisions because the process allows them to gather more information, collaborate with others and evaluate a business decision with objectivity.
For example, a new solution to an old problem may be expressed during a workplace meeting. People who are naturally resistant to change may not exercise critical thinking skills, and instead respond that 'We’ve always done it that way, why change it now?' Instead of shooting down a new idea without giving it any thought, the application of critical thinking could result in a more effective way of doing business. Perhaps the marketplace has changed, or new data has been made available that suggests a different direction. Successful companies are ones that take a process apart, examine its components carefully, and gather relevant information. This collaborative process encourages creative thinking and often results in very effective problem-solving.
There are several schools of thought that detail core steps in the critical thinking process. Each of them leads to intellectual analysis of the information at hand, identifies areas that require more research, and finally indicates a course of action that best solves the problem. Successful critical thinkers generally share the following characteristics:Trending
How is critical thinking relevant to business?
Effective management skills include the ability to think critically, and making the right decision under pressure is what defines successful business people. Managers and staff must weigh all possible solutions; this can be time-consuming and require involving many people in the decision, but ultimately it leads to better choices . Some examples of critical thinking applied in the workplace follow.
Innovation creates successful business products, and being closed off to new ideas automatically stifles innovation. Opening up to a variety of solutions can help you create new options for your customers.
Let’s say a publisher of textbooks is informed by its sales team that educators want better options for creating exams. A manager resistant to new ideas, technology or expense may insist the company continue to provide the printed exams it always has. A critical-thinking manager instead may take the time to explore providing new, digital exam-building tools. In the first scenario, the company risks losing market share to competitors who provide its customers with better tools; in the latter, responding to direct customer requests with new offerings keeps the company competitive in a dynamic market.
Critical thinking makes it far more likely that you can create a range of products to suit your customer’s needs. Using the same example, a critical-thinking manager at the textbook publisher not only takes the time to investigate options, but is comfortable taking the problem to colleagues across other departments. The collaborative nature of this process generates ideas from individuals who might not have otherwise been involved in the decision-making process. Ultimately, the company may discover that there are cost-effective ways to offer customers choices among several digital and print exam-building tools. The critical thinking process can easily generate multiple solutions borne out of one question.