Besides knowing a lot of scientific facts and explanations, it is vital to have a working knowledge of a number of critical thinking tools, from knowing about logical arguments and common logical errors and cognitive biases in the human intellectual machinery to common statistical fallacies and denialist tactics.
For all articles in this section, see the critical thinking library.
Logical fallacies are a set of common errors of logic that often appears in the claims of pseudoscience activists. Some of these are formal fallacies that are always erroneous, whereas others are informal fallacies that are wrong due to false or irrelevant premises.
Cognitive biases are predictable deviations from rational thinking that are a result of the fact that humans are not perfect rational.
Statistical fallacies are errors in statistical inference. These are often more complicated than logical fallacies and sometimes involve complex statistical topics and methods.
Science Denialist Tactics
Just like scientific skeptics have a baloney detection kit, science deniers have a set of common denialist tactics that they commonly deploy.
Cognitive distortions are common ways in which humans thoughts and feelings can twist experience of reality.
Heuristics are simple rules of thumb that non-optimal, but often works sufficiently well in practice. However, in some cases, these rules of thumb can mislead us.
It is not enough to know about common logical errors and cognitive biases, but it is also crucial to understand valid and sound logical reasoning.