Unveiling the Power of Critical Thinking and Batesian Mimicry

Alessio Frateily

Hatched by Alessio Frateily

Jul 08, 2023

4 min read


Unveiling the Power of Critical Thinking and Batesian Mimicry


In both the natural world and the practical realm, the concept of mimicry plays a significant role. Batesian mimicry, observed in nature, reveals that the success of mimics is dependent on the toxicity and abundance of the model they imitate. Similarly, in our daily lives, we often come across individuals who imitate the success of others, presenting themselves as impressive and knowledgeable. However, it is essential to recognize the distinction between true champions and mere copycats. This article explores the fascinating connection between Batesian mimicry and the application of Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework, shedding light on the importance of discernment and critical thinking in various aspects of life.

Batesian Mimicry: Copycats in the Wild and the World:

Biologists have discovered that in Batesian mimicry, the more dangerous and prevalent the model is in a population, the easier it becomes for its mimics to deceive predators. The mimics imitate the appearance and behavior of the model, reducing the risk of being attacked. Similarly, in the practical world, individuals who mimic successful individuals often dress the part, talk the talk, and push the right buttons. They create an illusion of greatness, but ultimately, they are mere chauffeurs impersonating the true champions.

The Power of Discernment:

In the wild, the true model, such as a Coral Snake, can easily distinguish between its mimics and itself. Charlie Munger, a renowned investor, draws a parallel between this phenomenon and money management. Munger suggests that it is challenging to differentiate between a genuinely skilled money manager and someone who has mastered the art of persuasive speech. He advises those lacking expertise in money management to opt for low-cost index funds rather than attempting to choose a skilled manager. Munger's insight emphasizes the importance of discernment and the need to recognize the real deal amidst a sea of impersonators.

Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework: A Tool for Rational Reasoning:

The Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework provides a structured approach to evaluate arguments and ideas, enabling designers, design students, and researchers to make informed decisions. This framework consists of eight elements of reasoning, including purpose, attempt, assumption, point of view, data and evidence, concepts and ideas, inferences and interpretations, and implications and consequences. By applying these elements, we can eliminate biases and distractions that hinder effective decision-making.

The Three Stages of Critical Thinking:

The application of the Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework involves three main stages: observation, questioning, and finding solutions. These stages are crucial in building rational knowledge, analyzing and evaluating data, and formulating actionable solutions. The framework encourages individuals to define the main topic, comprehend the issue through research, analyze and link collected data, solve the problem, turn the solution into an implementable action plan, and finally, test and evaluate the solution.

Building Clear and Coherent Reasoning:

Within the critical thinking framework, building clear and coherent reasoning is vital. It ensures that the topic is adequately addressed and facilitates effective problem-solving. The framework aims to improve reasoning by identifying elements of reasoning, intellectual standards, and intellectual traits. By understanding the purpose, attempts, assumptions, point of view, data and evidence, and concepts and ideas, individuals can develop a comprehensive and logical thought process.

Actionable Advice for Effective Decision-Making:

  • 1. Embrace critical thinking: Cultivate a mindset that values critical thinking and rational reasoning. Recognize the importance of evaluating arguments and ideas objectively, eliminating biases, and seeking innovative solutions.
  • 2. Develop discernment: Sharpen your ability to differentiate between genuine expertise and mere imitation. Trust your instincts and seek out individuals who possess true knowledge and skills in their respective fields.
  • 3. Apply the Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework: Incorporate the framework into your decision-making process. Utilize the eight elements of reasoning to analyze and evaluate information and develop actionable solutions. Adopt intellectual standards and traits to enhance your reasoning abilities.


In a world filled with mimicry and impersonation, it is crucial to develop the ability to discern the real from the fake. Batesian mimicry teaches us that the success of mimics depends on the prominence and danger of their models. Similarly, applying the Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework empowers individuals to make informed decisions, free from biases and distractions. By embracing critical thinking and developing discernment, we can navigate through a sea of copycats and find true champions who inspire genuine success.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace critical thinking as a valuable skill in all aspects of life.
  • 2. Sharpen your discernment to recognize genuine expertise and knowledge.
  • 3. Utilize the Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework to evaluate arguments and ideas, leading to informed decision-making.

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