A Better World

Jerry Coyne links this item at Prospect by Daniel Dennet: If I ruled the world.

His prescription for a better world: educate the children.

I would like my first step on ascending to the dictatorship to be decreeing high quality, non-ideological education for boys and girls in every community on the globe. If we could just liberate the world’s children from illiteracy, ignorance, and superstition, their curiosity would lead them to solutions that were both locally informed and sensitive while also tuned to a fairly realistic view of the global context into which these solutions must fit.

But he admits this can never work. Because: parents.

The disastrous attempts to separate children from their families in the recent past in order to give them ‘proper’ educations should convince us that there is simply no way of imposing an educational system on children in different cultures against their will and the will of their elders that isn’t both inhumane and ineffective. Notice that I did not say that knowledge should never be imposed on people. If it were effective, if it ‘took’ readily enough, I would be as much in favour of imposing knowledge on children as I am of imposing vaccination on them. We’re all in this world together, and benighted attitudes don’t put only the benighted at risk.

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