My critical reasoning skills are inadequate. Two examples within, as well as a request for books, websites, activities, or routine patterns of thought to help me develop these reasoning abilities.
Two examples that I think are related:
1. I don't evaluate information before completely trusting it.
I read this post
a few weeks ago about Malcolm Gladwell. Upon skimming the article, I thought, "Oh my god, he's working for tobacco and pharmaceutical companies! His motives are impure!" and promptly removed him, I kid you not, from my Favorite Authors section on Facebook.
And then I skimmed the comments on the post and saw
"I'm not a big Gladwell fan, but this is a repulsive smear job." and thought, "Oh my god, the writers of that article just had a grudge or something! Well, I guess the article was completely wrong then."
So I went from completely trusting Gladwell, to completely trusting the author of that article, to completely trusting that Mefite, within the span of minutes. This makes me very uncomfortable. I also tend, when pressed for time, to skim Mefi threads by number of favorites. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but this can't be good for my developing nuanced impressions of a topic.
2. I'm not good at fitting new things into my schema of preexisting knowledge.
I saw a fish with huge eyes
at the zoo and was ranting about it to one of my friends. "You shoulda seen that fish's eyes! I can't believe anything evolved like that!"
He coolly replied, "It's probably either a mutation, or, less likely, a trait favored by sexual selection."
I have no idea whether that's right or not, but dang, I didn't even think of those possibilities, despite totally understanding those concepts after three years of biology classes! Those were things in a book I learned for a test, right, and this is something I saw in my actual life! I'd like to stop maintaining that artificial division.
I'm a sophomore right now, and presumably, receiving a liberal arts education will help to some degree. But what else can I do?
I have a theory that thinking more scientifically might help? I never was bad at math when I was younger, but liked reading a lot and so always gravitated towards English classes. Now I feel like I have huge deficiencies in anything quantitative. Would taking more science/lab classes or math classes (specifically proof-based ones?) help? I'm eyeing my college's introductory computer science class, how about that?
Can you suggest any books, websites, activities, or routine patterns of thought I should engage in to help me develop these reasoning abilities?