The Only Relevant Thing

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Instead of learning science, British pupils will learn about the way science and scientists work within society, because their education must be relevant to the 21st century — which reminds David Foster of this passage from C.S. Lewis’s A Preface to Paradise Lost, contrasting Milton’s takes on Adam and Satan:

Adam talks about God, the Forbidden tree, sleep, the difference between beast and man, his plans for the morrow, the stars and the angels. He discusses dreams and clouds, the sun, the moon, and the planets, the winds and the birds. He relates his own creation and celebrates the beauty and majesty of Eve…Adam, though locally confined to a small park on a small planet, has interests that embrace ‘all the choir of heaven and all the furniture of earth.’ Satan has been in the heaven of Heavens and in the abyss of Hell, and surveyed all that lies between them, and in that whole immensity has found only one thing that interests Satan.

The only thing relevant to Satan is Satan himself:

One need not believe in a literal Satan, or for that matter be religious at all, to see the force of this. There is indeed something Satanic about a person who has no interests other than themselves. And by insisting that everything be “relevant” and discouraging the development of broader interests, the educational authorities in Britain are doing great harm to the children put in their charge.

The new lite-yet-relevant curriculum leads to questions on the national exam like this:

In a multiple choice question, teenagers were asked why electric wires are made from copper. The four possible answers were that copper was brown, was not magnetic, conducted electricity, or that it conducted heat.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    I’m going with brown.

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