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Sinking Under The Weight Of Noah’s Stones

A nine year-old girl, playing with my daughter, came up to me this afternoon, carrying a handful of small stones from the beach.

“I want to be a geologist when I grow up,” she says. “Want to see what I’ve got?”

She’s got a collection of fossils of small marine animals, yet we’re on the shore of an inland lake. I sense a learning opportunity.

I pick out a fossilized coral polyp, and begin. “Do you know where this came from?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“This was an animal that lived in a coral reef, in the ocean,” I say. I’m about to talk about the scale of geologic time, and continental drift, and the glaciers that deposited the hodge podge of stones underneath our feet.

The girl’s eyes light up, and she volunteers a bit of her own knowledge first. “They were brought here in The Flood,” she says. “My grandpa calls them Noah’s Stones.”

She thinks the stones are six thousand years old. She doesn’t know the word “fossil”. Her mother has been homeschooling her, with the help of her grandfather.

What chance do you think this girl has of ever becoming a geologist?

6 comments to Sinking Under The Weight Of Noah’s Stones

  • t ball

    She has a good chance of becoming a “geologist” who’s really a shill for creationists.

  • Tom

    There comes a time in ones life when you begin to question everything you think is true whether by introspection, hearing alternate views, reading, science class, or whatever (news, movies, etc.). She being 9 probably hasn’t reached that stage yet. Don’t downplay homeschooling because of the narrow focus of this family. She’ll grow and learn (hopefully) how to find information, how to compare opposing views an to think for herself. She may even come to realize the difference between one’s beliefs and provable fact, myth vs. theory, and come to her own conclusions.

    In any case – what difference does it make when she may not even have a future the way we’re going? Once we speculated that continued dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere would have detrimental affects on climate and that it might release an even worse methane gas. Now we have methane AND CO2 and the global damages are apparent. If we get to the point where sequestered NO2 gets released, we’re dead. i doubt that we’ll get there because i think the fact that methane is gushing into the atmosphere now will kill us off before the next century.

    i sure hope i’m wrong or that Jesus comes back to fix it all with a wave of his hand.

  • Tom

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/issue/?mobile=nc

    Top Ten Things Climate Change Is Making Worse Right Now
    Rising Food Prices
    Goodbye Glaciers, Sea Ice
    Landslides
    Massive Dust Storms
    Toxic Algae Pollute Drinking Supply, Lakes
    $1.5 Billion Hail Damage
    Wildfire Causes $450 Million Damage In Colorado
    Greater Terrors For Mountain Climbers
    More Drilling In The Arctic, Taxpayers Pay For Risks
    Blackouts

  • Dara

    I think she has as good a chance as anyone else of becoming a geoligist. Who knows? Maybe she’ll be the one to prove everyone (on both sides) wrong. The mentality that limits this childs possibilities at the age of nine disgusts me and is far more reprehensible than our petty disagreements as to whether these were fossils or Noah’s stones. Good grief! Consider thinking outside the self built box.

    • You know, Dara, there are two forms of thinking at work here.

      First, there’s literalist religion, which is encouraging this girl to accept what adults tell her on the basis of their authority, without questioning it.

      Second, there’s science, which encourages people to do their own research to look for evidence to challenge standing theories to explain what’s happening in the natural world.

      You want people to think outside the box? Literalist religion discourages that. Science encourages it.

  • Offlogic

    I’m a science enrichment voluteer in my daughter’s grade school. While leading a dissection session (sheep brain) one of the children at our table volunteers “I don’t believe in evolution”. I said “That’s fine”, then go through the course material illustrating the comparative brain morphology of fish, reptiles and mammals.
    That child got nothing from the lesson, having suffered a preemptive strike against learning at his parents’ hand. He will be fit only to misunderstand the world around him.

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