Word of the Day:
to draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.
Maybe better suited to an essay or an article, but let’s see what we can do:
“Wait a second,” she said. “You’re saying that a circle is a collection of points on a plane.”
“That’s right,” I said encouragingly. Somehow, I’d been convinced to tutor middle school-ers in geometry this semester: The prospect of money was apparently convincing enough that it erased all attachment I once had to my sanity.
“And that all those points hafta stay in the same spot on that plane because they’re all the same distance from some other point, and that’s what makes the circle.”
“Right,” I said.
“But the whole world is one big circle.”
“Sort of,” I said. “It’s a sphere, actually.”
“But that’s just like a circle with 3D glasses on.”
I hesitated. “Okay,” I said, unsure if that was a comparison I should encourage.
“But that can’t be right,” she rushed on, her words slurring together in the triumph of sudden enlightenment. “The world’s always movin’ around the sun, see, which means all those points are moving, and that means that the world can’t be a circle with glasses on because it’s movin’!” She paused for dramatic effect. “Or!” she shouted. “Or that’s not really what a circle is. And I’ve seen globes at school, so I know that the world is a big 3D circle, so that means that’s not really what a circle is.”
I froze, horrified. Apparently, I was doing something really wrong in this whole tutoring business—either that, or else kids just get weirder all the time.
“How about this,” I said slowly. “Let’s not do math right now. Let’s talk about something called rhetoric for a second. Do you know what it means to paralogize?”