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Feb 22 2012

The Notorious PZ Myers

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.

62 comments

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  1. 1
    jamessweet

    I thought it was “the notorious PZ Meyers”.

    Seriously though, you should show up with a big fake handlebar mustache. PZ undercover!

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    How then are you supposed to learn the ‘true scientific method’?

    Besides, it looks like they’ve just decided to consign you to hell.

    And seriously, the poor kids who can’t even have their little Jesus Junk photographed for fear that a real scientist might, you know, consider its scientific worth.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Aliasalpha

    Ooh or a bunch of people in PZ masks, that’d really creep them out!

    Might creep everyone out come to think of it

  4. 4
    Synfandel

    I know… disguise yourself with a beard and glasses.

  5. 5
    Blondin

    …you should show up with a big fake handlebar mustache

    And a top hat & cape ala Snidely Whiplash.

  6. 6
    Glen Davidson

    Then again, isn’t that pretty much how it is with ID “science conferences” and their squalid little “summer programs.”

    You have to be vetted as a moron or lunatic even to get in, by some other moron or lunatic.

    Glen Davidson

  7. 7
    jamessweet

    Ooh or a bunch of people in PZ masks, that’d really creep them out!

    Heh, since when are there PZ masks? :p

  8. 8
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Wow. These people are really, really insecure in their faith. After all, here was a free-thinker, a non-Christian, visiting a Christian and/or homeschooler’s science fair. This was a not-to-be-missed chance to witness this poor sinner to the love of gods and help him avoid burning forever in a lake of gods’ love. Instead, they are so afraid, so insecure, so limited in their faith, that, rather than let this poor sinner be brought into the fold of Jesus, they actually hid their light under a basket and refused to witness to him.

    Is this because the know they are peddling bullshit? Is it because they know that their circular arguments will not even dent the +7 Shield of Reality around Josh Engen? Is it because they know, deep in their hearts, that the bullshit being fed to their kids would make wonderful fertilizer for tomatoes?

    I find it telling that, rather than using the science fair projects to project the Christian fundamentalist faith, they chose to hide it, to shame the one trying to view the projects, and to not only question why he was there, but to accuse him of lying. If Christianity (in all its 30,000 or so sects) is the only correct way to view the universe, if the science really does support the innerency of the bible, then they should have welcomed even a professed atheist with open arms, open books, and open science fair projects. After all, they claim this is the only reality. Are they that insecure in their faith that they refuse to even witness an atheist?

  9. 9
    Glen Davidson

    I know… disguise yourself with a beard and glasses.

    You babes in the wood. PZ doesn’t have a beard or wear glasses except when he wants to be “publicly recognized.”

    The rest of the time he’s beardless, no glasses, with a muscular 20-something body, and he just runs around spying on (or worse) creation science fairs and communion rites.

    Glen Davidson

  10. 10
    Anthony K

    I was specifically there to make fun of children.

    Not children, you nitwits: childish beliefs!

    And Christians are supposed to be blissfully full of god, not these terse, suspicious paranoiacs.

    Looks like someone’s Jesus Armour isn’t working!

  11. 11
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @Aliasalpha, #3:

    PZ For Vendetta?

  12. 12
    raven

    I’d be a bit careful.

    Their god is supposed to be all powerful but never does anything in the real world.

    The creationists OTOH, are real and can be quite violent.

    It would not surprise me one bit if they forcibly escorted you out if you are lucky. Like the Expelled movie kooks did in Minneapolis.

    Which is worth something all by itself. PZ Myers Expelled again. Take a group with you well armed. With cameras and video recorders. It would look good on Youtube.

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    But I had a similar thing happen to me at the stupid Big Valley Creation Museum. The owner got all antsy when I pulled out a camera. He softened considerably when I was familiar with the authors of the creationist texts he had on display, but he sure was jittery.

    Must be because of all that persecutin’ they get.

  14. 14
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    I think they’ve got a point, though. All scientific papers/posters/presentations should include biblical (or koranic, or whatever) verses. Done right, it could be an effective tool against religion.

