This is a post by guest blogger Louise Kellar about her visit last weekend to the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana. Louise says feel free to share this story and the photos far and wide, but attribution is appreciated. She can be reached at @Spa_yediMonster on Twitter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
It turns out creationism is still alive and kicking. Okay, maybe not kicking so much as floundering so it doesn’t drown. On Saturday, September 22nd, a handful of other skeptics/atheists and I attended the Creation Evidence Expo held in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was my fourth year in attendance and it almost lived up to my expectations. Last year, I outed myself as a non-believer in front of all the expo participants. Their reaction was that of applause and thanks, and a gentleman even stopped me outside to shake my hand. Flash to this year and that same gentleman was manning a table right inside the door. Of course he remembered me and we exchanged some pleasantries and he thanked me again for coming.
We entered the Southport Life Center’s main area. It’s one of those buildings that is part church and part community center. As I walked around, there were several tables of vendors. There were a lot of the same books and pamphlets from years past, but also some new ones that caught my eye.
Yep, they really went there. In fact, when reading over my stacks of creationist propaganda, I found that about 50% mentioned Hitler. You know, it’s something about Hitler being influenced by Darwin, and now abortions happen because people believe humans descended from chimps, therefore you have to believe in creationism. I hope that didn’t make sense, because that’s an example of the rhetoric that I heard this weekend.
The expo began like usual: with technical difficulties. I think next year I am going to bring one of my tech support friends with me. Seriously, you guys, it was awful; they started 15 minutes late. I wonder if time is not of the essence because they keep thinking, “well, there is always the afterlife.” Dammit, people, I don’t have time to wait around! This is all I’ve got!
Opening remarks began with Pastor Boyd explaining, “We are being brainwashed and deceived by evolution!” I beg to differ; creationism has created blinders that instilled a fear into those people that asking questions and thinking outside the box will lead them down a path of crime and destructive behaviors. I also learned that in Cincinnati they say, “Prepare to believe!” I’ve been to Cincinnati many times and have never heard that, so if you live in Cincinnati, let me know if you hear that phrase a lot.
Up next was Pastor Boyd’s wife, Elaine. She was very proud that she had her bible with her because it is a “reliable, authentic, powerful book with sufficient scientific evidence to show Darwinian Evolution to be false.” She was followed by another organizer who told us that evolutionists are spending 90% of their time explaining around evidence. Then, something and something and now missionaries are being sent to America. I haven’t seen any missionaries around here, but I really wish they were doling out free vaccines and medical advice instead of proselytizing.
Our first presenter was Bruce Malone. He has been a speaker at the expo for many years now. His credentials are a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and 27 years on the job at Dow Chemical. Despite his background, he gave a lecture entitled “Explosive Geological Evidence Supporting Noah’s Flood.” Malone started off by explaining, “Having a creator is not a revelation to anyone living on the earth.” Now, I am assuming he was implying god and not the sperm and egg that came together to create each one of us, but maybe I’m wrong. He explained that according to Genesis, only animals of their own kind can reproduce with each other. He then said that all dogs came from a grey wolf a few thousand years ago (even though his time line is wrong, I am pretty sure I’d call that evolution).
Malone spoke about the fossil record and how you can’t make fossils anymore and that’s why there aren’t buffalo fossils and that’s why evolution didn’t happen. He then went on to discuss gaps in the fossil record…well, isn’t that interesting, you can’t make fossils in all conditions, but the lack of “transitional fossils” is proof that evolution didn’t happen. He droned on about how these are, “all reasons people are without excuse to believe in god.” Oh, and we can’t talk about fossils without talking about Mary Schweitzer and her soft tissue in dinosaur bones. And we would be remiss if we didn’t cover the “Piltdown man” (an infamous hoax of the early 20th century). And if all of that wasn’t enough, let’s talk about Mount St. Helens and all of the aftermath that proves coal isn’t as old or difficult to make as we are taught.
Bruce Malone’s speech was so long and boring that several people in my group took a little nap during it. In closing, he talked about how anyone can make up stories. In fact, these stories are where Christianity went wrong. Luckily we have the Bible, which is factual. The worldwide flood is “actually factual.” Correct me if I am wrong here, but isn’t the Bible just a bunch of stories people made up to explain what they didn’t understand?
