Patterico's Pontifications


Dear Mom and Dad: Your Kids Aren’t Experts in Science

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by JVW]

About a decade or so ago I was clued in to a hilarious website called I Am Better Than Your Kids. The premise of it is that the cute artwork that your preschooler or early-gradeschooler brings home isn’t very good, even if you take to hanging it on the refrigerator or framing it and hanging it in your office. The humor isn’t for everyone; you have to see through his sometimes cruel assessment of children’s artistic efforts and realize that the butt of the joke really is snowflake culture (though we hadn’t yet fully identified it at that point) and parents who are certain their little one is the next Renoir or Matisse, albeit with a nose full of boogers. The site is still active, and parents still apparently submit their tyke’s doodlings for evaluation, knowing full well that the effort will be eviscerated. Clearly they too are in on the joke. I’m guessing this kind of humor isn’t as widely tolerated as it was a decade ago, but it’s nice to know it’s still out there.

Anyway, I thought of this site for the first time in ages when I noticed today that all of the wokest parents’ kids are preparing for the worldwide Climate Strike. Perhaps you have seen it on social media: pictures of little Emma and Noah holding up signs declaring the Earth is in a crisis and imploring — nay, demanding — that Bad Orange Man do something about it. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Stockholm has become for environmentalism what David Hogg is to gun control, the self-righteous scold repeating the same old worn-out tropes that have yet to move the needle beyond the current crop of true believers. Nevertheless, Miss Thunberg like Mr. Hogg does not want for adoring media coverage hailing her as a young oracle for a more just future. Those of us who also had solved all of the answers to the world’s problems when we were in our mid-teens ought to be at least somewhat forbearing of this youthful aggrandizement. So with that in mind, I want to send a simple message out to their parents:

Your kids don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Oh, it may turn out that your kids are right. Perhaps there really is a cataclysmic doom directly head of us and these are the last possible moments in which we can act, but your seven-year-old has no idea whether or not that is true, even if she has already aced the times tables up to the twelves. Your high school freshman, precocious though he may be, hasn’t read all of the pro-doom research and checked it over to ensure that the science is replicable, let alone read any research that counters the dominant narrative that we’re hurtling along to our ultimate destruction. They simply aren’t that smart.

Stop filling up impressionable young minds with your ugly disaster scenarios. Stop sending them to bed with nasty visions of a truncated life due to unimaginable catastrophe. What kind of sick society does this to children? I’ve joked about this in the past, but it’s getting less and less funny: I feel like a terrific investment would be to open a bunch of youth psychiatry clinics in order to handle the mass anxiety and depression that we’ve shoved into this young generation’s callow minds. Shame on us for ruining their childhoods with our selfish crusades.

Here endeth the rant.


65 Responses to “Dear Mom and Dad: Your Kids Aren’t Experts in Science”

  1. Had to post this hastily and I won’t be around to comment, so my apologies that it isn’t copyedited for grammar or spelling.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. “Stop filling up impressionable young minds with your ugly disaster scenarios. Stop sending them to bed with nasty visions of a truncated life due to unimaginable catastrophe. What kind of sick society does this to children?”

    Right, right. If they’re going to be traumatized, we want reserve that for something important, like training them to be shot at school.

    john (54be15)

  3. See, that right there illustrates the point.

    Colliente (05736f)

  4. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, oftimes comes partially digested milk.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. Greta Schmeta.

    Paul Montagu (dfd657)

  6. She looks like she could set you on fire, with her mind.

    Narciso (181de5)

  7. Others that aren’t experts in Science:

    Mom, Dad, most school teachers, lawyers, journalists, politicians, actors and other celebrities, hairdressers, bartenders, secretaries, accountants, … but I bet you get the idea.

