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agympro
06-19-2013, 01:58 AM
I am a new homeschooling mom, daughter will be starting 2nd grade in a month or so. We have not begun to cover this as part of school but she has asked in passing how the first person was ever born if no mom was alive to birth them.

We are not a religious family but my husband is somewhat drawn to beliefs of the Bible. When it comes to creation vs evolution I am 100% evolution. When she asked the question my husband proceeded to tell her about the creation of Adam and after he was done I politely explained that some people believe that but that others believe in evolution (explained in 6 yr old terms). This was my way of letting her know both of her parents viewpoints and he did not have a problem with me bringing that up to her. To me, this was the best way to handle a situation where I don't think we will ever agree.

Has anyone else come across a situation like this? Has anyone taught that there are two "ideas"? Just looking for some opinions/ideas for how to handle it when it comes time to actually teach the concept to her. Thanks!

popsicle1010
06-19-2013, 04:49 AM
You can find lots of resources out there on creation stories or creation myths that discuss how people have explained the beginning of life throughout history and across cultures. Perhaps exploring it from that perspective would work well for your family? It would certainly give your daughter lots of good information!

Good luck!

hockeymom
06-19-2013, 06:13 AM
I've talked to DS about the idea of creationism (we are in no way religious). He doesn't have time for that kind of thinking so he dismisses it as quackery, but I think it's important for him to respect people even if their viewpoints and beliefs are opposite of ours. I was sidelined at age 30 when I became aware that there are people who actually follow the Bible and so forth, and I'd prefer that he has a heads up before I did! :)

murphs_mom
06-19-2013, 08:44 AM
DD had questions about where the planet, the moon, and the first person came from back when she was 3 or 4yo and I told her pretty much the truth: no one knows the full 100% truth about where everything came from. After that, I started telling her about the Big Bang, evolution, and some of the other theories regarding the beginnings of life. Then I asked her what her theory was. She came up with a jumbled mix of science fact and Christianity. I am fine with that for now. :)

As she gets older and learns more, I expect that she'll be able to read and study, on her own, about the known information we have regarding the formation of the universe. And we will be delving into a number of the religions and their beliefs. We will leave it up to her to decide what she wants to believe. FWIW, DD is now less concerned with the Big Bang and is more intrigued by the Big Crunch. :rolleyes: I don't think I would fret too much over what the 'right' answer is to your DD's question. Not everyone will agree on the same story of how man came to be...maybe that should be the important take away?

Mum
06-19-2013, 08:50 AM
Going along a similar line of thinking as other posters, do you think your husband might accept a compromise that involved studying creation myths as a unit study of some sort and exclusively evolution and scientific theory when approaching Science?

Mum
06-19-2013, 08:58 AM
:rolleyes: I don't think I would fret too much over what the 'right' answer is to your DD's question. Not everyone will agree on the same story of how man came to be...maybe that should be the important take away?

Man, I wish I could be as relaxed are you are about this. Honestly, if my kids starting adopting a creation myth as part of their scientific understanding of how things came to be, it would be a hard pill to swallow. And if my husband were to suddenly become a creationist it would end our marriage.

Mum
06-19-2013, 09:12 AM
Man, I wish I could be as relaxed are you are about this. Honestly, if my kids starting adopting a creation myth as part of their scientific understanding of how things came to be, it would be a hard pill to swallow. And if my husband were to suddenly become a creationist it would end our marriage.

Just making sure my tone is read correctly. I sincerely wish I were this relaxed. I don't like that it would bother me this much. Just being honest about how hard it would be for me. I think it's cool that you can see something different in it.

dbmamaz
06-19-2013, 09:14 AM
my husband is not a communicator. However, he has said several times to me that he's not convinced that evolution is true. after being pushed (ok, the only way you can 'push' him is to ask once question every two weeks, otherwise he'll yell and shut down) he admitted that its not that he believes anything else more than he believes evolution, but he has not seen adequate proof . . . and does not want to read about it.

Now, I have an evolution timeline poster on the wall in the 'computer' room (the room the family spends the most time in). I started a facebook group called "I homeschool and I teach the science of evolution." It really annoys the crap out of me that he would talk this way . . . but i just ignore it. He is not willing to have a serious discussion about it, so I wont take him seriously.

