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The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning (2009 Edition)

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Meant for ages 12-adult. Can be purchased from Amazon, Christian Book Distributers, Rainbow Resource Center, Timberdoodle, Trivium Pursuit, and Adnil Press. Learn more at the following link: http://www.fallacydetective.com/produ... This updated version includes thirty-eight lessons (two new ones) on how to recognize bad reasoning. Learn to spot errors in others’ logic, and Meant for ages 12-adult. Can be purchased from Amazon, Christian Book Distributers, Rainbow Resource Center, Timberdoodle, Trivium Pursuit, and Adnil Press. Learn more at the following link: http://www.fallacydetective.com/produ... This updated version includes thirty-eight lessons (two new ones) on how to recognize bad reasoning. Learn to spot errors in others’ logic, and your own. The focus is on practical logic, such as fallacies you might encounter in a newspaper. Learn to identify red herrings, circular reasoning, statistical fallacies, and propaganda. Each lesson presents several examples of poor reasoning often illustrated by cartoons and then provides a lengthy exercise set in which you identify the fallacies. This book features a Christian view of logic and was written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers.


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Meant for ages 12-adult. Can be purchased from Amazon, Christian Book Distributers, Rainbow Resource Center, Timberdoodle, Trivium Pursuit, and Adnil Press. Learn more at the following link: http://www.fallacydetective.com/produ... This updated version includes thirty-eight lessons (two new ones) on how to recognize bad reasoning. Learn to spot errors in others’ logic, and Meant for ages 12-adult. Can be purchased from Amazon, Christian Book Distributers, Rainbow Resource Center, Timberdoodle, Trivium Pursuit, and Adnil Press. Learn more at the following link: http://www.fallacydetective.com/produ... This updated version includes thirty-eight lessons (two new ones) on how to recognize bad reasoning. Learn to spot errors in others’ logic, and your own. The focus is on practical logic, such as fallacies you might encounter in a newspaper. Learn to identify red herrings, circular reasoning, statistical fallacies, and propaganda. Each lesson presents several examples of poor reasoning often illustrated by cartoons and then provides a lengthy exercise set in which you identify the fallacies. This book features a Christian view of logic and was written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers.

30 review for The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning (2009 Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tony Ludlow

    The Fallacy Detective is written primarily for homeschoolers, especially Christian homeschoolers. Most college graduates who took philosophy/logic will recognize the fallacies and will appreciate the simple and practical description of those fallacies and the examples of each. There are exercises at the end of each short chapter to check for understanding. The book is a mix of hits and misses, good logic with weak examples, unintended fallacies offered up as good logic, great examples mixed up w The Fallacy Detective is written primarily for homeschoolers, especially Christian homeschoolers. Most college graduates who took philosophy/logic will recognize the fallacies and will appreciate the simple and practical description of those fallacies and the examples of each. There are exercises at the end of each short chapter to check for understanding. The book is a mix of hits and misses, good logic with weak examples, unintended fallacies offered up as good logic, great examples mixed up with examples that aren't. The book would be useful for anyone looking for an easy to understand treatment of the major formal and informal fallacies and would be an introduction tool for helping children (or adults) to think critically. Adults whose formal education didn't include logic, philosophy, or critical analysis and writing would like this book because it presents these things in a way that doesn't get bogged down in complexities and hard to follow explanations. However, the authors occasionally insert Bible references, depending upon on Christian faith as examples of good logic or as proof that something is true. Faith's apologists often commit these easy to fall into errors. But any faith based religion is, by the very nature of that "faith," not legitimate logic or philosophy. When the authors say, "the Bible says ..." or "this isn't true because the Bible says ..." they commit a logical fallacy trying to counter a logical fallacy. Simply replacing "the Bible says" with "the Quran says ..." or "Buddha says ..." or "The Vedas say ... " will reveal the error. Faith can't be used to "prove" logic, or anything else. It ceases to be faith in that case; faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Are you tired of pointless, loud arguments? Do you want to know where you're going wrong with your reasoning? Read this book. Thank me later. Are you tired of pointless, loud arguments? Do you want to know where you're going wrong with your reasoning? Read this book. Thank me later.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laia

