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Thinking on Logic

December 04, 2020
By Tanya Terry

For several years now, the degradation of the American way of thinking has weighed heavily on my mind. From children who know the ins and outs of video games but struggle to read a book, to the relentless emphasis on involving our young people in sports and activities at the sake of the family bond, to the power of the talking head and social media news, the lack of logic in our thinking is fraying the fabric of society. It seems some days as if all the adults in the land have lost their minds. They have certainly lost their way. The inability of a vast number of Americans to discern logical truth from clear fallacy is disturbing, and one way to counteract this trend is to train ourselves and our young on the finer points of rhetorical logic.

I was not classically educated, nor have I studied logic. But the Classical U course, Essential Logic: The Logical Fallacies, spoke volumes to me. As I’ve sat disgusted with political bluster, watching grown adults resort to schoolyard bullying and name-calling, even calling out the wives of opponents as “ugly” during debates, I have a hard time reconciling that we Americans put up with this. But we have not only accepted it, but we have embraced it. We no longer listen to the points of the opposition. We drown out their point of view with shouts of ignorance and discrimination. We allow journalists and news anchors to report their opinions as truths. We accept the statistics reported by these sophists as facts. Many Americans never stop to think that we are being manipulated by the very people that are supposed to represent our best interests. Somehow the world of politics and governmental leadership has become very right or left, black or white, while the majority of the people represented are mostly center and gray. The opinions and the rights of the general public are discarded as inconsequential, and the means by which a candidate gets elected or a law is passed is justified by the end result of winning.

After watching the video lessons on informal logic, I not only knew the names for the logical fallacies that I saw displayed nightly on the news and in my social media feed, but I felt a renewed sense of hope. For while it seems as if the country is raging, there is a remedy. We can have faith in our young people. We can teach them to think and do for themselves. Whether in a Christian or secular setting, the subject of logic should be taught in schools across America. If we really want our young people to grow into positive, successful, and tolerant adults, we must teach them how to listen, how to debate with respect, and how to spot a persuasive deception presented as truth. I am honored to be an instructor in a school that recognizes this need and specifically aims to teach students how to think logically and be prepared to discuss the hard topics in a respectful manner. As a parent, I am continually grateful for the path that lead our family to Trinity Christian School and for the vision set by the school board and administrators. Because of this vision, my children are currently being exposed to the lessons of logic, developing the skills they need to become productive civil servants, and strengthening their appreciation for others as children of the one and true God.

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