The problem with critical thinking
The problem with critical thinking
What is "critical thinking." "Critical" has many synonyms. That which most closely reflects its educational use is "analytical." Unfortunately the majority of synomyms have negative connotations such as "disparaging" or "nit-picking." So when you're "thinking critically" about a concept are you analyzing it or casting aspersions on it?

Critical thinking in the sense of analytical thinking is something to strive for. Unfortunately organizations often promote rubbish and claim it to be supported by critical thinking. To begin with analytical thinking requires competence. At the lowest stage of competence (unconscious incompetence) thinkers are unable to recognize their incompetence. Not only do they fail to recognize their incompetence, but they grossly overestimate their level of competence (Dunning-Kruger effect.) Analytical thinking also requires a knowledge base. One is unlikely to exercise analytical thinking in areas of limited knowledge. Effective analytical thinking also requires formal reasoning as described by Piaget. Unfortunately more than half the population never reaches this stage of intellectual development.

Most everyday reasoning is rationalizing (apologetics.) Bogus critical thinking relies heavily on rationalizing, is promoted by groups with special interests and limited knowledge and by those lacking formal reasoning skills. Audiences with lower levels of competence, limited knowledge and without formal reasoning skills are unlikely to distinguish critical thinking from rationalizing. Studies suggest that a college education is no guarantee of critical thinking skills.

Narrowly focused religious and political groups are quick to suggest that critical thinking supports their views. Audiences lacking analytical thinking skills are easily impressed by arguments that disparage concepts that they don't accept.

In view of the ambiguity of "critical," "analytical" thinking is a clearer way to describe the behavior of competent thinkers.
Types of ignorance, Antiintellectualism