  15. 15
    NotAProphet

    They sure seem certain of the veracity of their “science”. Shouldn’t they be in favour of the scientific principal of openly publishing such that others can verify and build on your work!?

  16. 16
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Brownian:

    Must be because of all that persecutin’ they get.

    Yes. Creationists are often beaten with cameras. Makes ‘em a little antsy.

  17. 17
    Anthony K

    Yes. Creationists are often beaten with cameras. Makes ‘em a little antsy.

    Bah. Thuggish journalists. Our police forces should do something about the way they run roughshod over the rights of everybody else.

  18. 18
    WharGarbl

    PZ For Vendetta?

    No, you need something that start with P.
    PeZ for Pancetta
    PeZ for Polenta
    PeZ for Pinata
    PeZ for Perfecta
    PeZ for Placenta

  19. 19
    WharGarbl

    PZ For Vendetta?

    Forgot one!
    PZ for Pizza Hut (or Hutta).

  20. 20
    Anthony K

    No, you need something that start with P.
    PeZ for Pancetta
    PeZ for Polenta
    PeZ for Pinata
    PeZ for Perfecta
    PeZ for Placenta

    PeZ for Piña Colada (and getting caught in the rain.)

  21. 21
    hamburger

    Brownian, did you get to ride a dinosaur?

    :-)

  22. 22
    Moggie

    Brownian:

    But I had a similar thing happen to me at the stupid Big Valley Creation Museum. The owner got all antsy when I pulled out a camera. He softened considerably when I was familiar with the authors of the creationist texts he had on display, but he sure was jittery.

    Did you have to explain that it’s not a magickal box with a demon what steals your soul?

  23. 23
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    those visits are fact-notfinding missions

    fify

  24. 24
    Ingdigo Jump

    But I had a similar thing happen to me at the stupid Big Valley Creation Museum. The owner got all antsy when I pulled out a camera. He softened considerably when I was familiar with the authors of the creationist texts he had on display, but he sure was jittery.

    Must be because of all that persecutin’ they get.

    They’re afraid you’re going to steal their soul.

  25. 25
    andrewkronquist

    From the website:
    Five things to remember:
    .
    .
    5. Pray your exhibit will witness to non-Christian visitors.

  26. 26
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Andrewkronquist

    Yes “Pray” it says nothing about actually doing anything.

  27. 27
    jesuslovesbags

    Are you planning to post these pictures on PZ Myers’ website?

    Either way, what do you care? Are you ashamed? Is your conviction so flimsy that it can’t stand up to criticism?

  28. 28
    baal

    EEEP! I’ve been to HAR-MAR.

  29. 29
    Didaktylos

    You need to hire a dozen actors (or so) to play you …

  30. 30
    joshengen

    Is it because they know that their circular arguments will not even dent the +7 Shield of Reality around Josh Engen?

    Actually, I think my Shield of Reality is +8.

  31. 31
    Anthony K

    Brownian, did you get to ride a dinosaur?

    :-)

    No. I’ve never lived at a time concurrent with dinosaurs.

    Wait, unless you count birds as dinosaurs. Then…still no.

    Oh, did you mean a fibreglass one at the museum? In that case…also no. They didn’t have one.

    So, no.

    It’s really not a very interesting museum. It’s one room, and the website shows pretty much all the exhibits. If you ever find yourself there and want to see something interesting and historical, turn around, walk out the door, and look at the grain elevator (or take a ride on the steam train).

    Honestly, I don’t know why anyone feels the need for gods when there are prairie summer skies.

  32. 32
    jessie

    In that area, one could also go to the Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.

  33. 33
    Rey Fox

    It’s because he thought you were going to steal his soul with your…DAMMIT!

  34. 34
    Anthony K

    Did you have to explain that it’s not a magickal box with a demon what steals your soul?

    They’re afraid you’re going to steal their soul.

    I asked him if he minded if I took some photos. He said, “No, but if you’re going to make fun of us on the internet, at least spell our name right,” with a look on his face that was so helpless and sad and beaten down that it crushed my heart.

