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Just thinking
11th August 2007, 12:08 PM
What fraction of the general population do think employ some reasonable form of critical (logical) thinking skills in their daily lives? Then, perhaps you may wish to comment on what fraction of folks you associate with both at work and privately do so.

(OK -- I made the question too long ... it's my first poll.) ;)

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 12:16 PM
99%?

People compartmentalize. Someone can be brilliant in every area of their lives but one, and then go way off the deep end in that one area.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 12:17 PM
99%?

People compartmentalize. Someone can be brilliant in every area of their lives but one, and then go way off the deep end in that one area.

Like, when driving?

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 12:21 PM
Like, when driving?Driving off the deep end?

Dumbledore
11th August 2007, 01:15 PM
I think even if a majority of people are critical thinkers, which I very much doubt, they let themselves be swayed by emotional argumentation instead of rationality and logic far to much for us to be able to tell the difference!;)

Blu
11th August 2007, 01:44 PM
I'm going to apply some critical (logical) thinking here on this poll. I'm not going to vote on the poll because the question is nonsensical IMHO.

I get questions from manangement at work when they do yearly questionairres of all the workers. There is some of the questions that say "How much do you think the work done by our company in the field of XXXXX is beneficial to our clients".

My answer is always... "How the hell should I know". Even if I know the field of XXXXX that they're talking about, I don't know and have never met all of the clients, and in the case of this poll the "general population". I can only base an answer on what I have been told 2nd, 3rd, 4th of Xth hand from other people/media etc.

Therefore my answer can serve no useful purpose in any statistical analysis as it can provide no accurate reading relating to the subject of the question.

If I think that all people are critical thinkers then how is that going to help you?
If I think that only 50% of people are critical thinkers then how is that going to help you?

My answer would only be based on a contextual and baised opinion based on my own experiences, of which you will have no information just from me giving you a percentage vote.

Poor experimentation, full of flaws IMO.

*** No offence intended, just my critical thinking ***

;)

Blu

Eos of the Eons
11th August 2007, 01:58 PM
Most seem to rely on past experience without thinking much about anything. They come up with beliefs, make decisions based on those beliefs, and don't think about much else.

For instance, the world is 6000 years old and some god/s made it. Trees are therefore made from gods, and the seeds they make just make identical trees. There's no thought about what happens if the seed makes the tree greener or taller than those around them. There's no thought about how that would happen. There's just assumptions that all trees that look quite similarly are just exactly alike.

Or, if you buy a car from somebody you know, you assume they are trustworthy folks and don't get a mechanic to check it out first. They just trust their friend, and figure they shouldn't be practical and put safety first by getting the car checked. In fact, some people get insulted if you do a mechanic check before buying their car (I've heard of that happening). I don't care what anyone thinks, I'll get that car checked before buying it and driving my own kids around in it. I've learned to put safety first, and make sure I'm getting a good deal.

How many people do you know actually think things through or check anything out before they act?

I was the only student in my class to check out the emails my teachers read to us (even though the teachers encourage us to look things up too). The only one. The rest just assumed a teacher checks things out or knows the truth about everything, and didn't check the information given. I found 100% of the emails were debunked by snopes in the last 1-5 years. The rest of the classmates would have stopped buying swiffer products, never would have froze anything in plastic again, and feared aspartame was causing cancer in people the rest of their lives. Yeah, I get a quality edumacation at my school. I learned long ago that most teachers are not critical thinkers either though.

So, I voted optimistically for 5-10%, but I feel that almost 0% never really utilize critical thinking skills ever.

More on the definition of critical thinking can be found at:
http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/definingCT.shtml

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.



A well cultivated critical thinker:

raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
thinks openmindedly (without brain falling out completely) within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems

T'ai Chi
11th August 2007, 02:41 PM
According to some alarmist organized skeptical clubs there is a 'rising tide', whatever that means since tides come and go.

