Education - Indoctrination

Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 10:46 pm
Smiley451;80870 wrote:
I was talking to a friend today, and the conversation came around to education. I said, "People need to educate themselves, and be educated. We need to learn and grow in our knowledge." (or something along those lines)
Then he asked, "Where does a person stop becoming educated and start to become indoctrinated?"
I thought this was an interesting question. Educators (or anyone, for that matter) have an opinion, and have an agenda for themselves. They're the ones telling us what to think, right? Supplying us with information, and very often telling us what to think of it.

Any thoughts?

There is possible pragmatic justification for indoctrination. There are, without a doubt many things that we do not know and perhaps there are also horrible things that it is better for some not to know. "You want the truth, you can't handle the truth!" Not everyone is ready for uncertainty nor is everyone ready to face some of the more horrible things. Plato's noble lie is an example of indoctrination.

That said, I believe in Popper's Open Society. I think human beings are by and large ready to face uncertainty. The problem is that when one teaching is condemned as indoctrination it is often the case that those who voice that condemnation have a doctrinal agenda of their own.

For example a great many of those who have Darwin fishes on their cars are not just supporters of Darwin's scientific theory but also subscribe to the doctrinal belief in Social Darwinism. Certainly not all who fly the Darwin fish flag are in this camp but at least some are in that camp and those people, it would seem, were not ready to deal with the Darwin's theory. This group is very likely to condemn the teaching of Creationism as indoctrination, which of course it is, but nevertheless so is the teaching of Social Darwinism.
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