Why does truth matter in teaching?

Clio et cetera

Consider the following propositions, all of which are ones that pupils in school are likely to encounter in their futures:

(1) Homeopathy is an effective treatment for a range of illnesses

(2) The number of people killed in the Holocaust has been vastly exaggerated

(3) There is a link between the MMR vaccine and autism

(4) Dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past

Each of these statements is not true, and they can be shown not to be true through appropriate academic disciplines. Medical trials and hard stats shows us that (1) and (3) are not true, while sources available from the 1940s can show historians that (2) is not true (indeed this is one of the few matters of history to have passed a legal burden of proof!) Palaeontology, anthropology, geology and some radio-carbon dating can all show us that (4) is not true.

Now why does this matter?

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