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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th!

I never thought Darwin was such a big deal. Raised a Catholic, I knew the Adam and Eve story and after probably believing it to be absolutely true as a child, much like Santa Claus, I eventually believed it to be just another creation myth, nothing to be taken literally. I'd heard about evolution, natural selection seemed pretty obvious, and I could certainly see the resemblance between apes and man, but I never gave it much more thought.

Until one day when Jorge and I picked a nephew up from his strange little Baptist school. We asked him how his day was:

It was awesome! We listened to a recording of a dinosaur!

A story about a dinosaur?

No! An actual dinosaur! They played a tape for us. This man studied dinosaurs and had a recording of a real live one!

Maybe they were imagining what they might have sounded like...

NO! This guy found a real live dinosaur...

That's impossible, [Nephew], dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years...
And recording devices have only been around about a hundred years...
And dinosaurs were never around when man was...

Uncle, Jorge! You're an evolutionist!

Well, I guess I am then, [Nephew].

Me too, I announced after hearing our nephew's disgusted accusation and my husband's avowal. It had never occurred to me before then that a school would teach outright lies. Or, at least if they were not intentionally misleading students, be so damned stupid. I was outraged and glad to count myself among the heathens.

Today I'm making sure that my children understand that evolution is true, and what a difficult decision Charles Darwin faced over publishing his revolutionary findings.

Out of all the books we've read and enjoyed on the subject these last couple of weeks, my favorite has been the elaborate and gorgeously illustrated The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sis, while Elle prefers Virginia Lee Burton's Life Story and has been eagerly taking notes chapter by chapter. To celebrate Darwin's milestone anniversary and because I realize now more than ever how important this knowledge is in the face of growing ignorance, I'm going to set aside all my other current reading in favor of Darwin's own groundbreaking classic, On the Origin of Species.


Sara said...

A recording of a dinosaur? Where does this stuff come from?

yep, time to celebrate Darwin. The Farm School blog has been posting some Huge lists of suggested reading - you might want to go check them out if you want to read more about him. ;)

Eryn at HomeSchooledYear.com said...

Darn it, *I* want to hear a recording of a dinosaur!

Guess I'll have to hang out at the baptist schools? :( Obviously my education is lacking.

What's upsetting isn't that he really believed that he heard this dinosaur, it's that he is also taught to label your husband as an evolutionist, just for saying that dinosaurs weren't alive at the same time as man.

I'm hoping this is a horribly embarrassing and funny story for him when he's older, that he can't believe he ever said that as a kid ;)