Critical thinking teaches people to think reflectively and independently in order to make thoughtful decisions. It uses credible evidences to objectively analyse facts to form a judgement and make thoughtful decisions. One simply way to analogies critical thinking is the case of an auto mechanic student . If you teach a mechanic student how to make Mercedes Benz 230E cars that student is likely to become an expert in that particular model of cars, but if you teach that student the concept of making and repairing cars that student will have a broader knowledge on how to make and repair any make and model of cars.
Critical thinking applies to all aspects of human life. Both human and economic developments in industrialised nations are built from research using critical thinking skills. No nation on earth has developed from faith, prayers, fasting or on a belief system. Take for example the NHS (National Health Service) of the UK is built on Evidence based research. Doctors, Nurses and other healthcare professionals are trained solely to offer care to patients based on research and evidence based learning. In the UK the NICE booklet is the “Bible” of treatment. It contains guidelines on how health professional should offer care and treatment to patients. The NICE booklet was compiled from many years of evidence based studies and research using qualitative, quantitative and systematic reviews.. If you google NICE and open the webpage the front page reads” Improving health and social care through evidence-based guidance” . In lay man terms “evidence based learning “means … show me the proof, show me the evidence that a particular treatment has been tested and proven to work . In 2016 an African trained black nurse working in the UK was sacked for praying for a patient. The reason was clear, faith based healing is not evidence based. It does not work and has never been medically proven to work anywhere in the world!
Critical thinking does not preclude religion which today is crippling the minds of black people. Most civilised world are drifting away from the traps of religion dogmas because the application of critical thinking skills is helping people think differently, and able to differentiate between facts, fictions and fairy tales.
In a nation like Nigeria where sick people are taken to churches instead of hospital, where the number of churches outnumbered hospitals in a factor over 10 is never going to live up to the standard of what other countries enjoy because nearly everyone is a believer. They believe a divine intervention is needed to change the tides instead of applying the natural powers of reasoning to resolve their problems.
The question I think should now be resonating amongst black people is “do Africans or black people think critically, or simply put, do Africans apply logic and reasoning in their daily lives or do they question dogmas to differentiate between fiction and non-fiction”. Although it is fair to suggest that some Africans do, however a substantial number of black people don’t. It seems to me that it is un-African to think critically, particularly when it comes to challenging traditions and opinions informed by superstition, archaic thinking and religious dogma. Not thinking critically means one should suspend common sense but blindly accept whatever any person or prophet says or preaches.
The main reason why critical thinking is alien to Africans is the way our educational systems are designed, which are offsprings from years of colonial rule. Till date many Africa countries have not updated their educational systems. The system does not promote independent thought rather it overemphasis on knowledge and recall (cramming).