Thursday, April 25, 2013

A perfect example as to why we need to teach logic (among other things) to our young kids

     I saw a "news" article on Yahoo today. It was about a school essay from a fourth grader who writes about his views of homosexual marriage, here.

    When I read his letter, I couldn't help but notice the leaps in logic and attitude of moral arrogance that was emanating from his letter. I have heard from places around the Internet of Christians complaining that other Christians are not prepared to have any good defense or justification against homosexuality, and homosexual marriage in particular. I am hoping that this will help in some small way.

    The reason that this is so significant is not because I like picking on fourth graders, but because this is a boy who will soon become a man and a functioning adult in our society. His views, while malleable now, will go uncorrected because there is no one there to correct them! And his views become hardened over time as he gets older. He, with millions like him, grow up and vote in particular ways and perform various actions based on the beliefs that he attained as a child. It doesn't take much to realize the impact that little children can have when you look at them from that type of long term perspective.

Ok.. To start off, here is his letter:
"Why gay people should be able to get married is you can’t stop two adult’s from getting married because there (sic) grown and it doesn’t matter if it creeps you out just get over it. And you should be happy for them because it’s a big momment in their life. When I went to my grandparents wedding it was the happies momment.

As you can see gay people should have the right to get married and you shouldn’t judge other peoples lives because if you was gay you wouldn’t want people talking about you."

     Let's tackle this line by line and I will also comment on the article itself a little bit. Aside from his poor diction and bad grammar, I am simply focusing on his logical train of reasoning.

Fourth grader: "Why gay people should be able to get married is you can’t stop two adult’s from getting married"
CL: Notice in his beginning line, he says that the reason that people should get married is that we cannot stop from two adults getting married. One of the things that this fourth grader is assuming is that marriage is merely another "morally neutral" thing like getting an ice cream cone, or drinking a glass of water. He has no concept of how marriage is in fact a moral issue because it was most likely never taught to him.
If we are to properly understand (and are properly taught about) nature and the commandments of God, we can see that marriage has definite boundaries associated with it, and is a moral issue.  

Who is there to properly teach him the real meaning and nature of marriage?

     Additionally, to render a moral judgement of a particular act on whether or not one can be stopped from performing that act is ridiculously arbitrary and entirely incoherent.
     So, if he ended up stealing his classmate's toys in school and his teacher or the recess monitor was not there to stop him, it was acceptable for him to steal those toys.

FG: "... because there (sic) grown and it doesn’t matter if it creeps you out just get over it."
CL: Being a grown up doesn't make the inherent morality of a particular action different. Your age status is irrelevant.
This is different from drinking laws or driving laws. The inherent morality of drinking a cup of beer is the same whether a 12 year old drinks it or a 25 year old does. The reason for the drinking law is for health issues and also cultural issues associated with alcohol. So, when a 12 year old is drinking, he is not sinning in the immediate sense, but he is sinning because he is breaking the civil law that dictates the legal requirement (and reflect to a certain extent, the cultural "norms") for drinking.
But, the fact still remains that the inherent morality of a 12 year old drinking beer and a 25 year old drinking beer is the same. 

I would agree with fourth grader that being creeped out is not a logical reason to disagree about an issue.

FG: "And you should be happy for them because it’s a big momment (sic) in their life."
CL: In FG's case, the biggest moment in his grandparents' lives is one that consists of affirming:
    -FG's distorted concept of what marriage is.
    -His view that the inherent morality of an action is based on whether or not the participants of that action can be stopped.
    -His view that inherent morality of an action is based on the age status of an individual.

With this in mind, it should be clear that the biggest "momment" of his grandparents' lives (in terms of what it represents to him, and also the idolatry being displayed for all to see) should not be celebrated.

FG: "As you can see gay people should have the right to get married and you shouldn’t judge other peoples lives because if you was gay you wouldn’t want people talking about you."

CL: What has FG actually proven in terms of his arguments for homosexual marriage? Nothing.
He displays his distorted understanding of what marriage is, and he gives amazingly arbitrary justification for his morality.

