Greg Laden visited the creationist science fair so we don’t have to

As I might have guessed, it seems to have been rather unimpressive. No genuinely outré exhibits, just more average work with bible verses slapped on. He does observe that quote-mining the bible means these kiddies are going to burn in hell someday, which does add a little frisson of horror to the exhibit, but since it’s just as much an unsympathetic fantasy as the Christian belief that we godless people are hellbound, I’m afraid it’s still not enough reason to have compelled me to drive across the state to see it.


  1. amph says

    This made my day:

    “Question: What do bunnies do?
    Hypothesis: God made bunnies with many parts that work together so they can do lots of things.”

    Especially the word ‘hypothesis’ in this context brought tears to my eyes.

    I think I’ll go there next time, if I am in the same part of the world.

  2. A Reasonable Kansan says

    thsts, f crs, d nt blv n hll.

    Tht s why, whn thy r n pltcl pwr, thy crt t hr n rth! Glgs, “r-dctn cntrs”, brnwhng cmps, tc.

  3. bones says

    Hey, this is where the cutting edge science of tomorrow is coming from. Little does anyone except that precious home schooled child know that “bunnies’ will be grown to enormous sizes and replace all the fossil burning vehicles of today.

  4. Wes says

    It would have been interesting to see the exhibit labelled with these Bible verses:

    2 Kings 18:27
    But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

    Isaiah 36:12
    But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

    It’s in the Bible twice, so it must be important. Right?

  5. Boo says

    Um, these are children y’all are going after, right? Isn’t this kind of like taking a bazooka to a fly?

  6. says

    It would have been interesting to see the exhibit labelled with these Bible verses:

    While we’re in 2 Kings:

    6:28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son tomorrow.
    6:29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: […]

    On second thought, I don’t think I want to see a project based on these verses.

    And, Boo? We feel sorry for the children. The parents of these children are the real target of the ridicule.

  7. Greg Peterson says

    I already posted this over at Laden’s site, but I guess it (barely) deserves posting here as well.

    Lynn and I did a little “subculture jamming” when we visited this “science fair” yesterday. We added actual information to some free Ken “Dr. Dino” Hovind DVDs that were being offered for free at one exhibit.

    We arrived early enough on Sunday that no one was there yet (all at church, I guess), and when I saw the stack of Dr. Dino BS DVDs (I’ve seen these, and it’s literally the worst of the worst creationist nonsense), I just took them all. Lynn, being sensible and good, asked if I thought it was ethical to do that. I responded that if they had left out poisoned apples I wouldn’t just leave them, and this is funcitonally the same thing. So I carried the DVDs with me while we looked at the exhibits (Greg’s review of them is accurate-some were poignantly cute, a couple seemed to apply the scientific method pretty well, and a couple would just break a science-lover’s heart with their loud-and-proud idiocy). When we’d seen everything, I was standing holding the stack of DVDs and contemplating just throwing them in the trash can, and then I hesitated. Would that be an act of censorship, something I find even more distasteful than stupidity? I thought it would be. Lynn commented that the fact that all her DVDs had been taken might in fact just inspire the little home-schooled creationist to whip up more, thinking her strategy was working. We discussed merely defacing the DVDs (they were PC-burned copies and weren’t sealed or anything), but that also amounted to censorship, which makes me very uncomfortable. Then Lynn said something inspiringly brilliant: “Too bad our side doesn’t have some stickers like the ones they tried to put on the Georgia text books, warning kids about the contents….except ours would be real.” And so the solution was suggested. We took the DVDs with us into the coffee shop inside Barnes and Noble and wrote on the back of the paper cover insert, “For good information on the fact of evolution, please visit

    OK, it was a minor, easily ignored step. But it did satisfy our desire to avoid censorship on the one hand, and our inability to let utter nonsense go unchallenged on the other hand.

  8. Sonja says

    I feel bad for these poor, deprived children. Why aren’t they cramming dictionary words for spelling bee competitions like the other homeschooled kids?

  9. Mengele says

    bj, y thnk th vltnsts r gng t tk cr f y whn y’r ld?

    s fr s vltn s cncrnd, f y r t ld t rprdc dcnt ffsprng, y r tst.


