Teaching Children to Think

If children are actually taught to think, they will have the ability to apply logic to evidence, and determine what is true from what is false. But if children are taught only to memorize and repeat instead, then they may believe a lot of things, while understanding nothing. Even if they were taught to memorize true things (without also being taught to think), they will still only be taking such things on faith, and will have no rational way to defend their beliefs when challenged.

And that is how most people “think” today: they hear various assertions and opinions, and then, based largely on guesses, hunches and feelings, they choose which assertions and opinions to believe, and which to disbelieve. But they can’t coherently argue for or against anything, and can’t even explain why they believe what they believe.

The irony is that parents who really want their children to think the way the parents do will often try to intellectually bludgeon the children into believing things through indoctrination and repetition, instead of through reason. But if a child is not allowed and encouraged to figure things out themselves, to take every idea and doubt it, challenge it, put it to the test, and see if it holds up, then they can never make the truth their own, and can never actually know anything.

If you are right about things, then teaching your children how to collect evidence and apply logic will eventually lead them to agree with you. Only people who have flawed views need to try to make other people take things on faith.

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

Larken Rose is an anarchist author best known for challenging the IRS to answer questions about the federal tax liability of citizens, and being put in prison with no questions answered. He is the author of The Most Dangerous Superstition.