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The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning, 2nd Edition [Paperback]

Nathaniel Bluedorn , Hans Bluedorn , Johannah Bluedorn
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 30, 2002 0974531502 978-0974531502 2nd
What is a fallacy? A fallacy is an error in logic a place where someone has made a mistake in his thinking.

A cloud is 90% water. A watermelon is 90% water. Therefore, since a plane can fly through a cloud, a plane can fly through a watermelon.

This book meets the needs of parents who want a do-able text for introducing logic and critical thinking to their children.

-Fun to use -- not dry like a math textbook.

-Self-teaching -- not intimidating, starts students with skills they can use right away.

-Each lesson has exercises for students, with an answer key at the back.

-Covers logical fallacies and propaganda techniques.

-Geared for ages twelve and older.

-Includes cartoons to illustrate the logical fallacies discussed, including Peanuts, Dilbert, Calvin and Hobbes.

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Editorial Reviews


I love your book! I never knew how much fun logic was until I read your book. P.S. I am 12 years old. - Paul Muenzler --Student

My family and I are really enjoying your book. Even my youngest son, who is eight, enjoys attempting to answer the questions. Your book was a great introduction to another program that I had purchsed. Going directly into that program probably would have bored my children to tears but now they are interested in the concepts of logic. My children became instantly attracted to the program because of the the comic segments but later couldn't put it down. - LaVera, MD --Parent

I'm always delighted when two sides that seem mutually opposed come together in harmonious agreement. I'm even more delighted when I've taken one of those sides. In this case, I write of the efforts of Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn, brothers from Iowa who advocate homeschooling and create educational materials from a Christian worldview. The fruit of the latest Bluedorn effort is a short text, The Fallacy Detective, designed to be a primer in logic for older children, specifically homeschooled Christian children, though the book is intended for anyone who wants to explore the subject. . . .

. . . I find it wonderful that the Bluedorns, among others, are actively reinvigorating the religious world with a healthy dose of independent thought . . . - Andrew C. Thomas (The Tech) --The Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

About the Author

In 1999 Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn decided to try to turn their interest in logic into a livelihood by starting Christian Since then, they have written two books on logic for children and adults, The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox. They have recently produced their first DVD, Logic in 100 Minutes.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Logic; 2nd edition (June 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974531502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974531502
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Kids or Adults June 6, 2005
The Fallacy Detective, written by Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn, is a book designed for teens or adults that teaches how to spot common errors in reasoning. The goals for this book are clearly laid out in the introduction. When the reader has completed this book he should be able to put a high value on good reasoning, know how to spot many forms of bad reasoning and know how to avoid using many fallacies in his own reasoning.

The authors provide a vision of Christian logic in which they appeal to the need for Christians to strive for a higher standard of reasoning, in order to attain greater ability in discernment. Logic is an important foundation for the science of discernment. Thus they seek to define good reasoning in a biblical way. "Logic is the science of thinking the way God thinks - the way Jesus taught us to think" (page 14).

The book contains thirty-six lessons which progress from the most common and basic fallacies, to statistical fallacies and even propaganda. All those terms I have not heard since my university Critical Thinking courses are present as well as some that are commonly used and misused: red herring, ad hominem, tu quoque, appeal to the people, part-to-whole, whole-to-part and so on. Each lesson is followed by several questions which allow the reader to apply what he has just learned. I was glad to see that the questions are cumulative, meaning that what has been taught in previous lessons is continually reviewed in the application questions for subsequent chapters.

The authors write in a style that will appeal to teens and young people. The text is interspersed with comics (such as Calvin & Hobbes, Peanunts and Dilbert) and anecdotes. It is also a funny book, as there are many places where the authors turn to humor to make the book enjoyable.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute with a critical thinking point February 21, 2005
The Fallacy Detective cannot be a good book because it was written by homeschoolers.

Ooops, there I go again, using a genetic fallacy. It's what you'll learn from a couple of home-school educated detectives who aim their book at those 13 and older. There are a number of cartoons--from Peanuts and Dilbert to a cartoon written by the authors' sister--that help keep interest in the simple, straightforward book as it deals with several dozen common fallacies. The exercises will help keep the student on the straight and narrow, making sure the ideas are solidified in the mind. I do recommend this book for kids as well as adults who would like to sharpen their critical thinking skills.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and educational August 11, 2005
A Kid's Review
A wonderful little logic book, that can be enjoyed on several levels. First of all it is a great homeschooling resource. Second, it's a useful way to get research if you're stuck on a logic test. Thirdly, it is peppered throughout with great cartoons from the classics "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Peanuts" as well as the less classic "Dilbert." Lastly, it's just plain hilarious! You'll laugh your head off with anecdotes about putting a smoke detector in the fireplace. Absolutely, don't miss.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a blast while learning September 2, 2005
This is the second book I have read from the Bluedorns. The first was the The Thinking Toolbox. The Bluedorns sent me this book to review. It is titled The Fallacy Detective and was written by Nathaniel & Hans Bluedorn.

