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For this reason, critical thinking--the application of scientific thinking to all areas of study and topics of investigation--is being taught in schools throughout the United States, and its teaching is being encouraged as a universal ideal.You may perhaps have been exposed to critical thinking skills and exercises earlier in your education.
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To succeed in this science course and, more specifically, to answer some of the questions on the first exam, you should be familiar with a few of the concepts regarding the definition of science, scientific thinking, and the methods of science.
In other words, science is a method of discovering reliable knowledge about nature.
There are other methods of discovering and learning knowledge about nature (these other knowledge methods or systems will be discussed below in contradistinction to science), but science is the only method that results in the acquisition of reliable knowledge.
All scientists practice scientific thinking, of course, since they are actively studying nature and investigating the universe by using the scientific method.
But scientific thinking is not reserved solely for scientists.
Scientific and critical thinking was not discovered and developed by scientists (that honor must go to ancient Hellenistic philosophers, such as Aristotle, who also are sometimes considered the first scientists), but scientists were the ones to bring the practice of critical thinking to the attention and use of modern society (in the 17th and 18th centuries), and they are the most explicit, rigorous, and successful practitioners of critical thinking today.
Some professionals in the humanities, social sciences, jurisprudence, business, and journalism practice critical thinking as well as any scientist, but many, alas, do not.
(Please note that I do not, as some do, make a distinction between belief and knowledge; I think that what one believes is one's knowledge.
The important distinction that should be made is whether one's knowledge or beliefs are true and, if true, are justifiably true.) Every person has knowledge or beliefs, but not all of each person's knowledge is reliably true and justified.