Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's only logical

A couple years ago I asked Spacebunny what she recommends for teaching logic. I wanted it not only for my children but for myself as well. It isn't something I had been taught. I knew some basics but logic and reasoning just isn't something that comes natural to women. For a very long time I believed what I had been told and had observed, feelings = truth.

She recommended a website called Trivium Pursuit. I recommend it to you as well. All women should read the Bluedorn's book, The Fallacy Detective. I read it with my son and will do so again next school year with my daughters. We learned so much from it and would make games out of spotting logical fallacies when we'd watch television or read the news.

Our son likes to debate issues with his friends. He used to get a little frustrated that not only do they use logical fallacies in their arguments, when he points them out, they haven't a clue what he is talking about. He laughs at it now.

Hans Bluedorn has a recent blog post up called "How Logical Are You?"  Go take a look, take the quiz, and see if you can spot red herrings.

There are exercises similar to those in every lesson of The Fallacy Detective (and thankfully they provide the answers in the back of the book).

Understanding logical fallacies and being able to spot them is highly useful in debating issues. But more importantly you'll learn how to spot them in your own reasoning. This leads to a much more rational approach to issues. Especially useful, is becoming a more rational conversationalist with your husband. (You may even become a more rational commenter on the blogs you visit).

When I think of what advertisers and activists do, I think of the collars I need to use to walk my basset hounds. They require a prong collar. They are very low to the ground, are strong, and are easily distracted by enticing scents. Also, their skin is very thick, in order to get their attention and obedience, we need to tug on the leash so the collar pokes them. And, no, this isn't cruel, they feel no pain when they obey.

Propaganda works the same way and is very effective. Instead of a physical poke, propaganda often pokes at our emotions.

Consider the appeal to fear and breast removal surgery as a preventative measure for breast cancer.

Consider the appeal to pity and all the advertisement you are bombarded with to send money to charitable organizations.

How about repetition: "Children need public school to be socialized."

Here's another great quiz from Nathaniel Bluedorn: Name the Propaganda

Recognizing these techniques will allow you to set aside your emotional response in order to take a logical analysis of the issues. You will seek the truth. Can I prevent death by removing my breasts? Is this charitable organization credible? Are children in public schools better socialized than homeschoolers - and is that our priority?


  1. I have a game related case study up on my blog. It was suggested that you might be a good source of a women’s perspective on the matter. I would appreciate your input if you are so inclined.


    1. Hi Res,
      I've read it over, am praying about it and discussing it with RLB. Her story is very similar to mine. I'll post a reply on your blog later this evening.

  2. We have a couple copies of this in our home school library. IT is on our list for the upcoming school year. It's great to get a review on it!

    1. Oh good! You won't be disappointed. BTW, I have several home school books that I plan to donate. I'd be happy to ship them to you for your home school library. I'll get a hold of you on FB when I move on to that project. :)

  3. While "public school is necessary for socialization" is propaganda, it is also the truth. Socialism relies heavily on a public education system. I had a conversation with 4 family members who had a combined 160+ years of experience in public education. When I asked them what they meant by socialization, they stumbled around for a while until they came up with a definition that meant "centralized, state-controlled planning."

    Little kids, they said, who are not public schooled don't have the tools necessary to be progressive socialists. I'm not writing hyperbole. These were the exact meanings of what they said, and they were very pleased with themselves for having finally come to such a deep and fruitful definition.

    So, the deepest circles of public school leadership absolutely, undeniably, identifies "socialization" as a wing of "socialism." This was very helpful to me to understand. Now, the run of the mill anti-homeschooler will spout off something about the homeschool kid not having many friends or something, but if they are willing to stand by their vague discomfort and go deep, I've found that most of them find themselves defending socialism as a governance model in order to support their resistance to homeschooling.

  4. @ Daniel: Socialization can either mean "learning how to adapt well in a social environment" or "learning to be a good little socialist" (like you say). The former is a legitimate fear for home-schooled kids (I've met a few who are hopelessly awkward), the latter is why Rousseau, Dewey, and their modern disciples want kids in public schools.

    So they use people's fears of the former to get them to submit their children to the latter.

    Parents could simply home-school the kids and make sure they get out of the house enough, but that wouldn't serve the State's ends.


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