Wisconsin’s turn!

Oh, no. Another one. Yet another kook is inspired by Ken Ham’s example and plans to open a “museum” … in the Wisconsin Dells. The Dells, if you don’t know it, is a family resort area, rather cheesy (ha! In Wisconsin! I made a funny), and crammed with waterparks and waterskiing shows and carnival rides and bowling alleys and little stage shows—a creationist “museum” will fit right in.

The guy who has collected a hodge-podge of creationist exhibits, Bill Mielke, exhibits the typical rhetorical coherence of his breed.

“What we’re doing is those that say it’s scientific, is to say it’s not religion against science, but religion against ‘junk science,'” he said. “There is no transitional life forms and there’s no evidence.”

Um, OK. Whatever he just said.

Anyway, this joker has already rented out space in the Waupaca High School (to which we all have to say, “wtf??!?”), and has been exhibiting his trash for some time. Now he wants to put it on display in a dedicated space at a resort, not far from the lovely university town of Madison, Wisconsin. Bleh. All I can say is that, if he does this … ROAD TRIP! Let’s catch the lunacy before it folds into bankruptcy.

(Hat tip to Beautiful Biology)


  1. catofmanyfaces says

    oh the shame! that’s where my grandparents live!

    is it legal to display that excrement in a high school?

  2. Stwriley says

    It’s possible the high school isn’t to blame for having this stuff in the building. If they normally rent space in the place to other entities, they may not be able to refuse. Public contracting and accommodation laws may well require the school to accept anyone who can pay and isn’t breaking the law.

    It’s at least a possibility to check before before we jump on them…

  3. Stwriley says

    To follow on from PZ’s link to an interview with an “interesting” person, I’ve heard a couple of others that might be of interest here. The NPR show “Here and Now” has been interviewing interesting figures in non-belief; Greg Epstein from Harvard (their Humanist Chaplin), and Rep. Pete Stark.

  4. Jonboy says

    No transitional fossils,humans and dinosaurs co-existing,
    Nobel scientists disagree with evolution,Blah Blah Blah.
    It’s to early for all this crap on a empty stomach.

  5. Maria says

    I just hope you keep the Comic Sans typeface for quotes of this caliber… It’s completely fitting.

  6. June says

    The article begins “About four years ago, Waupaca resident Bill Mielke stumbled upon some startling information while browsing the Web.”

    Later we read “These things have been around for a long time, but people have been covering them up”

    Wake Up, PZ! The way to cover up evidence against evolution is to post it on the Web!

  7. MAJeff says

    To follow on from PZ’s link to an interview with an “interesting” person, I’ve heard a couple of others that might be of interest here. The NPR show “Here and Now” has been interviewing interesting figures in non-belief; Greg Epstein from Harvard (their Humanist Chaplin), and Rep. Pete Stark.

    Greg Epstein….yummy.

  8. says

    Well, I suppose it can be “scientific”, as long as you change the definition of science. Ken Ham, proprietor of that big new creation museum in Kentucky, does this explicitly in his latest newsletter. He thinks the supernatural is being arbitrarily excluded from natural science, denying “knowledge” to our public school students. [Link]

  9. Zeph says

    “There is no transitional life forms and there’s no evidence.”

    Aside from being a badly formed sentence, perhaps he’s never learned about how fossils are formed? From what I’ve been told it’s a long shot that organisms become fossilized, how many complete dinosaur skeletons are there in the world? Not many if I remember correctly. To dismiss evolution simply because there are no fossilized transitional life forms is ignorance. And anyways, not all evolved traits are visible in a skeleton, how are we supposed to know if an animal evolved camouflage? Or a better method of digesting food? These things are very hard to determine from a set of bones, I would think.

    As for evidence, has anyone perhaps considered looking at what mankind has done to the dog as a perfect example of evolution at work? Throughout many many years man has been selectively breeding dogs to achieve new breeds with certain desirable traits. Is this not a perfect example of a sort of evolution? It may not be an example from nature, but it’s certainly strong evidence for me.

  10. Dahan says

    I’m up for a road trip. I’ve driven past the Dells on my way from Saint Paul to Chicago literally dozens of times and never stopped there. Now it’s gonna be just like when you come across a car wreck: you know you shouldn’t look, because you’re possibly going to see something REALLY nasty and bad, but you just can’t help yourself.

  11. says

    I sure hope there are other venues for sideshow freaks there as well. Things can get rather lonely for Mielke if he can’t hang out with Fiji mermaids, bearded ladies and others of his kin.

  12. j.t.delaney says

    For those unfamiliar with the Region, the Polish Riviera (a.k.a. “The Dells”) was once an area of incredible natural beauty, sporting a network of glacially-formed sandstone gorges… which is now mostly a continuous wasteland of strip malls, discount family restaurants, tacky motels, and of course water parks. They already had one or two Bible-themed water water parks, so a creationist museum is just sort of a logical extension.

