Another of my most beloved memories is the time my eldest brother and I went through the top ten logical fallacies together. He’s a total skeptic – not just in life in general, but he actually identifies as “a skeptic” – and we’re both total nerds, so, out of some conversation one day came the discussion of what a logical fallacy was. Utterly intrigued at how he explained them, I wanted to know more than just an example or two. And so, we printed out a list of the top ten most common logical fallacies people use in arguments, each with a brief description with the name of it, and he and I went through the list, one by one.
I would read the name of the fallacy and the brief description, and then I would see if I could come up with another way of saying it and with an example. He would help me whenever I was unsure or stuck in my understanding. It was a fun activity for the two of us, he getting to be the teacher of something he loved and I getting to learn something I found fascinating, and both of us getting to bond further with the other, not just in spending time with one another, but also getting to be nerdy together.
What I find most silly about this was that, as I recall, this was around my brother’s second or third year in college. That’s silly, you see, because that made me 12 or 13 years old. What 13-year-old do you know who references logical fallacies in the middle of discussions, kindly informing the user of the fallacy that his or her point was, due to the use of the fallacy, invalid? Indeed, I don’t know any children at all who do that, and I teach high school. However, I believe that also was right around the time that I started reading a book on quantum physics (because I found what I had learned about it in a documentary to be fascinating, and so I’d bought one of the most popular books by one of the speakers in the documentary [whose name and book title I’d had to memorize carefully when I saw them at the end of the film, because the Internet wasn’t quite a thing yet then, let alone IMDb]).
So, to this day, I still love nerding out with my brother (though it happens with more family members than just with him, he’s the point of this brief trip down Memory Lane). I’m preparing to go visit him in just a few weeks, and I’m looking forward especially just to sitting around and hanging out with him, because the enthusiasm and excitement that arises in our conversations is always spectacular. Nonsense shared is never just a nonsense with us – something nerdy and smart inevitably arises from the stupidest and silliest of comments, making the nonsense oddly sensible and, usually, quite comical in the utter dorki-/nerdiness of it.