Critical Thinking: Higher Good, Hoax, or…What?

We live in a day of buzz words. Corporate America has bled over into our culture at large with its tendency to wrap complex ideas and methods into neatly packaged, tidy sayings. These buzz words are then to serve as a company’s rallying cry and unifying theme.

In our culture, buzz words serve to encapsulate one’s core values-those ideas by which one structures their life or one seeks to attain. “Tolerance,” “blessed,” and “disruptive” are thrown about in every mode of media with the intention of communicating ideas worth buying into. Unfortunately, buzzwords—without context—are nothing but vague words that allow an individual to shape them into one’s own mold. Continue reading


Logic 101: Addressing the Fallacy in the Room

In this series of Logic 101, I’ve covered three common tendencies in identifying fallacies in an argument. In the first post, I discussed the problem of identifying fallacies willy-nilly. In this instance, one is familiar with fallacies in general, but lacks sufficient knowledge in the finer details. When identifying a fallacy, they more often than not incorrectly identify fallacies, or they identify a fallacy when the argument does not contain one.

In the second post, I addressed the problem of fallacious fallacies – misidentifying fallacies in an argument. And finally, the most recent post discusses the error of the fallacy mic-drop, where someone correctly identifies a fallacy, but does nothing by way of explaining it or correcting it. The three errors I address are easy to make when analyzing or answering an argument, and if not corrected, can discredit or invalidate your own argument. Continue reading

Logic 101: The Error of the Fallacy Mic-Drop

In the previous two posts, I covered two tendencies we make when analyzing arguments for fallacies: 1) identifying fallacies willy-nilly, and 2) incorrectly identifying fallacies. In this post, I discuss one more tendency – identifying (correctly) fallacies without offering a corrective.

The last post of this series will offer some insight on what to do after you identify a fallacy. For now, let’s discuss what I call, fallacy mic-dropping. Continue reading

Logic 101: Fallacious Fallacies, or Misidentifying Fallacies

In my previous post on fallacies, I discussed a common problem in analyzing argument – incorrectly identifying a fallacy. While the reasons why one incorrectly identifies a fallacy can be complex, generally it is a result of intellectual laziness or an emotive reaction to the argument.

In this post, I will discuss another problem encountered in analyzing argument – misdiagnosing fallacies. Continue reading

Logic 101: Identifying Fallacies Willy-Nilly : Part I Redux

*I accidentally combined two sections in my previous post on logical fallacies – sections that were to be stand-alone. Here is the corrected Part I.*

For some, a course in logic is a breath of fresh air. With public education trending away from classic areas of study, most students today lack even a basic working knowledge of logic. In such cases, these students are generally left on their own when it comes to supporting their views and analyzing competing truth claims. When such a person comes across a course devoted to the study of logic, some find the course to be an expression of what previously had been instinctual. Indeed, such a response is healthy; however, there are those who, upon completing an introductory course or two, make no effort to pursue an in-depth study on argumentation. Instead, they view the introductory course in logic as sufficient in itself. Armed with the basics of logic, such people seek to conquer and vanquish fallacious arguments with the gusto and air of a skilled and experienced logician. Upon claiming victory over a fallacious argument, the victor advances forward in search for the next victim, leaving in his wake the destruction of annihilated premises and conclusions with nothing to show by way of rebuilding and advancing better arguments. Continue reading

Jazz and Apologetics: Doug Groothuis on How Jazz Can Inform Apologetics

Portrait of John Coltrane; by Paolo Steffan

In a recent post, I suggested that literature has significant value for Christian apologetics. When I taught an apologetics course this past spring, I sought to demonstrate to students that sharing the Gospel and answering challenges to Christianity does not always take the form of an argument – defending a thesis and rebutting an opponent’s counter-argument. Rather, apologetics can – and should – occur through means more natural to our way of daily interaction. So, for my class, I emphasized the role of literature in communicating the truths of Christianity. Continue reading

A Primer to Logic: Context and Setting in an Argument

In previous posts, we have discussed the minute components of an argument – the words and sentences that are combined together in such a way that one makes an assertion and offers support to demonstrate their claim. Often times we are tempted to focus on the “big picture” of the argument because here occurs the battle of ideas and issues. Attention to the finer details of arguments, however, can reap significant results when trying to understand from where an arguer is coming or to refute an opponents claim. Problematic language can distort or cloud the issue at hand, while intended propositions may do little by way of asserting. Being aware of these two issues can aid you in becoming a better listener and a better arguer. Continue reading

A Primer to Logic: Use of Words – Connotation and Denotation

In my previous post, we  discussed use or mention of words. We now focus on categorizing two specific uses of a word. The first is that of connotation. The connotation of a word (its intensional meaning) refers to the characteristics or attributes implied by that word. For instance, the word “human” connotes the attributes of being able to reason about simple and complex issues, being able to communicate verbally and nonverbally, being able to form value judgments, being created in the image of God, and so on. In short, the connotation of a word consists of those attributes that make up the essence of a particular class. Note that when we speak of what a word connotes, we usually refer to a word that serves as a noun, pronoun, object, or indirect object of a sentence. Continue reading