Likewise, he occasionally gets angry when we speak negatively about religion. When we me on line, he'd listed himself as agnostic/athiest. He swore the catholic church he grew up in cured him of religion. He has said more than once he does not believe in god. But . . he gets defensive when we speak too loosely about religious beliefs we find humorous.

that one i think i should be a LITTLE more sensitive to . ..but, again, he is not willing to talk about it past saying we are being rude or disrespectful - esp my teen.

i'll continue to ignore him.

oh, and all my kids went through brief phases of believing in religion and they all got over it without me explicitly telling them its wrong - i do a lot of the 'different people believe different things'

murphs_mom
06-19-2013, 09:31 AM
I can't control my child's thoughts. She may decide to become Muslim one day and it will crush me. But it's her life, her choice. All I can do is bombard her with as many facts as I can, share my opinions, have DH share his, and hope that she chooses a path that's good for her. Life is a crap shoot...what can I say? :p

As for revelations that almost ended a marriage, when DH came out to me that he was running for a council seat as a REPUBLICAN, I nearly ended ours. I'm not a Democrat, but Republican? Seriously?? The really big blow up came when he told me that he was against gay marriage. WHY??? His answer rambled on about how it somehow diminished our marriage. Um, the marriage that began with a Celtic-based wedding on a beach, and followed with a Halloween-themed dinner theater reception? That marriage? The same man who jokes with me about planting tulip bulbs in the shape of a pentacle on our front lawn just so we can annoy the neigbors each spring was using flawed Christian bible-thumping 'logic' to justify his belief that it was okay to deny same-sex couples the right to be legally married. That nearly ended our marriage. Fortunately he eventually realized the error of his ways. Maybe. :p

As long as he doesn't expect me to suddenly buy into creationist beliefs with him, I'm kinda meh on the whole thing.

dbmamaz
06-19-2013, 09:34 AM
oy, that would be a hard one to swallow, Carolyn!!

jenblackwell2
06-19-2013, 10:09 AM
First I have to say, that it may seem short cited, but I could not have committed my life to someone that had an opposing view re: evolution v. creationism or same gender marriage for that matter... I guess you guys are just a bit more evolved than I am.

Second, one of the ways we approach this question in Sunday school and I do with my children as well is to show that the historic texts that people find sacred are powerful histories of how people understood the world and the science around them at their time in place in civilization. We look at many ancient and sacred creation stories, we discuss how science has change through the millennia and ask them to imagine how 2000+ years from now people may few our ideas about evolution and how the world began.

We also discuss how some people still view their creation histories as a literal truth, and how we should be respectful of these ideas even if we personally believe them to be unfounded. My 4 year old was very interested in this topic when I was studying with a Jehovah's witness, a really wonderful woman, and she and I literally could not get out of Eden... She had a difficult time understanding how one cloud understand a story as metaphorically true, without understanding a story as literally true...

I think if you and DH have agreed about your differences, it could be very powerful for your daughter to see how people with some pretty fundamental differences in opinion about things like the beginning of humanity can not just coexist but cohabitat. If your two ideas are taught together lovingly and respectfully I think it could be a great gift to your daughter.

Crabby Lioness
06-19-2013, 10:32 AM
Gah! Why don't people actually listen to Jesus on this matter? "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Let the scientists handle the science end the religion handle the spiritual end.

We had a Conservative Christian come on a Pagan forum once asking about our creation myth. He had trouble understanding that most of us don't need one. We're okay with science explaining how we got here. Our focus is on leaving the world in a better shape for our children.

dbmamaz
06-19-2013, 11:22 AM
btw, my first husband and i agreed on most things philosophical and spiritual and intellectual . . . but he never found me attractive, couldnt hold a job, and started getting violent. My current husband and I got together in our late 30s - we get along well but just dont talk about other stuff much. Maybe its not ideal, but when you are a single mom w 2 kids and a man who earns more than you do and is brilliant and interesting and thinks you are hot . . . accidentally gets you pregnant and wants to marry you . . . you say yes . . .

atomicgirl
06-19-2013, 01:01 PM
My mom has always been a very religious Catholic. We were hyper-focused on religion, "celebrated" all the semi-interesting feast days, had statues of Mary all over the house, and a photo of the pope in the bathroom. I thought I'd be a nun when I grew up. I also had a scientist in my life. The son of my grandmother's neighbor was a Physicist and NYU lecturer. His wife was an editor for Natural History Magazine and could get me into the back rooms at the American Museum of Natural History. They liked me, and taught me things. So, in second grade, during a lesson on creation by a nun in CCD (Catholic Sunday school), I asked about evolution, a subject I knew pretty darn well for a 2nd grader. In that moment my two worlds collided. She berated me for heresy and then I was ejected from class (shocking for the devote little nun-wanna-be I was) and sent to the priest's office. Luckily the smart, young, progressive priest was on duty that Saturday. He calmed me down and helped me work through all the reasons my two worlds were not in conflict, so I could be a good Catholic and a scientist all at the same time. (That I'm not even a poor Catholic anymore is beside the point.)

I tell this story, because it's important to realize that young kids can, and do, believe contradictory things without judgment or confusion. It's part of their developmental stage. There's no reason you can't teach evolution while dad teaches creation. These things will live in two separate places in your child's mind until age (or a crazy nun) demands reconciliation. At the same time, if you really want to sway lifetime allegiance, spend less time on specific theories and more time helping your child to develop a strong understanding of the scientific method, logic, and a deep understanding of what a "theory" is. A scientist's understanding of what a theory is. That can be done with topics that won't strain your marriage.