    And that’s what religion does (least the Abrahamist ones): it tells you that the only way to have a good life is to ensure everyone else conforms to its rules, and then leaves you with no tools to deal with life when that inevitably doesn’t happen. What a sad, empty, and confusing worldview that is.

  35. 35
    Anthony K

    In that area, one could also go to the Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.

    Yup. It’s only an hour away, and it’s world class.

    There’s a cute little ghost town about halfway in between, called Rowley. There are maybe six people who still live there, but the Historical Society boasts a greater membership, many of whom spend their weekends there. I shot some film there a few years ago and ended up getting drunk with Hutterite kids at the local saloon (also run by volunteers).

  36. 36
    jimnorth

    How about this for P Zed’s new nom de incognito ===

    Notorious P M Z

    (sorry, this sinus infection has me seeing sideways)

  37. 37
    peterh

    “Except for the sadness of dealing with deluded kids.”

    Don’t you perhaps mean deluded adults who, sadly, are leading kids into delusion?

  38. 38
    Grumps

    @Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! #8

    burning forever in a lake of gods’ love

    Ooh nicely put. I’ll definitely be using that.

  39. 39
    jesuslovesbags

    its really quite remarkable how fixated the zealots are on the notion that everyone is out to get them.

    I have some family that are real bible thumpers, and it has been apparent from the time I was little that they are truly afraid of the world around them.

    I was once discussing what my cousin would do after college with her mother. She mentioned that my cousin was thinking about moving to an east coast city where the job market was better than the mid-west, but was quite horrified of the idea and noted that her daughter wouldn’t be able to make it in that sort of environment.

    it was a surprising glimpse of (perhaps unintended) self-awareness that she had sheltered her daughter so zealously that she had effectively limited the opportunities she would be able to embark upon later in life.

    It makes me wonder, what are they really afraid of? Probably new ideas. new ideas get you thinking. if you think too much you might decide that your current worldview doesn’t comport with reality which would cause…. great anguish? I guess if you’re so committed to a worldview and don’t value the process of enlightenment through reason, you’ll naturally do whatever possible to prevent it….

  40. 40
    betelgeux

    Forget a handlebar mustache, PZ should show up wearing THIS: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/06/cthulhumas_came_early.php

    On a more serious note, PZ should definitely attend this “science” fair and others like it, not only as a “fact-nonfinding” mission but also to expose the insecurity that underlies all creationist indoctrinations.

  41. 41
    David Marjanović

    Ooh or a bunch of people in PZ masks, that’d really creep them out!

    Might creep everyone out come to think of it

    We are Anonymous
    We are legion horde
    We do not forgive
    We do not forget
    Expect us!
    Just don’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

    Not children, you nitwits: childish beliefs!

    Good opportunity to quote 1 Corinthians 13:11 at them, the place where Paul’s Epicurean upbringing broke through and made him contradict all his other shit: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

    PZ for Pizza Hut (or Hutta).

    That’s it !! PZ works for the evil, corrupt Pizza the Hutt !!

  42. 42
    seditiosus

    You could let it be known that you intend to send an army of infiltrators on a fact-nonfindng mission and enjoy watching them jump at every unfamiliar face they see.

  43. 43
    jimmauch

    How ’bout 100 PZ look-alikes being dropped in by parachute. To make it even more realistic they could each be carrying their own personalized cephalopod.

  44. 44
    Evader, the parasite-infested branch on the evolutionary tree

    You’ve made us all guilty by association!

    Well done PZ, that’s pretty badass.

    If I was RZA from the Wutang Clan, I’d be begging you to drop some science.

  45. 45
    rdmiller3

    When they don’t want people taking pictures of their science fair to show to the public, it makes me wonder why.

    I think it’s probably because they know it’s not really science.

  46. 46
    Anthony K

    How ’bout 100 PZ look-alikes being dropped in by parachute. To make it even more realistic they could each be carrying their own personalized cephalopod.

    I think that happened just recently when PZ was in Las Vegas.

  47. 47
    kantalope

    What if the bible quote you put on your poster made even less sense?

    Mark 6:9
    be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats

    good advice in the right environment… people might think you are trying to make some deep point of which they can’t quite grasp.

