You must do as I say, you must be one of us! One of us! One of us! Actually, I don’t want you to blindly follow anything. This often is the mantra of many ideologies and it is indoctrination. Let’s look at indoctrination and why it is so bad.
Indoctrination is a form of teaching that differs from regular teaching because the material is often unproven and fallacious. Indoctrination demands no questions or critical thinking about the subject. It can be found in many places but the largest indoctrination occurs between adult authority figures and children. It should be noted that usually indoctrination occurs in power structures where the one indoctrinating feels power and privilege over the indoctrinated.
Why Indoctrination of Children is Wrong
Indoctrination of children is wrong because it teaches children to not question ideas or think critically. It encourages the acceptance of ideas without proving premises or logically analyzing them. It also promotes social behavior that if you hold power over others you don’t need to justify your positions.
We want our children to think and analyze, not just blindly follow. We want to teach them serious critical thinking skills so that they can make decisions on their own. If what we believe is logical and supported by evidence then we should be confident that when a child learns how to think critically they will reach the same conclusions as we did.
Every Idea Should be Up for Critical Introspection
There is no reason to close off avenues of thought and critical introspection. Some ideas deserve more introspection than others. For example, questioning whether or not a red ball is red or secretly blue just for giggles probably does not deserve much of our time or resources. Wondering about how human consciousness works, which is very mysterious, seems to warrant much more attention. The consequences of a thing are important in allocation of time spent analyzing a thing.
Just because we believe a thing to be true doesn’t mean we should abuse our authority and try to close off honest questions forcing that belief on others. Let us take religion as an example. Of the 4000 or so religions and spiritual philosophies, believing in one of them and teaching that one to your child leaves you a 1 in 4000 chance of being right. Odds are you wrong and the odds don’t change just because you believe real hard. Then there’s the chance that none of them are right in which case there are no odds except 100% wrong. It is better to simply teach logical and critical thinking, lead by example and hope your child discovers the truth, no matter what it may be.
Teach religion? Sure. Create an environment that stifles questions, open education, and critical thinking… No thank you.