Are younger people really any better at thinking critically than their parents or grandparents? -

Watermelanin

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I think it's best to start with establishing what "critical thinking" actually means:
Basically, it's the ability to evaluate information provided and come to conclusions which accurately represent that information without being tainted by fallacious reasoning and cognitive biases. It also includes the ability to discern whether information is fact or fiction based on other acquired information.
Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with how much information you have. Critical thinking skills are basically the flip-side of knowledge. Someone can become very knowledgeable on bullshit, it's critical thinking that helps sort what is and isn't bullshit. Someone can be a great critical thinker and come to bullshit conclusions, it's knowledge that provides the tools available to construct an accurate representation of the world around us.
Critical thinking is basically a sort of "pure" IQ.

My opinion on this particular matter: All generations probably had about the same level of critical thinking ability. Sure people who are instructed and tested on their ability to identify logical fallacies and sources of bias will do better on said tests than those not given such instruction (hence the Flynn effect). But in general, day-to-day, life people don't use these acquired skills unless actively prompted to in a manner which doesn't conflict with their existing biases. This makes them bad at doing it. Aristotle, if born today, would probably be one of the leaders in whatever field he chose to go into. Same goes with Newton, Einstein, or whoever you want to bring into this conversation. But the fact remains that the majority of those around them back in their generation were just kinda "meh" like we see today.
 

#zzz

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Critical thinking is literally just a meaningless buzzword at this point due to its overuse in schools/jobs. The reality is that its not something that can be taught, but learned through real life experience. Get fucked over enough times and you begin to start "thinking critically" about why some dude called you up for a once in a lifetime deal, or about that job that where you "decide" your income with no prior experience required, why the news always warns you about a problems that don't exist, etc. etc.

Some people are mental midgets who can't or won't learn this seemingly simple lesson. But generally the older you get and the more you experience the more likely you are to eventually start to actually think critically.

So no, younger people are not better at critical thinking. They sure as fuck understand technology better though due to experiencing all their lives, which does provide marginal protection from the bullshit scams that so many old people who didn't grow up with it and struggled to learn about fall for.
The younger people lack the hardships and experience to think critically. Millenials are honestly really bad at it as a generation. Their generation was given participation trophies and didn't learn what loosing is. If most of your life you got what you wanted and didnt suffer and put in the work your critical thinking abilities are not the same.
I'd agree with these two posts. Experience is the most important thing to develop the ability to think critically. Essentially what you have to do, is be fooled, to be lied to, to discover that lie on your own, and deconstruct how you came to be fooled. Basically it's an awakening to the fact that no individual or institution is infallible, and they all have their own agenda which you have to discover. It's stripping away naivety and discovering people and organizations can and will lie to you, omit facts or details, or misrepresent others, for their own ends.
 
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Lemmingwise

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Here's a nice exersize for the class.

What's the difference between thinking and critical thinking?
 
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Oglooger

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I'm better critcially thinking than my mom but that's only because she worked hard to make sure I was getting a better education and my grandma took her time to raise me while mom was at work.
Am I wiser? I doubt it.
 

Stardust

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We are in what is objectively the apex of information availability for humanity, and it's only going up. It's not even close. Nearly every literate person on the planet (who doesn't live in China) has access to the sum of humanity's knowledge in their palms of their hands. There is absolutely zero reason to allow your world view to be broadcast to you by a small handful of people and just hope they're telling the truth. Zero.

And yet that's all anyone does. They go to Twitter and take assertions made by actual retards at face value because they have a lot of followers. They turn on the TV and let Generic "Funny" Personality tell them what to think without questioning it even for a second. They listen to podcasts where unqualified idiots say what they want to hear, reinforcing their own biases.

The modern world is an intellectual Elysium, with knowledge so bountiful you can simply reach out, grab randomly at whatever is in reach, and be satiated for months without ever having even to stand up. Yet somehow the inhabitants of this field manage to be so lazy and stupid that they starve to death.
Huxley was right. We live in A Brave New [Clown] World.
 

PorkLord

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The critical thinking taught in schools would be more accurately describes as "critical theory thinking." I mean what post modernist apparatchik is going to slack on a chance at further indoctrination?
 

Positron

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The pressure for conformity is greater nowadays, thanks to social media. The permeation of social media means that kids nowadays can outsource their thinking to "opinion leaders". What's more, they are actually discouraged to exercise their critical thinking skills: whenever they voice how some popular idea doesn't add up, they are denounced as "toxic" and get "canceled".

OP said:
For the past 30-40 years or so, schools have stressed the importance of teaching "critical thinking skills"
This is a lie and you know it. What schools and colleges mean by "critical thinking" is actually "uncritical opposition to the establishment".
 
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mr.moon1488

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Lol no. Today's younger generations are just 2.0 boomers. In their youth, boomers ignored everything of value produced by western society in favor of shitty modern trends, and this is something that has clearly rubbed off on their children.
 

Positron

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If schools really cared about critical thinking, we wouldn't see this situation:

 

sharky

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Critical thinking? Nah. Maybe creative thinking since additional resources and methods of research exist compared to what was around 20/30/40 years ago, but I feel like excess use and involvement of social media has people focusing on ideas of lesser importance.
 

a6h51

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My oldest sibling and I were talking about something similar. We were talking about how most of Millennials and Igens now days just only believe what's online, and only think of what's trendy atm. No thinking whatsoever. Either most Gen y and z are either neo nazis or communists, and will call you names if there's some political issue that's poison to their unreasonable ideology. A lot of them will also post numerous things on social media (on fakebook, twatter, and trashstagram) and just say stuff about how much they hate drumph or kill terfs and shit like that.
 
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