I’m taking social psychology this semester, and I decided that one of my assignments could probably double as a blog post, as long as no one got terribly offended. At any rate, our prompt was “Identify a current event/issue that exemplifies what happens when people fail to think critically. Explain why you believe this is a good example by using the 8 guidelines of thinking critically…what steps did people fail to follow?” I’m simply going to copy and paste my reply.
I can think of many current events that are an example of what happens when people fail to think critically. However, the one that I thought to be the most relevant will bring you back to late July and early August. I didn’t want to write about something really controversial, but this was the best example I could think of: Chick-fil-A and the debate about gay marriage. If you think about if from a neutral standpoint, then neither side really uses critical thinking. This has resulted in people boycotting and protesting Chick-fil-A, “kiss-ins”, as well as massive support on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
Chick-fil-A says that they support “traditional marriage.” However, some people consider traditional marriage to be your first marriage. If you’ve been remarried, some people believe that it isn’t traditional. A traditional family is also defined as only biological children and their biological parents by some sociologists. Step children and step parents, as well as children, who are adopted, don’t count. This is an example of not properly defining terms. Some people may not be on the same page when it comes to the word “traditional.”
In some cases, neither side examines evidence. If your parents support gay marriage, you are more likely to do so without question. If your parents raised you to believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, then you’re more likely to just go with it. People often follow the beliefs of church members, family and friends without thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions.
Both sides also over simplify the decision to support or oppose gay marriage. They seem to believe that you’re either totally for it or totally against it. That isn’t always the case. People can have mixed emotions about these issues. (I’ve heard people say recently that if you support gay marriage then you can’t eat at Chick-fil-A. This is oversimplifying the situation, in my opinion. I see no reason why you can’t eat at a restaurant and still support your personal beliefs.
The biggest reason critical thinking failed in this issue is because both sides made no move to avoid emotional reasoning. Both sides have intense feelings, obviously. I recently saw comments from both sides on a social networking site (you can see the comments here, if you want) where they were belittling each other. They weren’t even bothering to state a point to defend their opinion; they just kept stating that the other side is wrong. No one was open to trying to see the other side’s opinion at all.
In my opinion, everyone should take the time to think this issue through using guidelines from the lecture. Perhaps a compromise could be made, or at the very least, people would be more educated and open to other opinions.