Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
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24-08-2012, 10:05 AM
Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
I know that we've had the discussion before but I wanted to revisit the idea that we are better served sharing skills like skepticism and ideas like atheism to the youth as opposed to spend a ton of time arguing with adults or challenging elderly folks:
http://theunconverted.com/why-i-focus-on...ot-adults/

Not saying that it's impossible to change the mind of an adult - clearly that's an inaccurate conclusion - just that we need to prioritize effort and energy if we're interested in advocating for free thought.

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24-08-2012, 12:43 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
As we all know, children are in prime condition to take in knowledge. It's how their minds work at that age. Again, as we all know, this is why religious irrationality is so easily absorbed by the young and carried on into adulthood.

With us kids now grown up and out of the house; my parents have adopted a little boy from Guatemala and, for the past 7 years, have been hard at work drilling the teachings of Christianity into his delicate and gullible mind. This actually kind of worries me, because one night a few months ago, I visited home to have some drinks with my dad and after they had retired for the evening, I decided it was a great opportunity to introduce the child to "The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins (a highly-recommended book, I might add). I started teaching him about Evolution and about how a few million years ago, our ancestors were fish-like creatures.

To my dismay, he looked at me with confused, almost fear-filled eyes and asked "I...was a fish?" That's when I knew that he was still too young to sufficiently grasp the concept of Evolution, especially when his mind was already being filled with Christian teachings. Now I know that if I'm to ever teach him about Evolution and critical, scientific thinking in general, I'm going to have to wait until he's older. Unfortunately, that will also be when the religious nonsense will have already taken root, so it will likely be a complicated process of deprograming, more than it will be about teaching.

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24-08-2012, 12:46 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
The bright spot is that it didn't work on you, so the kid has a chance.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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24-08-2012, 12:51 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
(24-08-2012 12:46 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The bright spot is that it didn't work on you, so the kid has a chance.

True. Plus, my sister became an atheist at about the same time that I did (according to her, it was due to my reasonable arguments against theism). I can only hope that my brother will follow in our footsteps.

Then again, my parents have openly admited that they "see where my sister and I have ended up" (in Atheism), so they intend to teach the kid "better" than they did us.

Ugh.

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24-08-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
(24-08-2012 12:51 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(24-08-2012 12:46 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The bright spot is that it didn't work on you, so the kid has a chance.

True. Plus, my sister became an atheist at about the same time that I did (according to her, it was due to my reasonable arguments against theism). I can only hope that my brother will follow in our footsteps.

Then again, my parents have openly admited that they "see where my sister and I have ended up" (in Atheism), so they intend to teach the kid "better" than they did us.

Ugh.

This may actually backfire if they will hard press the religion on the kid. If they think that they didn't demand your obedience to the mythology and that's where they went wrong. I had a friend in my childhood who was adopted by very religious parents and he was the first person who I knew who claimed "there is no god". He was rejecting the pressure of the church stuff being pressed upon him.
...but don't tell them.

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24-08-2012, 01:35 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
(24-08-2012 12:58 PM)Thomas Wrote:  
(24-08-2012 12:51 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  True. Plus, my sister became an atheist at about the same time that I did (according to her, it was due to my reasonable arguments against theism). I can only hope that my brother will follow in our footsteps.

Then again, my parents have openly admited that they "see where my sister and I have ended up" (in Atheism), so they intend to teach the kid "better" than they did us.

Ugh.

This may actually backfire if they will hard press the religion on the kid. If they think that they didn't demand your obedience to the mythology and that's where they went wrong. I had a friend in my childhood who was adopted by very religious parents and he was the first person who I knew who claimed "there is no god". He was rejecting the pressure of the church stuff being pressed upon him.
...but don't tell them.

Lol, I wouldn't dare. I figure I should just sit back for now and let things take their course. In the meantime, when I see him, I do my best to teach him to think critically. If he asks me why or how something happens the way it does, I don't simply tell him the answer; I ask him how HE thinks it happens. Then I throw out helpful hints until he arrives at the correct answer on his own.

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24-08-2012, 02:13 PM
RE: Why I focus on teaching skepticism to children and not adults
You don't have to teach evolution to trigger inquisitive thinking (sceptical follows inquisitive)

Tell him where things come from, how they are made. Anything that he talks about or that you have sitting in front of you. Just about everything you find in a house has a bunch of stages it goes through before he sees it.

That gets him started on the proper road.... looking for origins is workable at any age. It creates curiosity and inquisitiveness and rational tinking.

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