The Fallacy Detective Review

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With its thorough, yet casual and often humorous approach, and its often thought-provoking exercises and examples, The Fallacy Detective can help students learn to identify many of the most common fallacies and can generally serve as a good, eyeroll-free first introduction to logical reasoning.  

What We Like

Compact and affordable course
Thorough exploration of fallacies and errors in reasoning
Lots of fun to read
Uses clear and understandable language to present ideas
Lessons are quite short and to the point
Interesting examples and exercises to go through and practice
Can be used alongside parents, other students or as a self-study book

But watch out for

Some homeschools may find some of the examples a little controversial at times
Review game at the end requires several participants

What Is The Fallacy Detective?

Created by brothers Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn, The Fallacy Detective is a practical introduction to logic that is specifically designed to help students identify common logical fallacies, errors and propaganda techniques. 

Aimed at a homeschool readership, the books explore various examples of fallacious reasoning and arguments, such as red herrings, ad hominems, circular reasoning, appeal to fear and more, through the use of an engaging and humorous writing style, comic strip illustrations and analytic exercises. 

What Ages or Grades Is The Fallacy Detective Intended For?

The Fallacy Detective is largely aimed at students in middle through high school, or about grades 7-12.

Being aimed at homeschools and those learning logic at home, the book can, of course, be used by interested younger students as well assuming their reading comprehension and ability to follow an argument’s reasoning are up to it.

Parents of such precocious students should be aware, however, that the concepts and exercises in logic presented in the book can be fairly rigorous at times, and the book can touch on or discuss arguments that some parents may not deem suitable for younger kids (political topics, corruption, etc).

Similarly, the books can, at times, reference literature, events or concepts that younger students may not have yet encountered in their studies, such as Mark Twain, discussions of/references to car brands, various scientific facts and so on. 

As a result, parents of younger students may need to be at least somewhat present during their reading, if simply to answer questions about certain references. 

Interestingly, with its straightforward writing style, humorous examples and use of amusing newspaper comics to illustrate points, The Fallacy Detective can serve as a more casual introduction and reference to logical fallacies for adult readers, as well. 

What Is Required to Teach the Material?

As a course in logic, The Fallacy Detective is extremely compact, with its lessons and exercises all contained in a single text. 

picture of the fallacy detective cover

The Fallacy Detective is a 262-page black and white, workbook-style softcover book that contains everything a student needs to explore the world of logical fallacies, including the teaching material, illustrations, tips for learning, exercises, answer keys and (in newer editions) space for students to respond to prompts, which makes it a consumable item.

Through its lessons, the book covers a fairly impressive range of informal logical fallacies, such as:

Red herringsSpecial pleadingAd hominem
Genetic fallacyTu quoqueFaulty appeal to authority
Appeal to the peopleStraw man argumentsCircular reasoning
EquivocationLoaded questionsSlippery slope fallacies
Part to Whole Whole to PartEither-Or
Hasty generalizationWeak analogiesPost hoc ergo propter hoc
Appeals to fearAppeals to pityBandwagon fallacy
ExigencyArgument by RepetitionTransfer fallacy
Snob appealAppeal to traditionAppeal to high tech

Overall, The Fallacy Detective should be pretty engaging and appealing to kids, even if it is a black and white workbook, written as it is to the student, rather than to the parent or as an impersonal textbook.

The writing style is humorous and casual and is quite succinct, avoiding the rather long-winded explanations and flights of logical fancy that some other titles are prone to, making it fairly easy to read for the average student. 

Dotted throughout the book are a series of amusing comic strip illustrations, some by the authors themselves and others taken from an assortment of rather famous newspaper comic titles, such as Dilbert, Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes. 

picture of the fallacy detective using comics to help teach its points

While perhaps not necessarily the most modern, meme-worthy selection, the comics are fun, help visually demonstrate certain logical points in a more casual manner and we believe most students should find them at least somewhat amusing even if they aren’t familiar with the source material (or traditional newspapers, for that matter). 

As we touched on previously, parents should be aware that the Fallacy Detective tends to touch on a variety of topics while exploring and demonstrating fallacies, at times even bringing up some hot-button issues and/or sensitive topics. 

picture of the fallacy detective showing somewhat controversial topics

Most often, these take the form of arguments or statements that students are meant to analyze or assess, with the book not really taking a particular side. 

While we feel that it is admirable and even beneficial for The Fallacy Detective to treat its readers as mature and capable enough to dissect sometimes difficult statements, some parents may not feel the book to always be in line with their homeschool philosophy and may want to read chapters ahead of time. 

How It Works

The Fallacy Detective is divided into several parts. 

It begins with two introductory sections- an introduction to logical fallacies in general and a section containing a discussion and advice on how to be more effective at debating and arguing points, called The Inquiring Mind. 

The remaining four sections of the book are divided into different general reasoning errors that people make, notably how people avoid dealing with or redirect a challenge or question, erroneous assumptions, statistical fallacies and different forms of fallacious reasoning found in propaganda. 

Each of these sections are further divided into short individual lessons, most of which center on a particular logical fallacy.

For example, the section Making Assumptions contains specific lessons that introduce and teach students to identify circular reasoning, equivocation, loaded questions, fallacious slippery slope arguments and more. 

As described fairly prominently on the cover of the book, there are 38 lessons in total and it is largely left up to the parent or student to set a pace for learning. 

A student can, for example, take a fairly leisurely pace of a lesson a week over the course of a year, but most should be able to squeeze in more without much of an issue.

That said, the fallacies introduced in the book are quite important to learn, and some of the arguments and exercises the book presents can be quite thought-provoking and we would recommend that homeschooling families really take their time to absorb the material and not rush through.

In terms of the lessons themselves, they tend to follow a specific pattern.

A fallacy is introduced, then explained in some detail using anecdotes, sample arguments, comics and more. 

screenshot of lesson introduction in the fallacy detective

At the end of each lesson there are around 10-15 exercises that students complete.  

These exercises are pretty straightforward and typically involve students reading or examining statements, pictures, or quotes and then identifying particular fallacies or types of propaganda, although there can also be the occasional short answer response, as well. 

example of exercises found in The Fallacy Detective

At the end of the book is a game of sorts that students can play, the eponymously named Fallacy Detective Game. 

Designed to be played by multiple students (3-4+), the game essentially involves students writing down and identifying their own examples of fallacies and submitting them to a player taking on the role of Reader. 

The players listen to each fallacy example and then each votes on which they think is best, making an attempt to identify and/or explain the fallacy in question. 

Whichever player gets the most votes for their example gets 2 points, while whoever voted for the “best” fallacy scores a single point. 

Those who both voted for and properly identified the “best” example, get two points. 

After several rounds, whoever has the most points wins. 

By and large, the Fallacy Detective can be worked on more or less independently by students. 

While perhaps not as exciting as an online game, the Fallacy Detective Game can be quite fun. 

It can spark some pretty interesting discussions/arguments on what constitutes the “best” fallacy example and it can be quite interesting to see a student’s thought process and reasoning when assessing and identifying each other’s statements. 

Further, it can help students comprehensively review and practice the different fallacies they’ve learned in a less stressful manner.

Unfortunately, as it does really require at least 3 students, it can be a little challenging for smaller homeschools to try out. 

Finally, aside from the chapter exercises, The Fallacy Detective book itself doesn’t contain much in the way of formal exams or reviews. 

Instead, those interested in adding an assessment component to the learning can visit the company website and download an official test, which touches on each unit of the book and contains a mixture of short answer and multiple choice questions. 

In the end, although homeschooling parents can get everything they need out of the program, it is a bit of an extra step for parents who buy the book from a bookstore or online retailer and is opposed to other programs, such as The Art of Argument, that tends to include a bit more in the way of quizzes, chapter and unit tests as part of its teacher’s guide. 

Is The Fallacy Detective A Self-Study Program in Logic?

By and large, The Fallacy Detective is very approachable and clearly written, providing enough clear guidance through its lessons and exercises that students should be able to read it on their own and absorb its teachings without much of an issue.

However, although it can be used as a self-study course in logic, we feel that The Fallacy Detective is really best studied alongside a partner (a parent or another student, for example). 

Doing so not only makes the lessons and exercises a lot more dynamic, but many of the prompts can be a good jumping off point for interesting discussions that can allow students to really express their ideas and practice honing their skills in argumentation. 

In addition, working with a parent (or another student) can help prevent students from simply flipping to the answer page when faced with challenging exercises. 

Is The Fallacy Detective Secular or Faith-Based?

While created by Chrstian authors and published by Chrsitian Logic Press, faith isn’t really the main focus of The Fallacy Detective and we feel it is fairly neutral on the whole.

The Fallacy Detective focuses strongly on exploring common logical errors, and does a pretty thorough job of it. 

In fact, the book doesn’t really shy away from having students examine different sides of various issues and it does reference important figures in philosophy (such as Aristotle) and freely acknowledges their contributions to the field. 

Further, when the book does touch on faith/secular arguments or statements, we feel that it generally does so in a pretty fair manner, primarily focusing on the underlying logic and reasoning. 

Pros and Cons


Compact and affordable

There isn’t a lot to buy and keep track of with The Fallacy Detective, with everything a parent and student needs to learn about logical fallacies contained in a single 200-odd page workbook.

Similarly, it can be quite affordable, costing less than $40 for what can amount to a full credit course in logic.

Thorough examination of logical fallacies 

Through its 38 lessons, students are introduced to and learn to identify some of the most commonly used and important logical fallacies, exploring each in a fair amount of depth using interesting and relevant examples thereof and getting a good amount of practice as they go along. 

Short lessons

Despite being a fairly comprehensive introduction to fallacious arguments, The Fallacy Detective keeps its lessons short and to the point, using plain language and avoiding lengthy and overly wordy explanations. 

As a result, it can be a lot less intimidating and enjoyable to go through for students, especially for those on the fence about learning logic. 