  10. Michael Vieths says

    I wandered past it on Sunday, after picking up a frame for my diploma (yay) at Michael’s. There was one exhibit on which was stronger: Lego, Megablocks, or Duplo that seemed to have the right idea (and, of course, good subject matter). Another was just some sheets of notebook paper, fringies still attached, taped to tag board. An exhibit on the spectrum of visible light made me wonder why some science is okay, but as soon as biology is involved people go nuts.

    I didn’t go through them one-by-one, just skimmed as I wandered through. I was left heartened by the fact that there were more people in the next hallway over trading baseball cards and memorabilia than there were looking at the displays.

  11. Woodwose says

    At exhibits like these we should always be on the lookout for the kids who are putting on a brave front, pretending that they believe the lies so they can fit in. My wife was approached at a school as she read some teacher’s grade two biology notes on the board. One of the kids pointed to the factoid stating “The whale is the largest fish.” and said “I know whales are mammals Mrs. Woodwose, but I’ll get marked wrong if I tell the teacher it isn’t a fish.”

    Kids are smart enough to know the truth, and canny enough to blend in. Support their inner rational being by talking to them as a fellow, but shorter, adult. Ask them about the science in their exhibit, suggest tidy ups for the facts. Let them know that science without the theology is exciting, and that nontheist science types are out there and we aren’t the ogres they’ve been warned about.

  12. says

    But, hang on. This is just a science fair of elementary school kids. Why is it necessary for adults who have been through higher education to stomp through with the fair and prove supposed future scientists wrong? I mean, do working volcano models, dinosaur illustrations and Bible verses really threaten the future of evolution?
    If I go to the next local public school science fair and go around spreading Creationism (and defacing their DVDs) wouldn’t it be just as pointless?
    I don’t know. I guess I just don’t see the reason you needed to have an evolution rep go to a Creationist school science fair. Are you all lacking that much in topics to blog about?


  13. Dustin says

    Dammit, when I was in 4th grade, I did a science project on ionization and electrical conductivity. In 5th grade, I split water molecules. Both times, I took the Best In Show for Physics and Chemistry in the regional science fair.

    These loonies are trivializing my childhood accomplishments (let’s just make sure they stay out of the journals).

  14. says

    Dustin – heh. very funny.
    All I am saying is that scrutinizing grade-schoolers in the name of evolutionary science doesn’t seem right. Or fair. Or something like that.

    ah, I am probably making a big deal over nothing.


  15. Mark R says

    I’ve only been here a few months, and I’ve seen this before, and it’s bugged me. What is it with the creationist who leaves out vowels from his posts? Is he trying to be cute? Attention-getting? So uneducated that he has to be limited to consonants?

    I don’t get it.

  16. says

    None of the above. There are a few obnoxious people who aren’t quite banned, but are only trolling for attention. The attention they get is that I disemvowel their comments—I’ve got a little script that lets me go in and rip out all the vowels.

    So it’s really just me being mean.

  17. Steve LaBonne says

    All I am saying is that scrutinizing grade-schoolers in the name of evolutionary science doesn’t seem right. Or fair. Or something like that.

    The kids are the victims. It’s their adult misleaders who are being scrutinized.

  18. Greg Peterson says

    Thanks, Steve–quite so. When I spoke with one of the kids at the fair, I was nothing but complimentary of his project, because he disproved his own hypothesis–an essential part of science. The best things on exhibit seemed to have come from the kids themselves–are kids more likely to eat color M&Ms than white ones, for example–while the truly nauseating stuff had adult fingerprints all over it. This wasn’t about dissing children; this was about educating ourselves on childish thought. And as to “defacing DVDs,” I strongly made the point that for ethical reasons we pricesly did NOT do that. We simply provided information on a source of real science. It’s a bit of a stretch to call a small hand-written message on a paper insert, for a DVD that we could have just taken outright, as some horrible act of vandalism.

  19. says

    Greg Peterson: You and I have been ani-cloned, or glommed, I think, by a gentleman who claims to have been to the science fair. (Go read comments by “Christian” to see what I mean.)

    Did you see 50 or 60 exhibits????

  20. jjj says

    Greg(s): so you were cloned? Interesting.

    I did see Mr. Christian going nuts on you two (or one). yes, greg, your case is well rested

  21. says

    JJJ: At first I thought the Cristian Bunny had simply confused us, and was dragging me across the coals for GP’s sins. At this moment, I’m actually not sure if he was confused. About that.