In her March 12 column, Sheila Suess Kennedy states that “education is the archenemy of certitude.” She goes on to state that her students will be a bit less sure they have the answers … they will know more … they will also have a greater appreciation of what they don’t know. She also states “If I do my job well, they will also have critical tools they can use to assess the credibility of the information with which they are increasingly bombarded.”
I agree. It is the definition of the classic education, to make the student aware of the complexities of our world and give them the ability for critical thinking and discernment.
Unfortunately, some educational institutions do not embrace this role and mission. Professors espouse their own views in class and make it difficult for students who challenge them to get a fair grade. A case in point is the first subject that Kennedy lists as one aspect of modernity, evolution. Evolution is being taught in the schools, but it is being taught as fact, not as the theory that it is. If we were truly enlightened, we would also discuss the merits and flaws of this theory, as well as alternative theories or perspectives, such as intelligent design.
Enlightenment can be a positive force, but only if it is coupled with intellectual honesty.
Marie-Christine Pence, Plainfield