    LOL! This April fools' day, the joke's on me! You could say I made some false assumptions about this book when I picked it out from the library, and then went recommending it (at least putting it on my Education Resources book list) before thoroughly reading it. I was pleased to flip through and see headings on ad hominem, red herring, straw man, faulty appeal to authority, loaded question, appeal to fear, either-or, etc. I assumed the purpose of the book was to teach "how to recognize bad reaso LOL! This April fools' day, the joke's on me! You could say I made some false assumptions about this book when I picked it out from the library, and then went recommending it (at least putting it on my Education Resources book list) before thoroughly reading it. I was pleased to flip through and see headings on ad hominem, red herring, straw man, faulty appeal to authority, loaded question, appeal to fear, either-or, etc. I assumed the purpose of the book was to teach "how to recognize bad reasoning," and simply that. I missed the pages in the intro. (and the info. on the back cover), that the book's goal was to not only do this, but do it from a distinctly "Christian" perspective. Once I realized this, I thought it would be interesting to see what, from the authors' perspectives, that entailed. While the book does a nice job of explaining many of the logical fallacies listed, it also displays some unintentional logical fallacies and assumptions supporting what some would label the Christian viewpoint (as if there were only one) on numerous controversial topics. These can simply be used as more opportunities for discussion, exposure to various viewpoints, and analysis of logical fallacies, if the reader catches them. However, some things are presented so misleadingly (for instance the characterization of the theory of evolution and it's debate) as to make me have a hard time fully recommending this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Noel

    This was one of the best school books ever!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Although the book is labeled as "for ages twelve through adult" and I purchased this book to teach informal logical fallacies to my high school daughters, my nine-year-old son read and loved it as well. The book is well written in a humorous, conversational style, replete with comics that illustrate the various fallacies, and has exercises that build on and review everything covered in each section. And while it is not difficult to read, the exercises are challenging, and even as an adult who ha Although the book is labeled as "for ages twelve through adult" and I purchased this book to teach informal logical fallacies to my high school daughters, my nine-year-old son read and loved it as well. The book is well written in a humorous, conversational style, replete with comics that illustrate the various fallacies, and has exercises that build on and review everything covered in each section. And while it is not difficult to read, the exercises are challenging, and even as an adult who had learned the fallacies before, I still failed to get a perfect score on any of them. I intend to use it again next school year with my to-be seventh and fifth graders. It is a great curriculum choice for upper elementary through high school.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Webster

    I'd heard such rave reviews about this book throughout the home-schooling community, but was disappointed when I finally purchased it. Although I'm sure there are excellent logical arguments, I was immediately turned off by what I felt was the superiority complex of the authors. I'd heard such rave reviews about this book throughout the home-schooling community, but was disappointed when I finally purchased it. Although I'm sure there are excellent logical arguments, I was immediately turned off by what I felt was the superiority complex of the authors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Reading this in class at Co-op. An excellent introduction to logic, I only wish that the examples were not so US-centric. The children are definitely learning though, and works well in a 30m class. I also do a sheet of logic cartoons to go with the chapter topic - v easy to find with Google, lots of great ones out there.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    A nice introduction to the fallacies, written by local, former homeschooled brothers. We liked the simple, easy to read explanations of the fallacies, many of which have become a common part of our language around home. Watch out, your kid may call you on a few. ;)

  9. 5 out of 5

    C.B. Cook

    I did this last year, and it was a ton of fun. Yay for logic! :P I'm pretty common-sense/logic minded, so this is definitely my thing. I did this last year, and it was a ton of fun. Yay for logic! :P I'm pretty common-sense/logic minded, so this is definitely my thing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Hughes

    this was a sumwhat boring book to me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rose Miller

    A must for middle school and high school for critical thinking in a non-overwhelming way!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jurij Fedorov

