With the recent tragic and awful events in Paris highlighting the capacity for humans to be brainwashed and agitated to the point of committing heinous acts against fellow human beings I could not help but think about how to bring up children in a way that opens their mind to reason.
I thought about how to teach a child to reason for themselves, test and draw their own conclusions while considering all the available information and evidence. How to do this? The Scientific Method comes to mind..
To paraphrase Richard Feyneman:
"A scientist is never certain. We all know that. We know that all our statements are approximate statements with different degrees of certainty; that when a statement is made, the question is not whether it is true or false but rather how likely it is to be true or false."
"‘Does God exist?’ When put in the questional form, ‘how likely is it?’ It makes such a terrifying transformation of the religious point of view, and that is why the religious point of view is unscientific. We must discuss each question within the uncertainties that are allowed."
Brilliant, elegant, simple, and very dangerous to the bigots of the world that want to push dogmatic doctrines on a docile and unthinking population.
I found a great little overview of the Scientific Method that shows how we could gently introduce our kids to a way of independently forming an opinion that could be justified.
6 Simplified Steps of the Scientific Method..
1. Ask a Question: The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where?
2. Do Background Research: Rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan for answering your question, you want to be a savvy scientist using library and Internet research to help you find the best way to do things and insure that you don't repeat mistakes from the past.
3. Construct a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work:
"If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen."
4. Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is supported or not. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. This can be as simple as considering a point of view, and then probing it from different viewpoints.
5. Analyze Your Findings and Draw a Conclusion: Once your experiment is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if they support your hypothesis or not.
6. Communicate Your Results: To complete your investigative project you will communicate your results to others in a final report and/or a display board - or even better - over dinner with your family!
Always on the lookout for the ultimate Kid Hacks