Teaching critical thinking during childhood
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-06-2017, 06:26 AM
Teaching critical thinking during childhood
Hi guys! This is aimed mainly at the ex-theists we have here, but of course everyone is welcome to chime in.

I often wonder how "teaching" (indoctrinating, mainly) religion to children works alongside teaching them how to think critically. The obvious problem is that if you successfully teach your child how to think before moving on to presenting your religion to them, they're most likely going to reject it. They'll use the same kind of criteria for spotting what is likely to be fiction (magic stuff going on) and put it in the same category.

So what has been your experience? How do parents handle this? Do they teach critical thinking after the indoctrination, but explain why it doesn't apply to the religion? Or do they just not teach kids how to think at all? Some theists I've talked to are so far gone in this regard that I feel like they must be living in an entirely different world to me, with all the insane stuff they say is visibly going on everywhere.

Did any of your parents present their religion as their own beliefs, rather than as simple fact? I'd have no problem with people doing that, and I'd honestly like to see the look on the kid's face when they do so.

Many thanks!

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Robvalue's post
12-06-2017, 06:32 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
I don't think the religious type WANT their kids doing any critical thinking......

It leads to too many embarrassing questions..


Consider

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like onlinebiker's post
12-06-2017, 07:33 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
In my family, religion was somehow separate from critical thinking--if that makes any sense. We were taught to think critically about everything except when it came to religion, that was to be taken at face value.

Growing up, I didn't question it because my parents and the other adults who were teaching me things (and who seemed to know everything in the eyes of a child) were teaching me about God as fact. As a child, I had no reason to question because I trusted the people feeding me the information, just like at the time, I trusted my teachers who were teaching me my ABC's and my parents who were teaching me about the world around me.

As I grew older, religion had worked its way into my brain and any question that would arise was quickly squashed by the fear doctrine of not questioning-not even going there-or God will be pissed. As such, I view religion, as a form of brainwashing--classical conditioning used on children *many times before the have the ability to think critically* and is used to keep adults in check via the conditioned fear response.

I really wish my parents took the time to look behind the curtain before putting religion onto us. But, in their defense, they were brainwashed too and thought they were doing right by their kids.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like jennybee's post
12-06-2017, 07:46 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
(12-06-2017 06:26 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Hi guys! This is aimed mainly at the ex-theists we have here, but of course everyone is welcome to chime in.

I often wonder how "teaching" (indoctrinating, mainly) religion to children works alongside teaching them how to think critically. The obvious problem is that if you successfully teach your child how to think before moving on to presenting your religion to them, they're most likely going to reject it. They'll use the same kind of criteria for spotting what is likely to be fiction (magic stuff going on) and put it in the same category.

So what has been your experience? How do parents handle this? Do they teach critical thinking after the indoctrination, but explain why it doesn't apply to the religion? Or do they just not teach kids how to think at all? Some theists I've talked to are so far gone in this regard that I feel like they must be living in an entirely different world to me, with all the insane stuff they say is visibly going on everywhere.

Did any of your parents present their religion as their own beliefs, rather than as simple fact? I'd have no problem with people doing that, and I'd honestly like to see the look on the kid's face when they do so.

Many thanks!

I was never taught to think, not even in college. I got in trouble for asking too many uncomfortable questions in church. Religions teach obedience to authority, the last thing they want is people thinking for themselves.

When 85% of the people believe in invisible manic beings, that is an anti-reason society. It's so bad that when I was in school, I was not even taught what reason is, much less how to do it effectively.

Likewise, my children have not been taught to think in school, so I have taught them. They have a good, objective definition of reason, of logic, of objectivity. They are beginning to have a good understanding of concepts which is crucial to thinking objectively. They have the axioms as a solid foundation. They understand the issue of metaphysical primacy. They are way ahead of where I was at their age. As a consequence they are coming home incredulous with what they are being taught. My daughter is required to take classes in Christianity at college (it's a Christian school) along with her computer science classes. She was laughing out loud the other day and I asked her what was so funny. She was reading the text for that class and she pointed out to me how the book contained blatant stolen concepts and other errors in thinking. I was so proud of her. And she can back up her analysis all on her own.

Iv'e exposed them to religion. They've been to church. Iv'e told them that they must think and decide for themselves. But they are philosophically armed against such nonsense now. Who knows, maybe one of them will be ensnared in the future but I hope Iv'e given them the tools to examine religion objectively and they won't fall for that snake oil.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like true scotsman's post
12-06-2017, 07:52 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
I was educated in a Lutheran school. Looking back I'm pretty sure the Lutherans are atheists. We were still using cartoons and comics for Bible stories in 9th grade.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes GirlyMan's post
12-06-2017, 07:55 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
I've never really had the "theist" experience, although my daughter attends a Church club thing that my mother helps out with.

I let her go, as she has fun and spends time with my mother, although I was worried about her getting certain ideas about religion. So far, she's told me she "loves" Jesus and so on, but at the same time, she's not that interested in it. Like she'll mention it every now and again, but she also ask's me questions about animals/plants/countries/people/space/dinosaurs etc, which I also answer openly and honestly, to a degree of which she can understand at least anyway.

