You may have seen the video that has recently been produced by Family Policy Institute of Washington called College Kids Say the Darndest Things: On Identity. FPIW’s director, Joseph Backholm, took his crew and a mic and hit the University of Washington campus for a little experiment. He wanted to find out how far the idea of identity can go, and whether or not it’s possible to be wrong. The video is pretty illuminating as it places a finger on the pulse of today’s university student’s ability to think. The result?
Houston, we have a problem.
As it turns out, only a couple of the students were even able to follow Joseph where he was leading them. At this point I don’t want to talk to you about the video, just what it has pointed out: by and large, young people don’t have the capacity to follow a logical argument.
I know what you may be thinking: who cares?! Most of us think we get along just fine without any logic, so why should we worry about the kid’s lack of it? The problem here is twofold. One, we use logic every day. Even making the statement, “I don’t need logic, therefore my kids don’t either” uses a form of logic! And one that you expect me to follow! It’s not a good argument by any stretch of the imagination, but it nevertheless uses the very thing the statement means to denigrate. Second, without it we are at the mercy of emotionally charged “arguments,” no matter how stupid they are. If you don’t think this is happening, take a quick look at a) the popularity of Donald Trump, and b) FPIW’s video because it is insane to think that a 5’ 9” white man is actually a 6’ 5” Chinese lady who is also 7 years old.
Here’s the deal. I want you consider Tarzan for a minute with me. Tarzan was king of the jungle, but a dunce when it came to understanding social cues (being raised by Mangani great apes will do that). It is only after he comes into contact with some stranded folks, like French Naval Officer Paul D’Arnot, does Tarzan learn how to navigate socially among “civilized” people. Fun story, but the problem is that we know that this is highly unlikely. Once people reach a certain age, it becomes incredibly difficult to teach foundational aspects of the mind.
So please teach your children logic, otherwise you’ll end up having kids who think that the students in the video are the ones giving the right answers.