Category: Books

The Thinking Toolbox – End of term review

I’ve just finished “The Thinking Toolbox”, by Hans and Nathaniel Bluedorn, the two brothers who wrote one of my favorite school books of last year, “The Fallacy Detective”. Although I liked “The Fallacy Detective” better, “The Thinking Toolbox” really gave me some argument and logic skills that will most likely prove to be helpful. These are a few of my favorite points from the first 24 chapters.

The third chapter in the book informs me about the right time to argue, and when not to. It is dumb to argue when neither person knows for sure the correct answer to the thing that they’re arguing about, and when it’s pure speculation; or when arguing could be dangerous to you, if your opponent can use force against you or harm you rather than using words. If someone’s making a dumb argument just to get you angry, don’t argue with them. As they quoted in the book, from Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him”.

This next tool, explained in chapter thirteen, I already knew about, but it was cool to see it covered in the book, which helped me understand the concept of primary and secondary evidence better, and that’s why I choose it as one of my favorites. Primary evidence is usually to always more trustworthy than secondary evidence. Primary evidence comes directly from someone who saw an event firsthand. Secondary evidence comes from someone who had heard about an event from somewhere or someone, but did not see it firsthand. Of course, people who claim to have primary evidence could be lying, and that’s why I said “usually to always”, instead of just always, which brings me to my next favorite chapter.

In the fourteenth chapter, the book takes a look at arguments at a crime scene, two different stories from two different people, and who to believe. You must ask yourself the question: Who has a reason to lie? You can usually trust a bystander who doesn’t have any incentive, but can you trust a person who is suspected of committing a crime? Usually not. You have to think about their motives, their story that they give you, and their evidence, among other things.

 

These are just a few of the tools I’ve added to my own “thinking toolbox”, and they’ve helped me in arguments with friends and in deciding whether someone is lying or not. I still liked the Fallacy Detective a bit better, and “Thank you for Arguing” is currently my favorite book I’m reading, but when you put all three together, it makes for a lot of useful and insightful knowledge.

Advertisements

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Bone Growth

Well, I haven’t done a summary in a while (sorry mom), but I decided to get back into it. I’ve been reading the book “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” by Phillip Yancey and Paul Brand, and it’s very intriguing. I’m going to summarize the ideas that chapter 11 in the section “Bones” presents. The narrator of the chapter, Dr. Paul Brand, is a doctor who, for the most part of this book, helps patients in India.

This is where this chapter takes place, and he starts off explaining how legs in India are extremely vital to work. He tells the story of a missionary patient he had who had a broken leg. Dr Brand discovered that the woman had had a tumor in her thigh that a doctor had used radiation to kill. It killed the tumor, but it also killed all the bone cells in that leg, which meant her bones couldn’t grow back together. Brand, using two bone grafts from the woman’s tibia and pelvis, surrounded the broken area in the extra bone grafts. After the operation, the woman made an almost full recovery, and even though her leg bones couldn’t grow any more, her leg was completely stable to walk on.

Watching the bone grafts grow onto his patients bones, he is reminded of a newborn baby, who starts out life with 350 soft, pliable bones, which fuse together to form just over 200 hard bones. He compares this to his faith. Christian faith starts out soft and pliable, like a baby’s bones, but with knowledge and learning, your faith is strengthened.

The Thinking Toolbox – Evidence, Reliability and Biased Views

I just finished a few chapters of the Thinking Toolbox today, and I decided to write a summary of what it taught me today. I’m really enjoying the Thinking Toolbox, and I knew I would, even before I started reading it, because I loved “The Fallacy Detective” a lot, probably liking it enough that it’s on my top 10 books list. Definitely my favorite school book I’ve read in the past year.

Primary and Secondary Evidence – Certain evidence can be more reliable than other evidence, depending on the person and the situation. Firsthand or primary evidence comes directly from someone who personally saw a given situation or event. Secondary evidence comes from someone who got information from someone or somewhere else, not directly associated with the event, but overhearing it or hearing it from someone else. Primary evidence is usually more trustworthy than secondary evidence, quite obviously, because primary evidence comes firsthand from a witness.

