I remember, as a kid in Lutheran catechism class, the following conversation:

Bob: “The Lord thy God is a jealous God” – but Reverend, what would God have to be jealous of? How could an all-powerful, all-knowing being be jealous of anything?

Reverend: “You need to memorize the material! So, please stop asking questions and just memorize the answers in the catechism.

I think now that was the moment I began to doubt that the church had anything to offer me. Later on I would learn about the fallacies used to win arguments and to shut off learning. [Check out the fallacies in the side bar.]

This morning I read two newspaper articles that reminded me of that long ago attempt by a figure of authority to shut me up. Both are from the USA. One from Texas. One from Florida. Both attacks on education and freedom.

From Florida:

Any resident in Florida can now challenge what kids learn in public schools, thanks to a new law that science education advocates worry will make it harder to teach evolution and climate change.

From Texas:

But here in Texas, the bigger battle over tree ordinances is whether they represent a form of local government overreach. Gov. Greg Abbott (R), citing grave worries about “socialistic” behavior in the state’s liberal cities, has called on Texas lawmakers to gather this month for a special session that will consider a host of bills aimed at curtailing local power on issues ranging from taxation to collecting union dues.

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. 

On logic and power

Frederick Douglass Ambrotype, 1856

Frederick Douglass Ambrotype, 1856 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Speaking in Canandaigua, New York, on August 3, 1857, the escaped slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass observed that:

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.


We can add to Frederick Douglass’s words this: find out just how much a person can be deceived, and that is just how far she will be deceived.

The limits of tyrants are also prescribed by the reasoning abilities of those they aim to oppress.” – from “A Concise Introduction to Logic”by Craig DeLancey


an Open SUNY Textbook

A Concise Introduction to Logic

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

AND logic gate

AND logic gate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author(s): Craig DeLancey

A Concise Introduction to Logic is an introduction to formal logic suitable for undergraduates taking a general education course in logic or critical thinking, and is accessible and useful to any interested in gaining a basic understanding of logic.  This text takes the unique approach of teaching logic through intellectual history; the author uses examples from important and celebrated arguments in philosophy to illustrate logical principles.  The text also includes a basic introduction to findings of advanced logic.  As indicators of where the student could go next with logic, the book closes with an overview of advanced topics, such as the axiomatic method, set theory, Peano arithmetic, and modal logic.  Throughout, the text uses brief, concise chapters that readers will find easy to read and to review.

Read online!

2 MB

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The latest issue of The Reasoner is now freely available for download in pdf format at

Editorial – Patricia Rich

Interview with Kevin Zollman – Patricia Rich

Agency and Causation, 27-29 October – Frederik Van De Putte & Bert Leuridan

Philosophy of risk, 31 Oct-4 Nov – Sven Nyholm

Uncertain Reasoning – Hykel Hosni

Evidence-based medicine – Michael Wilde

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