Buffalo State College professor Gerald Nosich says some educational practices that discourage critical thinking are based on assumptions like problems assigned to students should always be clearly formulated (21). Meaning that authentic problems are not always spelled out. Sometimes it is not about finding a solution, but figuring-out what the problem is.
I could simply ask, who has the more convincing argument, Jim Marrs in Crossfire or John McAdams in Assassination Logic? How strong is the case presented by the author? What criteria are best for evaluating his claim? What is the strongest argument against this? How did the presumption of Oswalds guilt guide official interpretation of evidence, and who had the means, motive, and opportunity to subvert and misdirect any meaningful investigation? I could remind you to distinguish between objective data and subjective value judgments about that data. I could tell you to ask questions and make inferences. I could ask what patterns or anomalies you notice, or how the parts help you understand the whole. I would beg you, one last time, to break the habit of responding with likes or dislikes, agreement or disagreement.
But you need to ask the questions for yourself.
McAdams has a strong introduction to his conclusion, and asks, what logical principles should be used to guide serious thinking about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Yet he makes it seem like coups or assassinations never happen because they are too complicated. Why is the official story not satisfying?
Marrs has an intriguing answer to the question of who shot JFK, but he believes that once the idea of conspiracy is acknowledged, questions of who, what, how many become irrelevant, which is also a big problem for his argument. What does he prove?
Ask your own questions. Reason out your thinking. Explain what you believe.
This essay will be assessed using the Critical Thinking Essay Rubric.
Plan to have a complex thesis that strives to synthesize perspectives rather than just compare and contrast. Specific examples should be clearly and comprehensively developed. Analyze your own assumptions and impediments, as well as the authors you evaluate. Question the experts, and find something new to say about the information you cite. Dont oversimplify your point or contradict yourself.
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