  13. says

    I wonder if all these fringers who are cropping up are really a symptom of deep fear on the part of the faithful – the creeping awareness that religion is being eclipsed. It seems to me that the kind of shrill denial we’re seeing will increase as the end of faith begins to approach. If I’m right, we can also expect nihilistic violence. How else would death cultists be expected to react to the bursting of their bubble?

  14. Dahan says

    “The artifacts include burial stones, engravings, pottery and drawings depicting dinosaurs and humans co-existing ”

    Cause you know, if someone draws something it must be taken from real life. Much like the depictions of Zeus and humans interacting.

    What a bunch of fucking idiots.

  15. former cheesehead says

    Oh, the shame of it all…..but I’m not too worried. Although the wingnut crowd is alive and well in Wisconsin, bible-thumpers are generally regarded with a shrug by most of the level-headed populace. (And the Madison newspapers will have a good time excoriating this one.) I mean, really–is it at all likely that this kook’s “museum” (in a rented space in a HIGH SCHOOL!) will convert anyone who hasn’t already bought into the fairy tale? Maybe he’ll have Flintstones loops showing in the kids’ area as further “proof”.

  16. k says

    Yeah, we’d like to think that it will fold into bankruptcy. As dumb as people are, I doubt it. Afterall, they’re letting this bozo rent a section of the school gym. That’s not legal or ethical but there it is.

  17. says

    It’s somewhat ironic that this clown is putting his creation ‘museum’ in the Dells: it’s one of the cheesiest, most decadent exploitations of natural wonders in the world. A Wisconsin friend of mine used to refer to it as ‘Sin City’. Putting a museum there works as a perfect metaphor for the whole creationist movement.

    “There is no transitional life forms and there’s no evidence.”

    This always reminds me of a quotation attributed to former D.C. mayor Marion Berry: “If you don’t count the murders, the D.C. crime rate is very low.”

    If you don’t count the transitional fossils and evidence, there’s no proof of transitional fossils and evolution!

  18. says

    This sad moron is bringing up the Meister Footprints, Ica stones and Acambaro figurines?
    He needs to be dipped headfirst into a hot fondue of Limburger immediately.

  19. deBunk says

    “Mielke shuffles through them to find a statement from a private group that offers $250,000 to anyone who can provide evidence of transitional life forms and missing links.”

    Let me guess, that “private group” would be Kent Hovind’s CSE?

  20. DrBadger says

    Please don’t visit this place. I wouldn’t want this guy, for a second, to think that people are there to actually appreciate what he’s doing.

  21. Laser Potato says

    Maybe he can install it next to one of those museums of “diseases and deformities”. But alas, the Mutter Museum is in Philadelphia…

  22. Stwriley says

    Maybe he can install it next to one of those museums of “diseases and deformities”. But alas, the Mutter Museum is in Philadelphia…

    Don’t sully the name of our dear Mutter! It’s good old fashioned 19thc. science (and the absolute best place in the world to take your twelve year old nephew!)

  23. Brendan S says

    PZ, if you go, I’ll come visit. I’m in Chicago, but the Dells aren’t that far away. Besides, everyone here goes up there for vacation, although I can’t imagine why.

  24. jeffox backtrollin' says

    I’m sorry for the unabashed plug of my own blog, but I live about an hour west of Wisconsin Dells, and went there on a trip about a month ago. I blogged the story under “Surfin’ Bird”. It may seem a bit off-topic, but some of my photos will give you all a bit of perspective of what the place is like.

    It would be easy for a creationist “museum” to get lost in all the other attractions of the area, that I can verify. So can the real beauty of the dells area. You’ve just given me an idea of what to do for the rest of my day. :)

    Oh, yeah, my blog’s name is “Da Fox Hole” @blogger.com. Check it out! Thanks, Dr. Myers.

  25. Buffybot says

    Two bible-themed water parks??? Are you shitting me? What does that involve? Do they just paint a big whale-mouth around the entrance to the water-slide and call it the ‘Jonah’?

  26. says

    I’m there. I’m blogging out of Madison – let’s get some more info and perhaps we can plan a science blog road trip for debunking!
    I’ll post about this in a second…

  27. Dustin says

    Two bible-themed water parks??? Are you shitting me? What does that involve? Do they just paint a big whale-mouth around the entrance to the water-slide and call it the ‘Jonah’?

    See, the Christians are ruining everything again. Water parks are about string bikinis, string bikinis being ripped off by wave machines, string bikinis being ripped off by water slides, string bikinis being ripped off by the waterfall arch on the tube ride, making out with random drunk girls who sport string bikinis, and shameless deck changes into string bikinis.

    Really, they’re like beaches but with treated water and no urchins or sand fleas.

  28. Leni says

    Ya. I live in Madison to and I freaking loathe the Dells. GG made a good point, it is a perfect metaphor for creationism and a perfect place to put one of their ridiculous “museums”.

    Anyway, we already ruined a really cool natural formation with a bunch of worthless kiddie crap and overpriced fleabag motels. One more monument to stupidity and ignorance isn’t even going to be noticeable.

