I began working on The Story of Life in 2008. Before that, I had vague ideas about an "evolution children's story." The need for such a story was obvious, a hole in our culture that needed filling. I could see the problem, but the question of why there was a problem and how to fix it eluded me until I began to think about creation stories.
Reading the Popol Vuh and learning about other native creation stories, I realized that most cultures have a collection of stories that serve as a cultural foundation. Passed down from generation to generation, these stories serve to explain how the world around us came to be. They serve as a frame of reference, archetypes that we all recognize and use in our metaphors. They serve to inspire a sense of wonder, awe and appreciation for the past.
The modern secular culture that is emerging around the world is missing such a story.
As the ideals of scientific inquiry and reason spread throughout the world, the ancient system of passing on knowledge to our children has been disrupted. There have been two general reactions. The first has been to reject the science that threatened to replace the old stories, as can be seen in the American Creationist movement. The second has been to reject the stories and replace them with dry scientific understanding.
I believe neither of these responses is correct. The creationist approach stands as a denial of reality as we know it. The rationalist approach is a denial of poetry, song and beauty as a means to instill wonder and encourage curiosity in the next generation.
The work before you is an attempt to meld modern scientific understanding of where we came from with ancient storytelling methods borrowed from various creation stories.
My hope is that The Story of Life will provide a foundation on which children and adults can build understanding of the way life came to be.
Let it sit in the back of the mind until it is needed.