Friday, April 26, 2013

Dinosaurs: The Genesis and the Gospel

If you have an internet connection (and, if you don’t, thanks for subscribing to my print edition), you’ve seen these images before.  They are from a “science” quiz from a religious school in South Carolina.

I let this controversy pass by when it first erupted because, well, it’s from a religious school in South Carolina.  I’m sure they teach all kinds of wacky stuff like the Five Points of Calvin and Hobbesism or going on a Diet of Fried Worms.  However, Snopes had a quote from the parent of the kid who took the test:
She commented [about the time the dinosaurs went extinct] it was only four thousand years ago.  When I corrected her, she snapped back, “Were you there?”
Nobody should worry about uncomfortable questions from a ten year old.  If you can’t answer, you don’t deserve to be a parent.  I mean, you all remember this commercial, right?

If you are a devout religious person, you know when your child challenges your faith you sit that child down calmly and say:
Listen here, you little monster.  I’m your parent and we believe in Adam and Eve.  If I ever hear another blasphemous word out of you, I’ll follow the Bible and stone you to death in the center of town.  Got it?  Good.  Now, would you like to watch Veggie Tales or Davey and Goliath tonight?
At least, I assume that’s what the devout do.  We aren’t a religious household; I had to think about a calm and reasoned way to explain evolution if I found he was being taught creationism.  Here’s what I imagine I’d say:
Son?  I want to talk to you a moment.  Could you turn Minecraft off?  No, I understand you’re about to go into the Nether, but it can wait.  No, I don’t care how much blaze powder you need.  I don’t even know what blaze powder is.

Huh?  Yeah, I-  No, I-  Yes.  Fine.  Okay.  Now I know what blaze powder is.  Can you turn Minecraft off?  Okay, fine, mine some more netherrack and THEN save.  Okay?  Thanks.

I wanted to talk about what you said about dinosaurs.  I said they died out sixty five million years ago and you said “were you there?”

I wasn’t there.  I also wasn’t at the Battle of Hastings or when the sun formed, but I know they happened because there is evidence for them.  In some cases we have written or photographic evidence.  In other cases, we have physical evidence.  You can’t accept anything as true without some kind of evidence.

With dinosaurs, we have fossils and we know how long fossils take to form.  We see them buried and figure out how long they were down there based on how deep they are.  But you know what?  We can go look up the evidence in books and online and you can judge yourself.  If you don’t trust those sources, we can go out and test the science ourselves.  I’m happy to go learn with you.

What?  No, I don’t think there are any dinosaurs in Minecraft.

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