The aim of this post to describe three different modes of thinking (analytically, cogently, and critically), and to provide examples of theists who fail in one or more such modes.
This refers to the process of looking at a situation, and analysing it into its component parts. The choice for the word “analysis” comes from such activities as forensic chemists analysing the constituents of a powder that they have been given, and systems analysts breaking down the activities of a business into its component parts.
One result of a failure to think analytically is to conflate things that are quite different from each other.
A favourite is to conflate facts with evidence. Just by way of a re-cap, a fact is a confirmed observation, and evidence is a collection of arguments based on facts (and usually in support of a hypothesis). Here we have a wonderful example of facts being conflated with evidence:
Cogent thinking refers to the process of being able to draw inferences without making an error of logic.
Critical thinking is about identifying and challenging assumptions and hidden agendas.
It comes as no surprise to me that people who lack these thinking skills are easy prey for religious charlatans wanting to relieve them of their money!