    Scientists, otoh, often know something about Science. Not that they all agree.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  8. Scientists, otoh, often know something about Science. Not that they all agree.
    Kevin M (19357e) — 9/20/2019 @ 4:19 pm

    Damn it, there’s a consensus

    Stacy0311 (3d63e6)

  9. As for the website: unfunny and unenlightening. It’s easy to ridicule children’s attempts at art; also tactless and ne kulturny. Don’t see any of the author’s work at age 8.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  10. Damn it, there’s a consensus

    Yes, and it’s a different consensus than 20 years ago.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  11. Several years ago, while I was riding on the Washington DC Metro, I saw a sign with a list of organizations who were demanding that congress address some Cause du Jour (I forget which one) and I noticed that the vast majority of these organisations had “Children” or “Youth” or “Young” or “Students” in their name.
    The thought that struck me at the time was that for each of these that emphasized young people, there were likely to be several adults who were very well paid for their services and who were likely to be running the same campaigns the following year with little to show in the way of tangible results.

    John B Boddie (11ac33)

  12. 6… what are you saying, narciso… is she a child of the damned?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  13. Well firestarter, but she does have that eerie ataren

    Narciso (181de5)

  14. I try to avoid Stephen King. Also “if you covered him in garbage, George Sanders would still have style.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. I thought she was just the recycled Girl staring down Bull from the 2011 OWS kerfuffle.

    urbanleftbehind (b573f5)

  16. They don’t need Stephen King, they have journalism:

    Also – predicting eminent disaster can be tricky:

    As for me, I’ve made a solemn pledge to keep my carbon footprint smaller than Al Gore’s.

    harkin (dc1411)

  17. During my teenage years, Kids would march for “world peace” and against “warmonger” Ronald Reagan who was going to kill us all, with his talk of the “Evil Empire”.

    All these “kids” just wanted to get out of class, or please their girlfriend, or were brainwashed robots. If you ask them about it today, they pretend they never marched for nuclear disarmament in the early 80’s. Shorter Post: Kids are dumb. That’s why they can’t vote and shouldn’t vote till they’re 21.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  18. Kids aren’t dumb, especially about something they are interested in, but their knowledgebase isn’t always very broad and their perspective tends to be limitted.

    Nic (896fdf)

  19. I love this post. Well done, JVW.

    Using children to push a cause is a thing now, certainly, but it’s the fear mongering of vulnerable young hearts and minds that is really so cruel.

    Dana (05f22b)

  20. In my experience–20 years as a teacher (at every grade level from 1st through sophomore college), and going on 16 years as a realtor–I’ve come to this realization: children (young people) are smarter than you think; adults (old people) are more stupid than you can believe.

    Grow up. Do not grow old, that’s what I say.

    For example, a couple of years ago I was surfing the web and came across this blog post by a 16-year old girl. She was an AP student at some high school in Seattle, and it was her assignment to write a paper about climate change and post it on the internet at the school’s website. Now, this young girl was really into meteorology. Maybe her ambition was to grow up and become a weather forecaster on TV, or something like that, I don’t know, whatever, but what she essentially wrote was (quoting from memory here), “The problem with these computer models is that they don’t take into account all the variables.”

    Exactly. She’s a smart girl. Smarter than the adult scientists who stupidly use computer models to promote some apocaltic view of climatic doom.

    As to JVW’s larger question, what kind of sick society does this to children? The answer is, because adults are more stupid than you can believe.

    It goes to the utter degradation and complete failure of the education system over the last forty years. Scientists today don’t know what science is. The problem is with methodology, or textbook redundancy. Read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, in this regard. It’s one of the most profound books of the late 20th century, because it applies to every discipline, all schools of thought.

    It also goes to the breakdown of the nuclear family, and more to the loss of the extended family, which led to isolated children, raising themselves without education. Stupid adults did that.

    Don’t blame the children. Blame the parents. The Baby Boomers were given the world on a silver platter, and they turned it into a turd on a paper plate.

    That said, every culture, every religion, throughout history has some vision of the apocalypse. It’s just that this one is particularly and incredibly stupid, and horribly cruel. Children and grandchildren suffer for it. Think about that, ye stupid adults.

    Here endeth the rant.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  21. It doesnt matter that some maybe even a large plurality see through this, this is an unethical abuse of the educational system, this is why michael mann waged lawfare on tim ball and mark steyn,

    Narciso (181de5)

  22. You tell children that the price of their lifestyle will the cause of untold horrors, you are causing huge turmoil, which may end in violence.

