Several years back, while entering some kind of early-stage, intellectual, mid-life crisis, I became passionate about science, philosophy, and religion, which eventually led to my starting a debate website called DebateGod, as a way to help me understand how other people think, and come to the conclusions they do. What I never imagined, is that this little “side project” of mine would result in hours a day of evaluating arguments, reasoning, and logic, opening my eyes to a world of truth, hidden by a world of fallacious reasoning.
But this discovery did not happen overnight.
After years of what I considered eloquent defense of my positions, I found that I was getting nowhere (in part, because those with whom I was debating did not value logic and reason, but more on that later); despite my facts being correct. My positions, those which I could confidently defend, were being over shadowed by what appeared to be well-crafted, air tight, arguments from the opposition, supporting the literal and historical existence of a talking snake, a 6000 year-old universe, and even a flat earth. At one point I actually thought I was in the Twilight Zone1. But something had to be wrong; and something was.
As you might have already guessed, snakes really don’t talk, the universe might be a bit older than 6000 years (give or take 13.7 billion years), our earth is about as flat as Dolly Parton’s chest, and every such similar argument is as flawed as the late Michael Jackson’s late nose -- I just couldn’t see why.
Then one day, I picked up a textbook on argumentation. This opened my eyes to a whole new area of study which led me to the study of logic (both formal and informal), reasoning, persuasion, critical thinking, rationality, rhetoric, the existence of cognitive biases, and fallacious reasoning. I felt like Neo learning Kung-Fu -- I devoured as much information as I could in these areas and could not stop. I can honestly say that I now see clearly what I missed the first 38 years of my life -- deception, erroneous thinking, and faulty reasoning, coming from others as well as coming from myself.
With my new superpower, I deconstructed many of my long-held beliefs and my reasons for having them. Let me tell you, this is a very humbling experience. My attitude changed towards those with bad reasons for holding different beliefs, because I now realize that our emotional, and often irrational, unreasonable, and illogical brains get in the way. It is this “secret” that every human being should know. Once we know that our brains deceive us, we can learn how they deceive us, how to recognize such deception, than allow our logic and reason to triumph.
For so long I have been trying to debunk one superstitious and/or irrational belief after another, which is like giving people intellectual fish, rather than teaching them how to intellectually fish for themselves. And then it hit me...
Expose an irrational belief, keep a man rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, and keep a man rational for a lifetime.
This book is a crash course, meant to catapult you into a world where you start to see things how they really are, not how you think they are. The focus of this book is on logical fallacies, which loosely defined, are simply errors in reasoning. With the reading of each page, you can make significant improvements in the way you reason and make decisions. And I’ll bet you $1 that once you start reading this book you will find it difficult to stop. If I win, save your money and relish in your newly found enlightenment. If you find this book doesn’t interest you, then you can just send me the $1 by mail2. Otherwise, enjoy the book!
1 No, kids. This has nothing to do with freakishly good-looking vampires who, like Catholics, like to partake in blood-drinking ceremonies. Twilight Zone was a mind-blowing, sci-fi show back in the 60’s where the main characters found them selves in really weird, and sometimes horrifying, situations.
2If you fell for that, you might need more help with your reasoning than this book can offer.