I've been thinking about all the things we believe. Are they really true?
There was a student who was contemplating just that. He writes:
When I was a very young lad, 3 or 4 perhaps, my beloved grandmother came to spend a few days with us. I was so excited to show her the baby bird I found in the yard and had made a nest for in the window of the screened in porch. My sister and I had been busy getting worms to feed this baby Robin, who had obviously fell out of its nest. As I was standing on a stool so that I could show grandmother the little bird, an adult Robin flew to the screen carrying a huge green caterpillar. It then began trying to shove it through the screen into the mouth of the crying little bird. This gave my younger sister and I “big eyes” to say the least. My grandmother shooed the adult away from the screen and told us that the adult was trying to feed its little one a poison bug to kill it since the chick now had human smell on it; Pure Appalachian folk wisdom.
Fast-forward now almost 2 decades. I am in an upper level University Biology class called “Animal Behavior.” It was a rather small class of Bio. Major students. We were discussing bird behavior and for some reason (I can never shut up) I recounted my story with sincere curiosity of why the mama Robin wanted to kill her chick. Freeze frame. An instant of total silence before the classroom erupted in laughter. In a flash (with a bright red face) I suddenly realize that I had taken in my grandmother’s folk wisdom as TRUTH without question. I absolutely believed that the parent Robin was trying to kill her little one with that huge, ugly caterpillar! I mean, would my grandmother lie to me? In that instant I saw, as the whole class and professor knew as they laughed, the parent was simply trying to feed his or her little one through the screen. It was nothing more insidious about the behavior than that.
How many other things have I just accepted as fact? Makes you think, doesn't it?