I've also told her that I don't believe the things she apparently does, when it comes to god, and that it's ok to not believe OR to even believe in other things, as there are other religions as well. For me, I leave her choices with her, but I will always give her the information she ask's me. She asked me about the Resurrection around Easter time, and I said "...people don't come back from the dead, so it didn't happen." and she understood that. I mention how things like this only happen in stories, because it's not real but if she believes it's real, then that's fine as well.

Hopefully, when she's older, she'll have made her mind up on what religion she follows, if any, and that it was an informed decision either way. I would hate to devote my life to one thing, and then realise Atheism or other religions are much better lol.

"I don't do magic, Morty, I do science. One takes brains, the other takes dark eye liner" - Rick
I now sell T-Shirts Here! Please Check it out Thumbsup
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes OakTree500's post
12-06-2017, 08:16 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
My experience in childhood was that my religion was taught as truth. I was also taught to respect and not question authorities, who were represented as being in agreement with one another. I think that was my parents' fatal mistake. Once I realized that authorities can disagree, and that my parents hadn't been honest with me about that...

I don't think I ever had a conversation with my parents about why an idea was strong or weak, and this kind of approach wasn't covered at my schools until I was 11 or 12. However, my parents encouraged all academic activities and let me read whatever caught my eye. When it was time to think critically, I had the tools I needed.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like julep's post
12-06-2017, 09:43 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
My maternal grandfather was a great influence on my mother and me. He pushed her to question things and she in turn passed that onto my brother and me.

I think the reasons for that are to do with his experiences as a teenage boy when he lost a leg after a cut became infected. This was in the first decade of the 20th century in the days before antibiotics. As a result of this he could no longer join in with the other kids in terms of physical activities and so he devoured books. He remained fascinated by nature and the natural world and the mechanisms that produced such wonders............and so became really knowledgeable about botany, geology etc.

He avoided church and when my parents got married he was intensely annoyed that the ceremony involved them kneeling at the alter.

Although I was brought up with a pretty conventional xtian upbringing.......we went to church on a Sunday and I went to Sunday School as a kid, by the time I was in my mid-teens I was increasingly sceptical of the nature of religion.

I'm sure that my grandfather's influence in terms of thinking critically was important.

I've tried to ensure that my daughter approaches things with a similar mindset and she took a Critical Thinking course at school.

It's interesting that in Singapore, ranked among the best in the world at reading, mathematics, and science, officials are discussing extending critical thinking programs to kindergarten. In 2008, Canadian researcher Philip Abrami analyzed 117 studies into how to teach critical thinking effectively. The conclusion was very clear. Critical thinking skills develop students’ ability to learn more in all subjects.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Silly Deity's post
12-06-2017, 10:02 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
I was raised by parents who, while certainly not "trailer trash" or anything (my father managed to be a highly certified aircraft mechanic, and before that, in the 1930s and 1940s when it meant something, was a master auto mechanic who did everything up to and including from-scratch tooling for antique auto restoration), were nevertheless grade school dropouts who were neither averse to, nor really aware of, critical thinking. They were from an era when a high school education was still optional, much less a college education. So ... while I was not, like JennyBee, schooled in critical thinking, I was a mostly heady / intellectual type who leaned that way naturally.

By the time my own children came on the scene I was already just going through the motions of my faith, having, so to speak lost faith in it. So while I had still not made the break, much less identified as atheist, I did not make much of an effort to indoctrinate my children and they seemed to become unbelieving quite naturally. Particularly my son, who simply never was even attracted to it. But my daughter seemed nearly as immune and, frankly, indifferent to faith.

I think how it shakes out is partly a matter of personality but I'm unwilling to advance the theory based on my extremely limited sample set of 2, that children, left mostly alone, will choose non-faith over faith. I actually don't believe that to be the case. Particularly not in a society / culture where theism is the majority position, and there's a minimum of diversity and valuing of diversity (here in the US).
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like mordant's post
12-06-2017, 11:06 AM
RE: Teaching critical thinking during childhood
I actually had critical thinking classes in my preteens. Yes, I was one of "those kids." But even before that, I was always taught not to take anything at face value. Although we were Catholic, we didn't really accept it all 100%. My family didn't believe that necessarily non-Catholics were doomed to eternal damnation. Well, my mother didn't. My father was Catholic but not really practicing. He attended Mass, etc, but wasn't a fire & brimstone type. He didn't even mention religion.

I had friends and neighbors who were all religions, including various Protestants, Hindu, Jewish, hippie tree huggers, and so on. My mother never taught me they were inferior. I'm sure she still thinks non-Christians have it wrong but she doesn't think they're condemned. In fact, she now attends a United Methodist church. She feels she's still Catholic but the Vatican has really screwed up.

In a way, critical thinking got me to start wondering why religious people can have wildly different views and beliefs yet know they're right and everyone else is wrong. That of course led me psychology and sociology. Then later I realized they're groups of fairy tales.

However, as many have said, critical thinking does exist alongside the ability to ignore the same thinking about religion. It doesn't help that religions tend to move the goalposts constantly. Gods lived in the mountains until we climbed them. Then they moved to the clouds until we flew. And so on.

Critical thinking is great, but it by itself won't and can't be used against religion and dogma.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Clockwork's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: