Finding My Audience

Finding My Audience

Representative Mary Bentley of Arkansas wants to party like it’s 1986. 

That’s the last year creationism could be legally taught in public schools in the United States. The following year, the Supreme Court ruled that creationism is a religious construct, and as such, it could not be taught (as science) in public schools.

Bentley recently introduced a bill in the Arkansas House which allows creationism to be taught as science in Arkansas public schools. The bill passed in the House and is headed to the Senate for a vote. If the bill is successful there, it heads to the governor’s desk. 

According to Bentley, Arkansas teachers are pushing for the right to teach creationism as science in the public classroom.

“Scientists have been on both sides of the issue for thousands of years,” Bentley said, noting that Isaac Newton and Galileo* believed in “God and biblical creation.” (*As residents of the 17th century, they probably also believed in the science of bloodletting to cure disease.)

Creationism can legally be discussed in philosophy class.

Creationism can be discussed in a comparative religions class.

Creationism can even be discussed in a history or social studies class.

We just can’t (legally) teach creationism as science in science class. 

People know I teach biology in university and they know I love dinosaurs and they know I wrote a book and they know I am a Christian, so casual questions over dinner are inevitable. Usually there’s little-to-no preamble. 

Often, it’s just straight to the point. 

While recently at dinner with a friend, she laid this one out on the table, where it sat like an awkward frog:

“SO THIS BOOK. What about cavemen? What about dinosaurs?”

We all do this when we’re curious about a topic about which we know very little. If I wanted to join a conversation about the nuances of a fancy dish in fancy chef-terms, my contribution would probably be a Tarzan-esque “me like food”.

And it would sit there on the table, my own personal awkward frog. 

When I was pitching “Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark?” to editors and agents, I was always asked about the potential audience for the book. Some wanted a few sentences; some wanted a page:

Who would want to read this book? What are the benefits for readers?

I know I love it, but why would anyone else?

Here’s my elevator pitch:

Baby Dinosaurs builds a vocabulary to voice concerns and questions about science and faith. Baby Dinosaurs makes room for (sometimes discouraged) questions. Baby Dinosaurs is for readers who dare to form a faith that doesn’t ignore the questions.

Baby Dinosaurs isn’t just for the convinced. 

I hope you read it, even if you come away disagreeing with me.

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