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explaining evolution and creation to a very bright 5 yr old.

(19 Posts)
festi Fri 16-Sep-11 18:23:11

dd in year 1, covering creation in RE, however science etc not covering evolution etc this early on. (catholic school)

DD wanted to read creation with me, so we read it and I did feel compeled to tell her that creation in our bible is a story and not an accurate account. My DD is very bright, Im not and so I did struggle to give her a very clear and precise explination.

She said in that case I dont belive in God and that she will tell her teacher tomorrow the bible has got it wrong, I said probably best not tell teacher that grin and that it is ok to mix both in our beliefe, but I just wanted to explain how that can be I understand morally how and how my own personal faith allows it but just cant explain to dd how the science part does really go along with the theology too well that will.

festi Fri 16-Sep-11 18:24:04

posted too soon, that will not confuse her too much.

AnyoneButLulu Fri 16-Sep-11 18:37:25

Your own personal faith is not exactly out on a limb - the Vatican and the General Synod are both fully on-side with evolution. All you have to say to your DD is that "lots of people who believe in God believe that (s)he started the universe off and set the rules which enabled us to evolve, and the Genesis story is a way of explaining this" I'm sure she must have met metaphorical stories before - the ones about germs and white blood cells as little soldiers fighting each other for example.

festi Fri 16-Sep-11 18:43:41

yes anyone that is true, what I am probably asking for is an in a nut shell evolution explination for dd that I can tie in with the metaphorical explination that is not too indepth I suppose.

AnyoneButLulu Fri 16-Sep-11 18:52:30

Hit the library. Horrible Science do an Evil Evolution book and you could nick bits from that.

CoteDAzur Fri 16-Sep-11 18:55:48

I don't see how you can reconcile Genesis with evolution. One talks about God creating first man & woman from a template (his own image?) and the other about how humans evolved from other species.

festi Fri 16-Sep-11 18:56:33

yes good idea, library. I tryed to google but nothing appropriate coming up.

CoteDAzur Fri 16-Sep-11 19:01:09

Explaining evolution is easy: First there were fish, then came other sea animals. Some of these changed over time to animals who could live both in sea and on land, like turtles. Then some of these started living on land and became many different animals, including those who looked like monkeys. One of these turned into people.

We explained this to DD when she was almost 5 and she had no problem with it. The subject came up because she found an illustrated book about evolution of species.

festi Fri 16-Sep-11 19:59:37

i did that almost word for word cote as the simplest way I could explain it but she wanted more lol. I think the library is a good idea, she can look at pics and read about it herself.

CoteDAzur Fri 16-Sep-11 20:40:59

If she needs more, I'm afraid you will need to learn more to tell her more. I am interested in this stuff so was able to answer DD's questions in a way she could understand which was also more or less correct.

Your real problem seems to be that she is clever enough to notice the inconsistencies between the Catholic version (Genesis) and scientific version (evolution of species). So you will have to reconcile the two (not sure how) or concede that Catholic version is just not realistic.

AnyoneButLulu Fri 16-Sep-11 21:29:40

It's harsh to describe Genesis as "The Catholic version". The Catholic version is evolution, but with some mystical intervention by God right at the beginning of the universe and perhaps some mystical insertion of the human soul rather later on. Whilst it's not my cup of tea, I do think the Vatican has (eventually) taken a sensible line in distancing themselves from "Intelligent Design", and no respectable Catholic school should have a problem with a child who says Genesis is not actually "true "as long as she can be persuaded to say diplomatically that it's a sort of story rather than saying loudly that it's a farrago of lies.

CoteDAzur Sat 17-Sep-11 08:18:08

I was referring to the version taught in this girl's Catholic school.

If it is not taught as just a story, I'm not sure how a 5 yr old can go back to her teachers and say "No, actually, it's just a story, not what actually happened". And even if she does, there will be no doubt in her mind that "Bible got it wrong".

olddog Sat 17-Sep-11 08:30:45

Can't you just tell her that evolution is the way that God created the world? I don't find the science in major conflict with the theology and as Anyone said, neither does the Vatican.
This tree of life poster is quite nice.

Maybe you could ask the teacher to have a word so she isn't under the impression the creationism is a Catholic teaching or that her teacher is wrong.

seeker Sat 17-Sep-11 08:33:15

What sort of "more" does she want? Mine used to love the idea of natural selection- how the animals best adapted for particular environments were more likely to breed and their babies had the best bits of their parents.

If you keep your child in a catholic school, you will come up with lots of this of stuff-be prepared!

If she's bright, and you don't want her to go in and challenge her teacher, could you explain about fables- stories invented to explain or teach something a simple way and say that the Bible is a fable? That evolution is the way it really happened and the creation story is a way of explaining it

olddog Sat 17-Sep-11 08:53:07

"If you keep your child in a catholic school, you will come up with lots of this of stuff-be prepared!"

Why? Creationism is not Catholic teaching and shouldn't be taught as a fact in a modern Catholic school. It hasn't been for years. I think the OP has mistaken the teacher reading the creation story with 'teaching creationism' because unless the teacher is a fundamentalist Christian or a 120 year old Catholic who doesn't keep abreast of the Vatican's teachings it is unlikely that she is a creationist.

seeker Sat 17-Sep-11 09:54:30

What I mean is that there will be things the op's chilld will be told at school- not just about creationism, which I agree isn't mainstream Catholic teaching,- which she might have trouble squaring with her rational, scientific thinking.

festi Sat 17-Sep-11 10:13:19

thanks seeker and olddog that is very helpfull, yes you very right The school have presented it as "the story" of creation. so being taught as fact is not strictly true. My use of taught was ment in the loosest of terms. I should have been more specific on that.

I like the tree of life, dd will love looking at this and I Absolutly will learn more my self or at least have the confidance and conviction in giving my own explination without questioning my own knowledge too much. The problem is my dd is exeptionaly bright and often I struggle with giving her incorect information or worry I will not be able to help her with homework etc and she will think I am stupid. we are going to the library today so will fnd a book We can read and look at together.

seeker Sat 17-Sep-11 10:19:42

Festi- she's 5. It doesn't matter how bright she is, you are still much more knowledgable than her.Honestly. And you will be for a while yet. And if you don't know something she wants to know, just look it up together.

festi Sat 17-Sep-11 10:24:36

that is true seeker thanks, maybe its a confidance thing with my own percived inadequacies rather than being about this particulr topic.

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