Fun to read

The Fallacy Detective uses a good amount of humor, fun anecdotes and even beloved comic strips (such as Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes) to help illustrate its points.

As a result, it can be very enjoyable for both students and parents to read. 

Easy to understand

Similarly, The Fallacy Detective straightforward explanations, clear language and plenty of examples to introduce and explain logical fallacies to students. 

Consequently, the book can readily be picked up, read, understood and even discussed by most students without much of an issue.

Examples and exercises can spark interesting discussions 

Many of the examples and exercises in The Fallacy Detective can be quite interesting, having students look at famous quotes, literature and even important (and sometimes controversial) situations from the real world. 

Not only can this help students stay connected to what they are reading, but it can spark discussion and debate between parents and students around these topics, which can help keep things more dynamic and provide greater depth to the learning.

Can be used as a self-study course or with another student/parents

Although probably best worked through with others for the reasons above, The Fallacy Detective is written clearly and understandably enough that students should be able to pick it up and work through it without the need for a lot of parental guidance. 


Some of the arguments examined can be a little controversial for some homeschoolers

Throughout the book, students will be exposed to and expected to identify errors in reasoning through a variety of different examples of arguments and across a range of topics.

Some of these topics can, at times, involve examples and statements that some parents of younger students may not feel 100% comfortable with, even if the book itself isn’t taking a stance on the issue, such as politics, issues of corruption, gun control and so on.

Fallacy Detective Game requires several participants

At the end of the book, there is a very interesting outline of a practice game called the Fallacy Detective Game that participants can work through. Unfortunately, it does require 3-4 players to go smoothly and this can be an issue for smaller homeschoools. 

Who Is The Fallacy Detective Ideal For?

Parents looking to help students strengthen their logic and critical reasoning skills

The Fallacy Detective is a pretty thorough introduction to common logical fallacies that can help students construct more effective arguments and can help them learn to identify fallacious or specious reasoning.

Parents and students looking for a course in logic that won’t bore them

The Fallacy Detective is written in a clear, humorous and concise way that can help students learn to identify common errors in reasoning without boring them to tears, making it particularly ideal as a first introduction to logic for reluctant students. 

Parents looking for a course in logic that will spark some interesting discussion and debate

Many of the examples and exercises in The Fallacy Detective involve real life, and occasionally controversial, topics that can get students thinking more deeply about how arguments are constructed and can even fuel some spirited debate. 

Parents and students who want a more approachable and casual introduction to logic and reasoning

The Fallacy Detective isn’t written as a textbook and can be used as a very casual and humorous introduction to logic. 

While there are tests available from the publishers, parents can keep things very relaxed and focus on the learning if they feel this is of benefit to the student. 

Who is It Not Ideal For?

Fans of formal, textbook-based learning

While many parents and students will enjoy the humor, comics and casual tone of The Fallacy Detective, others may prefer a more formal and academic introduction to logic.

Those looking for a program with a lot of testing and assessment

While parents can find unit tests on the company website for The Fallacy Detective, by and large it doesn’t really have the same amount of review, periodic quizzes, chapter and unit tests that some other programs offer.


Note: All prices current as of writing. All prices in USD. 

The Fallacy Detective is a pretty compact curriculum, and is based around only a single text – the Fallacy Detective workbook itself – and so doesn’t really need much in the way of teacher’s guides or other materials. 

The Fallacy Detective can be found online or in stores for about $32.00.

As always, parents should check the latest prices for The Fallacy Detective, and should check for any discounts or offers that may apply.


Is It Worth The Price?

Overall, we feel that The Fallacy Detective can be an excellent addition to a homeschool interested in teaching proper logic and reasoning. 

The book explores many of the most common fallacies and errors in reasoning and does so through short, to the point lessons filled with humor, memorable demonstrations and enjoyable comics. 

As a result, many students will find the book enjoyable and fun to read through, enhancing the learning experience and making the material more memorable in the process.

In addition, the exercises and examples found in the book are often quite thought-provoking and capable of sparking some pretty interesting discussions among students and parents across a range of topics. 

Finally, The Fallacy Detective is a very flexible and open-ended way of studying logical fallacies. 

Parents can include optional tests and treat it more like a formal course in logic, or keep the learning more casual and freewheeling, taking their time to focus more on the content rather than credits. 

Similarly, while we would recommend that students work through the Fallacy Detective alongside other students or their parents to facilitate debate and discussion, the book is clear and approachable enough for students to work through on their own if needed, which is good news for busier homeschools.

Bottom Line

Kids today are constantly and unrelentingly bombarded with information and statements designed to influence their thoughts, actions and beliefs. 

It is therefore critical that students be able to more effectively dissect and analyze the arguments they come across and to become more critical of the media they consume. 

With its thorough, yet casual and often humorous approach, and its often thought-provoking exercises and examples, The Fallacy Detective can help students learn to identify many of the most common fallacies and can generally serve as a good, eyeroll-free first introduction to logical reasoning.  

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About the Author

David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.