G. Randy Kasten is an attorney and author of Just Trust Me: Finding the Truth in a World of Spin.
The ability to think critically is one skill separating innovators from followers. Critical thinking reduces the power of advertisers, the unscrupulous and the pretentious, and can neutralize the sway of an unsupported argument. This is a skill most students enjoy learning because they see immediately that it gives them more control.
The first step in teaching critical thinking is to help students recognize how easily false ideas can creep into their belief system. For example:
1) People believe stories because they are the ones available;
2) Beliefs may justify past actions;
3) People may not recognize the significance of their own perceptions.
Students don't need much convincing that two of the biggest enemies of the truth are people whose job it is to sell us incomplete versions of the available facts, and the simple absence of accurate information. They may need more convincing that a significant problem is their own willingness to believe what they want to believe.
Via Peter Hoeve