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Mr. Mike Melodrama: Critical Thinkers Are Not Close-Minded

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 20th, 2010


Using Critical Thinking Is Not The Same As Being Close-Minded

Many elementary school and high school students read this blog. Because of this reality, I would like to make a point that you might find helpful in thinking through your view of some things you read here. For our younger readers or those who have a gut reaction to the latest posting on Mr. Mike, please let me clarify a pivotal point. In examining evidence, including secondhand stories, there is a vast Grand Canyon of difference between using “critical thinking” skills and being “close-minded”/”open-minded.”

I’m afraid in a recent blog posting here at Cryptomundo, the writer has confused “close-mindedness” with “critical thinking.” Ms. Sharon Lee writes, regarding Mr. Mike, that she wants “you to open your mind and listen to a story.”

First off, what comes from Lan Lamphere, a known sensationalistic radio host is, she is correct, usually a “story,” indeed. Whether it is about Obama not having an American birth certificate, Lamphere’s version of the truth on 9/11, or reports from a clearly psychologically troubled individual like Mr. Mike seeing Bigfoot (a/k/a Ms. Lee’s “bigfoots”). As Ms. Lee notes, “Mr. Mike is being taken care of.”

“Opening one’s mind,” however, should never be translated into “believing.”

Ms. Lee appears to have confused “open-mindedness” with the total, uncritical acceptance of anything presented as having something to do with a sighting of a Bigfoot, as reported by Lan Lamphere as an alleged “capture” and/or “breaking news.”

After telling her story, Ms. Lee then says “You are now free to close your minds. Thank you for your time.”

To be “close-minded” means you are “not ready to receive new ideas.” Someone that fails to view a different point of view in a comparative fashion is closed minded. A close-minded individual believes in something or in someone without considering various sides of an issue or the evidence.

To be able to do some critical thinking is to have thoughts outside of the box. Critical thinking allows a person to attempt to understand both sides of an argument more fully, no matter which side they support. Thinking for yourself and having a clearer understanding of the main attributes for a variety of points of view are tenets of critical thinking.

Critical thinking involves determining the meaning and significance of what is observed or expressed, or, concerning a given inference or argument, determining whether there is adequate justification to accept the conclusion as true.

Critical thinking can more naturally be seen as the careful, deliberate determination of whether one should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim and the degree of confidence with which one accepts or rejects it.

Critical thinking gives due consideration to the evidence, the context of judgment, the relevant criteria for making the judgment well, the applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment, and the applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand. To practice critical thinking, one employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance and fairness. In contemporary usage “critical” has the connotation of expressing disapproval, which is not always true of critical thinking. A critical evaluation of an argument, for example, might conclude that it is valid. Thinking is often casual and informal, whereas critical thinking deliberately evaluates the quality of thinking.

Anyone that listens to Mr. Lamphere’s stories from Mr. Mike, which would be third-hand from Ms. Lee by the time they reach Cryptomundo, would do well to employ critical thinking.

To claim one has a “closed mind” when reading of the Mr. Mike stories is to incorrectly characterize the readers of Cryptomundo who routinely use good critical thinking skills, as we all should regarding cryptozoology.

Credit for chart: IQ Matrix.

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


15 Responses to “Mr. Mike Melodrama: Critical Thinkers Are Not Close-Minded”

  1. bugmenot responds:

    Maybe it’s time to move on to a place of your own, Loren. With the addition of Hulsey and Lee, it’s fairly clear that someone believes pop culture and sensationalism are the path to a larger and more profitable Cryptomundo. While that is probably true, being associated with these people most likely isn’t going to improve your credibility or reputation, or that of the museum.

  2. TheForthcoming responds:

    Loren I agree with you 100%.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention and well said!!

    ;D

    Also please go here:

    Open-mindedness

    And

    Critical Thinking

  3. Sharon Lee responds:

    No need. I have my own blog and I was asked if I would post here. I will not, I will remove my sensationalism. Have a nice day.

  4. tropicalwolf responds:

    I sincerely concur 100% with Bugmenot. This business with “mike” soured me from the start. Other recent developments (starting back with all the “movie” information) has begun to sour me on this site altogether. The ONLY thing that keeps me here is Loren…who could do just as well elsewhere.

  5. BunniesLair responds:

    I never thought of myself as a ‘critical thinker’ until I read your post. I am classified by friends and co-workers as the Pessimist or Doomsayer. If something is going to go wrong, I can usually spot it within seconds; which is why many are surprised when I admit I think there could very well be an American primate of some sort, as of yet undiscovered.

    So thank you for your article, it is entertaining as well as educational; and I appreciate it!

    P.S. I also appreciate the link to IQ Matrix.

  6. korollocke responds:

    Loren Please stick around here. This site is sorely in need of a voice of reason.

  7. DNS responds:

    Very nicely done, Loren. Thank you. Critical thinking seems to be an unknown concept in wide swaths of the paranormal field, as well as many other parts of our society.

    Of course it is possible there is something of interest going on with this Mike guy. I doubt it, but the information we have been given is not at all conducive to a rational approach to the problem. By far the worst thing about this whole mess would be the way Mike’s experiences have been exploited for some cheap thrills and some attention by Lamphere. If in fact Mike is something other than a poor old guy who is losing his grip on reality, the well has been poisoned and Mike has been the victim of exploitation.

  8. wanderingman responds:

    Here is an excellent related video on open-mindedness.

  9. shamner responds:

    Cryptozoologists should try to be less insufferable. Put two in a room and they can’t agree the sky is blue.

  10. onihunter responds:

    I’ve met True Believers and Skeptics who both fall into the close-minded ranks. Critical thinking is vital if we seek the truth, what ever it is, in our endeavors be it Cryptozoology or otherwise. I see being open minded as not being the same as accepting or rejecting anything that comes along. I try to avoid the open minded and close minded terms because it implies a certain bigotry one way or the other.

    There is a limit to credulity. I doubt I would sound off the “go investigate” alarms if told someone saw Bigfoot riding a tricycle with a propeller beanie on his head riding down the middle of Main Street. I would have thw same reaction to the secretly recorded tapes of Loren, Craig, George Bush, Barack Obama, and the ghost of Tom Slick conspiring to create the next Bigfoot video. A certain level of common sense is needed in all this. Loren’s words on critical thinking should be taken to heart.

  11. DWA responds:

    “YOU MUST BELIEVE ME” doesn’t work in science.

    Except to say: well, OK, we’ll add this to the pile of evidence and see what we have. And sometimes you don’t even do that.

    Personal proof and scientific proof are two different things. If I saw a sasquatch tomorrow, the question would be settled for me.

    I’d have to understand though that it might take a while for the rest of the world to catch up.

  12. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Very good & sorely needed dismissal of the current derogatory notion of the term “critical”.

    I would simply add that, the person we should be most critical of is ourselves, and our *own* belief system.

    One should constantly ask “why do I believe what I believe in?”.

    We have a saying, here in Mexico: El buen juez por su casa empieza (the good judge begins with his own house).

  13. Steleheart responds:

    So now Sharon’s post is gone, OK, It wasn’t really needed as a reference in order to see the truth in what Loren Coleman is saying. His clarity and intellect speaks for itself and I doubt he needs to be concerned about his credibility or reputation especially with regard to this recent melodrama.

    Thanks to Loren for a most enlightening and helpful post.

  14. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Sharon’s post can be found in the original location, at her blog, The Bigfoot Field Reporter.

    She asked that it be taken down at Cryptomundo.

  15. Loren Coleman responds:

    Comments are closed for this thread.



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