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← We can't hide in our labs and leave the talking to Dawkins

Jamie V's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Jamie V

It is VITAL that science is presented in an interesting and engaging way, especially at introductory school level. My first science lessons at school were very much based on beginner's chemistry, and because it all seemed very technical and boring and didn't really click with me, I lost interest and found the subject much harder than I might have. I don't have a single qualification in science to my name, something that I deeply regret.

However, if my teacher had started out by demonstrating the size of the universe, the age of the earth, how fast the speed of light is, how we came from a common ancestor, how our species came out of Africa after being down to a few thousand in number, how we are all genetically related - THAT would have sparked my interest and I would have been eager to learn the basics, knowing that I would be taught stirring, exciting things that would fascinate me and enrich me for years to come.

Those examples I mentioned are a few of many that drew me to this site and others around the web. I bemoan my lack of understanding and inability to join in a scientific conversation on anything other than the most basic level, but I glory in that which I am learning now.

Experts in science need to speak out - not just to raise awareness, but to educate, inform and entertain (which is the original motto of the BBC). I included "entertain" because I believe science CAN be entertaining - I couldn't tell you what potassium / argon dating is or how it works, but when Richard mentioned it as a method of dating the meteor impact in the Gulf of Mexico that wiped out the dinosaurs, I was entranced that there was actually an accurate method of measuring the date. As I said, I'm not too hot on the details - but I rejoice that there are people out there clever enough to do it, and that others have the good will to tell the rest of us about it and also explain if we ask.

Atoms - you won't believe how small they are!

Galaxies - you won't believe how massive they are!

Teach me! Show me! Boggle my mind - then explain it to me!

Should any of you good people still be reading at this point, I would be grateful for any book recommendations on science for the very young. When my three year old asks me "Who is God?" or "How did we get here?" (which I'm sure he will soon enough), I'd like to be able to give him some good answers.

A lot of people have said that children need to make up their own minds about whether God exists or not. While my instinct is to tell him that God doesn't exist and there's no evidence, I worry that might be too militant a position (even though I feel that allowing the possibility of a God is paying religion too much respect - and yes, I know I can't fully discount the possibility). Your help would be appreciated.

Tue, 25 Nov 2008 00:41:00 UTC | #276412