Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Deliberate ignorance

One of the things that just about anyone who lives in or near a tourist town grows accustomed to is that you end up playing tour guide pretty regularly. Visiting friends and family will ask what's good and what isn't, how to get places, and so on and so forth. And then, of course, there are the lost tourists. "No, ma'am, you can still catch the right train. Just get off of this one and the next one on the track will take you there. If you can, sit facing forward on the left and you'll see a really great view of the monuments when you cross the river." I've given advice on the proper train station to take to get to the zoo, the Smithsonian museums, and somewhere good for dinner.

So yesterday, when my husband found himself helping a lost tourist and her son, he was pretty used to the situation. "No, ma'am, the Smithsonian doesn't cost to get in. If you've paid your taxes, you've helped to support the Smithsonian." And then she asked for advice - where should she take her young son who likes to run around? Well, of course, there's always the zoo - wide open and built on Rock Creek Gorge, so plenty of terrain to wear him out. Oh, and there are animals to see, too. But there's a storm coming soon, so you might want to consider some of the indoor stuff to see. The Natural History Museum is fun and has an elephant right by the main entrance.

And then she asked the question that floored him. "Does it have a lot of evolution in there?"

And when he told me the story, I found myself wanting to respond - Yes, and conservation of momentum, gravity, and basic thermodynamics, too. If you want to avoid the "evolution" bits, consider heading for the anthropological exhibits, the hall of minerals, and the cafeteria. I believe the elephant is "safe", though you probably want to avoid the dinosaurs and the ancient seas exhibits. Or maybe you just want to avoid anything that might help your son to think for himself, in which case, I heartily recommend the play area at McDonalds.

Gah!

How much else of interest is she avoiding by wishing to avoid one scientific theory?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Canine Diamond said...

Okay, even though I'm a convinced Darwinist, I also believe that you cannot protect yourself from something that you don't understand. How is he going to see evolution sneaking up on him if he doesn't know what it is? Ignorance does not protect; it makes one more vulnerable.

5/09/2007 11:53 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

There's that. There's also the sheer weight of other stuff that gets avoided through fear. So you've decided that little Pugsley can't be exposed to ideas you disagree with. Fine. I don't think it's wise, but whatever.

But in avoiding that idea, you find you must avoid a bunch of others. There's a meteorite in that museum that they let folks just walk up to and touch. How cool is that? Your own personal extraterrestrial encounter. (Provided, of course, that you don't believe the heavens are fixed shells around the Earth in a geocentric universe.)

There's this enormous geode there, too, even if they won't let you touch that (or the Hope diamond...) And a computer program that lets you see just how big a meteor has to be in order to survive Earth's atmosphere. And stuff on magnetism, etc.

And it fronts onto the Mall, where the kid can run around to his heart's content. And watch the birds and the butterflies, and...

And a 10-minute walk gets you to the main monument area, where folks often fly kites when the weather's right. Of course, if you want science without any possibility of conflicting with the Bible (except on that whole geocentrism thing), there's always the Air and Space museum. And there, they let you actually go down into a submarine...

It just seems a shame to cut a kid off from all the rest of what's there, just because you disagree with one idea.

5/09/2007 12:17 PM  
Anonymous quietpaths said...

I honestly have never understood this problem which creationists insist on having. I cannot get my brain around it. I simply do not comprehend why it is so threatening. I want to know what your husband said back? And Canine Diamond you really hit the nail on the head...

5/09/2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

He didn't say much back, he was so stunned.

5/09/2007 12:52 PM  

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