Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Teach Your Kids to be Skeptical

Earlier this year I posted, and posted, and posted on the importance of teaching your kids to be skeptical.  I want to emphasize this once again, for a fourth time.  :-)  We live in a world where people say things that are automatically accepted by the masses.  If you're active on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, you often see images of quotes.  Are these quotes real?  If so, were they spoken by the person stated?  Is a person's claims correct?  Misleading?  Blatantly false?  Many times it's hard to say at first, thus the importance of being skeptical.

Now let's correctly define a skeptic.  A skeptic is NOT someone filled with crazy conspiracy theories.  A skeptic is NOT someone who ignores reputable evidence in an effort to hold on to one's own claim or belief.  A skeptic is someone who requires strong evidence for any extraordinary claim.  For example, if a friend of mine says he saw Big Foot in the woods last night, I'm going to be skeptical.  My friend needs to provide evidence.  Maybe that evidence is a picture, but even then, I'm still going to be skeptical.  There is no reputable evidence for Big Foot that exists, so my friend having evidence is a very shaky claim.  The picture would need to be analyzed by experts before I could conclude that my friend saw Big Foot.

To help your kids become skeptics, give them examples of claims lacking supporting evidence.  Talk to them about why one should be skeptical of the claim (i.e. lacking evidence).  Becoming a good skeptic takes time and experience.  With your help, your children will one day become good skeptics.

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