Science education and critical thinking

I’ve just been watching this great panel discussion with Richard Dawkins, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan and Victor Stenger. It’s about the value of critical thinking and the challenges that religions cause for science teaching. It takes a few minutes to warm up but is well worth watching. It’s an hour long.

I hadn’t seen Neil DeGrasse Tyson before – what a great speaker!

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In at least one of his books Richard has looked to evolution to explain the persistance of religious belief. But I think Ann Druyan, while not an engaging speaker, does hit the nail on the head. Belief is indoctrinated at a very early age in our children when they are most vunerable by parents who find it an easy escape from facing reality. “Don’t worry about the dead x, it/he/she is happy and having fun in y”…where x=cat, hamster, grandparent etc and y=heaven, valhalla, the promised land etc. Much easier on a small child than the reality of “You won’t see the cat again. Besides, we had the cat snipped so not even his genes were not passed on, but never mind, there’s millions of other cats that continue to suvive and we can easily buy a new one”.

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