    Maybe I’ll go. And maybe I’ll “accidentally” drink a bottle of Ipecac and eat a jar of mayonnaise beforehand.

  29. says

    That it’s opening near Madison surprises me a little, but as a resident for over 3 years now in one of the more religious areas of Wisconsin (though I’ll always be a Minnesotan at heart), I can’t say the idea of a creation “museum” here shocks me too much.

    Also, I seem to live right between you and the Dells, PZ, and I don’t drive, so if you ever do decide to visit it you could pick me up on the way ;)

  30. Henry says

    “Because this is becoming so popular now, people are manufacturing copies of these artifacts,” he said. “So you can buy these, and that’s where a lot of this stuff came from.”

    Uhhh.. wait a minute. He’s just BUYING his so-called “artifacts”? Did he ever stop to think that maybe the places he’s buying these from aren’t exactly credible?

  31. Mark F. says

    Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton (WD’s next door neighbor) are over the top commercialized with a bunch of silly tourist traps and water parks up the wazoo. Despite that I’ll be heading up there at the end of October (4th year in a row) for a few days for a nice get-away with the wife and kids at one of the big indoor waterpark resorts. If you go during the off-season it’s dirt cheap in the middle of the week. In the future though I will be sure to avoid the idiotic creationist “museum”. As a counterpoint to that nonsense, there’ll always be the Tommy Bartlett’s Exploratorium. We had a good time at that a couple of years ago.

  32. Ex-drone says

    dells.com writes:

    Wisconsin Dells Welcomes You to Fall Fun in the “Waterpark Capital of the World!”

    Perfect place for Baptists and YEC flood geologists.

  33. llewelly says

    “Because this is becoming so popular now, people are manufacturing copies of these artifacts,” he said. “So you can buy these, and that’s where a lot of this stuff came from.”

    Quick! Someone sell him a party pack of a dozen Jesus fingers!

  34. jeffox backtrollin' says

    OK. Went there today. Got back and blogged it. Didn’t see the new “museum” but go read my blog anyway. Or I’ll kill this racoon. That’s right, visit my blog or the racoon gets it right in the head. You wouldn’t want to see that, would you? Da fox hole is calling you. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. :) :) :) :)

  35. Interrobang says

    Water parks are about string bikinis…

    Honestly, I have never wanted so much to see someone fall out of his swim trunks in all my life. Nothing personal, Dustin, but could you be a little more imbued with male privilege if you worked at it? I mean, honestly, if you want girls to fall out of their bikinis in front of you, you’ve got to at least fall out of your trunks occasionally too. Fair’s fair. :)

    Bonus points if there are crowds of disapproving Bible-thumpers looking in your direction at the time…

  36. Byron Arthur says

    The Dells is the perfect place for a creationist museum. It already has a place where the laws of physics don’t apply… called “The Wonder Spot”. Water running uphill? That’s nothing! How about “Poof! Humans!”?

  37. Arnosium Upinarum says

    Wisconsin Dells. What can one POSSIBLY say?

    How about, “An attraction like that which a turd might boast”?

    Up until half a century ago the area had a true natural beauty until the locals developed its ‘recreational’ attributes to thoroughly obnoxious levels in order to lure ever more ‘family-fun-loving’ folks from Chicago and Milwaukee. Its been a festering canker sore in the center of the state ever since.

  38. Randy says

    I wonder how they convinced the ghost of Tommy Bartlett to allow them to build a non-Tommy Bartlett museum in the Dells. Maybe they should build it in Baraboo, next to the Ringly Brothers/Barnum-Bailey Circus Museum. As PT always said, a sucker is born every minute. (or they could build it next to Noahs Ark….. the waterpark, not the boat)

  39. wrpd says

    I grew up in Chicago in the protocrustacean era–a long, long time ago. My grandmother and her husband went to the Dells every summer. They would send us picture postcards saying something like, “Glad you’re not here!” (Later in life she would spend winters in Hawaii and we would get postcards complaining about how bad the weather was there.) Anyway, since I have been interested in science all my life, I at first enjoyed the postcards from the Dells. They started out as pictures of the natural rock formations and the surrounding scenery. Gradually, however, the pictures changed. I remember postcards with pyramids of girls waterskiing behind a motorboat. They got worse as the years went on. The clientele of the the Dells went from well-to-do families to Joe Sixpacks who would pack up the station wagon and go for the weekend and come back with almost worshipful stories abou the magnificence of da Dellz.

  40. Jess says

    *hangs head in shame*
    It really is time to leave my home state. But I do agree — this new little attraction will fit right in.

    On another note, if you ever want to feel really good about your body, go to the Noah’s Ark water park at the Dells, any time during the summer. The pale, pasty flesh and abundance of beer-gut flop over will boost just about anyone’s confidence.

  41. says

    I’m a college student from Wisconsin Dells. Since this museum news broke a month ago, I’ve been debating creationists in the Wisconsin Dells newspaper. Every edition since then, except for one, has featured responses from people such as myself involving the issue, so I gathered all of them here on my blog if anybody wants to follow the issue further.