We’re kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.
The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?
- Where’s the logic?
The past weekend’s This American Life was devoted to “kid logic.” Host Ira Glass explained at the outset that babies are no longer thought of as “irrational, illogical, self-centered little balls of need and want.” No, scientists now tell us that “children are observing the world, and thinking about it, and coming to logical conclusions from the day they’re born.” Moreover, “kids think with the same logic adults use and apply that logic just as rigorously.”
Yet because “there are certain things they do not know and take a while to figure out,” the logical leaps of children can be delightfully wrongheaded. As the show’s website puts it, here are “stories of kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions.” Or as Glass put it, echoing Bill Cosby and Art Linkletter from other eras, “Kids say the darndest things.”
I heard the first minutes of this show in the car and went online to hear the rest. Glass has a limited appetite for charm for charm’s sake, and I wondered what dark corners he might have decided to poke into. The larger point to be made about a child’s logic isn’t that it’s no different from adult logic but that adult logic is no improvement.