Reliability and Lying – It is pretty difficult to tell who is telling the truth out of many people, and that’s why there are detectives. To figure out if someone is lying, or at least to provide a more accurate guess on who’s lying, you must first consider people’s motives. Do they have a reason to lie? Would they get something out of successfully lying? Are they a trustworthy person? You must ask all these questions before you can accurately tell if someone is lying. If they are admitting to something, or have absolutely nothing to gain by lying, then you can probably be sure that they are telling the truth. This is why you can never trust advertising. Most to all advertisers always have something to gain from advertising to you. If they say their product is the best, who are they to judge their own product?

 

More Than A Carpenter: Jesus Christ and What Makes Him Unique

I’ve really enjoyed this book I’ve been reading “More Than a Carpenter”, by Josh and Sean McDowell. Josh writes that he wanted answers to the meaning of life. “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?” are all questions that he asked himself. When he was young, he got into religious stuff and things. But soon, he felt as if it was all wrong. So, as he says, “I chucked religion”. He decided that education might hold the answers he was seeking. He realized that education had helped him no more than all his religious years when he was younger. But one day, he met a group of Christians who made him realize that there was a difference between Jesus Christ (christianity), and religion. Religion, as he puts it is “humans trying to work their way to God through good works”. He realized they were all wrong and that the answer to life is actually 42.

His friends challenged him to examine Jesus, to take the case apart, piece by piece, and see for himself if Christianity is legit. To narrate the next few chapters lightly to save time, what made Jesus different from all the religious leaders at the time was, simply, none of the other leaders claimed to be God. Jesus CLAIMED to be God, and that is why people hated him. To see a man, appearing equal or lower to/than them, claiming to be (equal to) the almighty God, angered a lot of people. Also, he claimed to have the power to forgive peoples sins, a power which at the time, only the church had “through God”. He claimed to be able to forgive your sins, which by extension, makes him claiming to be equal to/above the church.

Skipping over a bit, he goes on to talk about God, and science. Atheists and other people often dismiss the possibility of a God because you can’t prove it scientifically. The fallacy in this is, people think because you can’t prove something, there’s no chance of it possibly being true. Scientific proof is just that, which is that, if someone denies you, you can simply repeat the action again to prove it. Legal-historical proof, as he calls it, is when something is proven by being so blatantly obvious it would be dumb to argue.

 

So that’s my summary of the book so far, I like it a lot, it really makes you think! (I quite like books like that :P)

Napoleon’s Buttons – The Disintegrating Tin Buttons

I just started reading Napoleon’s Buttons, a book I’m reading for school in 8th Grade. It’s about an interesting thing that happened to Napoleon’s Grand Armée, and that’s where the buttons come in. All the buttons on all the soldiers were made of tin, and when tin gets cold, it starts to disintegrate. This book says that all the buttons on the soldiers in the wintertime disintegrated, and that they all looked like they were “beggars wearing rags”. Now, no one knows if this is true, but I think not, as Wikipedia says “None of the many survivor’s tales mentions problems with buttons”. Although this tin disintegration, or “Tin Pest”, as officially called, is an interesting uh, phenomenon? I guess? , I doubt it actually happened. What I’m really wondering is what the 370 page book is going to tell me about it….

Tin Pest is a cool thing, I kinda want to witness it myself. Apparently, as Wikipedia says, a long time ago in Europe, tin pipe organs in the church started decomposing due to tin pest, and once started, the process only accelerated. I hope I’ll get to experiment one day with tin, because I will definitely try this!

Chaucer: The Franklin’s Tale

Once there was a franklin named Arveragus,who married a woman named Dorigen. They wanted to have equal status in the marriage, but they agreed in public, Averagus would make the decisions. Averagus leaves for Britain to seek fortune, leaving his wife in France. While he is gone, a man name Aurelius seeks to marry Dorigen, against her will.

He doesn’t stop bugging her, so she says if he can make ALL the rocks on the seashore disappear, she would marry him. Now he goes to a ‘magician’, and asks him to remove all the rocks. He consents, for 10,000 pounds. Aurelius agrees, and the magician takes him to the shoreline, where he ‘magically’ makes the rocks disappear, with the tide. Now Aurelius goes to Dorigen and tells her that he has made the rocks disappear. She is heartbroken at this, but in the next week, her husband comes home. She tells him the trouble, and he talks to Aurelius. Aurelius, seeing the love between them, decides to back off. The magician is told the story, and agrees to not hold Aurelius to the 10,000 pounds owed to him.