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Old 01-29-2013, 09:40 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,251 posts, read 19,550,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Global View Post
Hi,
I was speaking with my 10 year old son about the different point of views regarding to how we came here to earth, and I tried to explain how many scientists don’t believe in the God existence. Then he said, “How stupid they are, then who created the planets.” I’m non-religion myself and I don’t want him to be nor like me nor a strictly religious, all I’m doing is trying to open his mind to many possibilities and not to limit his thought, specially we are from an Islamic background, and I see everywhere how devastating this religion is. I tried to speak about the evolution but I felt I will make him more confused, I don’t really know how to deal with this.
So what is the easiest way to answer his question about who created the planets and how did we come here?
Start off by informing your son that planets are not created by anybody. Explain to him by analogy - that planets form in space in kind of a similar way that clouds form in the sky. Millions of particles of dust and gas come together to form planets over a long period of time just like millions of particles of water come together to form clouds.

If he wants to learn more about it, encourage him to learn about science.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Earth
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These videos may be useful in helping to explaining the formation of planets. You may have to explain gravitational force, ( one of the natural forces) but keep it simple .

Star and Planet Formation

Planetary Formation Process - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&fe...&v=E4yirtvUurA

Cheers,
Aeroman
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
6,862 posts, read 3,787,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Global View Post
Hi,
I was speaking with my 10 year old son about the different point of views regarding to how we came here to earth, and I tried to explain how many scientists don’t believe in the God existence. Then he said, “How stupid they are, then who created the planets.” I’m non-religion myself and I don’t want him to be nor like me nor a strictly religious, all I’m doing is trying to open his mind to many possibilities and not to limit his thought, specially we are from an Islamic background, and I see everywhere how devastating this religion is. I tried to speak about the evolution but I felt I will make him more confused, I don’t really know how to deal with this.
So what is the easiest way to answer his question about who created the planets and how did we come here?

Here's a kids astronomy website with a reasonably simple explanation:
The Solar System - Astronomy For Kids - KidsAstronomy.com

Just explain to him that planet formation is a natural process.
Quote:
How Did The Solar System form?

This is an important question, and one that is difficult for scientists to understand. After all, the creation of our Solar System took place billions of years before there were any people around to witness it. Our own evolution is tied closely to the evolution of the Solar System. Thus, without understanding from where the Solar System came from, it is difficult to comprehend how mankind came to be.

Scientists believe that the Solar System evolved from a giant cloud of dust and gas. They believe that this dust and gas began to collapse under the weight of its own gravity. As it did so, the matter contained within this could begin moving in a giant circle, much like the water in a drain moves around the center of the drain in a circle.

At the center of this spinning cloud, a small star began to form. This star grew larger and larger as it collected more and more of the dust and gas that collapsed into it.

Further away from the center of this mass where the star was forming, there were smaller clumps of dust and gas that were also collapsing. The star in the center eventually ignited forming our Sun, while the smaller clumps became the planets, minor planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.
A Great Storm

Once ignited, the Sun's powerful solar winds began to blow. These winds, which are made up of atomic particles being blown outward from the Sun, slowly pushed the remaining gas and dust out of the Solar System.

With no more gas or dust, the planets, minor planets, moons, comets, and asteroids stopped growing. You may have noticed that the four inner planets are much smaller than the four outer planets. Why is that?

Because the inner planets are much closer to the Sun, they are located where the solar winds are stronger. As a result, the dust and gas from the inner Solar System was blown away much more quickly than it was from the outer Solar System. This gave the planets of the inner Solar System less time to grow.

Another important difference is that the outer planets are largely made of gas and water, while the inner planets are made up almost entirely of rock and dust. This is also a result of the solar winds. As the outer planets grew larger, their gravity had time to accumulate massive amounts of gas, water, as well as dust.
Take him to a planetarium. Where do you live -is there one near you? My kids love this sort of thing. Its always great to immerse kids in an environment which is fun and which will stimulate his brain.


Here's an easy little demonstration to try.

Take a small piece of greaseproof paper (baking paper/ wax paper that sort of thing) and a pipette / dropper - (something to make drops of water).
Put two single drops of water on the paper next to each other but not touching. They will form really nice little round domes.
Tip up the paper so that the droplets merge onto one. Forms a large dome.
Add another single drop next to the big one. Tip the paper again so that it merges with the larger drop.

This is a simple demonstration to show how the planets were formed. Explain that at a much larger scale, gravity would be doing the job of attracting the drops to one another, like raindrops falling to the earth from the sky. Imagine instead of water, there would gas, dust and many other elements forming into large worlds.

Last edited by Cruithne; 01-29-2013 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,960 posts, read 22,122,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Global View Post
Hi,
I was speaking with my 10 year old son about the different point of views regarding to how we came here to earth, and I tried to explain how many scientists don’t believe in the God existence. Then he said, “How stupid they are, then who created the planets.” I’m non-religion myself and I don’t want him to be nor like me nor a strictly religious, all I’m doing is trying to open his mind to many possibilities and not to limit his thought, specially we are from an Islamic background, and I see everywhere how devastating this religion is. I tried to speak about the evolution but I felt I will make him more confused, I don’t really know how to deal with this.
So what is the easiest way to answer his question about who created the planets and how did we come here?
From a believer's point of view...