Additionally, he asserts that you shouldn't judge other people's lives. Why? ... because in the hypothetical situation that I am homosexual, I wouldn't want people to talk about me.
First, so, I shouldn't "judge" other people because of a hypothetical?
My basis for rendering a moral judgement does not depend upon how other people think or how other other people might think of me.  The validity and soundness of a moral argument or judgement is true regardless of the perceptions of other people.

If this were not true, then managers should never give bad performance reviews to poor performing employees because the managers would fear the employees would take smack about them behind their backs in the lunch room.

Second, his unspoken premise about not "judging" is that making a moral judgement or pronouncing anything as morally wrong, is in itself a wrong action. This is absolutely contradictory and incoherent thinking.
So, it is somehow acceptable for him to make a moral judgement upon your decisions to judge a moral action, but it is absolutely unacceptable for you to do the same. Why? Because the fourth grader said so!
Not only is this contradictory but this is also question begging.

Additionally, in the "news" article, the fourth grader's teacher said, "I'm not sharing this because of how perfect the sentences are," his teacher added, "but because of how clear his thought process is on this specific issue."
Given what I have shown above in this entry, it is absolutely amazing to me that a grown adult could possible think that this fourth grader's letter actually had a single, proper and logical thought.

The reason why I bring this issue up isn't just because of the fourth grader's views, although that is a significant part as well. This letter and the news article represents a larger problem within America's children and how we Americans develop and educate our children.

I have easily shown how there is not one coherent argument (except the part about being grossed out) in this boy's essay, and the school teacher is actually praising this boy's clear "thought" in his essay! How can we teach our kids to think and reason ***properly*** if we don't even have adults who are trained properly?

This is an example that underscores the need for our children (and our adults), in addition to godly biblical education, really need to be trained to think logically. As Christians, it is a moral imperative that we think logically and properly. Joel McDurmon's Biblical Logic book is a very easy and good way to start, here. There are other more theoretical books, and websites that will help as well. Here is the Logic Classroom, here. Theoretical logic training and "practical" logic training such as Biblical Logic, will go a long way in helping you not only refine your arguments, and to present more clearly what you believe, and why you believe it, but also to be able to share the gospel and increase your faith more.

We need to have more children (and adults) trained to think logically. If we don't, it will be immensely difficult for them to have any sort of proper standing when discussing these ethical ideas and also the Gospel with non-believers.

For any Christian parent, whether it is homeschooling, Christian schooling or public schooling, I would encourage you to either purchase classical homeschool education materials or have your child enroll in a Classical Christian school. Classical christian education (whether homeschool or brick and mortar school) places heavy emphasis on logic and rhetoric, two of the most important subjects that a child can learn (other than the Bible). 

For instance, in addition to being theological issues, all of these statements below are logical fallacies. Can you identify what the fallacies are?:

     -If God sends people to hell, this is not fair.
     -If God chooses/predestines only certain people, this is not fair. 
     -Since Christianity says that it is the only way, this is arrogant, and so this invalidates Christianity.
     -There is nothing in the Bible that says internet pornography is wrong, so, it is OK.
     -The Bible has nothing to says about politics.
     -All religions lead to God.
     -Don't judge me in terms of what I do or don't do with my "girlfriend" behind closed doors.
     -Christianity is good for you. Buddhism is good for me.
     -Nothing has any meaning. 

You can tell that all of these statements have very significant moral and theological value to them. If these questions are not understood in the proper logical framework, the consequences of misunderstanding or not knowing how to articulate your position to another person can be very devastating for any one of questions/statements above.

May God continue to raise up godly, thinking Christians.


  1. This is my posted response at the YAHOO! SHINE web site:

    "The biggest challenge is not even the spelling and grammar, but getting them to not write like they talk"


    What kind of teacher is that?

    What kind of SCHOOL is that?

    In the real World, using the rules of correct English grammar, writers are SUPPOSED to write the same way they talk!

    Also, that teacher needs to put more emphasis on instructing his pupils in spelling simple words, and the proper application of those words, including the correct TRADITIONAL use of the term, "gay".

    All in all, I'd say this incident is a great argument in favor of parents removing their children from the public school system, and teaching them at home.

    1. Grammar anti-nominianism is another symptom of a greater anti-nominianism in the worldview driving public education. May the Lord have mercy.