I was reading this thread on Quora, and one of the comments included the observation that we teach American schoolchildren scientific facts (if even this), but rarely teach the scientific method, which would better enable them to figure things out for themselves.
I have thought about this off and on, and my conclusion is that there are many institutions, not just religious ones, that benefit from a population that doesn’t think critically about the world. I’m not saying there’s a coherent strategy to keep people uneducated (there’s no need to imagine a plot), but there’s no push to make it happen, so it doesn’t happen. Here are a few such organizations or institutions that I thought of off the top of my head:
- Marketing: you would prefer it to be easy to convince people to buy your stuff
- Politics: easier to get people to vote for you if you can use emotion and not logic
- Military: people with good critical thinking skills might see that military action is usually not your best first option (probably a sub-category of politics)
- Religion (of course)
- Professional team sports (probably a sub-category of marketing)
- Parents who want their kids to grow up believing in the same things they do