Teach Logic

I know I want to teach my own children logic as soon as they can understand it, but what about having a class in school about it. Probably done in highschool or middle school like a health class or an elective.

I've noticed english classes teaching things like ad methods and science classes expressing logical ideas, but I'm not sure if this is really good enough. Now I wouldn't expect college level out of these students so it might just be called critical thinking, but I think a basic understanding of arguments would improve a students all around education.

Something to push for? Something for people to be against? Don't think the nation is ready? Think the nation needs it last year?

Susan's picture

A class like that would

A class like that would have been something to behold back in "my day".

We were not taught how to think, we were taught how to memorize. 


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I think a good amount is

I think a good amount is still memorization in a sense as they will teach things like columbus discovered america from pre-K to 12th, but I think that might just be a gripe I have with how they teach history. I'm pretty sure the whole system could use an overhaul. They teach foreign langs too late and water down the complex or controversial while teaching the test not the class...

Think the thing that needs to be consider with the whole system is “What do you want the fruits to be?” It is obvious a government by its own nature would prefer a citizen factory and politicians would probably want to keep the status quo for re-election. To me the idea of a system is not necessarily dangerous, but people being unaware of it is. Wait does this mean kids need to take sociology now?

The main advantage I see in this tho is that it have the potential to improve a great number areas within the students education and then the country.

I know I'm not going to have kids arguing in the mall and they start pointing out logical fallacies because of this class (which would be kick ass), but it would be nice to talk to a common man about logical arguments and be understood.

inspectormustard's picture

This is where interactive

This is where interactive simulation comes in. People learn faster when they're immersed in a "game." So, some of us have been working on clever ways of making learning all kinds of stuff faster, more fun, and a heck of a lot easier.

The side effect of this is, of course, that you can cram a lot of material into a course that would ordinarily be impossible to learn in the current 1950s style of class.

It's coming, but it's a long way away because of the lack of industrial interest in educational simulations.


You might have seen the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. In the newest version of the game you play as a lawyer, surveying crime scenes, listening to testimonies, and generally building up a law case. Once you've figured out what you're going to do in court, you proceed to argue your case, question witnesses before the stand, and so on. You also have a life bar, which goes down as the opposition objects to the presentation of bad evidence, bad questions, etc. It's a sneaky way of teaching people to do what we do in the theism areas all the time.

Hambydammit's picture

Here at UGA (or at least a

Here at UGA (or at least a few years ago... I assume it's the same) there was a class on Critical Thinking.  It was not really "logic" because it wasn't working with variables and formulas, per se, but it did introduce the common patterns of argument, logical fallacies, and some relatively in depth discussions of ontology.

As it turns out, one of the most popular class sessions was always the Monty Python "How do you know she's a witch?" scene, dissected.


Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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snafu's picture

I agree

It's a good idea.   The theists have been capturing the minds of the young for centuries now and it's time that we started to fight back.   I'm studying now to become a science teacher for purely this reason.   If we open the minds of children at an early age then it is harder to close them with the chains of theism

"The World is my country, science my religion" - Christiaan Huygens

snafu wrote: It's a good

snafu wrote:
It's a good idea. The theists have been capturing the minds of the young for centuries now and it's time that we started to fight back. I'm studying now to become a science teacher for purely this reason. If we open the minds of children at an early age then it is harder to close them with the chains of theism

Its not about atheism vs theism its about knowledge in general. If a theist can prove a god using logic that would by default make their god logical. I don't see this happening without more information about existence as I haven't come across an argument which works, but it would be illogical to assume it would be impossible.

The best we can do with logic alone is knock down illogical ideas of god and the best the theist can do with logic alone is narrow down their idea of god to a possible one. Logic is suppose to be unbiased there for we cannot claim logic as are own just as a christian cannot claim a secular nation as their's alone. (nor can atheists)

The last thing we need is people fearing an idea or method because someone says suggests it will mean X. We see it happening to evolution, gay marriage, and sex education.

My reasoning for wanting there to be more critical thought is to improve the minds of humanity. If that ends religion brownie points, but a person can simply not apply their critical thought to religion and it could live on. I think a person would not want to analyze an idea which makes them feel good or in general is not questioned, however there are other things which our society does question. If a person had the skills then they can better analyze those issues and be able to better express their ideas.

Let me throw out a criticism I've gotten tho.

If logic or critical thinking is a natural process is it something we need to teach? If it is not a natural process should we be teaching it?

Susan's picture

I think it's a natural

I think it's a natural process for some people, not necessarily all people.

For instance, putting together logic in computer programs has always been second nature to me.  Tell me what you have now and what you want to come out the other side, and it's pretty easy for me to figure out how to accomplish that.  Some people can't code their way out of a paper bag, not matter how hard they try. 

It's one thing to learn something.  It's something else to be able to do something with that knowledge.

I think it should be important to teach methods of applying information:  critical thinking. 

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todangst's picture

Public schools will never

Public schools will never provide a proper course in logic, because parent controlled school boards will never allow it. Schools exist to indoctrinate, not educate. Educated students would become critical thinkers, and critical thinkers question parents in ways parents cannot answer.

Barbara Bush once said that a child should read a book every day. But she'd never, ever say that they should question what they read every day. Critical thinkers question government, indoctrinated people repeat what Rush Limbaugh says. Our government prefers the latter.

If you teach an adolescentd how to form a syllogism, you give them a powerful weapon to alter the status quo in ways that you may not like. If you instead give them a veneer of 'critical thinking' that is really nothing more than the same indoctrination that left you an ignoramous, then things remain safe. Realize that the single most significant change in development for an adolescent is their ability to consider things abstractly: to see what is, and compare it to what could be. Give such a person the tools of logic, and you have a nightmare for any parent: an idealist with valid arguments.

Learning logic is a danger to religious instituations, its a danger to the present power structure, its a danger to parents - its a danger to any power structure that relies on dogma, tradition and/or rhetoric. Teach a child how to memorize and recite, and you've got another duckspeaker. Teach him logic, and you've got a ball of fire in your midst.

No school will ever provide a real class in logic... if they teach the course at all, they will beat the life out of it, and turn it into another mindless math class like algebra, where kids do little else but memorize and then whine "when will I ever use this?"without every being told that learning how to think abstractly is the only means towards living in a free society.

If you want to learn logic, you'll have to learn it on your own, because learning logic is a subversive act in our culture. 


"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'