    And if everyone showed up to the science fair as PZ…oh the youtube hits! Matching masks, check. Matching fedoras, check. Matching Cthulu t-shirts, check…

  48. 48
    alexandra14c

    It’s such a nice project too:

    http://tccsa.tc/fair/2012/DSCN0468.jpg

  49. 49
    unclefrogy

    that picture is so sad. The child tried hard to do what he is expected to do and learn and he is being made more ignorant by the adults he trusts, who waste his genius to learn by teaching him lies and delusions.

    uncle frogy

  50. 50
    skeptifem

    some smart ass kid should make a sociology science project out of asking people questions about pz myers, impressions v reality, in the creationist science fair demographic. “how effective is internet propaganda?”, something like that.

  51. 51
    Forbidden Snowflake

    OT: nice to see you back here, skeptifem.

  52. 52
    unclefrogy

    that is not right not lies really but teaching mythology as if it was reality!
    The lie is telling them it is true.
    uncle frogy

  53. 53
    piscador

    So, next year let’s print up a bunch of “Official PZ Spy” badges (suitably misspelled, natch) and really freak them out.

  54. 54
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    Somebody needs to read Brer Rabbit to these people.

    “Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don’t throw me into the PZ patch.”

  55. 55
    scorpy1

    From the intertubes:

    Julie Von Vett is a teacher at The Academy (sponsored by YEAH), a science teacher at several home school coops, home schooled her own children through high school and is a member of the Board of TCCSA.

    Since Julie’s aggressive and childish behaviour is directly related to her organization being scrutinized here, I’m really curious to see how deep the paranoia grows amongst the other event sponsors. Field trip next year?

  56. 56
    Predator Handshake

    Ah, reminds me of the “science” class at the private school I attended for grades 5-7. In 7th grade we had a weekly activity where we would have to write a report on an article from a SECULAR JOURNAL and I’m pretty sure at the beginning we had to get our parents to sign permission slips just to be allowed to read the things.

    We weren’t actually learning anything about science, of course; we had to evaluate the article on these criteria: 1)It is REAL SCIENCE because it agrees with the Bible, 2)It is neutral because it is not mentioned in the Bible, and 3)It is DEVIL SCIENCE because it contradicts the Bible.

    Whatever plan they had for this activity backfired in my case; I would bullshit a page about something being “neutral science” and use the rest of the time to read about all the cool science stuff that they weren’t teaching us in science class.

  57. 57
    robertlacher

    Sounds like you need to get Richard Dawkins to crash this one like he did Expelled. Dawkins being interrogated over being PZ Meyers in disguise would be priceless.

  58. 58
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    @Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! #8

    burning forever in a lake of gods’ love

    Ooh nicely put. I’ll definitely be using that.

    I kinna take na credi’ f’r t’at un.

    [sound of throat clearing]

    I can’t take credit for that one. That’s a quote from a fundogelical who infested my now-defunct blog. And he was quite serious about it. Though I don’t think he ever actually spelled it correctly.

    its really quite remarkable how fixated the zealots are on the notion that everyone is out to get them.

    When it is actually the other way around.

    You could let it be known that you intend to send an army of infiltrators on a fact-nonfindng mission and enjoy watching them jump at every unfamiliar face they see.

    Inducing paranoia in the already paranoid? Are you nu . . . .

    Actually, good idea.

    Matching fedoras, check.

    Cowboy hats look better. If we were all in fedoras, we’d look like refugees from an Indiana Jones convention.

    It’s such a nice project too:

    http://tccsa.tc/fair/2012/DSCN0468.jpg

    The backwards ‘N’ is a nice touch.

  59. 59
    Regular Joe

    @ #41 David Marjanović

    Just don’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  60. 60
    NelC

    Somebody should throw a PZ Myers lookalike competition. Any odds on where PZ would place?

  61. 61
    Anthony K

    Somebody should throw a PZ Myers lookalike competition. Any odds on where PZ would place?

    Third. Is it third? I bet it’s third.

  62. 62
    jimi3001

    If you do go, please please PLEASE dress up as Ming the Merciless (or similar)

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