Eos of the Eons
11th August 2007, 02:50 PM
Yeah okay, don't actually contribute with a reasonable discussion on why you think most or even at least half of the population use some kind of critical thinking skills. At least demonstrate something to give us hope that people even know what a critical thinking process is and how it should be used in day-to-day living. Giving me some hope for the population would be far more beneficial than a drivey by ambiguous jab that contributes nothing to the discussion.

Thanks for nothing as usual T'ai.

I will wait for an actual optimistic post with some interesting information that can actually demonstrate I'm being too cynical.

athon
11th August 2007, 04:18 PM
As Joe said, there is no real answer to this question as the concept of a universal critical thinker is nonsense. We as skeptics try to embrace the concept of critical thinking as an ideal, yet even most of us here find it difficult to not be influenced by social thinking with regards to some things. Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, most people use critical thinking in some way for most things in their life, compartmentalising those precious fields which are emotionally dear to them.

Even your biggest religious nutjob would probably use critical thinking when evaluating some things, and even your most hardcore skeptic will have some areas where they unwittingly use emotional reasoning to justify their actions.

In short, while we talk about 'critical thinkers' and 'skeptics', the term refers more to an ideal than an actuality. They don't really exist.

Athon

Skeptic Ginger
11th August 2007, 06:05 PM
Depends of who you are referring to when you say "general population". Do you mean in the Western world or are you including all the third world cities, villages and 'tribal areas' of the world where the vast majority of people still reside? As far as people who have had the opportunity to go to school, sadly it seems to be 25% or less. If you are talking about the entire human population by my estimate, it is much lower.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:18 PM
Depends of who you are referring to when you say "general population". Do you mean in the Western world or are you including all the third world cities, villages and 'tribal areas' of the world where the vast majority of people still reside? As far as people who have had the opportunity to go to school, sadly it seems to be 25% or less. If you are talking about the entire human population by my estimate, it is much lower.

Fair enough ... one could, I suppose, try to incorporate all of mankind or just limit their population to their home country or region. I'm glad you at least placed descriptors of how many (percentage-wise) use critical thinking skills. This is, however, nothing more than an opinion poll and can be taken almost any way you like (or dis-like as the case may be).

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:21 PM
Most seem to rely on past experience without thinking much about anything.

... More on the definition of critical thinking can be found at:
http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/definingCT.shtml

Thanks Eos for your comments (personal input and definition).

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 06:26 PM
So, I voted optimistically for 5-10%, but I feel that almost 0% never really utilize critical thinking skills ever.

You know, I think I like your answer better than mine, but I still think I'm right and you're wrong. :D

Now, if the question were changed to involve critical thinking about things of consequence, you'd be right. I'm reminded of the beginning of one of Michael Moore's books, where he questions the idea that Americans are dumb. He counters that Americans are very obviously capable of pretty impressive thinking on a lot of subjects, most of which are completely trivial.

I'd say that most people are capable of critical thinking... and very few of them apply it to anything worth bothering with.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:31 PM
... Even your biggest religious nutjob would probably use critical thinking when evaluating some things, and even your most hardcore skeptic will have some areas where they unwittingly use emotional reasoning to justify their actions.

In short, while we talk about 'critical thinkers' and 'skeptics', the term refers more to an ideal than an actuality. They don't really exist.

Athon

I think you're failing to see the forest because of those trees getting in the way. This isn't meant to be a highly scientific analysis on critical thinking and who does exactly what, rather it's just a personal poll on what fraction of the population (and you can describe that population however you wish) you believe uses what you consider to be critical thinking skills (as a default way of normal thinking) going through everyday life. If you still feel that's nonsense, then OK, I'm fine with that.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:35 PM
... I'd say that most people are capable of critical thinking... and very few of them apply it to anything worth bothering with.

To me that comment seems to border on the verge of nonsense, as critical thinking would make one realize it as being so.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 06:38 PM
To me that comment seems to border on the verge of nonsense, as critical thinking would make one realize it as being so.
Your own post seems to be a bit confused, actually.

Critical thinking, as per an earlier post, is defined as " the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

Well, yes. That would be it. Do you accept that definition? Can we agree on terms before going further?

