When should you introduce your child to evolution?

(system) #1
But if from a young age, children hear regularly that God created everything, loves them, and encourages our exploration of the world, then just maybe scientific discoveries they learn along the way will be less likely to become stumbling blocks for their faith or roadblocks to fully engaging God’s creation.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/chris-stump-equipping-educators/when-should-you-introduce-your-child-to-evolution

When should you introduce your child to evolution?
(Chris Stump) #2

Thanks for reading my post. I’m happy to respond to questions and comments.


Did you read this book? Is there something wrong with it?

(Chris Stump) #4

Yes, I did read the book. Because it’s meant for very, very young children, common ancestry is necessarily significantly reduced to a few main ideas and greatly simplified and I have some concern that it accidentally perpetuates a common misperception (at least among evangelicals) that evolutionary theory claims “we came from monkeys”.

(Angie Frazier) #5

I just checked the book out, and it looks like a fun book for preschoolers. I was hoping it might be good for my elementary boys, but they would probably roll their eyes. But there are some great resources at the end of the book for parents and caregivers. It addresses common misconceptions and a good refresher of the key concepts. It’s worth the free download.


How so? “Grandmother Ape” in the story is clearly an ape, not a monkey. Apes have no tails. “Grandmother Ape” in the story has no tail. Few evangelicals would be interested in this book anyway.

(Dcscccc) #7

does anyone also teach creation science to children? if not- why we should bring the evolution then?

about the “we came from monkey”. its indeed what evolution says. true that it isnt a modern ape\monkey but its still will be a monkey or at least monkey-like animal.

check also this article:


(Nathan Scherer) #8

I have given my 5 year old bits and pieces of evolution in YouTube videos and stuff like that but I know my kid’s school will help out with that as well.

My question is, how do I protect her from potentially damaging information given out in Sunday School? I know that it’s good and useful to learn about Genesis and the creation story but I don’t want her getting confused (and not knowing enough to tell me about it).

Is this something to even be worried about? :smile:

(Christy Hemphill) #9

My husband pointed out that NPR article to me a while back and was similarly disappointed in the discussion.

I think a wonderful thing you can do with kids is introduce them to the amazing variety of the natural world and instill a sense of wonder at the incredible diversity in nature. For pre-schoolers we like Steve Jenkins books like What Do You do with a Tail Like This?

In elementary school, we have enjoyed books such as Usborne’s Mysteries and Marvels of Nature and the DK First Encyclopedia of Nature We talk about adaptations in both scientific terms and also in terms of God providing for the creatures he cares about by giving them special traits. Kids have not developed the same dichotomies adults have and this doesn’t seem confusing to them.

My approach to “introducing evolution” had been to use secular, age-appropriate science books and answer my kids questions as they come up as best as I can. In some ways, I think it’s similar to sex education. I don’t think it’s really healthy to wait until kids reach some arbitrary maturity point and then dump all the information on them in “the talk.” I think it’s better to answer their questions all along with accurate information that satisfies their curiosity, but doesn’t overwhelm them with details they can’t really process. And you give them the “scientific” information in the context of your values and beliefs about God and humanity. Concepts are formed over long periods of time based on lots of experience and associations.

(George Brooks) #10

Yes… we came from a monkey-like animal. And whales came from a hippo-like animal. And birds came from hollow-boned lizards. The Universe is amazing.

(Dcscccc) #11

people can believe anything they whant. but this claim isnt scientific.

(Patrick ) #12

Excellent post.
I think the real issue is protecting children from blatant falsehoods like what YECs teaches.

(George Brooks) #13

Yes, indeed. For example, in the Victorian period, there were multiple Flat Earth societies where the members believed in the revealed truth of the Bible SO MUCH (!!!) … that they no longer made any sense at all.


(Patrick ) #14

We did come from monkeys - this monkey named Laia. Isn’t she cute?

(Patrick ) #15

There are great materials for older children - Check out NCSE.com

(Patrick ) #16

Certainly not as creation science is NOT science. And evolution is scientific fact that every child should learn about.

(Christy Hemphill) #17

I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about, unless your church is going to be really militant about it. When my kids were really little, I just read the creation story as is and never addressed any “discrepancies” with a scientific understanding until one of my kids brought it up in first grade or so.

Now they are a little older, when reading/teaching about the creation account in Genesis we talk about how some Christians, including some of their friends and teachers think that means God literally made the world in six days, and that they are doing their best to honor God’s word and take it seriously. We talk about how we think we can also honor God’s word and take it seriously even though we believe what the scientists say about how old the world is and that all of creation did not appear at once.

A few months ago my eight-year-old was talking to a friend and they were looking at a National Geographic book about space and his friend said, “I don’t believe in the Big Bang.” My son looked confused and said, “So, what do you believe then, Steady State Theory?” (Yes, my kid is a total nerd.) The other kid said, “No, I mean I believe God created the universe.” To which my son said, “Oh, of course, me too.” And then they both were satisfied and turned their attention to something else. All that to say, I don’t kids always experience the “conflict” the way adults might.

(Patrick ) #18

Great! we need more scientists and engineers.

(Dcscccc) #19

evolution isnt even a scientific theory. so a “scientific fact”? maybe you talk about variation (different species of dogs, cats).

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #20

At BeagleLady’s suggestion, I got the PDF copy of this book. My 2-year-old insists I read it to her regularly. It calms her down when she’s upset. She chimes in with “LONG time” and “feed milk!” and “grandma ape!” at all the right times, and makes motions for wiggling and crawling and all the rest.

As far as I’m concerned, God created all the life we see around us, and evolution is how He did it. I don’t see a conflict in that, and neither do any of my kids. This book is a great way to start my kids out early with good science, telling them the big story of life on earth and the God who wrote / is writing the story.