Up next, my all-time favorite doctor of gibberish, Dr. Willie E. Dye and his lecture on “Pumped up Predators.” Usually he talks about his archeological digs in undisclosed countries that were looking for Christians to perform the digs. This year’s speech was very different, with the exception of his use of ridiculous statistics. The first part of his speech was very much focused on reference points. He talked about the Bible being a reference point and those reference points are like recess rules you had as a kid. You all know those important rules such, “don’t spit on the girls,” right?
As always, I was confused by his segue. He jumped into talking about how,”when a baby slides out of its mother’s womb, it cries because it needs food or love or to be changed.” I have never personally seen someone give birth, but I am really sure that babies don’t come out with diapers on. Then he went on to say, “God gave us the ability to reproduce out of our mother’s womb.” I kept picturing a baby mill that looked like an M.C. Escher work.
Dye kept putting up slides about education. “The aim of education should be to convert the mind into a living fountain and not a reservoir” and “Education makes a people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave.” After that he went on about how god was taken out of school in 1963 and shared some statistics with us. Now bear in mind these statistics are all the direct result of God being taken out of school. (Also this is the short list)
- Violent crime up 995%
- Suicide up 300%
- Single parent families up 117%
- STDs up 226%
- Average SAT score down 80 points
- Assaults on teachers up 7000%
- Birth rate of unwed 10-14 year olds up 325% *last year he claimed it was 553%
- 84% of cities are in financial trouble
- 4000 churches close annually
- No new members added to 50% of churches
- 1400 pastors quit each month.
My mind was reeling from all these phony statistics, and of course he didn’t stop there. I am not even sure how he segued into the next topic. It was all about how evolutionists will try to trick you into not believing and he began explaining all the ways animals try to kill humans. He kept talking about how evolutionists will show up to your events and try to trick you. They will also stalk you and they will try their best to lead you away from god. “They kill, steal, and destroy.” He repeated that phrase about every minute. It appeared very much to be an attack on anyone who didn’t believe in creationism and how evil those people are. At one point he even mentioned that people will write bad things about him on the internet. I wonder if he saw what I said about him last year?
Willie Dye spends some of his time going to prisons and spreading the word of god. He started talking about all the godless heathens and the crime rates of countries. For some reason he decided to touch on countries with high kidnapping rates with the intent to sell people into human trafficking and slavery. India was ranked #1 with 23,911, Turkey with 10,509 and Canada was 3rd with 4,671. And all this time I thought it was illegal to own a Canadian.
He highlighted the horrible prison conditions in Haiti. There is a prison that was built to house 438 inmates; it currently holds 3,100 which he said is a “335.7%” overcrowded rate. His math skills are right up there with his comprehension of biology; as a few of you on Twitter pointed out, that particular prison is 707% over the intended population. He ended his speech with explaining all the types of fishing nets and telling us God was our fishing net.
It was a bit after four in the afternoon when the expo stopped for a two hour lunch break. The organizers opted not to have a Q & A session before breaking for lunch because the expo was running late due to all those technical difficulties. This was problematic because all but myself and one other were staying until the end. At least I had taken a lot of notes because I really had a question for Bruce Malone.
After a nice lunch we reconvened at the Southport Life Center and the evening session started off with none other than technical difficulties. The first speaker up was Ellen Parren with her speech, “What is truth?” Last year, they introduced her by saying they realized they needed a woman speaker and they found this very senior lady. This year, they avoided calling her a senior and used ‘multigenerational’ instead. In fact, they pretty much called her just about everything but old. She let us know she was 83 and that she barely knew how the microphone worked.
Parren’s speech is one of great interest to me. She co-opted a lot of words that skeptics generally use, such as freethinking, and she has spent extensive time volunteering in the Indianapolis Public School systems. She is very adamant about education and making sure children are taken care of. Her speech was filled with anecdotes of sad children she meets because they come from broken homes.
