Originally Posted by Bluegoat
Your first paragraph makes no sense. Why does a multiplicity of views about what is true mean there is no truth? That is like saying when you receive a wrapped birthday gift, and everyone makes a guess as to what it might be, it means that there is no actual gift in the box. Does the gift only exist when it is revealed and everyone agrees what it is? If weird uncle herb thinks it is a cooking utensil when it is a carpentry tool, does that mean it is neither? Heck, does that mean when scientists disagree about the nature of gravity, which makes rocks fall, it ceases to exist?
That is just a totally bizarre argument.
Reality is bizarre. Have you heard of Schrödinger's cat, it is both alive and dead until the box is opened. The "gift" is all things and nothing until it is opened. Scientist don't disagree about the law of gravity, however there is some disagreement about the reason there is gravity. Science is the study of observational reality. One of it's chief tenants is that if an experiment can't be repeated it isn't true. There are two things I want to tell you. One is the meaning of the names of the different types of scientific thought, the other is the nature of particle spin.
The Law of something means that is has been repeatedly measured, observed and verified. It means that this is something that any who wish to can observe to be the same. The Law of gravity for instance states that masses tend to be pulled by an unseen force(unseen meaning that there is no observable mechanism) toward other masses. You can see this by dropping a rock and seeing it be pulled to the earth. What you probably don't see is that the earth is pulled toward the rock. The difference is that the rock is pulled a few feet, the earth is pulled by a distance so small we don't have a name for it.
The Theory of something means that it is a plausible explanation for observations. A theory states that we think this is why something happens and is not a true theory unless it also predicts things we have not yet seen happen or do not yet have a valid explanation for. The Theory of gravity is actually the theory of relativity. This states that we believe that gravity is caused by mass in-elastically warping or contracting space-time around itself. This contraction reduces the amount of space-time between two objects and causes them to appear to move closer together.
The hypotheses of something means it's a educated guess. Basically we've observed a phenomenon and guess that it is caused by X. The Hypotheses of gravity is currently the hypotheses of the Higgs-Boson particle. This hypothesizes that a particle exist with the ability to impart the property we call mass. This is currently completely unproven and has not been observed. We guess it's there based on previous particles observed and some as yet unproven theories.
Now for something to ponder. It has been observed that all subatomic particles have spin. This is the term used to describe the number of times that a particle has to be rotated along a plane to have the same properties it was first observed to have before it was rotated. Common particles like protons and electrons have spins of 1/2, this means that they must be rotated 180 degrees. However, there are particles that exist that have compound spins of 480 or 720 degrees this means that, they must be rotated along a plan more than a full rotation to return to the state they were in before they were rotated. This is currently under consideration to become a Law of particle physics.
In any case, if it is true, your opinion is just that, and has no more merit than mine, since there is no truth. Very Nietzsche-esque.
Of course children tend to believe whatever their parents tell them about questions. There is, I suspect, a good reason for this - it is important for them to be able to build a picture of the world. Before we can judge the world, there has to be a concept of it that makes a certain amount of sense. I am not sure how you think you will overcome that by telling them why you think it is true, though I tend to think it is normally a good idea - kids tend to adopt their parents view, perhaps even more if there is an explanation. But why would you think religious people don't offer explanations? And how is it different to appeal to the authority of religious figures or texts than it is to appeal to scientific authorities? Do you even present them that way "Well, some people think that there are black holes..."? What about moral questions "Some people think it is wrong to hit".
Ah, you are speaking of mental maps. That personal guide to understanding the world around us. The question is do you wish your children to question what they are told and think for themselves or to just accept what they are told and be led by those who wish to control them (which are not always people who have their best interest at heart).
Religion in general doesn't offer explanations. God, the spirits, magic, etc.. did it is not an explanation it is a cop out. If all people accepted religious explanations then we wouldn't be having this discussion because we wouldn't have ever progressed from hunter-gatherers to any semblance of civilization. Religious figures say X told me so, so you have to believe it or else. Science says we've found this to be true, you're free to try it yourself. Which give you more freedom. Which do you trust more?
Some people think there are black holes, why? Because they've seen them (or at least an accretion disk with a non-radiating extremely massive object in the center which is the description of a black hole) . If you want to take the time you can see them too.
Some people think hitting is wrong, why? Because it hurts and causes injury, most people dislike being injured or in pain. However, some people pay to be hit and pay to hit. See professional BSDM. Is it wrong? That's a very difficult question that really just comes down to empathy, compassion, and freedom. Which would you restrict and why? Non-consensual hitting is wrong, as it takes the right to choose from somebody and is a act of usurpation.
As far as brainwashing, I don't think so. Small children believe what their parents tell them (usually) and then they become teenagers, and question everything. There are good developmental reasons to do it that way - for one thing teenagers are starting to have the tools to really understand and evaluate those explanations you were talking about, and they also have a sense of self that means they can separate themselves from ideas, and try different ones on. Children are still trying to build that self-concept, which depends on the parental inputs. How it can be brainwashing when they naturally come to a point when they tend to re-evaluate it all?
Teenagers are not capable of rational decision making. They can preform rational thought, but the part of the brain that makes rational decisions doesn't fully form until the mid-twenties (think about some of the things you did as a teenager, there are probably things you still wouldn't tell your parents about). Up until this time children may rationally think about things, but they make decisions based on emotions. Why doesn't your 16 year old completely disregard all traffic laws, it isn't because they agree that a speed limit is necessary to allow normal traffic flow and that the number of accidents caused by everyone going as fast as they can would cause chaos and prevent use of the roads. No, they don't want to get a ticket, don't want to get the car taken from them, don't want to get in an accident. The key word here is want. Children either want or don't want. Adults understand the difference between want and need, consensual decisions and independent decisions.
The reason teenagers question everything is two fold. One they are trying out independence. They are seeing what they can get away with, what gets people angry at them and what gets them punished. They are trying to figure out where their limits are and where they fit in society at large. Secondly, they have recently figured out that their parents are mortal. That they aren't always right, they don't know everything and you don't have to always listen to them. This makes them wonder if what they have been believing/doing the last 12-13 years (apx.) is the right thing to do. They ask, so they can know how much of that they have to believe to "fit in".
As for brainwashing, what would you call it when you force your child to practice the trappings of your religion, your world view. Did you ask to go sit in a pew and have the preacher tell you that you were going to burn in hell as a 5 year old? Consent is everything in religious practice. My child will only worship what she knowledgeably consents to .
Of course, some people do try and really stifle any kind of independent thinking in children, including adult children, and seem obsessed with controlling them. That actually is pretty hard to do though, and takes a bit of effort, not to mention a thick skin. Telling your kids what you think is true is not the same thing.
Stifling independent thinking is easy in children, stifling rebellion is hard. What most people see as independent thinking is really the child stretching the bonds of their oppression that the schools and churches put on them. Independent thought first says challenge assumptions. Children by their very nature accept what they are told. It takes a great effort to make them question it.