I missed the science fair (I might get a shot at it later today), but a reader did send in a quick report on what you’ll find there.
I stopped by the Twin Cities Creation Science Fair Saturday night at the Har Mar mall. I am not a science educator so I may not be a fair judge and I don’t know how the various ages should relate to their various projects. I did not take a close look at all of them but there were some that seemed fairly decent, effects on plant growth, measuring impurities and contaminants in well vs tap water, air rifle velocity measurement, measuring wood hardness, color blindness in dogs. There seemed to be a number experiments on dogs. It seems house pets make convenient experimental animal subjects. There was also a simple spectrometer made from a music CD that I had seen of before.
One experiment looked at the affect of gum chewing on memory which I thought was questionable until I googled it. Apparently it has been studied and there is supposedly some beneficial effect.
However, there were a some displays that were not much of anything. One display essentially said nothing more than “we don’t fall of the Earth because of Earth’s gravity”. (I wonder what kind of force would otherwise make us fall off the Earth. Perhaps the idea of drifting off was intended.) Other displays were simplistic models of human digestive system, circulatory systems and such. Some of the writing on the display boards were rather poor as were some of the experimental procedures and controls. Displays also had their Bible quotes describing the connection to their science project.
There wasn’t much creation science in the fair this year. There seemed to be fewer creation/anti-evolution displays than past years. I spotted only one this time which might be considered an improvement. There was a display that made a very simplistic comparison of airplanes and helicopters with flying animals (bird, bat, dragonfly) and concluded that since the animals fly better than designed flying machines, they must also be designed. Irreducibility was also mentioned.
One experiment I thought was noteworthy looked at the time it takes for different brands of vitamin tablets to dissolve in water to counter the claim that some vitamin tablets are passed undissolved, even through sewer systems. (for more info, search: undigested vitamin.) I became familiar with this false claim when I did some research of my own after some people I know tried to sell me vitamins in gel form (agel.com). Supposedly they can be absorbed so much faster. (Why is it better for vitamins to be absorbed quickly anyway?) I did the same experiment myself with the vitamin brand I take. This experiment explicitly challenged a false claim for which I give the student credit.
Overall, the displays were not too different from what I have seen in previous years. Some are decent, but the rest can range from fairly mediocre to quit poor. But there are a few here and there that can stand out. One year a student did experiments on people on the unreliability of eye witness testimony which I thought was quite good, but a bit ironic coming from a Bible based science fair. I wish I could remember his Bible verse. Maybe if I had only been chewing gum at the time.
It sounds like a fairly typical science fair, made just a little sadder by the compulsion to insert biblical apologetics into everything.