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Critical thinking: part and parcel of science literacy

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I ask myself usually, why we think actually? The answer is always just because your brain does so and if brain is in charge of thought process then all of us surely have brain substantiated with the same stuff despite DNA differen

Shawana Mukhtar
Shawana Mukhtar

ces. Then why some actuate their minds to ponder over intricacies of nature and some just pass by without even noticing it.so we can say it’s not important to think but the important is how we think and that is actually the concept of critical thinking.
The critical thinking is not a latter day concept. Socrates was the man who talked about skepticism and set the tradition of questioning 2500 BC ago. He emphasized on extraction of truth from falsehoods, real from unreal and facts from fiction and this is all about why the critical thinking is important? It is not discrepant to concede that we are cordoned off from most of the reality, and that we can discover more of it by a process of careful observation, Hypothesis formulation, experimentation and finding concrete conclusions. This is what scientist are to be pains at. The foundation of science lies in solving problems through inquiry based learning .critical thinking is a quintessential component of this scientific method.

The society has evolved in such a way that science has become an indispensible part of our everyday life that’s why scientific literacy is an emerging issue of today’s world. Despite of its controversial nature; it has been the most debated issue over the years.

It has been entering the picture with some key points such as basic and enduring ideas of science, the nature of science and the interaction of science with society. Unfortunately the Pakistani society is emotional rather a rational society. We are not only slaves of our own dim-witted opinions but try hard to influence others also. So called Islamic evangelist overemphasize the negative rather positive aspects of science. That’s because the use of critical thinking to solve our major and minor issues, puts a much pressure on our minds. United States Institute of Peace (USIP), on education and attitudes in Pakistan published their report in 2015, complemented by interviews and fieldwork in Punjab high schools during 2013 and 2014 and proclaimed that Textbooks are merely a material to memorize word for word and class environment does not emboldens students to question. A research on improving instruction expounds that no doubt, remembering things is important but the most important goal of learning is to find out new things using previous knowledge and to solve multifarious academic and non-academic problems.
Government has no choice but to utilize their all energies in incorporating critical thinking in our educational system to foster a scientifically literate society who can better serve the nation. The electronic, print and social media should play its positive role to instill a better thinking of thinking critically. Being optimist I hope they will do their best.

(The writer is an M.Phil student of Zoology and doing her research at Punjab University Lahore. She can be reached at: [email protected])

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