How to Raise a Rationalist Kid

In honor of Father’s Day, I talk about the things Jesse’s and my parents did that helped make us intellectually curious and interested in rationality.

6 Responses to How to Raise a Rationalist Kid

  1. Paulo R. Ribeiro says:

    That’s a topic that’d be nice for a book.

  2. Dave J says:

    Thanks, this was something that I was thinking about yesterday and having a practical example was nice. And yes, I will be stealing the “regurgitated by insects line” the next time we have honey!

    As a friendly web cam hint, you might want to look at the angle the camera is pointing at you. On my screen at least, the top of your head was cropped off and I was “looking down” on you. If the camera was more eye level and I could see your entire head, it might have felt more natural. On the other hand, I look down at my six year old daughter every day, so “natural” might not be the best term!

    Thanks again.

  3. Pyrrhus says:

    But I would rather raise an empiricist kid!

    What does a rationalist parent tell the kids about pseudosciences like cryonics?

  4. Dave J says:

    For cyronics, just show them an episode of Futurama with the Richard Nixon head in a jar, that should generate a healthy and fun level of doubt!

    More seriously, the patterns you set when the kids are young will carry through when they are older. You can point them in the general direction of thinking you think provides a foundation for the more specific school of thought you hope they will adopt when they are older. Part of the challenge is that you have to leave room for the child to learn to think, which means they may not walk exactly down the path you like. I am hoping for someone who thinks a lot like her parents, but I will be happy as long as she thinks a lot!

  5. Pyrrhus says:

    Dave J: It was a reference to the sad fact that Julia Galef, once a science writer and advocate, went Anakin on us and now is closely associated with LessWrong/Singularity Instititute, which promotes pseudosciences like cryonics and the singularity (aka the rapture of the geeks) as well as crank ideas in general. But to each their own I guess.

  6. Pyrrhus says:

    Speaking of it, it’s a bit of conflict of interests that Julia Galef is simultaneously on the board of a group aimed at increasing understanding of science while also being into a group that promotes pseudoscience. It’s like having a creationist on the board of the NCSE, or having the same person on the corporate boards of both Pepsi and Coca Cola. That is, very inappropriate.

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