In the long term, however, this is really a marriage issue, rather than a home school issue. It's something you will need to discuss deeply with your spouse. What seem like minor disagreements now (or not) can become major stumbling blocks down the road. What other beliefs does have with which you disagree? What other information does he object to you teaching your child? How much involvement does he want to have with home schooling and curriculum? If he wants equal representation, how much are you willing to give? This evolution clash seems like a good time to have a good long talk.

Gummers
06-19-2013, 01:18 PM
I was going to make divorce jokes but I see I'm late to the party....

CatInTheSun
06-19-2013, 01:31 PM
Would he be willing to explore WHY he has biblical leanings towards the creation story? Has he ever really studied it? Is this something he'd be willing to do? Does he know that the literal interpretation of the bible is a modern construct (less than 200 years)? Even Jesus wouldn't have taken the creation story as a literal event! Maybe if he really looked at how day and night was created before the sun (and plants before that), how the word for firmament is all tied to the "vaults of heaven" and upside down iron colander that separated the "waters above" (sky) from the earth with gated holes to let the rain through, and "waters below" (earth as an island floating in the sea) -- all fit with the early Babylonian model of the earth and heavens. Abram came from Ur, after all.

The concepts of something being "true" and something having "really happened" were different. Our obsession with whether something "really happened" is modern and wasn't a big concern since until modern archeology would have just been chalked up to unknowable and more importantly, not that important. What mattered was whether the story was TRUE as in contained truth. Aesop's Fables are true in this sense since they contain truth. Did a hare and turtle ever really race? Who knows. :p

I just spent a week near the remains of the Great Inland Sea. At one campground literally every other rock you kicked over contained a fossil of coral or a sea creature. All I could think arrogant it is as a christian to choose to believe in man's creation story (written in Genesis) rather than God's creation story, written in every rock and bit of DNA on earth.

agympro
06-19-2013, 02:06 PM
I don't think I would fret too much over what the 'right' answer is to your DD's question. Not everyone will agree on the same story of how man came to be...maybe that should be the important take away?

This is EXACTLY what my thought was. In the end, I don't too much care what she believes when it comes to evolution vs. creation. Too many other things to worry about in raising a child to be a responsible, happy, confident adult who is respectful of different opinions no matter if they agree with them or not.

murphs_mom
06-19-2013, 02:22 PM
First I have to say, that it may seem short cited, but I could not have committed my life to someone that had an opposing view re: evolution v. creationism or same gender marriage for that matter... I guess you guys are just a bit more evolved than I am.

I cannot speak for anyone else here, so take it with a grain of salt when I say that sometimes people head into a relationship with no plans to marry, to have children, or possibly even to co-habitate. DH was 5yr divorced when we met and he had no intention of ever marrying again. He also had a 15yo son from that marriage and three step-daughters who were older than his son. He was done with having children. He was just looking for someone to travel with, go out, have fun, be friends. That was totally what I wanted, also. I still don't want to be married. :_lol: I only did it because he really, really wanted it after we'd been together for 8yr. He gave me some nonsense about how the marriage license gave him a sense of security. I still don't understand that, but I married him because it made him feel better.

Yeah, I wanted kids but the docs told me that it was no-go. I had given up on the idea. Discussing things like religion came up just long enough to determine that we're both respectful of others' choices, but we don't do the religion thing ourselves. Then we moved on to things that made for much better conversation: X-Files, the ocean, meteor showers, thunderstorms, chocolate addiction. We just clicked. The first nine years we were together were just unbelievably, nauseatingly perfect. We never fought. Ever. And then came DD...:_o:

We were together for 12yr before he announced his political leanings and that is what led to the conversation regarding same-sex marriage. At the root of all of it? The public school system. He wanted to run for office because he felt the local school system was toast and he wanted to do something about it. I couldn't really fault him for that. I was just shocked when he said Rep. and then, after I questioned why that party, he threw the same-sex marriage thing at me. If we hadn't had DD, he wouldn't have given the local school system a second glance. It just wasn't on our radar. We're 400yr old and those conversations weren't even considered. If I'd been 20yo and thinking white dresses and strollers, yeah, I'd have probably grilled him on his belief system. :)

agympro
06-19-2013, 02:23 PM
Thank you everyone for the replies and ideas. I am a little overwhelmed by the passion on this subject. Perhaps my words came across in the wrong way. This was a very light hearted discussion, probably because neither my husband or myself are super passionate about it so I guess its never really been an issue. We have never had a problem with different opinions on this, or any other religious matters. Agreeing to disagree works well for us since its not a focal point in our family. We don't have the same opinions on this, but we do not have the same opinions on other things either. As long as they are not things that are at the core of his character I don't much care. Definitely not a marriage issue for us. After 20 years I think we have both come to know that there are many other things to worry about when it comes to a happy, successful marriage and working as a team to raise a family. Not that it won't need compromise, however, since many things do in marriage and life. I plan on using this as a tool to teach my daughter (and son, who is younger) to understand that people have different ideas and opinions on this subject, and a lot of other things. If I can raise them to be happy, responsible, caring, and compassionate adults who are respectful of others opinion regardless of if they agree or not I will be a happy mom. :D

dragonfly
06-19-2013, 02:25 PM
When I was little, my family went to church pretty regularly, and I knew about the Adam and Eve myth, Noah's ark, etc. I also learned about science and evolution in school. It never really occurred to me that they were incompatible ideas, I just accepted each for what they were. I wonder if we sometimes get too concerned about children getting confused--I think a lot of kids are able to compartmentalize ideas pretty well.

