Letter: Heads in the stars

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The Independent Culture

Heads in the stars

Sir: Ann Hopkins complains about Richard Dawkins telling the truth to his daughter (letter, 21 October). Should we then be lying to our children?

When my daughter asked me "Daddy, tell me about stars" I tried the truth; large masses of gas falling inwards so that they became compressed and hot, starting nuclear reactions that burst outwards, held in balance by the force of gravity inwards. All accompanied by star-like arm waving and noises. I'm not sure that she understood all the concepts but she was never bored and asked for more.

As an adult she has a keen appreciation of the beauty of stars and has a certain familiarity with the way they actually work - as I am sure that Dawkins's daughter will have about flowers and genetics.

The truth is more beautiful than any fairy story and children are well able to handle it.


London SW14