Book Reviews

Book Review: “Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families” by J.D. Camorlinga

pitfalls-Camorlinga

Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families provides a way to teach logic in a concise, easy to understand format. The book is part of the “Picture Book Apologetics” series and approaches the fallacies from the stance of teaching children to engage in conversations about their faith, though it is clearly broadly applicable.

The fallacies covered in this book are informal fallacies, though at the end the authors note the difference between formal and informal fallacy. Both the back cover and the table of contents explain what a logical fallacy is. Fallacies covered include ad hominem, appeal to force, equivocation, and many more. There are 24 covered in all, along with the distinction made between informal and formal. Each features an illustration with a dialogue between various delightful critters demonstrating the fallacy. Many of the explanations close with a humorous application of the fallacy. Each explanation is about 50-80 words long (I counted a few of them).

The explanations are clear and concise, to the point where they would frankly serve the introductory philosophy course as well as the six-year-old. They’re impressively well done and with plenty of humor on the side for older children and adults. It is rare I find myself really enjoying a children’s book, but this is one that easily fits in that category.

I put the book through the rigorous test of seeing how long the illustrations could please my son. He isn’t quite a year and a half old yet, and his attention span reflects that. Nevertheless, he touched many of the cutely drawn animals and even made (highly accurate) animal noises for a few. Given that both I and my son enjoyed the illustrations, I think its safe to say they’re well done.

I would be a poor reviewer if I didn’t note the tongue-in-cheek humor behind some of these illustrations. For example, the fallacy of “Begging the Question” is clearly a depiction of Joseph Smith with the gold plates for the Book of Mormon, and the “Genetic Fallacy”‘s illustration is a pair of Jehovah’s Witness gerbils (or hamsters? I can never keep them straight). These do not mock these groups, but instead expose their ideas in the briefest conversation bubble and show some of the fallacious reasoning behind them. It’s done smartly.

It’s difficult to judge exactly how easily understood these fallacies are made by the book with myself and my son as subjects, but having discussed this kind of thing with parents who have older children, I believe this book would be highly beneficial for introducing some heady concepts at fairly young ages. Of course, do that at your own risk as you will be training little lawyers. Each explanation is quite brief, to the point where a few times I wish there had been just a little more clarification. It’s hard to fault that, however, given the intended audience of the book.

Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families is just as advertised, but with no small amount of wit. It is both informative and delightful, well-illustrated and humorous. I highly recommend it.

The Good

+Clever examples
+Cute illustrations
+Grab-bag of information
+Useful for review

The Bad

-Could be a bit more expansive on a few topics

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever. 

Source

J.D. Carmolinga Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families (Whittier, CA: Picture Book Apologetics, 2015).

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SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Pitfalls: A Quick Guide to Identifying Logical Fallacies for Families” by J.D. Camorlinga

  1. Thanks for this review; its good to see a book on logical fallacies geared towards young ones!

    Posted by SLIMJIM | February 10, 2016, 3:02 PM

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