Lawrence Krauss: ‘The Purpose of Education is Not to Validate Ignorance but to Overcome It’

Physicist Lawrence Krauss, who recently suggested that math and science teachers ought to get paid more than other teachers, is back to talk about something many more of you may agree with: We should not validate ignorance in the classroom:

… Somehow saying that, well, anything goes, we shouldn’t offend religious beliefs by requiring kids to know — to understand reality; that’s child abuse. And if you think about it, teaching kids — or allowing the notion that the earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet. That’s how big an error it is.

Now you might say, look, a lot of people believe that, so don’t we owe it to them to allow their views to be present in school? Well, as I’ve often said, the purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it.

The last thing we want to do is water down the teaching of biology because some people don’t recognize that evolution happened. Evolution is the basis of modern biology and, in fact, if a lot of people don’t believe it, it only means we have to do a better job teaching it. So once again, I repeat, the purpose of education is not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s powerful to teach students different perspectives on a topic when those perspectives are both compelling and valid. That’s not the case with Creationism/Intelligent Design when it comes to scientific theories.

(Thanks to Richard for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.