Defending Fallacy

2 06 2008

Passed to us from a friend…

letter home

Please be sure your son Alex understands that he “would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistance.”

WTF? Ignorant rhetoric infuriates me (and probably most thinking beings). No argument could justify indifference toward the facts in the school environment. If we did not challenge prevailing theories or idiot teachers, the Sun would not only be revolving around the Earth, but our Ocean’s would be flowing into space off of our flat planet’s precipice. Moreover, this writer is of the opinion that a child’s education involve the teachings of facts and more importantly the understanding of how to think, evolve and adapt.

I recall my European History teacher sophomore year of high school. She was not the brightest. The first week of class she stressed that dates were not so important to our study of history. I get that. I understand that in addition to the facts, the teaching of history must convey the broader lessons learned in the past. However on a number of occasions this teacher of mine confused dates, misstated facts and even incorrectly marked test answers as wrong.

More recently I had a 10 minute argument with one of my bosses over the meaning of “subsequent.” He was insistent, much like the detention-serving teacher above, until I finally printed out the definition from Dictionary.com. He was subsequently reluctant to believe the facts.

What is it about the human psyche that drives us to insist on fallacy? How many times have you had this argument? Is it our ego or pride that insists on winning no matter if our causes is right or wrong, true of false? Does this represent a problem with our education system or something deeper within ourselves?

Simply “accepting teachings without resistance” is a terrible idea, practically a crime for a teacher to suggest it. Found some information at Snopes.com and discovered the above letter may be a hoax. “No Mr. Teacher, I read on Snopes that Adam Hilliker, not Adolf Hitler, was the Führer of the Third Reich!”