They again have done a wonderful job of laying out the fallacies in a way that is easy to understand. It is broken down into 36 lessons, so you can 1 per day if you wish. The problems they have at the end of each section are great and build on each other. Don't forget to try out the Fallacy Game they provide at the end of the book. You'll have a blast while learning.

I have been using this book to watch my own writings and the comments I receive on my blog so I will improve. It has been very helpful. I read a section a day and them try to apply it to my writings and questions from commenter's. I have learned to recognize many of the fallacies quickly and not get drawn into the traps that others are trying to set for me. I don't always succeed at that, but I am improving thanks to the Bluedorns'. Keep up the good work guys.

I would recommend this book to all writers, politicians whether you are a novice or an expert. There is always some little tidbit of knowledge to learn. I have learned a lot. I would stick to the recommendation on this book that it book be read or studied by teenagers and above. Most younger kids would not understand the differences between the fallacies.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and practical August 20, 2005
One of the most important gifts any parents can give their child is wisdom.

The book of Proverbs tells us to acquire wisdom, pursue it, love it, and guard it.

The Fallacy Detective, teaching classical logic from a Christian worldview, is one practical tool that will help you and your children down the path to wisdom. With thirty-six lessons you will be well on your way to a discerning, inquiring mind. The book explains such things as what are fallacies, assumptions, generalizations, analogies, and propaganda. But more than that, it will teach you good reasoning skills in a biblical way. Written in an intelligent, yet easy to grasp manner, the Bluedorn brothers have produced a fine book here. Peppered with humor and an occasional comic strip, your children will enjoy using this book and playing the Fallacy Detective game to help them apply what they've learned.

The book is "self-teaching" with lessons that are short, interesting and fun. However, it is recommended that lessons be done together with your children, as discussions are crucial to help develop thinking skills and abilities to spot bad reasoning.

If you homeschool for reasons of faith or worldview, it's important for your children to be able to discern truth from lie, spot fallacies and defend their view. The Fallacy Detective will help you to equip your children to stand firm against the moral relativism of this world.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. - 1 Peter 3:15
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for.
Cheap price, fast shipping and the product we needed for a homeschool co-op class. My 7th grader thought she would hate the class, but she was wrong :) Good book.
Published 4 months ago by Val
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit heavy on religion.
Nothing against the logic side of it, but the religious message (and right-wing conservatism) really came through in the examples. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Phyllis Laatsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
My apologies for a slow review on this purchase. Everything was completely perfect, and I couldn't have asked for a better purchasing situation. Thank you!
Published 11 months ago by rsmallcomb
3.0 out of 5 stars Careful pruning required for public school use.
This book was written by home-schooled authors for use in a situation where Christianity is logically accepted. Read more
Published 13 months ago by faithful1
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of contradictions and fallacies itself
The five star reviews on this book are obviously all submitted by the author by the writing of them. Read more
Published 17 months ago by dirtyal1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lessons for everyday reasoning.
Great format I like how easy it is to read but it does not skimp on the depth. I would recomend it if you want to learn how to defend your world view and avoid fellacious... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jamie
1.0 out of 5 stars Christian Logic? A Contradiction in Terms
I was excited when I found this book on Amazon, as I have been looking for a primer on critical thinking skills for my elementary school age nephews. Read more
Published on June 11, 2012 by Larry Luntsford
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprised by tone of the authors
We are currently working through Memoria Press' Traditional Logic so I thought supplementing with a low-key informal logic book would be a good idea. Read more
Published on August 24, 2011 by ClassicalEduMom
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading in schools today
An excellent book on the topic of logic. It explains about 40 ways to recognize bad reasoning. It is quite amusing at times and is written at a fairly elementary level. Read more
Published on June 1, 2011 by Veritas
5.0 out of 5 stars Think Better
I bought this book to use with my kids. It's filled with easy lessons and compliments our debate skills.
Published on July 6, 2010 by Melissa Anderson
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