This from the Skeptics dictionary-
The goal of critical thinking is to arrive at the most reasonable beliefs and take the most reasonable actions. We have evolved, however, not to seek the truth, but to survive and reproduce. Critical thinking is an unnatural act. By nature, we’re driven to confirm and defend our current beliefs, even to the point of irrationality. We are prone to reject evidence that conflicts with our beliefs and to attack those who offer such evidence.
Cool. Well stated IMHO. We have evolved with truth seeking not the main objective. I think that says a lot about where we are as a species.
I see a lot of truth in that statement, but I’m not sure it encapsulates critical thinking perfectly.
Certainly, it is in our nature to cling to beliefs we cherish, even in the face of contradictory evidence, but everything about us has evolved, including the capacity for critical thinking. Certain members of our species have evolved into critical thinkers, and their having done so has certainly aided in the survival of the species overall. I have no formal training in evolution, so forgive me for trespassing on other people’s areas of expertise, but I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that critical thinking is an “unnatural” act.” (Not that I care much. I mean, whether something is natural has nothing to do with whether it’s good.)
We have evolved a capacity for critical thinking, it’s just that some people, by nature, are better at it than others. There is an interesting story out there somewhere about people in Afghanistan (I think). Living in a war torn region rife with medieval superstition, some people purchased some sort of talisman that would render them invincible in the face of enemy fire. It made enough sense to them to actually purchase the thing, but with the stakes so high (their lives) something told them to test the thing first. So, they put it around the neck of a chicken, and shot at it. They missed at first, and thought, hmm, maybe it works. Then they focused their aim, and blew the little bird to smithereens, and realized it would probably not be a good idea to head into enemy fire armed only with the talisman.
I dunno. It would seem to me that critical thinking has taken hold in us somehow, and its memes have persevered to the extent that they have survival value. I’m sure I’m butchering the language of evolution, but I hope I’m making sense overall.