The age old question of dinosaurs (pun intended) was brought up in an Imamother thread recently. A poster took her son to the museum where they had a mock archeology dig. However, when her son began asking her questions about dinosaurs and the Torah approach to them, she didn't quite know what to answer.
One poster put in with this comment:
I don't see why there's any need to validate the museum's "hashkafa", or not imply that it's not what we believe.
Surely your son understands that the museum guides aren't Jewish, and he can be simply told that the whole dinosoar thing is goyishe . It shouldn't be hard for him to understand that while we are so lucky we have the Torah, where it tells us how Hashem created the world, Breishis Borah Elokim, etc., and the Torah is truth, Toras Emes, so we know the truth,
but that goyim don't have/ believe in the Torah, and sometimes they make things up taht are not true, like dinosoars and other "shtusim" e.g. fairy-tales.( you don't have to go into the whole evolutionary theory and refute it here, for your innocent little three year old's keppeh'le, just say that it's not what it says in the Torah, and goyim made up these stories.)
Now, if you want to believe that "the whole dinosaur thing is goyishe," I suppose I can't stop you. After all, it's your life and you're free to believe whatever you wish, however mistaken and foolish it might be. But I really want to focus on is not so much her personal belief, but the way she would choose to express it to her son.
Her approach is to tell her son that the "goyims'" lives are so empty without Torah, so devoid of purpose, that they have to make up silly things like dinosaurs in order to give their lives meaning. The main problem with this approach, very simply, is that it is a big, fat lie. I wasn't aware that the prohibition of m'dvar sheker tirchak ended when talking about non-Jews.
Putting aside the aspect of the prohibition, there is another problem with this approach -- very simply, what happens when the child finds out that what his mother told him is simply not true. Lying to children in order to teach a lesson is always bad policy. From the rebbe who tells his students that foods taste better when you make a bracha on them to the parent who tells their kid that scientists are only interested in taking people away from serving HaShem, they spread lies and misinformation to children who, at that age, don't know better.
There is also the question of what happens when the child finds out that she or he has been lied to. No matter how insular your community, there is likely to come a day when you might actually have the opportunity to talk for five minutes with someone another faith, and you find out that they *don't* believe that dinosaurs were made up to give their hollow, empty lives meaning. They might even find out that some of them take their faith in Christianity or Islam or whatever religion seriously, and draw real strength and inspiration from it -- much as they do from the Torah. They may even realize that the non-Jew they are speaking to doesn't believe in dinosaurs either. :)
Even if they never meet Christian or Muslim or Hindu or whatever for a length of time long enough to start a conversation, there's even the danger that they may be able to piece it together for themselves. They may eventually reason "why would they make up something so silly as a dinosaur to give their lives meaning?" They may begin to wonder why billions of people would be willing to walk around in self-delusion about the existence of dinosaurs.
And you don't have to be an adult to reason that out -- heck, I did it in eighth grade. I had a classmate at the time who tried to tell me that all the Christians in the world *know* that Judaism is the true religion, and that they are all just faking it. Now, I didn't know a single non-Jew at the time -- and yet, I was able to instantly spot how ridiculous that sounded. I sometimes wonder if my classmate ever met a devout Christian at some point later in his life, and if he did, how he reconciled the man's faith with his own world view.
With children, however, I think it is very important to always tell the truth when trying to impart important life lessons about Yiddishkeit. Basing your lessons on lies is dangerous, because once the child learns the truth (and, in all likelihood, they *will* learn the truth), they will begin to realize that they've been sold a bill of goods, and they might not be able to distinguish between the lies that they were told, and the truth that they were told. And that road often leads to total rejection.
In short, if you don't want to tell your kids about dinosaurs, then by all means, don't say anything. But don't say something as ridiculous as that the "goyim" make it up because they don't have the Torah.