Big Questions for Little Skeptics

I’d seen Kingfisher’s Really, Really Big Questions books around, but I hadn’t paid much attention to them until I saw that the newest one in the series, which came out in October 2011, took on God.  More specifically, Really, Really Big Questions about God, Faith, and Religion takes a skeptical look at God for kids (grades 3-6 or so).

The question and answer format doesn’t provide too many answers.  Much like, DK’s What do You Believe? (which I talked about in this post) the point seems to be to encourage more questions and critical thinking, which I love.  The book is definitely oriented to scientific answers over supernatural (as are the other two in the series about philosophy and space), but it also cautions readers to be respectful (“Respect involves accepting that no one knows for sure what the truth about God and religion is.” italics theirs) of people and their beliefs even when disagreeing (“The best criticism is not rude, but polite and helpful–the way your teacher might comment on your homework or a sports coach might assess his or her players.”).

I highly recommend this series to any family looking to open a skeptical discussion about religion.

Want to read more about skepticism? See my Secular Thursday page for all my posts in the Books for Secular Families series.

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links.

Intro to Astronomy

I am far from a scientist myself, but I must admit to feeling a great sense of excitement when I hear about the newest discoveries and ideas in the sciences.  This past week I listened to a discussion between two astronomers, Ken Croswell and Craig Wheeler, about the year in astronomy on MPR.  All the talk of new planets and black holes and stars has my curiosity stuck  in a flurry of placing holds on the library’s web site for science books that I’ll probably check out and not actually read.  Oh, I’ll browse through them, but I’m not likely to read enough of them to put them on my “read” list.  Unless they’re children’s books, of course.  I love children’s science books.

I started with Ken Croswell’s books.  The Lives of Stars and 10 Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun look to be about my speed when it comes to science.   I’m excited to read these books, but I must admit they probably won’t make a year-end favorite list.  My favorite science books are less about science and more about stories.  I guess that’s why I love Catherine Thimmesh’s  Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon.  For me, what really gets me interested in science is the behind the scenes.  That’s what I love about Radiolab.  Of course, as I mentioned in this post the genius of Radiolab seems to be that it sticks pretty close to the third grade level in their science.  Though you wouldn’t know it to listen to the show.  Or I wouldn’t anyway. :)

For those of you who like to get beyond children’s books and third grade in your science, I happened to notice that one of my favorite tweeting scientists has a new book coming out in 2012 that I plan to put on my “to read” list.  Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil DeGrasse Tyson is due out in February.

If these books aren’t enough to crack open even a little interest in science, then perhaps this science music video will do the trick: