Thursday, November 7, 2013

"...for nature cannot be fooled"

Science lives in the natural world.
Too many children live in a virtual world.
Science works by resolving cognitive dissonance, with nature as the referee. It's often counter-intuitive and frustrating, but at least it's patient--if a few primates struggle to put the sticks together to reach the bananas, at least once they figure it out, the rules stay the same, and the bananas will always be reachable.

I have too few children who have any relationship at all with the natural world. In their world, a world with their music throbbing in the background, they can always find change the rules.

(If they should figure out a way to reach the bananas, someone will change the rules, and they will forever be chasing bananas.)

If a student has no knowledge of the natural world, spends more time watching balls bounce on screens than off the ground (dirt, asphalt, grass, it does not matter), then balls will always bounce whichever way the child wants them to bounce. If they bounce one way in some virtual world that causes a child any discomfort at all, she can switch to another world.

If I share the way the world works, where trees make stuff out of air, where water comes from burning propane, where my DNA shares its code with the bacteria in my poop, and my explanations for these ultimately gets back to that's just the way the world works, then a child will not spend one glucose molecule's worth of free energy to do the work she needs to do to grasp the way the world around her works.

By Steven Paine, shared via CC

She doesn't have to. She just needs to put on her ear buds, turn on the screen, and find another world.

Yes, the title and the post owe everything to Richard Feynman.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

If a baby is looking at something that causes it to wrinkle its forehead, it shouldn't be.