When my daughter was in primary school, I was invited by the teacher to give a presentation to small girls sitting on the floor. On drugs. OK, on the similarities between smarties (candy) and real pills. Why were the teachers so keen on this, I cant remember.
Sure I did. Armed with my powerpoints with pictures, there I was explaining. Before I ever asked for questions, I had a hand up. ‘How does the medicine know where to go in the body?’. Excellent question, I replied, in the tone of those answers that are a mixture of ‘how on earth am I going to answer that?’ and ‘look at that little cute girl, could she have asked another question’.
I want to believe that my interest for Critical Thinking started that morning at my daughter’s primary school surrounded by cute little girls in uniform. By the way, I went on and on trying to explain how smart those pills were, which did not help the argument on differentiating with smarties, chocolates themselves obviously very smart as well.
I then realised how much we take for granted that we can’t explain. Not to the standards of a primary school girl
How does electricity work?
How can my pictures in my iphone appear as well in my Mac?
What about the radio?
How those satellites capture what? How do they get to come to my TV screen? Those dishes in the roof? Really?
What is exactly ‘the cloud’?
String theory, what? Black holes?
Our comfort with the unknown is incredible. The same people who are hard core, fundamental, evidence base rationalists and who would dismiss the entire universe of spirituality, can’t actually explain to me, convincingly, any of the list above.
I confess I can’t find any distance between quantum physics and Greek mythology, but the latter is much more fun.
One hour later, the cute little girls (and teachers) did not show any interest in ending the session. I have run out of PowerPoints and clever explanations. But I have had a good ride with many stories and, in my view, convincing arguments. It was not easy. Give me a boardroom with alpha-male and alpha-female execs and I will fly. Give me primary school children and I would feel completely defeated.
The thing was ending, but not for another (different) cute little girl. Hand up. ‘But….(silence)…how does the medicine know where to go in the body?’