I think something like, "The Bible teaches this...," and "Science teaches this...," is the most I would ever say in way of explanation to a young child.

quabbin
06-19-2013, 02:27 PM
Well... DH is an evolution-believing Catholic, and he is quick to point out that the Bible is not a science textbook. That's just not what the book is about. Would you use Hamlet as your textbook for European history? Of course not. It's a story that provides insight into the nature of people, relationships, and power. The Bible is an anthology of stories, some of them grounded in fact, that comment on the nature of God and humanity, life, and relationships. The big questions, the Whys.
Science is into Hows. So one approach in your homeschool could be to look to religious materials for your Whys, to read its stories for their implications about right living and the divine, and to find your Hows in science.

agympro
06-19-2013, 02:30 PM
I think something like, "The Bible teaches this...," and "Science teaches this...," is the most I would ever say in way of explanation to a young child.

This is basically what I did, in not so many words. I love your wording idea. THANK YOU!

dbmamaz
06-19-2013, 03:14 PM
We're 400yr old and those conversations weren't even considered. :)
wow, thats how I feel sometimes too :_lol:

Gummers
06-19-2013, 03:22 PM
When I was little, my family went to church pretty regularly, and I knew about the Adam and Eve myth, Noah's ark, etc. I also learned about science and evolution in school. It never really occurred to me that they were incompatible ideas, I just accepted each for what they were. I wonder if we sometimes get too concerned about children getting confused--I think a lot of kids are able to compartmentalize ideas pretty well.

I think something like, "The Bible teaches this...," and "Science teaches this...," is the most I would ever say in way of explanation to a young child.

Maybe they compartmentalize, but maybe they internalize. That's the risk, IMO, of presenting religious materials on an equal footing with scientific.

mamaraby
06-20-2013, 12:12 AM
There's also the possibility for one to grill one's partner about these things and agree completely...

...when you get married. But life's not static and not everyone's beliefs remain the same through life. I'm really glad that my dh's evolved with mine and along the same path, but that doesn't mean that they necessarily would have and I can't say that it would have been a deal breaker this far out.

I'm not surprised by the passion in this thread (although it didn't read as all that passionate to me) because I thik this issue touches on the nerve/tension of what it means to be a secular homeschooler and how damn difficult it can be to buy science curriculum. It's like shopping for curriculum, but at home. With that one person.

dragonfly
06-20-2013, 07:55 AM
Okay, I didn't get much sleep, so some of this might be the product of a tired brain. I'm also making generalizations; I realize this isn't true for all, but it has been true in my life.

I think that young kids have a natural belief in magic. It's why we have stories about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, putting buttercups under your chin, making a wish on a star/candles/dandelion/wishbone. As they get older and their brain and reasoning skills become more developed, they figure it out on their own that they are not real. My brother figured out the Santa thing and kept his knowledge to himself for several years so he could get more toys. I figured it out when I noticed Santa and my mom had the same handwriting. I can't remember what tipped my son off, but he was happy to have figured it out, like solving a mystery. I see it as an important part of growing up and developing reason and logical thinking.

I think the Bible myths are the same. They are nice, magical stories that are easy for young kids who still believe in magic to understand. Eventually, the idea of evolution will make much more sense, and they'll see creation myths for what they are, on par with a magic bunny that hides your eggs and gives you candy.

And yeah, some people never let go of their magical thinking, at least not completely. That can be a good or bad thing, I suppose.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Your mileage may vary. :)

dottieanna29
06-20-2013, 08:32 AM
I teach evolution as part of science. I teach creation myths as part of history. We go to church but a very liberal one that doesn't have a problem with evolution or take everything literally.

Another one here who didn't really have these discussions before getting married for the second time. I had no plans to ever get married again. Dh convinced me otherwise.

Gummers
06-20-2013, 09:33 AM
Okay, I didn't get much sleep, so some of this might be the product of a tired brain. I'm also making generalizations; I realize this isn't true for all, but it has been true in my life.

I think that young kids have a natural belief in magic. It's why we have stories about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, putting buttercups under your chin, making a wish on a star/candles/dandelion/wishbone. As they get older and their brain and reasoning skills become more developed, they figure it out on their own that they are not real. My brother figured out the Santa thing and kept his knowledge to himself for several years so he could get more toys. I figured it out when I noticed Santa and my mom had the same handwriting. I can't remember what tipped my son off, but he was happy to have figured it out, like solving a mystery. I see it as an important part of growing up and developing reason and logical thinking.