Teach him to be open-minded and don't insist that your perspective has to be the right perspective. He'll end up deciding for himself one way or the other, anyway, but he'll admire you more if you don't try to insist that there is no such thing as a Higher Power. Anyway, in re-reading your post, it sounds like you're pretty much doing what I'm suggesting anyway.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:38 PM
 
16,100 posts, read 17,899,425 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logline View Post
The famous "evolutionary scientist/author", Richard Dawkins wrote a great children's book for exactly this kind of situation. First it addresses the mythical explanations of how things came to be, then examines the science which debunks it. Take a look:

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True: Richard Dawkins, Dave McKean: 9781451675047: Amazon.com: Books

Amazon also has an entire secular children's section dealing with the universe and evolution:
Amazon.com: Secular Children's Books About the Universe and Evolution

EDIT: It looks like this particular book addresses your child's question and is geared toward his age range so he can understand:
Big Bang! The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck That Became Spectacular: Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, Michael Carroll: 9781570916182: Amazon.com: Books
It has pictures to illustrate the points.
This book and its sequels are good as well.

Amazon.com: Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story : Book 1 (The Universe Series) (Sharing Nature With Children Book) (9781584690320): Jennifer Morgan, Dana Lynne Andersen: Books

You might also try this book:
Amazon.com: What Do You Believe? (9780756672287): DK Publishing: Books

Quote:
What Do You Believe? introduces readers to the many religions of the world and its equally numerous philosophies, from global religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, to lesser-known faiths, and from ancient philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, to modern thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kant, and Sartre.
You can give him lots of perspectives on the different religions and philosophies so he can think through his own beliefs.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Earth. For now.
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I agree with a lot of the suggestions. To ask "who" created something inevitably leads to an infinite regression:

"Who created the planets?"

"Then 'who' created the 'who' who created the planets?"

ad infinitum

The volcano example that Luminous Truth gave is a very good one. What we classify as non-living forces create things all the time. And, as Kentmum explained, we actually do have a pretty good idea how planets formed. While many of the details are unknown almost every exoplanet we discover offers new clues. Also keep in mind that creation is continuous. It wasn't something that happened in the past and suddenly stopped. It's still happening. Stars and planets are being created this very moment.

If you do go to a planetarium, try to make sure it's not one of the pre-packaged shows run by a college student majoring in Phys. Ed. Talk to a real astronomer.

(umm... no offense to Phys. Ed. majors I wouldn't seek out information about kinesiology from an astronomy student either.)

Last edited by Astron1000; 01-29-2013 at 01:11 PM..
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Ten years old. I don't think he should even be thinking of religion for a few years.

If he asks I'd say "As for religion, don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

Cheers,
Aeroman
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,276,993 times
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I think this is far less a matter of "whodunit" and much more a perfect opportunity to teach a good lesson in critical thinking. In my opinion, your son is using his ignorance or lack of knowledge on planetary formation to suggest that because he has no idea how something happened, therefore God did it. I think what you really need to find out is if he is asking "How did the planets get created?" or "Who is responsible for the formation of the planets?" These are two distinct, separate questions.

The former asks about a process such as "How does a birdhouse get built?" while the latter asks "Who built the birdhouse?" The first could be answered with a series of explanatory instructions. The second question asks "Who built the birdhouse" and could be simply answered with a name "Joe did it." The two questions are pretty much mutually exclusive from one another and the answer to one does not depend on the other.

I think it's important to impress this upon people because "God did it" is an answer that is often used for the unexplainable or to take the place of ignorance. I often view this as an excuse for ignorance and see that sentence as implying "God did it and I don't need to know anything else about anything." It's obvious that answering who built the birdhouse is far easier than describing how to build a birdhouse but that's not an excuse.

It should also be pointed out that asking "Who built..." is a bit of a logical fallacy because it assumes there is a "Who" when no "Who" has yet been established. This leads to impossible declarations of confusing questions such as "Who built the who who built the who?"
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Old 01-29-2013, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Earth
1,113 posts, read 1,882,614 times
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If he'd like to see how something can form on its own try growing crystals. Sugar or salt are good ones for a beginner.

Grow Salt Crystals - Making Crystals, Fun Science Fair Projects for Kids
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:34 PM
 
7,378 posts, read 6,732,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Start off by informing your son that planets are not created by anybody. Explain to him by analogy - that planets form in space in kind of a similar way that clouds form in the sky. Millions of particles of dust and gas come together to form planets over a long period of time just like millions of particles of water come together to form clouds.

If he wants to learn more about it, encourage him to learn about science.
This is the perfect explanation, truthful, scientific, and easy to understand. Good job, BigCity.
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