In 7th grade, which was my first public school experience after graduating from the Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, Lakeview Christian Academy, my science teacher allowed the class to teach the chapter on evolution. The students who did not believe in evolution were also allowed to present on their beliefs. We were graded on our understanding of the material, but we were not tested over the alternate content. I was in the creation group.
After the presentation a question was posed by a dark haired boy, “what about the dinosaurs?”
I’ll take this one, I said to my group and they nodded in approval, “dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time” I confidently proclaimed. The boy scoffed.
“Scientists are wrong. Human footprints have been found in excavation sites right next to dinosaurs. Also, dinosaurs were just giant lizards that grew so big because there were more nutrients in the soil before the great flood.”
My group mate to the left cut in, “no, no, no we don’t believe that!” The class laughed and my eyes hit the floor. I stopped talking.
It was an honest answer, and I thought I was right. This was 7th grade – my first year in public school after graduating from six years at Lakeview Christian Academy. My science teacher, still my favorite from junior high, allowed the class to teach the chapter on evolution. Four friends and I were allowed to teach the creation view. After this humiliating experience, I rushed home and dug through my closet, looking for the little red book my mom borrowed from one of our church friends titled The Great Dinosaur Mistake. I had read it cover to cover at least 3 times, and when I found it that night, I read it again. I wanted to know the truth.
For much of my young life, I was a member of what I now know to be the science denial community. My determination to find truth as a child, informs my plan to bring science into the faith community. In the summer of 2014, I founded the National Council for Science and Faith (NCSF), as a vector to take science education into churches and to educate scientists regarding reaching the faith community.
I've been reluctant to discuss my faith around scientists, but after the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate, I realized that there was a lot of interest from the faith community in this issue. We do a disservice, as scientists, by not reaching out to children in the faith community.
Likewise, parents and leaders in the faith community do a disservice to the youth they teach about Adam and Eve living at the same time as dinosaurs.
If we teach our children ridiculous things, such as humans and dinosaurs living together in the same geologic time, we can expect them to turn around and call us silly for these ideas.
Sure, Ken Ham makes money off of selling his debate with Bill Nye, but many many children in Christian homes are allowed to watch that debate. And Mr. Nye was smart in making sure to say that many of his Christian friends didn't have a problem with faith and science, putting the issue on Mr. Ham's brand, rather than on the entire faith.