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:43 PM
Sure -- let's use that for now.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 06:45 PM
Sure -- let's use that for now.Thanks. Where in that definition does it state what that "conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating" must be directed towards?

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:48 PM
It states ... "as a guide to belief and action".

Although, I would have used and/or instead of just and.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 06:50 PM
It states ... "as a guide to belief and action".

Although, I would have used and/or instead of just and.Yes, so I ask you: as a belief in, and/or action towards WHAT? Does it specify?

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 06:52 PM
That which is arrived at through critical thinking -- it can be many things, but somehow I don't think it will result in one believing in pink unicorns or a flat-earth. (Get my drift?)

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 06:59 PM
That which is arrived at through critical thinking -- it can be many things, but somehow I don't think it will result in one believing in pink unicorns or a flat-earth. (Get my drift?)
You totally missed my point. I'm not saying that critical thinking will lead you to woo-woo beliefs. I'm saying that people can be completely unthinking when it comes to religion or astrology or homeopathy, and yet incredibly effective critical thinkers when it comes to figuring out which sports teams will do well in any given year, or picking parts when customizing performance cars or other relatively useless areas of life.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 07:05 PM
Bad examples, I'm afraid.

Effective at picking winning sports teams? Tell that to the bookies who make more than a mint at it when taking bets.

Picking performance parts for cars? I can tell you that as a car nut myself, there is more than the fair share of nonsense out there that will not improve your car's performance -- yet it sells like crazy.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 07:15 PM
Bad examples, I'm afraid.

Effective at picking winning sports teams? Tell that to the bookies who make more than a mint at it when taking bets.

Picking performance parts for cars? I can tell you that as a car nut myself, there is more than the fair share of nonsense out there that will not improve your car's performance -- yet it sells like crazy.

Actually, perfect examples. PERFECT!

Bookies and the people selling crap parts? They often prey on many people who are otherwise rational and critical thinkers. At the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are into astrology and other woo who, at the same time, are NOT suckered by people when it comes to sports, cars, or a dozen other subjects.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 07:21 PM
Actually, perfect examples. PERFECT!

Bookies and the people selling crap parts? They often prey on many people who are otherwise rational and critical thinkers. At the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are into astrology and other woo who, at the same time, are NOT suckered by people when it comes to sports, cars, or a dozen other subjects.

Huh ???

Wasn't your original comment pointing out how people can be critical thinkers in useless areas by picking winning sports teams and choosing performance parts for cars?

And now you admit that their buying into such actions and beliefs is an expression of them being critical thinkers in other areas, not the woo-woo just mentioned? What other areas? I thought your first examples were the critical thinking areas.

... and yet incredibly effective critical thinkers when it comes to figuring out which sports teams will do well in any given year, or picking parts when customizing performance cars or other relatively useless areas of life.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 07:24 PM
Huh ???

Wasn't your original comment pointing out how people can be critical thinkers in useless areas by picking winning sports teams and choosing performance parts for cars?

And now you admit that their buying into such actions and beliefs is an expression of them being critical thinkers in other areas? What other areas? I thought your first examples were the critical thinking areas.I'm thinking that you've got some issues with YOUR thinking, because my posts were perfectly clear, and you are misreading them.

Myriad
11th August 2007, 07:24 PM
A lot of low estimates coming in here.

I might agree with some of the lower estimates, in the 5% to 10% range, if the poll were asking specifically about "trained" or "formal" critical thinkers, people who can actually state and apply principles of critical thinking by name, who can talk about falsifiability and logical fallacies and statistical significance.

But I've also encountered, in daily life, a somewhat larger percentage of people whom I'd describe as "doubters" or "intuitive" critical thinkers, people whose skepticism comes from their personality, culture, and/or experience (which makes "intuitive" probably not a great description, but what the heck). They're not as quick as formal critical thinkers to reject internally plausible but unsupported hypotheses such as Bigfoot, and they're often less convinced than most formal skeptics by newer, more speculative scientific theories such as dark matter cosmology. But in general, their mommas didn't raise no fools; they know Astrology is bunk and that the magic diet pills in the infomercials won't work. And I think they're harder to convince to part with a dollar than most hardcore formal skeptics. A lot of liberal theists seem to fall into that group.

Between the two groups, I'd say the total portion of the population reaches somewhere between 15 and 30 percent.

Respectfully,
Myriad

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 07:29 PM
I'm thinking that you've got some issues with YOUR thinking, because my posts were perfectly clear, and you are misreading them.

OK, let's have someone else comment on this exchange we had ... one who has not previously sided with either of us.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 07:47 PM
... At the same time, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are into astrology and other woo who, at the same time, are NOT suckered by people when it comes to sports, cars, or a dozen other subjects.

The problem I am having is that you started off claiming that 99% (or so) of the population uses critical thinking in one area or another. This is in agreement with Michael Moore's comments as well. Yet when you supplied examples of these areas you used ones that I felt were poor at best, and then you seemed to agree with that. If your point is to find a specific area for each individual and then say that most everyone uses critical thinking as a result, then you missed my point -- and that of the overall definition of critical thinking. How many do you think use it as a default (if you will) way of thinking on most issues?

I will also go on to say that if one does employ critical thinking as their default approach on most issues, a good deal of their conclusions would result in recognizing these dozens of topics (retail items -- sports betting -- etc.) as useless, and not just limit their coherent reasoning to one (if any) subject.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 07:52 PM
If your point is to find a specific area for each individual and then say that most everyone uses critical thinking as a result, then you missed my point -- and that of the overall definition of critical thinking. How many do you think use it as a default (if you will) way of thinking on most issues?

That's just what I said. Your initial post was unclear as to what you meant, and you could have saved me bunches of typing by clarifying your own post, instead of misinterpreting mine. :boggled:

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 07:59 PM
That's just what I said. Your initial post was unclear as to what you meant, and you could have saved me bunches of typing by clarifying your own post, instead of misinterpreting mine. :boggled:

Did you read this, from my first post? What fraction of the general population do think employ some reasonable form of critical (logical) thinking skills in their daily lives?

Daily lives is usually taken as meaning normal everyday behavior. This too would pretty much include most issues they normally encounter in life. No, not every issue every day, but the normal everyday behavior being critical thinking is at work.

JoeEllison
11th August 2007, 08:04 PM
You also used the word "some" which means "not all"... your lack of clarity is hardly my fault. On the plus side, it is Saturday... have some fun with it. :)

Eos of the Eons
11th August 2007, 08:04 PM
Thank you for posting such a thought provoking thread Just thinking

Even your biggest religious nutjob would probably use critical thinking when evaluating some things, and even your most hardcore skeptic will have some areas where they unwittingly use emotional reasoning to justify their actions.


Athon

Yeah, no doubt. I think my kids are the most beautiful people in the world, THE MOST beautiful :D Don't ever try to tell me otherwise :p

Foolmewunz
11th August 2007, 08:09 PM
Finally, a Planet X option I can vote for in all seriousness!

Everyone uses some form of critical thinking and logic in their daily existence. To say otherwise is going to presume a lot of people walking in front of trucks!

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 08:16 PM
You also used the word "some" which means "not all"... your lack of clarity is hardly my fault. On the plus side, it is Saturday... have some fun with it. :)

And you couldn't have just asked me to clarify it for you?

Oy !! ;)

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 08:19 PM
Finally, a Planet X option I can vote for in all seriousness!

Everyone uses some form of critical thinking and logic in their daily existence. To say otherwise is going to presume a lot of people walking in front of trucks!

Ahhh .... but I did say reasonable, not walking into obvious danger is rather trivial, don't you think?

No, wait. Don't answer that. I don't want to go through this all over again! :D

kellyb
11th August 2007, 08:26 PM
As someone who self identifies as a "skeptic", I'd like to equate "skepticism" on those "skeptical issues" with "critical thinking".
But really, I don't think that's fair. I know a lot of very smart folks deep into some woowoo who are excellent critical thinkers when it comes to other stuff.

I also know some genuinely stupid/intellectually lazy people who don't appear to ever think about anything too deeply.
So I voted "50-75%" since the poll doesn't have an option for 92%.

I should have voted 99% since that's closer, though, come to think of it.
Oh well.

Eos of the Eons
11th August 2007, 08:32 PM
So, the amount of "skeptics" in the world with the least amount of sell-out to woo woo thinking (checking things out before falling for it hook line and sinker)- about 5% of the population. The rest are more liable to be suckers when being told ethene will cause MS with a good anecdote behind it, or will buy the advertised online "dna free" food if told dna is what causes cancer in all other food.

The amount of people who might use critical thinking on some sort of level, even if that means buying the same exact product, only cheaper at another store-100%

Whaddya think?

kellyb
11th August 2007, 08:46 PM
So, the amount of "skeptics" in the world with the least amount of sell-out to woo woo thinking (checking things out before falling for it hook line and sinker)- about 5% of the population. The rest are more liable to be suckers when being told ethene will cause MS with a good anecdote behind it, or will buy the advertised online "dna free" food if told dna is what causes cancer in all other food.

The amount of people who might use critical thinking on some sort of level, even if that means buying the same exact product, only cheaper at another store-100%

Whaddya think?

Sounds about right.

A lot of people just lack the confidence to figure out a lot of things for themselves, too, I think. A lot of people don't know that they are smart enough to learn the basics of DNA, for example. They fall for the woo because they either don't have access to reliable information, or they lack the confidence to troubleshoot various theories on their own.
But when they do know a lot about a certain issue, the critical thinking can kick in.

athon
11th August 2007, 08:51 PM
I think you're failing to see the forest because of those trees getting in the way. This isn't meant to be a highly scientific analysis on critical thinking and who does exactly what, rather it's just a personal poll on what fraction of the population (and you can describe that population however you wish) you believe uses what you consider to be critical thinking skills (as a default way of normal thinking) going through everyday life. If you still feel that's nonsense, then OK, I'm fine with that.

But to even address this, the terms need to be defined. Regardless of whether it is a simple poll or an in depth analysis.

I won't go over what Joe has already said, but 'not seeing the forest for the trees' is telling me I'm not seeing the concept for the details. Thed details in terms of the question are significant when you're asking 'how many of the trees are oaks'.

Athon

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 09:30 PM
OK, then -- what fraction do you believe would be regarded as critical thinkers? Yes, everyone can use the ability to some level, but how many would use it as the means that would change their opinion or former beliefs about issues? How many can argue a topic logically and not resort to any of the common logical fallacies? (Or at least recognize one when they see it?)

Magic 9-Ball
11th August 2007, 10:07 PM
I answered low, >25%. I interpreted it as believing who use critical thinking, but can be relied to do it in most instances.

For example, I know a lot of scientists, engineers, teachers, astronomers, etc..., and some are quite brilliant. However, for every one of them I see many, many more people who smoke, talk on the cellphone when driving, eat poor diets, don't exercise, etc...

So in their work they may use critical thinking, deductive reasoning, etc..., but put them outside work, and they lose it.

How many can argue a topic logically and not resort to any of the common logical fallacies? (Or at least recognize one when they see it?)

Now as for this question, I believe the majority of the people I see daily could not argue logically. My belief is that they would resort to name calling, emotions, or flawed reasoning.

Maybe it's only my perception, but I don't see a lot of people whom I could rely on being a critical thinkers most of the time. An interesting question.

Foolmewunz
11th August 2007, 10:09 PM
Eos/Kelly,

Precisely the point I was making, but I was intentionally coming at it along an oblique approach path.

(I wasn't my normal verbose self this morning!)

Just Thinking,
Now you're turning it into an intellectual pursuit. Sort of Logic and Critical Thinking with upper case letters. I read the question to be asking what percentage of people use some form of critical thinking in their daily lives. I still say "all".