    Narciso (181de5)

  23. This is quite possibly the most intelligent and relevant thing I have ever read on this blog. Kudos.

    PTw (83552a)

  24. Though I must add, to some extent I agree with GG. I don’t blame the kids, I blame the adults. And that includes all of us here for tolerating the funding of much of the academic nonsense with our own wealth.

    PTw (83552a)

  25. Oh the firestarter had a black bloc t shirt, whu is she in a congressional hearing in the first place

    Narciso (181de5)

  26. Parents have been imbuing their children with their (the parents’s) ideas on religion, politics, economics, and everything else since religion, politics, economucd started.

    That’s normal parenting after all.

    It’s also true that every parent tends to see their kid as the next genius. And as Leopold Mozart or Moshe Mnuchin* could tell you, they are sometimes right. But most often wrong. But still typical parents.

    *no relation to the Sec. of the Treasury. He changed his name to Menuhin and had three kids: Yehudi, Hepzibah, Yaltah.

    Kishnevi (1cc50f)

  27. Stop sending them to bed with nasty visions of a truncated life due to unimaginable catastrophe. What kind of sick society does this to children?

    The same kind of parents and teachers who in the 1980s filled kids’ heads with fears of nuclear war. There seems to be a certain part of this society that projects its deepest phobias onto its children.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  28. TBF, I got this same sort of fatal future, end times fear from my “Christian” fundamentalist Presbyterian school back in ‘73 when the Middle East was at war and it all lined up with the Book of Revelation.

    PTw (83552a)

  29. It was about surrender to the soviets then (biden panetta and kerry were on that bandwagom then) now its surrender capitalism, distinction without a difference

    Narciso (181de5)

  30. 25… it is downright hilarious the length these climate chicken littles will go to. The wisdom of teh mid-teens seer/revelator!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  31. Well it worked for a time in australia, it has worked in western europe, so they gamble it will work here.

    Narciso (181de5)

  32. So if you know the temperature had ticked up in 10,000 years, instead of the last thousand, that amazon fires were more numerous 30 years ago, then theres no reason for panic.

    Narciso (181de5)

  33. If climate activists confiscate Jeff Bezos’ money and give it to me, I promise to maintain a much smaller climate footprint

    steveg (354706)

  34. how many kids got the seed of suicide planted in their heads yesterday.

    steveg (354706)

  35. that’s what I’m concerned about, it’s grossly irresponsible,

    narciso (d1f714)

  36. Today’s generation of youngsters have access to a level of global information and worldwide resources a post-grad, doctorate or top-notch executive could only have dreamed of being at their fingertips less than a generation ago. My nephew was doing astonishingly fine Powerpoint presentations in high school on a level equal to those we had used in business meetings and at ad agencies less than five years earlier. The depth of content and research contained in class work would easily have passed for college level work a generation earlier, too. And my niece would wake up and check on the weather that day… for Mars.

    These ‘kids’ are smart.

    They easily manage gadgets and systems that perplex their parents and can discern the difference in content from extremist, nut-bag social websites from the data presented by, say, NASA. And they know when they’re being tooled– and as most of you were kids yourselves once upon a time– know how to tool the toolers as well… to make noise, get attention– and what’s wanted.

    They source their news wisely and have plans and priorities for the world they will inherit. Priorities that matter to them, not to us – we’ll be dead.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. that’s what’s stake in the mann litigation against tim ball (lost) and pending, the amount of chicanery in hiding the medieval warming period, putting sensors on heat islands that skew the readings is rather extraordinary, you want to terrorize young people who don’t know anybody their lifestyle is the cause of some great future cataclysm, sound the eloi klaxons,

    narciso (d1f714)

  38. @20. Think you’ve got it backwards; BB’s were handed, by their elders, the looming threat of global thermonuclear war, turds to swallow of assassinated leaders JFK, MLK & RFK, the unforgivable and deadly lies of Vietnam then garnished the platter w/t corruption of Watergate and so much more. Then many BB’s followed the excess materialism- on plastic- of Reaganomics, pitched by their elders.

