Monday, December 01, 2008

Homeschool Logic

I just returned from visiting one of my favorite places, Deatsville, AL. Sounds odd, I guess, but my wife's sister Candi lives there, and we have so much fun visiting with them and the rest of her family.

Candi and her husband Kevin have five kids who are all home-schooled (hence the video above). Rachael, their oldest daughter just went through a book called The Fallacy Detective, which goes through a list of the most prominent logical fallacies. Though it is not perfect, it is very approachable since it was written for kids. I must admit that I have never taken a course in logic, so this book was a good refresher on the fallacies with which I was familiar, and a good intro to those I had never encountered or had forgotten.

It was written by former home-schooled Christians, so if you are not of that persuasion then you obviously won't agree with some of their motivations, but hopefully we can all agree that fallacies, no matter the creed, color or stripe of those that wield them, are annoying and distracting at best and dangerous at worst.

After getting through the first half of the book I decided to start analyzing news sources, opinion pieces, etc. with an eye to discover the fallacies to which the various sources succumb.

The writers of the Fallacy Detective began doing the same thing during the campaign, analyzing the claims of political ads run by both the McCain and Obama camps. Check it out: Fallacies From Obama and McCain

With this in mind, I will be posting a series of blogs in which I cover a specific logical fallacy and provide examples of the fallacy as they are used in contemporary sources.

Another good fallacy primer from someone on the other end of the philosophical spectrum can be found in a 2 part podcast series entitled "A Magical Journey thrhough the Land of Logical Fallacies" from Brian Dunning's Skeptoid Podcast available here:

Part 1
Part 2

Dunning also includes a short synopsis of each of the fallacies in text form in the above links if you don't have time to listen to the podcasts.

So brush up on your fallacy familiarity and get ready to hunt for some manipulative rhetoric!


Michael-david's Practice Blog said...

Hi, Ford:

I enjoyed your blog tonight very much.

I will be in your area from about 28 Dec to Jan 4, maybe we should have coffee and discuss some of this?


Ford said...

Thanks for the kind words.
I look forward to catching up and discussing this with you.