I wish to make the following claims:
A. The Moon orbits the Earth in roughly 28 days
B. Bill Clinton will primarily be remembered for his affair with Monica Lewinsky
C. Constructivist theories of education are basically Marxism dressed up as educational theory
D. The people who built the pyramids of Giza had a pretty good telephone system
E. Sturt Street is the main street in Ballarat
I predict that you found the first claim pretty easy to deal with. I expect my readers to be well educated so you will know or quickly recognise that this claim is true and move on to claim B.
You might find B more controversial. You may agree or disagree but you will see where I am coming from. You will probably try this claim out for size, see if it fits with your opinion and then decide whether to accept it or not.
You might struggle a little more with claim C. If you know my blog then you will be aware that I have criticised constructivist teaching approaches before. Marxism is not popular these days and so you may be tempted to write this off as rhetoric.
Claim D will strike you as manifestly false. You know that the pyramids were built by the ancient Egyptians, thousands of years before telephones were invented.
The final claim will probably leave you a little cold unless you know Ballarat. You can’t say if its true or not but it doesn’t sound extraordinary; it’s the kind of name that streets have.
In all of these cases, I predict that critical thinking will have taken place automatically as you compare the claim with the contents of your own long-term memory. I predict that in none of these cases will you have used a critical thinking strategy.