The future of The Thinkery

Several years ago I created a critical thinking workshop and taught it a few times at my church, where I was an associate pastor. It quickly became clear that critical thinking skills are sorely needed (and not just in churches). I created a brand — The Thinkery — as a place where the workshop couldContinue reading “The future of The Thinkery”

The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers

“You were right. It was an egret.” Mercedes greeted me this way when we met on the abandoned railroad track. Lest you think we are spies — exchanging passphrases as we rendezvous to hand over the microfilm — I’ll quickly let you know that those days are far behind me. But, seriously … Mercedes andContinue reading “The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers”

Is faith rational? It depends.

“How well do CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] and religion mix? CBT is all about rationality, and religion is often about faith. The two seem kind of opposite. … CBT is … grounded in western empiracism and rationality, and faith is something that is very much different.” (Jason M. Satterfield • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques forContinue reading “Is faith rational? It depends.”

4 ways to figure out what’s true and what isn’t

Feeling inundated with information about COVID-19? Before that, perhaps it was the impeachment or Brexit or The Bachelor finale. How do you know what bits of information are true? Here are a few ways to get closer to the truth about anything: 1 Consult multiple reliable sources. See where the consensus lies. 2 Use commonContinue reading “4 ways to figure out what’s true and what isn’t”

Do we really need TWO staples?

When my coworker showed me how to do a task at the office, she told me to staple the paperwork twice, on either side of the top of the page. I was new to the task, so I didn’t know the reason. I assumed that the reason would become evident as I got more familiarContinue reading “Do we really need TWO staples?”

Belief vs. dogma

“Dasher is the fastest reindeer.” “Dasher is the fastest reindeer.” The first statement is a belief. The second statement is a dogma. It’s hard to tell the difference, isn’t it? Let me take the conversation further so that the difference becomes clear. Belief “Dasher is the fastest reindeer.” “Are you sure? I thought it wasContinue reading “Belief vs. dogma”

That time when Lincoln was ‘dishwatery’

I don’t have to tell y’all that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — delivered 156 years ago today — is considered one of the finest and most influential speeches of all time (miles ahead of Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1999 Academy Awards speech). However, it took a while for the Gettysburg Address to gain full respect. The cheek ofContinue reading “That time when Lincoln was ‘dishwatery’”

How not to feel like an idiot

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” [ John F. Kennedy ] Kennedy was absolutelyContinue reading “How not to feel like an idiot”

Ford vs. Kavanaugh

The Supreme Court nominee is being accused of awful conduct. He is denying it. What do we do with that? This situation is just one of countless others. We constantly need to sift through data, analyze information, and weigh evidence. When we want to make a wise decision, draw a reasonable conclusion, or make aContinue reading “Ford vs. Kavanaugh”