Thoughts on critical reading
Most of the texts I read, I read them in goal oriented manner. I have a problem and I need solutions. But what if the author writing the text is fraudulent?
Behind every text there's a motivation why it was written. You can guess what the motivation was but you can't be certain. People claiming to help you could be giving misinformation just for entertainment or even profit.
An example of malicious motive would be all those iPhone trolling attempts over the year. But those are really easy to spot.
The worst scammers go on the gray. They attempt you to lead to believe what they say. And the information they provide cannot tell them out but neither prove that they are legitimate.
For example, I believe Magic Leap is a scam. They made impressive adverts that do not actually present their product in any way. There reads "shot through magic leap" in their videos though. That's most likely a lie. The interviews are low on technical details, and high in huge promises such as "dreaming with your eyes open".
They've claimed they have billion dollars in funding from prominent investors and companies. This could be fake verification to get people invest into them. And even if it's true it could be they are just unbelievably good at scamming their audience.
Even the texts from people with no agenda at all can mislead people. It's enough to be coinvincing yet not correctness is required.
There's a way to read text such that you acknowledge all interpretations rather than just the one you prefer. I feel this is an important part of literacy. It's called critical reading.
I've opened "critical reading" in the google and strolled through some of the links. Here's a collection of some I thought seem good.
criticalreading.com: What Is Critical Reading? It's bit too obvious in appearance. Even the URL matches!
On the front page there's the slogan:
"Everyone complains that students cannot read well… and yet most high schools and colleges offer no course in critical reading. This is the website for just such a course."
The website claims it shows you how to recognize what a text says and does, and what does it mean.
Salisbury University: Critical reading strategies
Critical reading strategies is just a single page summary, part of some larger material.
It looks like giving good advice, but it's bit thin on content.
University of Toronto: Critical reading towards critical
Critical reading towards critical writing seems similar to the another university link.
It's rather weird to try exercise critical reading into texts that tell about critical reading.
I do feel the two later pages are too short to convey the subject. I'm excited about the very first link that came up.
Wikipedia has also an article on critical reading It portrays it as an inverse of academic writing.
There's great example on that page about a phychologist that falsified data in his papers. Many intelligence researchers accepted his research because they wanted to believe that IQ is hereditary and therefore didn't observe the content critically.
It's possible that the studies of critical reading aren't enough.
I hope it helps to recognize texts that could be used in place of rorschach ink blots. The texts that satisfy as many readers as possible without raising alerts are great at misleading people.
Great texts and learning material shouldn't perhaps support harmful interpretations of itself.