Friday, March 27, 2015

Logic - the lost art

Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies.

The poster hung in our classroom while we were introducing our children to their first course in logic. We used The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn. It is designed for children as young as twelve which is a perfect age for them to start on their journey of reasoned thought and discourse.

A woman at Dalrock's blog asked: "Is there a resource for what to do, or not do, when raising a young girl (she’s preteen, in elementary school), in order to avoid this senseless entitlement and obscene debauchery that seems to be normal now?" I referred her to The Fallacy Detective. In raising daughters, one of the best things we can do for them, in this culture, is cultivate within them an understanding and love of logic and rational thought. When this is coupled with a love for the Lord and biblical instruction, they will be more equipped to avoid the rebellious temptations of the world.

When one of our children would present an irrational argument we would tell them to go to the poster and let us know which logical fallacy their argument contained. We would then teach them how they can debate/discuss/argue the issue in an honest manner. We have never had a problem with our children disagreeing with us. We don't, however, allow irrational outbursts or rhetorical fallacies. There is so much for them to learn and they are with us for such a short time that we don't want to waste a minute of it. What they have learned so far of logic and reasoning has been demonstrably beneficial to their maturation and thirst for wisdom.

Unfortunately logic is not taught to the majority of individuals they'll encounter and converse with. It can be very frustrating for them when they attempt to debate a hot topic with one of their peers. They aren't very skilled, yet, in identifying individuals that can not be reasoned with.
Before some audiences, not even the possession of the exactist knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. - Aristotle
It is our utmost concern for our daughters to become logical thinkers. We understand that one of the most challenging things they will encounter in marriage is the ability to communicate effectively with their husbands. It is imperative for them to be honest and rational in this communication.

As wives, we need to learn to recognize when we are communicating dishonestly with our husbands. We need to be educated in logic so we can understand what fallacious reasoning is. In addition we need to learn other destructive manners of communication and thought such as neurotic projection and solipsism.

Consider the husband who makes a statement: "My mother's roast beef is delicious, could you get the recipe from her?"

Here we have a subjective opinion and a request. Considering this is a husband and it is regarding a preference in food that he has, it is likely something that would bring him great joy to hear this response from his wife: "Sure! I'll give her a call."

How many husbands endure this response: "Why, what is wrong with my roast beef?" or "You don't like how I've been making the roast beef?"

Sadly, many husbands will have to encounter this escalation: "Everything your mother does is better than what I do! I'll never be able to measure up! Nothing I do is good enough! I wish you could just love me for me!"

The husband really just has a palate for his mother's roast beef. He's not comparing his mother's cooking to his wife's. His words should be understood as he literally said them. No matter what has taken place in a marriage previous to this statement, the statement needs to be heard and understood as it is said without a response containing the fallacy of presumption. This is an honest way of communicating.

More to come as time allows...


  1. " No matter what has taken place in a marriage previous to this statement, the statement needs to be heard and understood as it is said "

    This statement alone could almost be sufficient preparation for marriage, it is so simple and yet resourceful. I do not have any daughters, but I do have three sons and I know that I cannot afford to make the mistakes I made with their father so often when we were first married to them like reading into everything they say, looking for reasons to condemn them, projecting my problems onto them or presuming anything at all.

    I discovered your blog recently from your comments at dalrocks and am delighted to see you are going to add new posts here. God bless

  2. I've heard this before from my husband, as his mother (now of blessed memory) was a fabulous cook. I learned to respond with the more appropriate line, but it seared my soul. I stayed very cool after that. No matter what he actually said, what I HEARD was completely different. I understand about the fallacies, but the pain was sharp nevertheless. I pretended it didn't hurt, went ahead and changed things as cold logic would have it, but it did not lessen the pain of realizing that my cooking really didn't measure up. I understood that, and managed to keep the personal feelings separate from the logical fallacy.

    However, I never confided a pain or an agony in my life to him again. When my mother died, I took care never to be emotional in front of him. I needed to grieve her loss, not be reasoned out of it, so I kept a good distance from him. Things became a lot better because I kept him out of my problems.

    1. The Bible offers many verses for us to read and trust in regarding emotional pain that we suffer. I hope you spend time reading those verses, praying, and believing they are for you. It is an act of worship to seek the Lord for comfort and a measure of faith to abide in Him and His Word.


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