Thanks for the cute, well-produced, and absolutely infuriating book that you got your granddaughter for Christmas. You and Dad love the Creat...moreDear Mom,
Thanks for the cute, well-produced, and absolutely infuriating book that you got your granddaughter for Christmas. You and Dad love the Creation Museum with its substitution of high-end graphics and quality museum-like displays for actual science and facts, and so I can see why you liked this book so much. It too is glossy, with lots of four-color art and lots of cute pictures of kids! The co-author of this book and founder of the Creation Museum that you and Dad so badly want to visit with our family, Ken Ham, certainly has a genius for papering over issues of substance with pretty graphic design, and he hopes that because this book looks like a kids' science book that it will be mistaken for one too. Alas, real science doesn't begin with the assumption that all evidence of one's senses and of reason must accord with the collected insights of a tribe of Bronze Age nomads and their settled descendants. Sorry for being blunt, but like I said, this book is infuriating.
I understand that anything that disagrees with the Bible (like radiocarbon dating, archaeology, paleontology, etc.) must be wrong because you believe the Bible is always and in all ways correct. I don't share that belief, but I understand it. Because of that presupposition, this book provides a bunch of "answers" that are little more than Ham's guesses based on his readings of the Bible. At times his "answers" are made up out of whole cloth; for example, he says that dinosaurs couldn't have evolved into birds, because the "blood systems" of dinosaurs were totally different from those of birds. (Scientists had discovered fossilized dinosaur circulatory systems and blood? That was news to J and me.) These "answers" will serve as evidence to the kids asking these questions that the adults who believe this stuff are not to be trusted as authorities whatsoever. You and Ham both think that denying the literal historical truth of the Genesis narrative necessarily means denying the poetic, ethical, and spirituals truths that run throughout the Bible, but I think it works the other way around. If you see that your parents are happy peddling falsehoods to you in order to keep you in the faith, you are more likely, rather than less, to doubt the truth of anything and everything else they have told you. If you are told to believe that creation myths are science, and that you must believe this or else, then you are forced to make a false choice between discipleship to Jesus and acceptance of the validity of science. Trust me, I speak from experience. What I want to read about are Christians who grapple with the scientific facts on the ground and who make some sort of sense out of the whole shebang, enough to live a right life and livelihood.
I won't burn this book, Mom, nor will I keep your granddaughter from reading it. You know I have never believed in censorship, and, like I said, the book is cute and colorful and very funny. Just please don't expect her to accept these "answers" at face value. She already knows enough about science to find Ham laughable. (Imagine, people riding dinosaurs!)And any answer we give her then sprouts two or three questions of its own, and the questions that Ham's book spurs will assuredly lead her away from a Biblical literalist approach to ascertaining truth rather than closer to it. Because the facts are on our side. Sorry to say it Mom, but it's true.