Monday, August 29, 2016

The Amazing Dr. Ransom's Bestiary of Adorable Fallacies

The Amazing Dr. Ransom's Bestiary Of Adorable Fallacies is part of Timberdoodles 10th Grade 2016 Curriculum Kit. While studying informal fallacies your student will be entertained by engaging stories and cute, but often deviant, creatures that exemplify each fallacy. 

Before going any further, you may be wondering, "what is a fallacy?" In simple terms, it is a defect in an argument which misleads the mind. What is an informal fallacy? In a nutshell, an informal fallacy is one in which the reasoning is wrong rather than the argument itself. The form of the argument may itself be valid, but the premise is not. When dealing with informal fallacies, the focus is not on the form but the meaning. 

The book is divided into four kingdoms, covering four types of fallacies:

  1. Kingdom I: Fallacies of Distraction
  2. Kingdom II: Fallacies of Ambiguity
  3. Kingdom III: Fallacies of Form
  4. Kingdom IV: Millennial Fallacies
Each fallacy begins with a explanatory explanation of the fallacy with a practical story to help the student understand the meaning of the fallacy. Pencil drawings of the creature representing the fallacy is shown. The fallacy is then listed with a description and common names given to the fallacy. Discussion questions engage the student in digging a bit deeper. An answer key in the back of the book provides answers to the questions. Last, there are exercises in which the student is asked to identify the fallacy or if the situation asked is fallacy-free. 

In all, there are 50 fallacies. One of the fallacies explained was:

Slippery Slop
fallacy occurs when a person simply asserts, but does not demonstrate
that if we implement this proposed action, an inevitable chain 
of unfortunate events will occur. 

Description: A fallacy of form that asserts but does not
demonstrate a connection between a proposed idea and a
resulting series of bad consequences. Also, the bald denial 
that some clearly treacherous and dangerous step
will lead to any negative consequences at all.
Alternate Names: Thin Edge of the Wedge, Slipfishing

As you can see in the above illustration, the mythical creature has a tongue that is fitting to illustrate "slippery slope". The Creeping Slipfish is a six-legged, halibut-looking creature is described as:

"When attempting to deter its victims with false danger, the Creeping Slipfish bares multiple rows of needle teeth and goes more google-eyed than any other living creature. When attempting to draw its victims into doom and destruction, the Creeping Slipfish find a slope and unrolls an impossibly long tongue from the top to the bottom, then it unhinges its jaws, opens wide, and waits to feed. A wobbly rod of cartilage on the tip of its tongue holds up a fleshy imitation of a cookie as bait, and streams of sprinkling saliva all along the tongue, keep the danger at the bottom hidden from view." 

This fallacy has two claims:

  • if someone suggests that we adopt a particular position, the fallaciously infected will rush up to tell us that this will inexorably result in disaster
  • someone suggests that we step toward doom and disaster, and the fallaciously infected will laugh at all objections and appeal to ignorance and uncertainty, asserting that no one really know what will happen next
There are two suggested schedules in the back of the book, one for a semester (16 weeks) and the other for a year (32 weeks). I am having my 10th and 11th grade student's use this book. 

My son, who is in the 10th grade, is working towards a half credit in Logic for high school. This book is a great supplement to his current Logic curriculum. My 11th grade daughter is also using this book to complete a half credit in Logic. 

My daughter said:
"This is definitely a unique and a bit odd method to learn logic, but fun. IMO, logic is not my idea of interesting. This book makes learning logic much easier to understand. I was able to understand the fallacies and their meanings. The questions were challenging."

My son said:
"My mom has me using another logic curriculum that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I read it, and reread it, and often times I am still confused. This book makes logic make sense and doesn't put me to sleep."

I worked through several of the fallacies in the book and was impressed with how well this method of learning logic worked. I really enjoyed the creative twist that the creatures brought to the learning process. I would most definitely recommend this book for anyone wanting or needing to learn logic. 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinions. 

1 comment:

  1. I have never home schooled my children. I am inspired by any parent who chooses to homeschool.