I think the Bible myths are the same. They are nice, magical stories that are easy for young kids who still believe in magic to understand. Eventually, the idea of evolution will make much more sense, and they'll see creation myths for what they are, on par with a magic bunny that hides your eggs and gives you candy.

And yeah, some people never let go of their magical thinking, at least not completely. That can be a good or bad thing, I suppose.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Your mileage may vary. :)

I guess we disagree on what we consider nice. The creation myth is misogynistic, among other things. Contained within a myth or fairy tale, misogyny can be a learning tool to expose the realities and biases that existed (and still exist). But if I didn't believe it happened I certainly wouldn't allow it to be taught as truth or as an equal alternative to evolution with the hope that the kids figure out everything isn't true one day. Because years of being told that women are 'sinners', are inferior, are from the rib of a man and created so he wouldn't be lonely, that it was woman who tempted man to eat the apple due to her own mental weaknesses... IMO that can have an impact that goes beyond the story. Just my opinion, of course.

dbmamaz
06-20-2013, 09:46 AM
The creation myth is misogynistic, among other things.
I'm pretty sure most people used the plural, creation MYTHS. Not all cultures have such misogynistic myths. Its fun to read and compare different myths.

Also, some people on this board are christians who want to use secular curricula. try to be respectful . . .

CatInTheSun
06-20-2013, 09:53 AM
When I taught Sunday School once (8-9yo) and creation came up in the curric, I taught the kids about 5 different creation myths, including Genesis and the Golden wedge of the Incas. I explained that all peoples struggle with understanding basic questions about how we came to be, is our nature good or bad, what are we supposed to do while we are alive. I also explained science explains creation a different way that doesn't include nor preclude God. As Christians we believed the bible held truth for that journey. Some believe the stories really happened as written. Others see the truth in what they say about our relationship to God and the world. What was unique about the jewish creation story of the time (compared to the tale it came from) was we were an intentional act by one god, we were "good", and God loves us and continues to be in relationship with us. What version of creation they chose to believe they would have to decide for themselves on their own faith journeys.

I do believe there is a danger with presenting evolution as a "belief" and on equal footing as creation myths and religions. I carefully did NOT do that. Evolution is not something you believe or do not believe, it is a theory you accept or do not accept. It is like gravity or electromagnetism, it is NOT like religion. Kids CAN hold two different conflicting ideas, but they will reach an age of integration when they will be in conflict. For me that was 8yo and I did not have the tools nor information to integrate evolution and creation stories. That conflict didn't resolve until I went to a Jesuit high school 6 years later and the good priests explained how evolution and the bible can coexist. LOL

Regardless of one's faith, I believe that better education on the history of creation myths, evolution, and science in general would do wonders for the horrid state of affairs that is a country with half of people so scientifically illiterate to believe the earth is under 10,000 years old despite every evidence to the contrary and even when their own religious views are not in conflict with a 4.5 billion yo earth. I think accommodation of religion and the equating of evolution with religion is to blame.

So, my advice: teach creation stories (a variety). Explore WHY we have them and especially the history of Gilgamesh->Genesis. Religion and Science are two different approaches to TRUTH that play by different rules. In religion, truth is what leads to enlightenment and a better life. In science, truth is what explains "facts" and allows predictions. Make sure your kids know that NOT all christians are creationist or take the bible literally (in fact, most don't). When it comes to science, teach them evolution in its infinite detail, down to codons. Explain it is a scientific theory, well supported, and in harmony with evidence in geology, biology, etc AND used evert day in fields such as medicine. Explain that some people choose for religious or personal reasons to disregard the scientific evidence and not accept evolution, and hold to their own beliefs about creation. However, this personal choice violates the scientific method. There is NO valid alternate scientific hypothesis to evolution, so in science it IS evolution, period. But in their personal beliefs, they can go with the Inca's Golden Wedge if they like. ;)

My 2cents. ;)

ETA: One other thing to point out to kids would be that at that creation myths were consistent with the physical world *as the people of the time understood it*. For example, the creation story of Genesis 1 was completely consistent with the scientific understanding of the world of the ancient Babylonians. The current conflict between science and the creation story is because our scientific understanding of our physical world changed over the last 4,000 years. I wonder what the creation story would be if not for a written canon.

Gummers
06-20-2013, 10:07 AM
I'm pretty sure most people used the plural, creation MYTHS. Not all cultures have such misogynistic myths. Its fun to read and compare different myths.

Also, some people on this board are christians who want to use secular curricula. try to be respectful . . .

The person I responded to specifically mentioned bible myths. That other people mentioned creation myths in plural is irrelevant to my post.

I am not the type of person that believes I need to shut up and keep my head down in threads lest I offend someone with different views, especially for something as obvious as misogyny in the biblical creation myth.

jenblackwell2
06-20-2013, 11:06 AM
I just want to apologize if my comment about committing to a partner with divergent ideals offended you. It was meant with the utmost sincerity. I am a bit of an idealist and and activist, so although my work leads me to stand with people of all different backgrounds and religious and political standings, if my partner and I weren't at least close it would be a great personal challenge for me.

