Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Recognize Bad Reasoning - The Fallacy Detective

I jumped at the chance to review the Fallacy Detective because I live with the Great Debators, otherwise known as my two sons.  All of a sudden, I have gone from knowing everything to not very much.  Well, we may as well put that faulty reasoning to the test.

The easy-to read Fallacy Detective is 38 lessons on how to recognize bad reasoning.  It was written by homeschooled brothers Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn.  The book doesn't look boring and there is plenty of white space and comic illustrations throughout.  The chapters and review questions are short, yet engaging and thought-provoking.  It's the kind of book that doesn't get the eye roll when you pick it up and announce that it's time for some lessons on logic.

What I love even more is that some of the expressions my children say "old people use," are included as lesson topics, for example,"Loaded Question, Straw Man, Slippery Slope" and my favorite "Bandwagon."  I can't tell you the number of times I have urged my children to not jump on the proverbial Bandwagon.

There is an answer key included, as well as game instructions in the back of the book for you to create your own Fallacy Detective games.  I used it on LionHeart just the other day.  We were visiting a new recreation center and he asked if he could walk to the nearby 7-Eleven with this "friends."  I gave him the you know this is going to be a long conversation look and began with a simple question.  Are you saying that because you played basketball with a boy for two hours he is now your friend?  LionHeart smiled sheepishly knowing the answer to the question: assuming someone you just met is a friend is most certainly employing faulty reasoning.

There are so many great topics in this book that will help young people become critical thinkers, such as "Red Herring, Analogy, Snob Appeal, Propoganda," and KingMan's favorite: "Generalization."  He loves to tell me, "mom you are making a generalization!"  The book is written for ages 12 an up, but we enjoyed reading it together as a family.  The Fallacy Detective is a must have to develop critical thinking skills in a fun way.


  1. We loved this curriculum! It was a good slid in for reasoning. Now we are doing another homeschool curriculum but found some great crash course Philosophy videos the kids enjoyed on this topic.

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  3. Thanks so much Mahalya. We had lots of fun with this one, especially my competetive oldest son.

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