The Twin Cities Creation Science Fair was held last weekend. I was out of town, but flew back in on Sunday afternoon and actually thought about swinging north and dropping in to see what was going on, but decided against it: I was tired, and these things are sad and tawdry affairs, and they just make me depressed for the poor kids.
But Josh Engen was there. Apparently my name came up a few times while he toured the exhibits.
Finally, we came across a presentation entitled “Dinosaurs And The Ark.” The board had obviously been put together by a very young child, and the matriarch of creationism wanted desperately to protect it. This woman, whose nametag read “Julie Von Vett,” ungracefully positioned herself between the camera and the poster board and began staring at me in a way that reminded me of my grandmother.
“Are you planning to post these pictures on PZ Myers’ website?” she finally blurted out.
Me: “Excuse me?”
Julie: “You know PZ Myers, don’t you?”
I explained that I had no relationship with Mr. Myers and that my being there had nothing to do with him. But, it was obvious that Julie’s mind was made up. By then she was grilling me like a cartoon drill sergeant. Who was I working for? Why was I there? Etc. Etc.
After several passive-aggressive attempts to trick me into admitting that PZ Myers had sent me on a secret mission to disrupt her event, or perhaps that I actually was PZ dressed up in some kind of clever disguise, a small crowd of people slowly formed around us. Within a few minutes, I was surrounded by several aggressive creationists, and each one had a separate theory about my associations and purpose.
The most interesting accusation that was brought against me (and PZ Myers, and all of his readers by association) was that I was specifically there to make fun of children.
I’ve attended many creationist events. I never disrupt them or even recommend to others that they disrupt them: those visits are fact-finding missions. I also don’t encourage making fun of the kids — they are the victims. It’s good that some of them are trying to do basic science, but the fact that the organizers compel everyone to put bible verses on their posters is telling and deplorable.
But by gosh, next year, or perhaps the year after, I’m going to have to go to the Har-Mar Mall in February, just to freak these people out. Or maybe I can actually get by with commissioning a squad of undercover minions to go on a secret mission to infiltrate their science fair. Or perhaps openly — maybe we need a Twin Cities Creozerg?
Except for the sadness of dealing with deluded kids. That makes it so much less fun.