You must listen to this program from Ockhams Razor on RN. No, really, you must.
Mildred Studders lives in Brisbane. Concerned with what her grandchildren were being taught at their Christian schools, she sent them a series of questions by email… lots and lots of them. The answers are, frankly, scary and make it even more clear why we need to fight for secular public education for our children.
Mildred Studders: Do you know how old the earth is? Young Michael says it is a bit over 6,000 years. That’s what he was taught at school. He is the youngest of my eight grandchildren none of them say he is very wrong. Three went to his Christian College, five to other schools. All are involved with modern churches.
Their three sets of parents are not bothered by such dodgy science, so I stepped in. I hoped to encourage them to think for themselves without direct attack on their teachers. However, I did upset at least one for a while. I asked them questions by email. It took a year – not everyone answered every time. Here are things I found out.
Some thought everything started as much as 10,000 years ago, to three it doesn’t matter. Most thought the length of a creation day was 24 hours as we know it. They told me the earth appeared first, then water, land and plants. After that came sun, moon and stars.
I mentioned Galileo, they agreed he was right about the solar system In fact some wondered why there was such a basic question. So I asked ‘how could there be day and night before there was a sun, or any other star?” Nobody thought it was impossible.
They did know about continental drift, but most could not accept it pushed up the Himalayas.
They accepted our telescopes can see stars millions of light years away. So I argued the stars must have been there millions of years ago to send out their light. The 24 year old architect agreed, one was not sure and others, including Charles my newly minted Bachelor of Science said ‘No, nothing is that old’.
A Bachelor of Science.
We really are all doomed.
Read the whole thing, or better still, podcast it to hear Mildred tell the story in her own voice. Her attempts to make the grandkids explain the logistics of the Ark will have you in tears. Of laughter. Or perhaps not. We read about the woeful state of science education in some parts of the US, but will Australians be just like them in a generation or two?