Re: Kids learning stuff, was Re: extropians-digest V6 #1

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 19:04:18 MST

> Mihail Faina wrote:
> > I am not trying to assume nothing. My question was more like a
> > "methodology" question - how should we introduce scientific concepts to a 5
> > year old (ordinary 5 year old and I underline ordinary). Should this be hard
> > core scientific facts or something built in a FABLE (I didn't say fairy
> > tales) of some kind? Hard for me to imagine that a 5 year old could picture
> > a bacteria and get
> > the meaning of the word metaphor by using "not really" in the explanation.
> > Using the word doesn't always equal understanding.
> > Again, I am not here to launch a polemic, my goal is to learn even if I
> > disagree.

My personal opinion on the subject is that a 5-year-old child should be
perfectly capable of understanding bacteria, the layout of the solar
system, the layers of the Earth's core, how levers work, and so on.
Whether you want to wrap it in a fable is thus a matter of personal
whimsy. The kid should understand it either way, although s/he may not
believe you if you fib. Of course, I am reasoning from personal
experience here...

Just try it and see!

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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