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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A lie-to-children (plural lies-to-children) is a simplified explanation of technical or complex subjects as a teaching method for children and laypeople. The phrase has been incorporated by academics within the fields of biology, evolution, bioinformatics and the social sciences. Media use has extended to publications including The Conversation and Forbes. It is closely related to the philosophical concept known as Wittgenstein's ladder.

Scientists Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart first discussed the term in their non-fiction book, The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World (1994). They elaborated upon this concept in their non-fiction book: Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind (1997). Cohen and Stewart further delved into a discussion of the issue with author Terry Pratchett in the book The Science of Discworld (1999). The term subsequently gained traction by academics and has been since discussed within the framework of teaching methodology. British author David Langford said his favorite theme within Discworld was the lie-to-children trope. Andrew Sawyer included the subject itself in his article titled: "Narrativium and Lies-to-Children: 'Palatable Instruction in 'The Science of Discworld'". Tim Worstall wrote for Forbes that lie-to-children was ubiquitous across multiple academic disciplines.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lie-to-children" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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