The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The birth of scepticism

The very young do not doubt, but, at some point, the first signs of scepticism creep into their minds. Ainan, 7, has already past that point.

Yesterday, Ainan came to me with a question: "Daddy, do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?"

"No, I don't. Sometimes they get the facts wrong."

"Me neither.", he began, more sure of himself now that he had found a fellow non-believer in the truth of all newspaper articles.

"You see, there is this girl, in the newspaper...", he began, quickly and quietly, in a rapid explanation of what he doubted and why.

The particular story is unimportant. What is important here is that he has begun to assert the primacy of his own judgments over the reports of others. To him, a news story is not to be accepted without question: it is to be judged against an internal set of criteria to determine its likelihood of truth.

Perhaps this is part of the process of becoming a scientist: the forming of independent opinions as to the truth of matters; the testing of information against what one knows and understands as well as, where it applies, experimentally.

I do not know when he formed this idea that newspapers were not to be trusted without examination. This is the first time he has mentioned this view to me - so it might have been resident in him for some time. It is, however, further evidence that the tendency to think for himself, in matters of science, has become more generalized: he is thinking for himself, in all areas - even in the simple reading of a newspaper.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and nine months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and two months, and Tiarnan, nineteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:18 PM 


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