How interesting! I had a comment and a couple of emails suggesting that it wasn’t that Mr. Huckabee doesn’t know that people are primates (information I had suggested was common knowledge), but that he doesn’t think it’s true.

I was a little bit mystified by this. After all, if we’re not primates, then we’d have to be… reptiles, or rodents, or monera, or something. Right?  Or do creationists reject the standard taxonomy entirely and have some other system I’ve never heard of? I checked with a creationist of my acquaintance.

“You don’t really think of yourself as an animal,” she said, “if you’re not thinking hard. I mean, do you think of yourself as an animal?”

“Well, yes,” I had to reply. “There’s only animals, plants, and fungi, so I always do think of myself as an animal.” Of course, I was leaving monera and protista out, since it would have weakened the rhythm of my sentence.

“If someone asked me whether I was animal, vegetable, or mineral, I’d pick animal,” my friend explained, “but I don’t think of myself as an animal usually.”

I was fascinated. “Then where do you fall in the classification of living things?”

“We just sort of slid past that in school,” she said, having attended a parochial school where they taught literal creationism.

“You didn’t study about taxonomy or the animal kingdom or anything?”

My friend frowned. “We’re the ones who classified everything,” she said at last. “We’re not in the classification.”

So there you have it.

Oh, and also in response to comments, George Bush did at one time remark that he thought it was time for humans to go into the solar system, so that’s why I used that example. I wouldn’t make something like that up.

Having completed Book 3 of my book project, I am preparing to send the first three out for beta testing (if you are a teacher and you want to test for me, let me know) and starting on book 4, the third grade book.

The first task involved in this is to mentally gather up all the stuff in the frameworks for state history and shake it around like a kaleidoscope until it comes down in three subunits.

This seemed like a really sensible thing to do, and the kindergarten book divided itself up naturally in that way, but it gets more difficult as I go along. The third grade frameworks include explorers, westward movement, the Louisiana purchase, sources of electrical power in the state, the concept of war (actual data about war is for 4th grade), physical maps, rivers and mountains, the meaning of “entrepreneur,” technological change, and “cultural traits of ethnic groups that live in” our state.

Movement could be one — that could include explorers, Westward movement, changes in transportation and communication technologies, and rivers. Or Physical Geography could include rivers, mountains, and electrical power (if you push it hard, it could fit in). Or Diversity could include culture contact between explorers and pioneers on the one hand and native peoples on the other, plus characteristics of ethnic groups and … umm… diverse forms of electricity. Technology would work for electricity. Growth and Change would cover quite a few, and I could stick life cycles in there, too.

No doubt taxonomists feel this way sometimes. It’s fun, actually. But also somewhat suspenseful. I realized late yesterday that I hadn’t included the State Anthem in the second grade book, and I see no obvious way to include it in the subunits of Careers, Rocks and Minerals, and Native Americans. I will shoehorn it in today, in between contemplations of Hernando De Soto and hydroelectric power.