Coming Soon to a Kindergarten Near You?

25 Apr

One of my weekly pleasures is reading the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. It’s an excellent paper and one of the few left in the country that has a conservative opinion section. (There, I’ve outed myself.) But while the Journal may be a conservative publication, it is most definitely a secular one as well. Witness Alison Gopnik’s Mind & Matter column from this past weekend.

It seems that some scientists think that evolution, particularly the natural selection component, is too difficult for young children to understand. I’ve provided a link to the article above so I won’t go into all their reasoning for this seemingly obvious insight, however the upshot is that they recommend that children should be exposed to picture books that help them understand natural selection. As early as kindergarten. They’re afraid that these young minds may actually come to think that our earth and the life on it was created somehow by, gasp!, some transcendent, intelligent being.

These proposed natural selection “story books” are characterized in the article as “powerful intellectual tools.” I think it’s just a blatant attempt at indoctrination dressed-up in lab coats, clip boards and plastic pocket protectors.

What do you think?


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5 responses to “Coming Soon to a Kindergarten Near You?

  1. jubilare

    May 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    “Scientific ideas always challenge our common sense.” This had me laughing immediately… I’m sorry, but science has never challenged my common sense. What challenges my common sense is what people to whom science is a religion, and who are fanatical about it, call “science.” …Yeah, there may be a bitter tinge to my laughter.

    “But the mechanism that leads to that result is very different.” This chap is talking through his hat… but I suppose I can’t expect him to know that.

    “The secret may be to reach children with the right theory before the wrong one is too firmly in place.” And that is just downright arrogant and insulting.

    I think natural selection is a useful thing to learn, whether early or late.

    What irritates me is the reasoning/attitude behind what this man is saying. The idea that science and theology are somehow mutually exclusive (against massive evidence to the contrary… isn’t science supposed to rely on evidence?) and that educators are somehow responsible for rooting out what people like him consider undesirable or incorrect forms of reasoning. He really thinks that the poor state of scientific education has to do with lack of early indoctrination? He thinks that people in general are just too stupid to understand concepts like natural selection unless it’s ingrained in them like a belief? Because that will REALLY help people understand science… when they accept it as true because they were told to.

    *sighs* People don’t understand science, usually, for one of three reasons, at least in my experience: 1. they were raised to consider it threatening (a concept I have never understood) 2. they don’t care, usually because it wasn’t made interesting to them. 3. they have been told that it is “hard” and that they aren’t “smart enough” to get it. Indoctrinating these people won’t help any of them understand scientific theory, and only serves to insult their intelligence. In the end, the idea just makes me sad. Though I would probably read a book about natural selection with a child of mine because I would want him/her to grow up, as I did, with a solid scientific and religious foundation in order to understand that the two really aren’t in conflict, and if they seem to be, it is because our understanding of one or another is too limited.

  2. Rob

    May 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Wow! Tell me what you REALLY think.

    Scientism (which is the viewpoint of the linked article) is as much a religion as Christianity is. What the article proposes is basically evangelism for their point of view. They don’t want to be compatible with religion. They want to be the only religion.

    Glad to see you here again! Hope things are well with you.

    • jubilare

      May 7, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      You are right, and in my opinion, Scientism fundamentally misunderstands science. It’s tragicomical, really, though it ceases to be funny when people actually are taught to swallow it rather than think for themselves.

      The worst part, in my opinion, is the tone of the article… I think this man really believes that people come to different conclusions because of ignorance/lack of intelligence, or, perhaps, stubbornness/habit. 😛

  3. Emilie

    August 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great site!

    • Rob

      August 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Thank you, Emilie. Glad you stopped by! How did you find my blog? Let me know what you think when you read more. All the best!


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