So Mike Huckabee, a candidate for President of the United States in the first decade of the 21st Century, does not believe in evolution.
It boggles the mind.
When you watch him dismiss the scientific consensus of our age so cheerfully, so casually, you realize that his mind was boggled long ago by the the ancient sky-god religion of his upbringing.
It makes me reflect on what boggling I am doing to my children's minds.
Last night, for example, I boggled my son's mind.
I had run the King Arthur's court story I had been telling into the ground... Something about Merlin riding a white horse, with a random Prince behind him, who had been tied up by an evil "Mordrake," who had drunk a potion which an eagle had carried for a Princess but dropped... It wasn't working. The pieces had become too unwieldy for both of us. And anyway, the Prince seemed like a bit of a dolt.
So I closed it out with a quick marriage between the Prince and Princess, and even a "happily ever after," to seal the deal.
Searching for an alternative story to tell, something with a clearer trajectory, I landed on the story of evolution.
I started by telling about "this one fish" who tried to walk on the sand... Then, after some intermediate steps, the fish, or rather, its descendents, grew arms!
They lost their scales. They grew fur all over their bodies. They became monkeys!
Then they lost their fur. Their arms grew shorter. And they became people!
"And that's how we became people! Aren't you glad that you are a person and not a monkey?"
At this point, from the look on George's face, it was clear that I had boggled his mind. And not in a good way.
He was, shall we say, concerned.
After a long pause in which he eyed me suspiciously, George lifted his head from the pillow.
"Dad, dad," he said.
"Tell me the story where the fish stays in the water."
He was basically asking me to reverse-engineer this whole evolution thing. He would rather stay a fish, thank you very much, than have to worry about slipping back to being a monkey, or looking down to find short, scaly arms, or any of the other, completely unscientific oddities I had conjured. I couldn't blame him.
"Sure," I said. "There was a fish, and he just kept swimming around in the water, and he never even tried to take any step on the sand. And he swam down to the bottom of the water with his family and they all ate some... moss off a rock."
I began to back out of the room.
"Is that what fish eat?" George asked, his curiosity back. We had taken a walk the day before and I had pointed out moss ("Look, George, grass that grows on walls -- that's called moss!"). It was all coming together.
"That's right," I said confidently. "Underwater it's called algae. They also eat little shrimp."
And with that I left the room before I did any more damage.
Next time I talk evolution with the kids, I think I'll avoid the bedtime story format. Maybe I'll even have some visual aids ready.
Much unboggling to do.