    I read the first few chapters. As an adult who likes logic and wanted to see how a clear intro would look like this is very much not for me at all. This is for small kids in 6th grade. Maybe up to 8th grade at most if they want to play around with simple logical puzzles. It’s very low level. The chapters in the workbook version have very short intros to some logical assumption. These intros seem to be very weak and often pointless as they are largely just children’s book level stuff focused on st I read the first few chapters. As an adult who likes logic and wanted to see how a clear intro would look like this is very much not for me at all. This is for small kids in 6th grade. Maybe up to 8th grade at most if they want to play around with simple logical puzzles. It’s very low level. The chapters in the workbook version have very short intros to some logical assumption. These intros seem to be very weak and often pointless as they are largely just children’s book level stuff focused on storytelling. The writing is good though. Then after each mini chapter there is a row of about 10 questions about some logical assumption. The questions can go like this: “Little Bobby says he can’t put the toys back as he can’t remember where they go.” Then the real answer as revealed in the back of the book is: “Little Bobby tends to forget where toys go when he is lazy.” As you can see you don’t just have to use logical tools to find the right solutions you have to understand regular social settings, normal white lies and other social tricks and then apply them to “solve” the logical problems. That’s not the kind of rational logic I seek more knowledge about. Maybe if they had made clear that Little Bobby is at home playing with his old toys their answer would be more logical. I just figured he was at the doctor's office or something. Either way as you can see this is a book for absolute beginners and it doesn’t really strictly use rational logical methods to solve issues, but is rather a book to make kids think about social settings. It’s very fine for younger teens, but as an adult I can’t rate it highly. I haven’t read much of it at all, but such weird issues at the start obviously make me just want to stop reading. I’m seeking something more rational and hard. The workbook version is basically a discussion starter in class settings, nothing more. It does introduce logical fallacies, but these kind of soft intros are not worth much as it's fluffy and unfocused in how it tackles the issues. Introduction: What Is a Fallacy? The Inquiring Mind 1 Exercise Your Mind 14 2 Love to Listen 18 3 Opposing Viewpoints 22 Avoiding the Question 4 Red Herring Fallacy 28 5 Recognizing Red Herrings 34 6 Special Pleading 39 7 Ad Hominem Attack 43 8 Genetic Fallacy 49 9 Tu Quoque 53 10 Faulty Appeal to Authority 57 11 Appeal to the People 64 12 Straw Man 69 Making Assumptions 13 The Story of Aroup Goupta 76 14 Assumptions 82 15 Circular Reasoning 88 16 Equivocation 94 17 Loaded Question 100 18 Slippery Slope 107 19 Part-to-Whole 113 20 Whole-to-Part 119 21 Either-Or 125 Statistical Fallacies 22 What Is a Generalization? 134 23 Hasty Generalization 141 24 What Is an Analogy? 150 25 Weak Analogy 157 26 Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc 166 27 Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc in Statistics 172 28 Proof by Lack of Evidence 178 Propaganda 29 What Is Propaganda? 188 31 Appeal to Pity 198 32 Bandwagon 202 33 Exigency 206 34 Repetition 210 35 Transfer 214 36 Snob Appeal 219 37 Appeal to Tradition and Appeal to Hi-Tech 224 38 Find Some Propaganda on Your Own 230

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clif

    All of us, including children, should be capable of picking out false presentations, particularly because we are in America, a country saturated with commercial enterprises seeking a sale and politicians seeking office. An understanding of simple logical fallacies is a top priority for any citizen. Too many Americans are duped because they don't recognize the falsity of messages directed their way from a multitude of sources from the White House down to the local car dealership. The Fallacy Detec All of us, including children, should be capable of picking out false presentations, particularly because we are in America, a country saturated with commercial enterprises seeking a sale and politicians seeking office. An understanding of simple logical fallacies is a top priority for any citizen. Too many Americans are duped because they don't recognize the falsity of messages directed their way from a multitude of sources from the White House down to the local car dealership. The Fallacy Detective is written by two home school advocates. They claim it can be used with anyone 12 years of age or older. Each chapter lays out a type of fallacy, a fallacy being the use of language to give a sense of logic while being illogical. Following the explanation of a given fallacy are many examples of the fallacy in action, little scenarios of dialog in which readers are to identify the fallacy. These examples are well crafted, not at all simplistic and clearly illustrate fallacies as we find them in daily life. The setting might be a family argument, one friend trying to convince another or a politician making a claim. The exercises are challenging (put on your thinking cap!) but help one to see clearly how often we encounter people trying to fool us into accepting what they have to say, at our cost. This best way to educate any child about fallacies involves the parents pointing them out as they are encountered in daily life. There's no substitute for on-the-job training and for a child, gaining understanding is a job that is too easily missed when parents are not attentive to the need for guidance. I would recommend this book, as the authors do, to anyone 12 or older. If you are a parent, a quick overview is recommended. In fact, were I back to the days of being a young parent, I would read the book, take liberally from it and then weave it into daily living with my children rather than taking it out as a formal exercise in learning. By the way, those of us who went through the fanatic and frantic period of the George W. Bush push for war in Iraq will appreciate the chapter on "exigency" in which rushing the subject to do something RIGHT NOW is used as a way to decide an issue with little or no reason behind it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This review says The Fallacy Detective is better than The Amazing Dr. Ransom's Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies. This review says The Fallacy Detective is better than The Amazing Dr. Ransom's Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Great intro to fallacies and lots of fun. Occasionally I disagreed with their assessment of a fallacy, but overall it was a good resource.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Rehmert

