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Feb 15 2014

I’m back from the Creation Science Fair!

And I don’t have a lot to say. If you were looking for horrifying tales of creationist stupidity and extravagant inanity, it wasn’t here — it was a fairly typical range of posters, of the same sort you’d see at a public school science fair. Some were descriptive, some were about experiments; some were mundane, some were a bit out there; some you could tell Mom & Dad did most of the work, some were clearly driven by the passion of the students; some were rather poor, some were really good examples of kid science. The only difference between this and a secular science fair was the requirement to include a Bible verse on the poster.

There were about 2 dozen exhibits in a hallway on a Christian bible college, so it was on the small side. It was fairly busy, though, with lots of adults having conversations with the kids.

hall

I actually came out of it fairly optimistic. The organizers might want to skew the kids towards their bizarre mythology, but in practice, the kids were having none of it; they were playing with pulleys or breeding rabbits or testing water quality or talking about bees, and it was all about the evidence. Whether they like it or not, these kids are being given the tools to kick their tired Christian ideology to the curb. Give ‘em time. Let them keep thinking. Creationism is unsupportable by the honest application of the tools they are learning.

Also, surprisingly, the Bible verses on each poster were extremely encouraging. Nobody was testing biblical nonsense at all — there were no hypotheses, even, derived from the Bible. The overwhelming impression was that the kids had an idea they wanted to test first, and then, after the fact, slapped on a verse that somehow related to the experiment that they’d done. They were either non sequiturs or amusingly inappropriate. Take, for instance, this one:

diaper

That’s right: this student just compared the absorbency of diapers to Jesus. I hope they think this through and that the true meaning of the Bible becomes apparent to them.

This was another one I appreciated. The Bible says “fear and dread” of people will be upon all the birds and beasts, so this kid’s idea was to test whether that hypothesis was true by seeing if he could tame birds.

taming

The result: yes, he could. Therefore, the Bible is false. Oh, wait, he didn’t actually say that.

Anyway, good work, kids. Keep ignoring the Bible or debunking it!

34 comments

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  1. 1
    Paul

    Wow! New product idea: Jesus Diapers–absorbs it completely!

  2. 2
    joelperkin

    They didn’t use KJV? Fail them all!

  3. 3
    plainenglish

    Wonderful pictures…. life was a shitty diaper until Jeesus redeemed us from that self-defeating, currrsaid life by absorbing it….. holy shit, an aspect of the Cross I never managed to consider anally…
    The taming of the bird is an easy one: SATAN. Don’t be fooled by children, PZ! Satan hypnotized that creature to mislead etc.

  4. 4
    Dick the Damned

    God is dead, the laughing rationalists said;
    the priests were of a morose mind.
    Who killed him dead, “Why, it was FRED”,
    the priests, in lamentation, whined.

    So who is FRED who kills gods dead?
    FRED’s an acronym that needs some explication.
    So let it be said, what killed god dead;
    Freethought, Rational Education, & Deduction.

  5. 5
    neuralobserver

    While it may be encouraging that there aren’t demonstrable, heavy-handed signs of religious influence deeply infiltrating the fair and it’s projects, it is still a religion-driven, Creationist science fair, and for me it still is troubling having any religious associations made, no matter the seeming degree of freedom among the students to explore. Though it’s understandable given the bent of the institution, a science fair has no room for dogmatic religious quotes being identified with the science work, even at that level.

  6. 6
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    @neuralobserver, 5

    Maybe so, but the kids often don’t have the opportunity to chose their upbringing or environment. The fact that so many of them seemed to take the bible quote as something they needed to slap on to get their grade and enjoyed the science, as opposed to twisting the science to fit the quotes, is already a pretty big deal for something called “the CREATIONIST science fair”

  7. 7
    Rich Woods

    Requiring a Science Fair project to be accompanied by a biblical quotation is like requiring a formal paper on geology to be accompanied by a sentence in French. It’s an unnecessary requirement and it’s unlikely to explicitly add anything of value.

    Somehow I doubt the organisers look at it that way. They’d probably fight against any such move.

  8. 8
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Grade 9 advanced english class project was to do a large poster collage about “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

    so stupid projects are not only from religious schools.

  9. 9
    woozy

    @5
    Well, I think the school’s position and explanation would be: Religion is what we are and of first important in all aspects of life, but we still experience life and must eat, sleep, learn to read, experience history and do science.

    In all honesty, religious belief weirds me out. It weirds me out when it overtakes and permeates into all aspects of the believer’s life. And it weirds me out when it *doesn’t* overtake and permeate into all aspect of the believer’s life.

