Science is all LIES
January 5, 2011 11:31 PM Subscribe
How do I gently but firmly steer a very misguided 14-year-old to respect science? I'm not a teacher, but I am in a mentoring role and feel I owe it to her to try.
posted by AnOrigamiLife to Science & Nature (51 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Last year, a friend related a story about how she was, in front of her 11-year-old daughter, praising the girl's great grades in math and science, when the child interrupted with, "Science is all lies." She'd recently accompanied a friend to a few visits to Baptist Sunday School--the only thing her mom can think of to attribute the comment that continues to haunt her.
Today, a 14-year-old girl I mentor said "I don't believe in science" after I showed her an atlas and explained some of the maps in the front. When pressed to explain what she meant, she said "God put two people on earth and we all came from them," and "I don't believe we came from monkeys." I'm not really sure how her brain went from continental drift to the Garden of Eden, and it sure sounds like it may not be science, per se, but evolution with which she takes issue. But since evolution is science-based, she is denying all of it. She also said, "I'm a Christian" as if that explains everything. I responded that she could be a Christian and still believe in science. Conversation stalled and I backed off, honestly dumbstruck (and having completely forgotten how horrified I was that she thought Africa was a country in South America).
What do I do? I wanted to shake her and day, "don't be one of the stupid people!" Obviously I did not. How do I approach this wisely? I want to quietly introduce fact, and connect her to science through some good, tangible stories that can come up in everyday conversation. BTW, I really have no interest in discussing evolution unless she brings it up. I want to start short and simple and leave her less threatened by "science" in general.
Her parents are divorced with eight children (presumably not for religious reasons). One parent is "crazy religious" (her words), the other is not. My relationship with them is mostly limited to coordinating her availability. She doesn't get much adult guidance or supervision. She is extremely impressionable and not a great student, but shows promise and curiosity. I am not a parent, not a teacher, and definitely not a Bill Nye when it comes to introducing scientific ideas.
Would appreciate your thoughts, both as to why this is happening to our young people AND as to what I can do.