Shaman: "Grog, bring me a handful of fire, quick!"
Grog: "Yes, oh wise one... oooch eeech ouch!"

Two days later.....

Shaman: "Grog, go bring a handful of fire for my potions!"
Grog: "Uh, nope!"

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That's your basic critical thinking and as you can guess, a theme a little close to my own.

kellyb
11th August 2007, 10:44 PM
I read the question to be asking what percentage of people use some form of critical thinking in their daily lives. I still say "all".

Shaman: "Grog, bring me a handful of fire, quick!"
Grog: "Yes, oh wise one... oooch eeech ouch!"

Two days later.....

Shaman: "Grog, go bring a handful of fire for my potions!"
Grog: "Uh, nope!"

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That's your basic critical thinking and as you can guess, a theme a little close to my own.

Err...I'd say that's more operant conditioning. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning)

I'm pretty sure my dog can "critically think" on that level.
He tried to chew the cord off a plugged in lamp. Once.;)

Foolmewunz
11th August 2007, 10:47 PM
Err...I'd say that's more operant conditioning. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning)

I'm pretty sure my dog can "critically think" on that level.
He tried to chew the cord off a plugged in lamp. Once.;)

But the dog wasn't being instructed by a Shaman or other authority figure. (That's why I didn't use the famed "three year old who burns him/herself on a stove", because I wanted to introduce the credentials of the authority figure.)

kellyb
11th August 2007, 10:59 PM
But the dog wasn't being instructed by a Shaman or other authority figure. (That's why I didn't use the famed "three year old who burns him/herself on a stove, because I wanted to introduce the credentials of the authority figure.)

Oooh. Huh.

I still don't really think that's critical thinking. I don't think questioning authority is any different in principal to logically working out any other kind of question. Although questioning superstitions that fulfill deep psychological needs is definitely a trait that I attribute to "really good" critical thinking. :)

athon
12th August 2007, 12:40 AM
OK, here's my version of the question; what percentage of the population recognize the weakness of social reasoning (appeal to popularity, to authority, and to emotional reasoning) in the face of critical reasoning (being able to revise accepted beliefs in the face of novel evidence)?

This might seem like a pedantic rewrite, but as others have said, most people are quite good with evaluating evidence on most things. Where it falls apart is where evidence of a social magnitude arises - evidence that carries the weight of appeal of social relationship (i.e., you like the person therefore like the evidence, or vice versa). I would hazard a guess, based on papers I've read on how people evaluate information, that approxiamately 75 - 90% (depending on what constitutes good skills of argument) of the population has an epistemology which is compatible with reasoning skills.

I'd highly recommend reading Deanna Kuhn's 'The Skills of Argument' for a fantastic study into this.

Athon

Skeptic Ginger
12th August 2007, 01:38 AM
My stereotype of the uncritical thinker comes from my observation of how many people are fooled by marketing schemes and gimmicks. I have a college educated very intelligent brother (very hi IQ ~140, graduated from high school in 3 years instead of 4) yet he bought a $300+ Ionic Breeze home air purifier from Sharper Image and worse than that, he believes it works. Test methods and results of home air purifiers (http://www.consumersearch.com/www/house_and_home/air-purifiers/index.html)- Reviews agree on the Ionic Breeze and Oreck XL:

Although testing varies, and not all air purifiers are tested by each organization, Air Purifiers America and Consumer Reports do agree about one series of models -- the Ionic Breeze (*est. $350 to $500, depending on model) made by The Sharper Image. This electrostatic precipitator (meaning it electrically charges airborne particles) has a robust marketing campaign and makes up 25% of the market share for air purifiers, according to Consumer Reports.

The Ionic Breeze is given a "poor" rating by Consumer Reports, which claims that the Ionic Breeze removed very few particles from the air in their tests. The Sharper Image complained about the testing method used by Consumer Reports, so the organization tested the Ionic Breeze a second time (after the testing method was reviewed and validated by an independent expert) and got the same result. Consumer Reports tested the Ionic Breeze Quadra a third time for its May 2005 update, and yet again for its most recent October 2005 report. All of the Ionic Breeze air purifiers have consistently achieved the same poor results.