    I found The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hands Bluedorn to be a helpful resource. You will never listen to an advertisement, debate, persuade or write the same way again! I think that believers should know their logic -- after all, God is a God of order! I appreciate the Bluedorns' heart behind the book. In their words: "We see a need for Christians to strive for a higher standard of reasoning. We believe God wants his people to become aware of their lack of discernment, and logic I found The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hands Bluedorn to be a helpful resource. You will never listen to an advertisement, debate, persuade or write the same way again! I think that believers should know their logic -- after all, God is a God of order! I appreciate the Bluedorns' heart behind the book. In their words: "We see a need for Christians to strive for a higher standard of reasoning. We believe God wants his people to become aware of their lack of discernment, and logic is an important part of the science of discernment. For instance, many Christians adopt beliefs and practices without properly evaluating the arguments which are used to support them. We need to rediscover the way of the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the apostles’ teachings were true (Acts 17:10-11).” -Nathaniel and Hands Bluedorn (The Fallacy Detective) This book is broken up in an easy read of 36 lessons, introducing different fallacies and bad reasoning. They discuss the different kinds of assumptions, statistical fallacies and propaganda and provide examples and a clear, easy-to-understand explanation of each. The book is written for young students, but I think anyone would benefit from a read, even just a skim to brush up. The Bludorns write with humor, clarity and will hold the interest of anyone who desires to be wiser in the area of reasoning. The Fallacy Detective changed the way I think about logic. Read the full review here: http://www.atime2write.com/2015/06/bo...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dhara Shah

    The Fallacy Detective is an amazing book which helps us to identify the fallacy we make in our reasoning in a day to day life. Even before understanding the different types of fallacies, it is necessary to build the "questioning mind". We should stretch our mind by doing mental hard work so that it's ready when we want to use them. Listening is an art which we should practice in order to understand other people's opinions, question our own position and accept if we don't know anything. Also, it The Fallacy Detective is an amazing book which helps us to identify the fallacy we make in our reasoning in a day to day life. Even before understanding the different types of fallacies, it is necessary to build the "questioning mind". We should stretch our mind by doing mental hard work so that it's ready when we want to use them. Listening is an art which we should practice in order to understand other people's opinions, question our own position and accept if we don't know anything. Also, it is very critical to look at an argument from multiple viewpoints. The book covers different types of fallacies that we make while avoiding the questions, making assumptions, statistical fallacies and how we use different propaganda in order to make others believe in our ideas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bonniemilam

    We read a short story in my class called, "Love is a Fallacy." Last year one of my students said I should get The Fallacy Detective, because she recognized the fallacies in the short story, because her mom had read and discussed the book with her when she was younger. So I asked for this book when we had to choose one. I found it very interesting to read through the exercises in reasoning. Some of the exercises seemed too easy and others too hard--but a good mix of all. I hope to be able to use We read a short story in my class called, "Love is a Fallacy." Last year one of my students said I should get The Fallacy Detective, because she recognized the fallacies in the short story, because her mom had read and discussed the book with her when she was younger. So I asked for this book when we had to choose one. I found it very interesting to read through the exercises in reasoning. Some of the exercises seemed too easy and others too hard--but a good mix of all. I hope to be able to use some of them with the short story in the future, especially for those students who like the concept and want to explore it further.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I used this book to teach critical thinking skills to my children. This book is a good introduction, but nothing outstanding, and there are websites on the internet that offer a lot more on logical fallacies than this one did. I supplemented the learning by having my preteens search for examples of the fallacies in newspapers and advertising. The 'letters to the editor section of the paper was a particularly rich source. I used this book to teach critical thinking skills to my children. This book is a good introduction, but nothing outstanding, and there are websites on the internet that offer a lot more on logical fallacies than this one did. I supplemented the learning by having my preteens search for examples of the fallacies in newspapers and advertising. The 'letters to the editor section of the paper was a particularly rich source.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Darren Sapp