    ….
    Anyway, it’s important for me to remember when viewing something like a creationist science fair (actually that *is* a misnomer if they weren’t doing creationism; shouldn’t they have simply called it the christian bible school science fair?) that I’m not really watching the elephant freak show. I’m simply watching a human show (albeit one with, to me, really weird and slightly creepy trappings).

  10. 10
    moarscienceplz

    I’ve heard of Christ the redeemer, but Christ the absorber is a new one to me.
    I foresee a new religious schism – the Pamperites vs. the Huggyites.

  11. 11
    moarscienceplz

    Did you have a good lunch, PZ? Can you tell us who you met with?

  12. 12
    Zeno

    Grade 9 advanced english class project was to do a large poster collage about “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” so stupid projects are not only from religious schools.

    Sounds to me like an enjoyable project! Clever English students could do quite a job of it. How do you explain “We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune”?

  13. 13
    jnorris

    moarscienceplz, did you mean the French Hugginauts?

  14. 14
    David Marjanović

    the French Hugginauts

    *squeeeeeeeeee*

  15. 15
    mikeyb

    It still breaks my heart to see so many kids indoctrinated in this total BS, that many will spend the rest of their lives trying to unlearn if they even if they succeed. To me it’s no different than singing songs to the Dear Leader in North Korea or E-meter auditing sessions in Scientology -i.e is a cult pure and simple. What disgusts me the most is when this happens to kids.

  16. 16
    ChasCPeterson

    Grade 9 advanced english class project was to do a large poster collage about “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
    so stupid projects are not only from religious schools.

    I do not grok your usage of the word “stupid” here

  17. 17
    ledasmom

    If only that first one had gone with relative absorbency of sanitary napkins, they could have used a quote about the parting of the Red Sea.

  18. 18
    moarscienceplz

    #13 jnorris
    Didn’t the Hugginauts sail with Jason to find the golden fleece baby blankie?

  19. 19
    PZ Myers

    Yes, I had a nice lunch. Ordered the black bean veggie burger, and halfway through I noticed it had bacon on it, so it was that kind of restaurant…but I survived.

    I’ll let the other people out themselves in the comments if they’d care to.

  20. 20
    tfkreference

    Bacon is a gateway meat.

  21. 21
    Inaji

    TS:

    Grade 9 advanced english class project was to do a large poster collage about “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

    so stupid projects are not only from religious schools.

    That doesn’t sound stupid to me. It strikes me as being filled with opportunity for creativeness and cleverness.

  22. 22
    ChasCPeterson

    Bacon is a gateway meat.

    I personally know 4 people who independently lapsed from vegetarianism because they were one morning confronted with bacon.
    It happens.

  23. 23
    Al Dente

    Was it bacon from a pig or soy-based bacon which isn’t even an honest vegetable?

  24. 24
    madscientist

    Contrary to popular belief, the bible makes a pretty crappy diaper. It’s OK for starting fires though – it’s at least as good as the koran for that job.

  25. 25
    unclefrogy

    I have heard it is pretty good for rollin big splifs
    uncle frogy

  26. 26
    Moggie

    Anyone who puts stealth bacon in a bean burger is worse than a creationist.

  27. 27
    Acolyte of Sagan

    25.
    unclefrogy
    16 February 2014 at 2:36 am (UTC -6) Link to this comment

    I have heard it is pretty good for rollin big splifs

    You heard right, uncle frogy. Holy Smokes!

  28. 28
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    So if Jesus is like a diaper, when do we get to change Jesus? And can we use the Bible as wipes?

  29. 29
    playonwords

    Couple of thoughts here.

    Firstly; the 2 experiments highlighted make me think the kids involved were stealth rationalists.

    Secondly; US bacon is not a meat – at least not compared to dry cured back bacon Cheshire Smoke House

  30. 30
    corwyn

    The kid who thinks ‘tame’ means ‘responds to commands’ needs a cat.

  31. 31
    Christoph Burschka

    > the requirement to include a Bible verse on the poster.

    That sounds potentially hilarious…

    > “by absorbing it completely into himself”

    Aaand we have a winner. :D

  32. 32
    Christoph Burschka

    The result: yes, he could. Therefore, the Bible is false. Oh, wait, he didn’t actually say that.

    Well he had a Biblical quote, formulated a clearly defined hypothesis that would contradict the quote if confirmed, then confirmed the hypothesis with experiment, then moved the goalposts. I predict a stellar career in creation science…

  33. 33
    ericoehler

    Apparently, based on the photo, the projects were judged by Santa Claus and Vladimir Lenin. Now THAT’s a story worth investigating.

  34. 34
    richardelguru

    Jesus Diapers Turn Piss into Wine!!

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