Of course no person is static in their beliefs and I am very fortunate that most of the time DH and I are on the same page, even if we are not always in the same paragraph. I think my over all point may have been missed, and that simply is that I think having parents with strong difference of opinion in any area can be a rich lesson in diversity for a child. A great gift when a child sees strong opposing points of few played out in a generally loving and caring environment.

atomicgirl
06-20-2013, 11:29 AM
The creation myth is misogynistic, among other things. Contained within a myth or fairy tale, misogyny can be a learning tool to expose the realities and biases that existed (and still exist). But if I didn't believe it happened I certainly wouldn't allow it to be taught as truth or as an equal alternative to evolution with the hope that the kids figure out everything isn't true one day.

That's an excellent point. I was thinking about the issue in terms of impact on scientific understanding/acceptance, not in terms of reinforcing negative socio-emotional concepts or even normalizing structures of oppression. As I think about it more, that is the bigger danger. I recall a conversation I had with my mother when I finally made a clean break with "The Church". She said she'd always known I'd make that choice eventually because I was a "little scientist" from birth. I told her that science wasn't the issue; that I saw the conflict between science and religion as manufactured. Rather, I'd come to my conclusion from all the literary and historical reading I'd done. The religion with which I'd grown up was essentially in conflict with the morality I'd developed. She rolled her eyes and said she'd pray for me to be led back to God.

dragonfly
06-20-2013, 11:49 AM
FWIW, I used "nice" to mean, "easy to understand", not "good and lovely." :) It's hard to convey a tone of mild...disdain? See, I'm not even sure what to call the tone myself, but I'm sure it wasn't one of earnest sincerity! :)

I never taught any of the Bible myths to my son. He picked up on a few of them here and there, but he's been pretty much atheist ever since he was old enough to think about these things. He did study some Greek and Roman myths, though--talk about misogyny! :)

Pefa
06-20-2013, 06:47 PM
My problem is that light hearted or not, I'm hearing folks say "Creationism, Science, whatever." and that bugs me. To be clear, I don't think that's what you're actually saying but to me the two couldn't be more different. Science is process. Verifiable, repeatable, constantly testing what we know. Scientific knowledge changes because we learn new things, gain new understanding of what is. Religion serves a purpose - community, reflection, appreciation - but it is basically static. Teach creation myths in literature, in history in social studies all those places but they aren't science or scientific and shouldn't be given the same weight. To be human is to be capable of holding contradictory thoughts. I think you can be a great scientist and a practicing whatever, you just have to know the limits.

Crabby Lioness
06-20-2013, 10:09 PM
My problem is that light hearted or not, I'm hearing folks say "Creationism, Science, whatever." and that bugs me. To be clear, I don't think that's what you're actually saying but to me the two couldn't be more different. Science is process. Verifiable, repeatable, constantly testing what we know. Scientific knowledge changes because we learn new things, gain new understanding of what is. Religion serves a purpose - community, reflection, appreciation - but it is basically static. Teach creation myths in literature, in history in social studies all those places but they aren't science or scientific and shouldn't be given the same weight. To be human is to be capable of holding contradictory thoughts. I think you can be a great scientist and a practicing whatever, you just have to know the limits.

I get your point, but your understanding of religion is incomplete. Religion is not static. It's constantly changing as the culture of its adherents (who are not always "believers") changes. I can't think of a single religious sect in any tradition that hasn't seen dramatic changes in my lifetime. Granted I'm pushing 50 (Egads, did I actually type that?) but....

I had it easy. I married my best friend, who also has a PhD in Molecular Biology and a practicing shaman. Conversations at our table are interesting.

Pefa
06-21-2013, 05:30 AM
Yes I did simplify. Certainly religion changes - ordination of women in the Episcopal church, etc. But these are social changes not processes built into the system. Maybe it doesn't matter, but to me there is a difference. The two can totally co-exist happily and fully.

Crabby Lioness
06-21-2013, 10:47 AM
Yes I did simplify. Certainly religion changes - ordination of women in the Episcopal church, etc. But these are social changes not processes built into the system. Maybe it doesn't matter, but to me there is a difference. The two can totally co-exist happily and fully.