In a well-publicized lawsuit filed in September 2003 in California, The Sharper Image asserted that Consumer Reports' findings were false and malicious. That lawsuit was thrown out of court on November 9, 2004, with the court upholding Consumer Reports' First Amendment right to free speech in its assessment and review of the Ionic Breeze Quadra. At Air Purifiers America, editors also give the Ionic Breeze Quadra a rating of "poor," adding that the Breeze was "the worst performing unit we tested, in that it only removed 30% of the particles at the unit and 5% in the room."

In spite of the poor results reported by Consumer Reports and Air Purifiers America, we did find some professional endorsements for the Ionic Breeze. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has awarded its Label of Truth to the Ionic Breeze. We contacted William McLin, the Executive Director of AAFA, who stated that though this is not a seal of endorsement, it does mean that AAFA's Medical-Scientific Council (volunteer MDs, PhDs and other experts) examined the research behind The Sharper Image's claims and deemed the claims to be true. AAFA would not release their research findings to us, but instead referred us back to The Sharper Image. The British Allergy Foundation has also given the Ionic Breeze its Seal of Approval. After performing independent testing, they found "the Ionic Breeze reduces the allergen load in the air sufficiently to be of benefit to allergy sufferers." The details of this testing were not made available to us

Consumer Reports includes a supplement in their May 2005 report titled "Air cleaners: The truth behind the accolades" which addresses the apparent endorsement from The British Allergy Foundation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In light of the magazine's findings about those organizations, and our feelings that the weight of evidence favors the conclusion of multiple tests conducted by Consumer Reports magazine and Air Purifiers America, we've chosen not to include the Ionic Breeze models in ConsumerSearch Fast Answers. Listerine is another example. Their marketing is so persuasive they have dentists fooled into thinking there is actually a health benefit from "killing germs" in your mouth. First, Listerine doesn't kill very many germs. The alcohol in it most people believe is an antiseptic is actually listed as an inactive ingredient. Next time you see a bottle, look for yourself. The concentration isn't great enough for the company to claim any effects from the alcohol. And Listerine has had half a century of FTC and FDA violations for false advertising repeatedly claiming the "germ killing" actually results in some benefit which it does not. Killing all germs even if the stuff worked is not good. Normal flora prevent pathogens from invading. That's what the field of probiotics is all about (not to be confused with claims of the benefits of probiotics in the food supplement isle).

Yet with repeated fines and even having the distinction of being the only product which was so falsely advertised the FDA actually required Listerine to produce and air a commercial admitting to the false claims, just like Kevin trudeau, Listerine just starts a new commercial campaign and no one seems to even notice the product was just cited for blatant false advertising.

Look how many people believe in supplements which fail to produce benefits after having been tested, some thoroughly. Nancy Reagan brought an astrologer into the White House. Bush believes God is directing Bush's blundering decisions to invade Iraq. Israel and the Palestinians both believe gods granted them land rights which makes it impossible to reach any compromised settlement (among the million other reasons they cannot resolve their conflict.)

And then there are the polls on how many Americans are not sure evolution theory is correct.

The collective human conscious has not yet achieved the basic level of critical thinking despite the access to information the world now has. There are a fair number of scientists and skeptics who do understand what critical thinking is all about. If not, we wouldn't have the incredible technical advancements we have. But as far as the majority of people, we have a very long way to go.

Gord_in_Toronto
12th August 2007, 06:08 PM
Consumer Reports just got around to reporting on Head-On in the most recent issue. It doesn't work folks.

I voted 5% but then my friends often refer to me as cynical. Sniff. :gasp:

Normal Dude
12th August 2007, 06:21 PM
I voted 5-10%, in the frame that that is the portion who use their critical thinking skills most of the time. IMHO, many will use some reasoning when presented with something novel, but the longer something is around them, especially since childhood, the higher the chance that reasoning gets suspended.

kellyb
12th August 2007, 06:31 PM
My stereotype of the uncritical thinker comes from my observation of how many people are fooled by marketing schemes and gimmicks.