The lecture continued on with Parran talking about how the NSCE and the ACLU are big bullies. She claimed that they force schools to not teach creationism by suing schools that can’t afford legal fees. “Evolution,” she continued on, “is one-sided indoctrination.” I began to wonder what books she was reading to these school children. Was she slipping in creationism when no one was paying attention?
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” Parran read. Then she began spouting about how we can’t take in immigrants because we can’t take care of ourselves. People need to, “stop attempting to be politically correct and do what’s right. Stop being intimidated by intellectuals and don’t believe what they say without evidence.” It was a bit hard for me to swallow everything she was saying because she had yet to produce any evidence, but then again, that was the theme of the day.
It was very disappointing to me that Dr. Carl Baugh was not in attendance this year, but he was kind enough to prerecord a message that was shown at the expo. I would have thought he knew they didn’t know how to operate technology over there, but after a delay they finally got his message up on the screens. Baugh wants you all to know that “Jesus Christ is literally living within you.” Not sure if the government knows this, but that Jesus dude seems like a socialist freeloader. Baugh’s speech was very short and basically told us the 10 things that Jesus is doing. I always like asking Baugh questions; he has mastered the art of tiptoeing around, but alas, I couldn’t.
Our last speaker of the night was Dr. Jay Wile. The good news about Wile is that he has a Ph.D. from a real college (as opposed to a degree mill) in nuclear chemistry. Also, he even walked the tech guy through the set up so we had no delays. Finally, someone who knew what was going on! Dr. Wile had by far the most informative – and dare I even say convincing – speeches of the night. Just in case anyone is worried, I wasn’t actually convinced, but his conviction and charisma are on the dangerous side.
Dr. Wile is a very skilled public speaker. He knows exactly what words to emphasize and I am pretty sure he could even make you doubt the sky is blue with the right inflections. His lecture was on “Recent News in Creation Science” He began quoting biology books from 1989 and talking about “junk DNA”. He informed the audience that junk DNA doesn’t exist because god made us and that they now know 80% of what our DNA does. He went on to explain that DNA is like a car engine. He then carried on about Andy McIntosh and the bombardier beetle and how that design is proof that god made us and that god makes a better aerosol can than man does.
This is where the lecture became a bit more interesting to me. Dr. Wile started talking about how good peer review is, which seemed contradictory to a post the Creation Evidence Expo had put on their website. Dr Wile writes creation science textbooks for home schooled children. He finds the peer review process to be incredibly important because science is always changing and he can’t know everything about everything.
Dr. Wile continued on about how evolution can’t be right because of fish. Something about all fish come from fresh water fish, but biology says salt water fish came first, but time says something different, and I am pretty sure that he just used circular logic to confuse the audience and prove that everything went extinct and started from scratch. Then he went on a tirade about how we can’t be 99% genetically linked to chimpanzees because no one has ever mapped out the entire human genome.
Finally it was time for the question and answer session. I had a simple question for Bruce Malone. If all dogs came from a grey wolf several thousand years ago, then all dogs are wolves, right? Wouldn’t that be evolution? His answer included something about how wolves and dogs and foxes are all the same and that is why they can reproduce with each other. So I guess since all humans came from Moses and all dogs came from a grey wolf maybe we should just call the grey wolf Moses? So I mentioned that horses can breed with donkeys but you get a mule that is sterile. Dr. Wile jumped in to say something like they were the same animals, but that a lot of their genetic material had been lost because of time. I found these answers unacceptable, but my brain hurt and it had been a long day. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Dr. Wile tried to shock the audience by telling us that in Germany they are trying to breed humans and chimps.
If your head is hurting now, the good news is that this was the end of Saturday’s adventures. The expo wrapped up with the giving away of door prizes and Pastor Boyd implying “no homo” when they gave away a necklace, Pastor Boyd kept saying “guys, if you win it’s a great gift for your wife or that special lady in your life.” He said it about five times and even the jewelry maker said, “No, we have men’s necklaces.” But Pastor Boyd didn’t relent and looked annoyed that the jewelry maker would even dare say that. . I was glad for Saturday’s session to be over. I noticed that the energy and enthusiasm were down greatly this year as compared to expos of previous years, and even the speakers didn’t seem to have the luster they usually do. Does this mean they are fizzling out? One would hope, even though I fear not.