One of the advantages of living in a free society is the opportunity to think for ourselves. Having the opportunity to do it is one thing, and having the ability to do it quite another. Everyone here should be continually striving to further develop the skills required to form intelligent opinions, make good decisions, and determine the best courses of action - as well as recognize when someone else's reasoning is faulty or manipulative. It is important to understand at the outset that thinking critically is not about attacking other people. In discussions, there will be situations where we'll need to question ideas, and critique arguments, though it should be done in a responsible manner that encourages positive development and learning. We're looking for faults on both sides of arguments, it should not be one sided. The goal is knowledge and understanding, not trying to "win" or "come out on top". We all need to get in the habit of thinking out our responses more clearly before rushing in to reply to anyone we disagree with. With that said, I highly encourage anyone here who is unfamiliar with critical thinking to read the .pdf I'm enclosing in the link below. It will greatly improve the conditions of 'Soap Box' if more people here begin to use logic effectively in their arguments. Nobody wants to waste time constantly correcting flaws in reasoning and language, deal with misleading arguments, false information, etc.. We should be studying subjects methodically - to learn and think of new ideas and solutions on issues, not fighting back and forth infinitely. If the environment of this forum continues to decline, there will be less and less people willing to participate, myself included. On the other hand, if the quality of our communication continues to improve, I believe it will greatly encourage more SF members to speak up and share their opinions, including many of the 'lurkers' who are usually too shy to post at all. I hope others will appreciate what I'm trying to do here for the forum, and I do hope it helps. Feel free to add any of your own related links that would help our community mature. Note: though much of this ebook is helpful, chapters 12-18 are the most important for the specific context of our forum, in my opinion. Critical Thinking Skills.pdf This book is much, much better - though I haven't found an ebook version available. Check your local library and search for "critical thinking" to find books that delve even further into language and human reasoning.