    Boomers gave you Microsoft, Apple and Amazon… for starters… on a $ilver platter.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. self indulgent brats, who scoffed at their parents massive sacrifices, both in the great depression, and in the field of battle, who took for granted the prosperity that followed, almost as tedious as the millennials of the current day, who know the value of nothing, but are confident how they feel about it,

    narciso (d1f714)

  40. @38. Deniers can no longer defend denying the truth; so in retreat, they deny the truthtellers instead. Just more echo chamber wailing.

    Fewer and fewer listen; Flat Earth Society.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  41. of course we can, that’s why we look at the larger climate record through out history, this is the fraud that has been presented to justify the elimination of modern society, as an exercise in virtue,

    narciso (d1f714)

  42. @42. The ‘larger climate history’ does not support your POV.

    ‘Modern society’ is relative; see the Centennial Exposition of 1876, the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, NYC’s 1939 World’s Fair..or the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens for details.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. @40. Reaganomics.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. If activists are willing to abort their own babies, I guess why not instill fear and terror among them with the world is ending scenarios? These kids are expendable. Just ask their parents.

    Dana (05f22b)

  45. A lot of boomer energy emanating from this thread.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  46. They have to put up with their little sh!ts’ fatuousness but there’s no reason why we should.

    nk (dbc370)

  47. What’s the matter with kids these days?

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  48. @40. ‘Self-indulgent brats.’ Yep. Grandmother was one; a genuine-flask in-her-garter- belt ‘flapper.’

    Some day you’ll understand the ‘greatest generation’ was just a book title; allowing fascism to fester and foolishly stumbling into economic turmoil really wasn’t all that ‘great’ by any of them… it was literally depressing– but then, it was their parents who fumbled that ball in the handoff so they can blame the Lost Generation who in turn can blame their folks for The Great War… and so on… and so on… Each generation does the best with what they’ve got to work with. Boomers, Gen-Xers etc., are no different.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  49. Your kids don’t know what the hell they are talking about

    That’s why they’re using schoolchildren.

    Now the question is: Why should anyone be taken in this nonsense?

    Sammy Finkelman (9a15c6)

  50. @44. =ding= fter the bell; wholly discredited.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  51. 37: Oh be serious: we’ve heard that false idea for decades. In fact, kids today know less history, almost no economics. They do not know how their electricity and food is provided, how bloated their state pensions are, or anything about the relative state of military readiness between China, the US, Russia and India.

    They are inclined to vote for things that sound good without any idea of how they will be paid for, and unilaterally disarm without the slightest idea of the consequences.

    Their mastery of gadgets our generation invented has not made them smarter. Any more than Germans before 1933 were smarter than The Founders, or the Romans. Technology only allows them to amass more data without a clue as to what it all means.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  52. “our generation”


    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  53. Your list of failures for “kids today” are the fault of your generation.

    Davethulhu (fe4242)

  54. 47… “A lot of boomer energy emanating from this thread.”

    The millennials working Big Tech may be different, but corporate HR people have noted many of that generation hear about working some weekends and the occasional holiday (per the needs of the business) and they run in the opposite direction. Amazingly high percentage of people not showing for job interviews, being interviewed and after a job is offered and accepted, not showing up for the first day of work or even a courtesy call letting the business know they’ve reconsidered and decided against accepting the job.

    Very lame behavior…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. 57… add lack of personal responsibility and simple accountability to the list.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. Now some of that is the fault of parents, no doubt, and it would also help if the young one didn’t have their faces in their smart devices for the majority of their waking hours.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  57. Young ones

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  58. Growing up we were never bused around by a football mom or anyone. Walked or rode a bike to practices. Worked your behind off for a couple years so you could buy that car when you get your drivers license. Those days are long gone. Heck a few years ago one just need a heartbeat to buy a house. Work ethic and common sense needs a comeback.

    mg (8cbc69)

  59. Amen!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  60. It should be unbelievable, and it is amazing, the things that are being printed in TIME magazine and New York Magazine and Newsweelk about climate change – they are not The Nation. I’ll try to get around toi quoting some of this. Absolutely amazing and incredible nonsense.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

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