Did you know 95% of all statistics are made up on the spot? Actually, I made that up. I rarely trust any statistics or polls I see on TV. But bad polls come in a close second to my biggest pet peeve: The Pundits.
Media people on the left and right are making lots of money by being as divisive as they can. Want a lesson in logical fallacies? Watch any cable news channel from 4-10pm. You’ll get it all: cherry picking, straw men, arguments from ignorance, arguments from authority… You can even see celebrity endorsements of political viewpoints. Rest assured, The Truth takes a back seat to ratings. It seems to me that calm, reasonable, evidence based opinions don’t sell very well.
The good news is, this can be a great teaching tool for kids, especially tweens and teens. If there is a single topic that interests them, You can use it as a teaching tool. Let them look up the facts and form an opinion. Play Devil’s Advocate but stick to the facts.
THEN turn on the TV and play a game I like to call Count the Logical Fallacies!
The challenge as a parent though, is that You may end up questioning your own political views and how you formed them, or just as likely, your kid may disagree with you!
If You have found yourself debating politics with your kids, or if You have used TV- especially political talk shows- as a teaching tool for Skeptical Inquiry, let us hear about it!