The Clorox marketing is pretty bad, too.

This is part of their "Kill the germs that make kids sick" campaign.

http://www.clorox.com/cleaner_home/article.php?subsection=kids_room&article_id=seven_daily_ways

Disinfect all frequently touched hard, nonporous surfaces with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes. These include light switches, computer keyboards, desks, nightstands, and doorknobs.

Have your children use a tub or basket for the hard plastic toys they've been playing with that day. This way, you can simply pick the whole thing up and disinfect in one batch.

Don't give germs any nooks or crannies to establish themselves in. Wash your white sheets with Clorox® Regular-Bleach to reduce germs and bacteria.

Credit card commercials are pretty bad, too.

Eos of the Eons
12th August 2007, 08:29 PM
Well, Clorox/bleach is a disinfectant. It is not a sanitizer though. It is used in hospitals in processes, like for cleaning up blood spills.

http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/221clean.html
Chlorine compounds are good disinfectants for the clean-up of blood orbody-fluid spills. They have a biocidal effect on M. tuberculosis, S.aureus, other vegetative bacteria, and HIV after 10-20 minutes, 1:5 dilution(250 ppm) for bacterial spores and mycobacteria. Diluted chlorine bleach storedat room temperature in a closed plastic container will deteriorate by one halfafter one month, neutralizes rapidly in the presence of organic matter, is goodfor decontamination of HBV, HCV, HIV, and the clean-up of biohazardous spills.Undiluted bleach is good for surface disinfecting after possible contaminationwith the CJD virus; however NIH recommends 1.0 N NaOH.


There are specific dilutions and other guidelines for an effective process though.

Skeptic Ginger
14th August 2007, 12:14 AM
Eos, I think kelly is talking about the fact disinfectants like Lysol are marketed as if they prevent infections when in reality the cleaning is what prevents infection and for things like Listerine, killing all germs isn't useful.

Just thinking
14th August 2007, 07:03 AM
What I once heard critiquing Listerine was that the claim "Kills millions of germs on contact" was essentially meaningless, even if true ... as there are billions upon billions of germs in one's mouth.

Eos of the Eons
14th August 2007, 06:26 PM
There are plenty of germs in the air too, and your nose, etc.

kellyb
14th August 2007, 06:37 PM
What's that weight-loss commercial for the product that tries to sound like a pharmaceutical? Leptoprin? Something like that?

They really go out of their way to imitate "real" pharma ads...

There's a fake Viagra one, too, that tries to imitate a real pharmaceutical ad.

The only difference is, at the end, they don't say "Ask your doctor about..."
Instead, it's "Call 1-800-FAKEDRUG for more information"

I'd say people who get suckered in by those ads probably aren't critical thinkers...

ETA: Yup. It's leptoprin. The even try to make the bottle look like a real pharmaceutical...
http://www.leptoprin.com/products/leptoprin_sd/leptoprin_sd.asp?sid=383397014&gclid=CKKE_Jew9o0CFQwpgAodyDkgNQ&fp_keyword=leptoprin&fp_source=Google

At the end of the commercial, I always think "DON'T ask your doctor about Leptoprin."...lol

Haha...they even have a fake package insert and everything...
http://www.leptoprin.com/products/leptoprin_sd/images/leptoprin_sd_study.pdf

ETA:
I like the wiki article on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptoprin

It's vitamin B6, caffine, and green tea!

Skeptic Ginger
14th August 2007, 08:52 PM
How about all the silly boys buying those drugs claimed to make you "bigger". They never say just what gets bigger. I cannot believe people buy that stuff. And probably all the boys really need is a different position. ;)

JoeEllison
14th August 2007, 09:04 PM
How about all the silly boys buying those drugs claimed to make you "bigger". They never say just what gets bigger. I cannot believe people buy that stuff. And probably all the boys really need is a different position. ;)

Yeah, you can get into a management position, and your bank account gets bigger, and you don't need those silly drugs at all!