Field of Science

Evolutionary toys

The problem with evolution is that it takes so damned long for things to change enough that we can recognize it. Unlike many other fields of science, evolution is not very experiencable, which is one reason why there is so much resistance against it (there are more than one). This also makes it hard to teach it to children, which is one cause of scientific ignorance and the conflict with creationists.

A Rhode Island company, Charlie's Playhouse, has started up with evolutionary toys. As of now, there are only four products: two time-line posters, ancient creature cards, and t-shirts. It's a start. What I'd really like to see are games that illustrate the evolutionary process through mutation and natural selection. More mechanisms could be added, but these two are the bare minimum. This way children would experience just how these processes work, and thus get a familiarity with them, which would help them avoid those emotions of incredulity that we see in too many adults who argue that natural processes cannot lead to an increase in complexity, cannot lead to the origin of the cell, etc., etc.

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