What is 1+1?
Science requires precision, isn’t it? When you ask someone to add two numbers, there’s only one correct answer. Is there any place where 1+1 is not equal to 2? Every math textbook in the world will give you the same answer, not just a grade 1 book but even grade 12 books. It’s the universal truth.
In schools, science is considered “objective”. It doesn’t matter what socio-economic/cultural/political background students come from, they all can be taught the same scientific concepts. It doesn’t change and is taught with complete undisputed faith.
In fact, the utter belief in science so huge that we’re superstitious about it.
Now, superstition, by definition, may mean belief in the supernatural but in the common parlance, we ascribe it to any belief which is unchallenged or irrefutable. We have hints of superstition in our day to day lives. One may be superstitious about a number or a particular day or a particular month.
Science is taught with the same conviction and belief as superstition. We seem to believe in the scientific concepts as if they can’t be challenged; as if they’re the ultimate truth. When we teach Pythagoras Theorem, for instance, we don’t teach the students with any hint of doubt. We don’t feel that tomorrow, something new might come up which may challenge Pythagoras even though we have enough evidence that science evolves, disproves and improves its own understanding. For example, for a long time, we believed water is unique to our planet or that there are only three states of matter: liquid, solid and gas. But today, we know these are not true.
Then when teaching science to kids as a granted truth; why not pose it as a question? The current pedagogy is not only unnecessary but is also damaging to a child’s way of approaching science. Kids should learn to challenge what they read or what they study. Science needs to be taken up as a challenge, not as a superstition.
1+1 may not always be true, why?
Because until you don’t know what that 1 is? How do you decide? Does any teacher ask this question to students (of even higher grades) that what exactly are you adding?
Is it 1 apple added to 1 apple which makes it two apples? Or is it 1 drop of water added to another drop of water possibly making it 1 (bigger) drop of water (1+1=?)
Science with superstition; the Irony!