Teaching rationality to kids?

by chaosmage 1 min read16th Oct 201323 comments


I'm finally getting around to reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow". Much of it I had already learned on LW and elsewhere. Maybe that's why my strongest impression from the book is how accessible it is. Simple sentences, clear and vivid examples, easy-to-follow exercises, a remarkable lack of references to topics not explained right away.

I caught myself thinking "This is a book I should have read as a kid". In my first language, I think I could have managed it as early as 11 years old. Since measured IQ is strongly influenced by habits of thinking and cognitive returns can be reinvested, I'm sure I would be smarter now if I had.

So I have decided to buy a stack of these books and give them to kids on their, say, 12th birthdays. Then maybe Dan Dennett's "Intuition Pumps" a year later - and HPMOR a year after that? I would like to see more suggestions from you guys.

It should be obviously better to start even earlier. So how do you teach rationality to a nine-year-old? Or a seven-year-old? Has anybody done something like that? Please name books, videos or web sites.

If such media are not available, creating them should be low-hanging fruit in the quest to raise the global IQ and sanity waterline. ELI5 writing is very learnable, after all, and ELI5 type interpretations of, say, the sequences, might be helpful for adults too.