I recently finished listening to a recording of “The science of discworld” by Terry Pratchett. It’s not really a typical Pratchett novel, since it was co-written with Ian Steward and Jack Cohen, but it satisfied my need for some good old english humor. The story is full of a lot of scientific facts that are brought in a semi-humorous way, interspersed with some chapters that have the wizards of unseen university messing with a universe they’ve accidentally created. If you are not familiar with Terry Pratchett’s work you should really give it a try.
There was one concept in the book that has been nagging at the back of my mind ever since I finished it. “Lies to children.”
Did you know that the image of the atom like a tiny solar system is incorrect? It’s just one of those things that we were taught in school because it makes things simpler to understand. Did you know that the tides are not just following the moon? That the sun also has a role to play in it? Once again, lies to children.
How many lies are we unaware of? Science is progressing at such an enormous pace that it becomes hard to know everything, so we all just get the watered down version of reality. Then we go about our lives with a false sense of understanding. Isn’t that dangerous? It made me wonder if the stories we tell our children, because we think they won’t understand the truth, somehow hamper their intellectual growth. Maybe we should reconsider our approach!