Religion is built around two processes: the process of facilitating and communicating intense spiritual revelations to the general public, and the process of using the same to facilitate social control mechanisms. Few people these days study the intricacies of how these processes develop and interact, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

atomicgirl
06-21-2013, 11:22 AM
I never taught any of the Bible myths to my son. He picked up on a few of them here and there, but he's been pretty much atheist ever since he was old enough to think about these things. He did study some Greek and Roman myths, though--talk about misogyny! :)

Greek mythology is our primary religion foundation, too. My daughter once built a shrine to Athena in her room. I briefly considered that she was just trying to give me an aneurism. When it first started (courtesy of Percy Jackson in 2nd grade) a friend gave her a copy of a nicely illustrated dictionary of Greek mythology. I hadn't studied the subject in a long time and didn't think anything of handing it to her while she sat in the back of the car. At some point I heard her sounding out the long Greek names and realized she was reading about Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. In a flash it all came back to me, and I panicked. I didn't want to explain the wealth of very adult topics she's find in that book. Moving her off of a topic is a non-starter though, so I bought her a copy of D'Aulaire's and let her go. It's been an interesting ride. She wore an owl necklace for awhile and tried to convince the Catholic girls in her class that was just like their little gold crosses.

Crabby Lioness
06-21-2013, 12:58 PM
Greek mythology is our primary religion foundation, too. My daughter once built a shrine to Athena in her room. I briefly considered that she was just trying to give me an aneurism. When it first started (courtesy of Percy Jackson in 2nd grade) a friend gave her a copy of a nicely illustrated dictionary of Greek mythology. I hadn't studied the subject in a long time and didn't think anything of handing it to her while she sat in the back of the car. At some point I heard her sounding out the long Greek names and realized she was reading about Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. In a flash it all came back to me, and I panicked. I didn't want to explain the wealth of very adult topics she's find in that book. Moving her off of a topic is a non-starter though, so I bought her a copy of D'Aulaire's and let her go. It's been an interesting ride. She wore an owl necklace for awhile and tried to convince the Catholic girls in her class that was just like their little gold crosses.

Aww! She's stealing this Pagan Mommy's heart.

reefgazer1963
06-21-2013, 03:33 PM
this is a golden opportunity to teach the difference between real science and beleif, and to teach the concept of *disproof* (not proof), which is how science progresses and self-corrects. you can discuss evolution as you discuss other scientific concepts, as something that has not yet been disproven, and which is a theory that rests on observable facts. that's simply true of all science, and nothing in science can be proven, just disproven. you can discuss what facts are, as opposed to beleifs. i think it is very important to clarify to your husband and child that evolution says nothing at all about religion, and that evolution and creationism are not exclusive (although evolution and young-earth creationism are). you might educate your husband some, and keep everyone happy this way.

reefgazer1963
06-21-2013, 03:47 PM
i agree with everything you said, especially the part about teaching your child to be a good scientist! if you do that, the other pieces will fall into place when this child is an adult and they will reach logical conclusions on their own. however, i do disagree with you about the marriage thing (which i bolded). my husband and i have disagreed on evolution for nearly 25 years we have been together, but we have a strong marriage and reach compromises when things like this appear. on this issue, i teach the facts that support evolutionary theory, with a nod to the fact that 1) evolution has never been disproven, 2) the concept of god and a divine creation cannot be disproven (it is not science) so it may be true, and 3) the two ideas of creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive no matter how many people wish it so. it satisfies his need to have religion legitimately recognized, and my need to teach evolution as the hard-core science it is. it is very important to keep religion out of the science classroom, and equally important to keep science out of religion, while still acknowledging the place of religion and creation beleifs in human history.


My mom has always been a very religious Catholic. We were hyper-focused on religion, "celebrated" all the semi-interesting feast days, had statues of Mary all over the house, and a photo of the pope in the bathroom. I thought I'd be a nun when I grew up. I also had a scientist in my life. The son of my grandmother's neighbor was a Physicist and NYU lecturer. His wife was an editor for Natural History Magazine and could get me into the back rooms at the American Museum of Natural History. They liked me, and taught me things. So, in second grade, during a lesson on creation by a nun in CCD (Catholic Sunday school), I asked about evolution, a subject I knew pretty darn well for a 2nd grader. In that moment my two worlds collided. She berated me for heresy and then I was ejected from class (shocking for the devote little nun-wanna-be I was) and sent to the priest's office. Luckily the smart, young, progressive priest was on duty that Saturday. He calmed me down and helped me work through all the reasons my two worlds were not in conflict, so I could be a good Catholic and a scientist all at the same time. (That I'm not even a poor Catholic anymore is beside the point.)

I tell this story, because it's important to realize that young kids can, and do, believe contradictory things without judgment or confusion. It's part of their developmental stage. There's no reason you can't teach evolution while dad teaches creation. These things will live in two separate places in your child's mind until age (or a crazy nun) demands reconciliation. At the same time, if you really want to sway lifetime allegiance, spend less time on specific theories and more time helping your child to develop a strong understanding of the scientific method, logic, and a deep understanding of what a "theory" is. A scientist's understanding of what a theory is. That can be done with topics that won't strain your marriage.

In the long term, however, this is really a marriage issue, rather than a home school issue. It's something you will need to discuss deeply with your spouse. What seem like minor disagreements now (or not) can become major stumbling blocks down the road. What other beliefs does have with which you disagree? What other information does he object to you teaching your child? How much involvement does he want to have with home schooling and curriculum? If he wants equal representation, how much are you willing to give? This evolution clash seems like a good time to have a good long talk.

atomicgirl
06-21-2013, 05:43 PM
What a fun, lively discussion!


however, i do disagree with you about the marriage thing (which i bolded).

