Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes. Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science.
There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: “I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.”"
Why should we draw some arbitrary line and rule out whole areas of investigation?
- Sigmund Freud: I have absolutely no objection to your studying telepathy or parapsychology to your heart’s content. But I would make the point that our own field is so embattled that it can only be dangerous to stray into any kind of mysticism. Don’t you see? We have to stay within the most igorously scientific confines.
- Carl Jung: Yes, but I can’t agree with you. Why should we draw some arbitrary line and rule out whole areas of investigation?
- Sigmund Freud: Precisely, because the world is full of enemies looking for any way they can to discredit us. And the moment they see us abandon the firm ground of sexual theory to wallow in the black mud of superstition they will pounce. As far as I’m concerned, even to raise these subjects is professional suicide.