    Many homeschool friends have taught this book to their kids and after reading it I can see why. The reader will learn much about how politicians, advertisers, and those you debate shape language to influence their faulty premise and reasoning. You might also find out how you do that yourself. This is well worth your time to read straight through or do a chapter per week as a family and practice throughout the work.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie T.

    Book is a fun-filled way to examine fallacies in everyday life. It is a workbook with activities and solutions provided. The activities are quick enough to do during a short time period or can easily be adapted for longer discussions in a group setting. The book is filled with comics illustrating fallacies in a humorous way. It is a quick read and a definite go to when trying to explain logic to teenagers of all ages.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I wasn't impressed with this book for most of the time we were reading it. I felt the examples were irrelevant and silly. Then o realized it was combating illogical thoughts that were different than what I was looking for. I wanted a book that taught logic in relation to conversation and debate whereas this book was mostly directed toward advertising. Once I began viewing the examples in that light, my opinion of the book improved. Now I need to find a logic book with a conversational focus. I wasn't impressed with this book for most of the time we were reading it. I felt the examples were irrelevant and silly. Then o realized it was combating illogical thoughts that were different than what I was looking for. I wanted a book that taught logic in relation to conversation and debate whereas this book was mostly directed toward advertising. Once I began viewing the examples in that light, my opinion of the book improved. Now I need to find a logic book with a conversational focus.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Norma Jesus

    This was my third time through and each of my children, when in 5th grade, enjoyed this. I found it a very fun and clear way to introduce my children to putting labels to false reasoning. It probably could be used with younger kids, but by fifth grade they had enough life experience to have find their own examples as well as see the relevance.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Clare S-B

    I really enjoyed reading this book years ago, it was so helpful. I know so much more about fallacies now and can see them better, and say why they are wrong arguments. It's a great book and lots of smart people have read it so you should too. Or at least they were smarter after reading it, and they would totally see what I did there. I really enjoyed reading this book years ago, it was so helpful. I know so much more about fallacies now and can see them better, and say why they are wrong arguments. It's a great book and lots of smart people have read it so you should too. Or at least they were smarter after reading it, and they would totally see what I did there.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Delsa

    It isn't comprehensive with all the kinds of fallacies, and I could argue with whether the propaganda appeals are inherent in the fallacy study. Maybe I just didn't like the organization and identification. I don't think that propaganda is the same as a fallacy. It isn't comprehensive with all the kinds of fallacies, and I could argue with whether the propaganda appeals are inherent in the fallacy study. Maybe I just didn't like the organization and identification. I don't think that propaganda is the same as a fallacy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ciera

    I LOVED this book! Now I am catching fallacies everywhere and driving my family nuts! With the usage of funny comics and cartoons the fallacies seem to be clear and easy to notice in the fun format.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Celeste Batchelor

    A good, thoughtful presentation of how logical thinking is a lost art. Some of the questions were a little interesting, but in all the book s is good way to discuss bad reasoning. My children found some of it a bit young for them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Bought it because I thought the girls would enjoy it, and have been reading a chapter an evening with them. Really helpful for recognizing the poor logic being used in discussions about issues of the day.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Schrodingers Woofer

    I was getting fed up with arguments that were being won on the basis of who was arguing rather than the content of the argument - this book provides the logic to floor an unsound argument and disagree when someone says "well, it stands to reason ..." when it absolutely doesn't. I was getting fed up with arguments that were being won on the basis of who was arguing rather than the content of the argument - this book provides the logic to floor an unsound argument and disagree when someone says "well, it stands to reason ..." when it absolutely doesn't.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A fun introduction into logic that actually can be used with people of all ages. This is my second reading, the first being over ten years ago, so there were some examples and exercises that seemed a little outdated. Those exercises were still accurate and applicable, but somewhat noticeable.

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