I don't actually think what we're saying is so different. I didn't mean that they need to agree, but that they need to have deep discussions about the expectations of the other person in order to avoid problems. IMO she does need to deal with this issue with respect to her relationship with her husband if they are going to reach a compromise home school in harmony. Isn't that something you and your husband have done? A partnership, even reasonable division of labor, comes out of mutual understanding of each person's position, beliefs, needs and desires. In situations where 2 parties disagree on fundamental issues, I don't see a fair way around very frank discussions.

And I think that the issue was less that he was religious and she wasn't, but that he seems to be a creationist, while she believes in evolution. Creationism and evolution do seem to be mutually exclusive (at least from what I've seen on some less secular home school sites. eek.).

jessica14
06-21-2013, 07:41 PM
My son believes in God as do I and my daughter is like my husband and tends to think the Bible makes no sense. We present evolution as part of science and religion as more of a social studies/literature thing. What I find so interesting is that some Christians believe that every other creation story out there is a myth and theirs is the truth, never mind evolution.

And I guess because I was looking to settle down, things like what political party he aligned himself with and what his philosophical beliefs were about all kinds of social issues was important to me. I think I would have been in the camp of not getting married if we didn't have the same ones. Not that plenty of other things haven't come up, but there were some basic things that were important.

JenRay
06-21-2013, 11:00 PM
I think it was our second date, as we where walking around an air show, when my now husband said, "I think it is time to talk about our views on some of life's important issues." I thought, "OH SHYZZA! It is WAY too early for him to be talking like this! I gotta nip this in the bud and get outta dodge!"
Then he said, "Creamy or crunchy? Pepsi or Coke?" :D (I was so relieved!)
We don't prefer the same kind of peanut butter, he is more politically conservative than I am (although he is coming around ;) ) and I began going to church several years after we married. He makes me laugh, I make him happy, we are intellectual equals, and we are a great team. Most importantly, we respect each other. It works for us.
Honestly, the fact that he doesn't eat fish or drink wine are more often the bigger issues!

kadylaha
06-24-2013, 06:41 PM
Well, to me it was important that my son understood the big picture with religion. So I taught him about Norse mythology, Greek mythology, ancient Chinese mythology... and then Christian mythology. We learned about Thor and Zeus and Jesus all in the same way, so he would understand and have no doubt that Jesus is make believe.

My husband and I did talk with him about "what the Christians believe" about heaven, prayer, the resurrection, etc so he would have a knowledge base when he talked with Christian folks. We also stressed how important it is to never say that God is not real to a Christian because it will make them angry and hurt their feelings. He's been fine with it so far.

And might I add, it is SO empowering to FINALLY have a place to be honest on this subject. You can't say the words "Christian mythology" anywhere and be polite these days.

freedomfamily
06-26-2013, 01:00 PM
Living in the part of the Bible Belt were the leather is three layers thick, we think it very important to give our children a real understanding of the creation stories of the Bible. In fact, at my church, All Souls Unitarian Univerilist, my daughter will study the Bible this year with the other 6th graders.

Both of my children love creation stories from all places. I am not sure why they are so appealing to them. They also like stories about how evil or sin came to people.

Neither of my children have any interest in evolution. They seem to just take it with a grain of salt. Not that they think it is wrong, but as my daughter said, "Whatever. If evolution is how we came to be, good, but it is so over. We are here. If we are still evolving, great, but we have very little to do with that. Can we go to the library?"

Yep, my motto is cover everything and just keep going.

Crabby Lioness
06-26-2013, 02:14 PM
Well, to me it was important that my son understood the big picture with religion. So I taught him about Norse mythology, Greek mythology, ancient Chinese mythology... and then Christian mythology. We learned about Thor and Zeus and Jesus all in the same way, so he would understand and have no doubt that Jesus is make believe.

While Judea was in the middle of a nasty civil war at that time that made record-keeping problematic, there are historical documents which suggest that Jesus was a historical figure. Since most of them contradict Church teaching by mentioning Jesus' older and more famous at the time brother, I think we can safely assume they weren't all planted by Christians at a later date.

Crabby Lioness
06-26-2013, 02:16 PM
Neither of my children have any interest in evolution. They seem to just take it with a grain of salt. Not that they think it is wrong, but as my daughter said, "Whatever. If evolution is how we came to be, good, but it is so over. We are here. If we are still evolving, great, but we have very little to do with that. Can we go to the library?"

Yep, my motto is cover everything and just keep going.

Alas, our diseases are still evolving as well.

leahkat
06-28-2013, 03:41 PM
I have done the same. My family is VERY christian, my husband's family is Jewish. I personally believe in evolution 100%. I'm in the process of teaching my (almost ) second grader that "some people believe this, some people believe that, this is what i believe".