Today our science curriculum recommended we read the picture book Yellow and Pink by William Steig to jumpstart a short, simplified explanation of evolution. Since the used price on Amazon lists $40, I’m guessing it’s out of print. I managed to find a free podcast reading of the book, however. The narrator is a bit dry, and we skipped her introductory and ending material. I sat with the kids and interjected occasionally with explanation, and switched to the next customer image on Amazon (there were five) when the reading came to it. 🙂 I’m sure it would have been even better with the actual book, but as it was, it was a good experience for us to sit together and listen to the story.
To summarize, two marionettes (one yellow, one pink) wonder about the fundamental questions of life—who am I, what am I doing here, and how did I get here? “Pink” supposes that someone must have made them, since they are so wonderfully designed. But “Yellow” rejects that theory, since they are so intricately formed, and since they don’t know their Maker, having been left alone. They must have come about by accident. Pink scoffs: how could they have “just happened”? Throughout the book Yellow tries to answer Pink’s questions with fairly ludicrous explanations of how they came to be—over millions of years, a branch fell, lightning hit it and split it for legs, ice split their wood for mouths, they roll down a hill through wet paint to have been painted so, etc. The book brought to life how ridiculous the theory of evolution is.
But the book brought to life more than that for me—specifically two thoughts:
1. The strength of our presuppositions in forming our opinions
Yellow could not be persuaded by Pink, even though the empirical evidence seemed clear—just look at us! Even our paint is perfectly edged—how could our buttons and hats be so perfectly painted if we attained our paint by rolling down a hill through it? (And the book doesn’t get into even deeper presuppositions, like where did the hill come from?) At one point in the story, this is especially clear: After Yellow guesses how they got their eyes (from insects tunneling, woodpeckers, or hailstones), Pink asks, “Hmm, how come we can see out of these holes the woodpecker made? And hear?” Yellow responds, “Because that’s what eyes and ears are for, dummy. What else would you do with them?”
My point is shown again on the comments on Amazon. A 1-star-giver titled his comments with, “Won’t change anyone’s mind.” I’m sure that’s true. To me, who takes Genesis 1-12 literally, evolution will always seem mind-blowingly absurd. And to an atheist, the Gospel is foolishness.
2. If this thought seems absurd for marionettes, how much more for us?
We are so much more complex than puppets, with their stiff makeup. Even our best imitations come nowhere near to what God created. Why isn’t it clear that if even humans, with thousands of years of discovery and intelligence to use in our designs, cannot replicate life anywhere near what is, how in the world could we ever have “just happened,” no matter how much time passed?
Upon hearing my discussion with Caleb, Seth said, “Yeah, Ame, sounds like a great book—Yellow and Think.”