Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. -- Lorraine Hansberry

T is for Thinking: the ICYouSee Guide To Critical Thinking

When in doubt, doubt.

Almost anyone can put up almost anything on the Web for almost any purpose. Look for ambiguity, manipulative reasoning, and bias. Examine assumptions, including and perhaps especially, your own. 

Accuracy is not easy to confirm. As with any research, you must test one source against another.

Here is an example. Who coined the phrase Question Authority!? Look at eight different Web sites and you might get eight or ten different answers.
  • Several sites attribute it to Timothy Leary without indicating where he said or wrote it.
  • A page claiming that Timothy Leary was a CIA agent says Leary was quoting Socrates.
  • In addition to Socrates, Ben Franklin hasn't been forgotten, nor Galileo, Hunter S. Thompson, nor James Baldwin.
  • Many simply credit "anonymous," a graffiti artist or a bumpersticker. Perhaps it's a bumper sticker summation of Socrates' idea.
  • For those of you who trust Wikipedia, even it doesn't seem to know [citation needed].
My advice: question the authority of all these Web sources.
To complete the circle, this page has been used (but not cited) as an authority on the origins of the slogan. On one page my phrase "bumper sticker summation of Socrates' idea" has been repeated.

Questions to think about:

  • Do you have good reason to believe that the information on the site is accurate?
  • Do authors back up their conclusions with any supportive evidence and documentation?
  • What makes you think the "facts" you see are really facts?

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ICYouSee T is for Thinking
John R. Henderson
Last modified: April 6, 2021