Fallacy ArchaeologistsSuzanne Broadhurst
My parenting confidence seemed to peak just before we started reading aloud a book about fallacies. By chapter three, my children were applying what they’d learned, and I realized homeschooling can be dangerous to parenting. And to society at large. But a little thought-challenging danger can be a good thing.
I wanted my children to spot the fallacies in the general public and certainly in the media, but when they turned the teaching tides to our parenting shores we had some changes to make. No more were the children satisfied with circular reasoning, an appeal to authority (mine!), or an ad hominem.
And red herrings? Not an acceptable ploy. Ever. “Mom! You’re doing a red herring! Again!”
Educating children to think wisely, to think critically, to think carefully, backfired temporarily.
It also stretched us as parents to really think about not only what we were saying but why we were saying it. Not a bad a lesson to learn at any age. In any age.
As children ferret out fallacies, they become archaeologists in an ancient ruin. They search for – and find – fallacies everywhere. Their discoveries can make us adults ask hard questions, and search for honest answers.
The homeschooling parent becomes the homeschooled student.
The children won’t stop with unearthing society’s chicanery; they will question their parents’ reasoning, too. Encourage respect – which you will be grateful for – but listen when they speak, for at times they may be decisively accurate. We had to look at our own lines of reasoning in a new light and make changes in our parental approach.
“Because I Said So:” The Gold Standard
I can’t recall being taught in school about equivocation, the straw man or the faulty appeal to authority. As a child, “because I said so” was the golden standard of parenting and public education. Tu quoque? Such gaps in our education become quite apparent when we get called on the carpet by our very own children.
Think About This. Or Not.
Maybe that’s why we rarely see logic or fallacies taught in school systems?
“Do I what I say because I said so” has morphed into: “Think what I tell you to think, but don’t think about what I’m telling you to think.”
What kind of fallacy is that, I wonder?