Struggles with Truthfulness

Dec 13, 2011 by eaa073000

In ‘Science, Religion, and Democracy’ Kitcher calls for us to ” do our best to tell schoolchildren the truth.”  This truth of course entails conveying scientifically based facts.  This also entails dismissing any religious beliefs that have been instilled in our students.  I wonder if Kitcher understands what an emotional blow this could represent for the student as well as for the educator?  I wonder if he has ever dealt with young children who accept what they are told without question?  As an educator of the youngest members of our society, I have had to be untruthful on many occasions in order to act according to statutes and policies, but also because I am aware of the emotional storm that is raised when one realizes that the “providentialist” beliefs one was so vehemently taught are actually unfounded.  Every single time a seven year old approaches me and asks a question about where we come from or about life after death and I can not be Truthful, I feel sick to my stomach.   It isn’t so much because I can not convey my personal beliefs, but  because I vividly recall the psychological and emotional turmoil I went through in my process of accepting scientific based Truth. I do not want to be responsible for causing this anxiety in another human being.  However, I think that science education should not close the doors to religion.  The reason science has evolved as  a discipline is because we can question.  The same way we question  how things function in the natural world, we question why we are part of the natural world.  I think it is just human nature to question why we are here; what is our purpose in this world.  I like to think some of us are a little more emotionally evolved–rather  than intellectually–to deal with scientific Truths. That’s all.  So the doors should be left open.  Let’s present the scientific facts, but it should be up to every individual to decide what to believe.