Talk me out of this (or into it)

I’m considering dropping in on some creationists speaking at the Twin Cities campus next week.

Dave and Mary Jo Nutting have been to Minnesota before, but I didn’t bother going — but I wasn’t on sabbatical back then. The Alpha Omega Institute is a rather nutty organization, so maybe I should scribble up some notes on them.

What do you think? I’m on the fence, so I’ll let the comments decide. Also, would any of my Twin Cities peeps want to make an evening of it?


  1. Sean Boyd says

    So happens I JUST left the Twin Cities (well, it was 25 years ago, but it seems like yesterday), otherwise I’d be all up for that. You will not, of course, change their minds. But I think you knew that already :)

  2. milobloom says

    If you’re going to be there October 5, let me recommend:
    October 5, 2018, 275 Nicholson Hall
    “Epigenetics is 76 years old, so why are you just now hearing about it?”
    Erik Peterson History, University of Alabama
    Co-sponsored by the Program in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

  3. John Morales says

    From my perspective here in Oz, creationism is cooked (kook3d, too)

    Not that doing it for your (and our) amusement is a bad thing, but.

    Go with your instincts, is my opinion.

  4. nomdeplume says

    I am always surprised at these creationists with degrees in biology. How?

    As to you going? The “random chance” sub-heading would be like a red rag to a bull to me. Take your sword and go for it PZ.

  5. DonDueed says

    I wouldn’t go, it would play havoc with my blood pressure. But I’d read your post about it if you decide to go.

  6. whheydt says

    Re nomdeplume @ #4…
    They parrot back on tests what the instructor said in class. The don’t actually learn any biology (or any other science, either). Go over to The Panda’s Thumb and read what Mike Elizinga has to say about creationists knowledge of math and physics.

  7. zetopan says

    “I am always surprised at these creationists with degrees in biology. How?”

    The Nutters[sic] got their degrees are from the ICR, in other words they are completely worthless. The ICR even “teaches” a discipline called “creation science apologetics”, so they are up there with the time cube guy. Apologetics, along with theology, was expelled from science some four centuries ago.

  8. woodyemanuel says

    I would encourage you to go so we have a record of their answers to your inconvenient questions.

  9. microraptor says

    There’s only one real question regarding whether or not to go: would you enjoy it, or would you walk out of the room feeling angry and annoyed?

    If it’s something you’d find amusing, by all means, go for it. But life’s too short to pointlessly attend things like this if you’re not going to be getting any pleasure out of it.

  10. says

    Watch out, they’ll Gish Gallop their way around you, throw The Book at you and claim it as a victory. Not worth a thinking person’s time, this stuff.

  11. Owlmirror says

    1) create a bingo card using faq numbers
    2) attend with faq printout
    3) play bingo, using

    Maybe more than one card, if anyone else wants to play along?

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    How DARE they use an image of my favorite prehistoric animal for their propaganda! I’d horse whip those Bible-Humpers if I had a horse!

  13. robro says

    Does anybody know where those MS degrees came from? I can’t find much about them on the tubes, and the AOI website doesn’t mention their degrees or where they came from.

  14. ridana says

    While you’re trying to decide whether to go poke them or not, I think I’ll be complaining to Coca Cola for sponsoring lies and misinformation like this. Not that that’s not part of their corporate stock in trade, but they might like to try to protect their public image by not lending their support to crap like this if they get some negative feedback.

  15. John Morales says

    Robro, clickety-click.

    “Alpha-Omega Institute (AOI) is a Christian young Earth creationist institution founded by Institute for Creation Research Graduate School alumni Dave and Mary Jo Nutting. Dave Nutting earned a Master of Science in Geology and Mary Jo Nutting held a Master of Science in Biology from the ICR Graduate School; unlike the Institute for Creation Research the Alpha-Omega Institute does not claim to be a research organization.”


  16. DanDare says

    Go there and shine a bright light on their foolishness. Otherwise they reach people unopposed who fall high on the bullshit acceptance scale.

  17. nomdeplume says

    oh John @16, that is so sad! But more seriously, and rhetorically, is there no regulation in America about the nature of degrees and who can claim what? To the average member of the public a “Masters Degree” would sound impressive.

  18. John Morales says

    But yes, if the poster touted their degrees and their source, I suspect the average person might get a different impression.

    Master of Creation Science in Biology just doesn’t have the same cachet. :)

  19. says

    I am always surprised at these creationists with degrees in biology. How?

    Same way my geophysicist friend who works at a major oil company has, over the years, encountered numerous Saudis, all with “very good” petroleum exploration geophysics backgrounds,…
    … who don’t believe in evolution.

  20. Wrath Panda says

    I’d be tempted to go (curse you Atlantic Ocean!), but I’d go armed with several hip flasks full of “medicinal” alcohol and make some kind of drinking game out of it. Drink whenever something they vomit forth some “evidence” that has already been refuted a thousand times. One suspects that it would be a very short night however.

  21. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    My question: Why?

    1) There will be no new arguments presented–just the same ol’ logical fallacies and bullshit.
    2) The attendees will be impervious to logic and evidence.
    3) It will raise your blood pressure and confirm your misanthropy.

    I am all for engaging with people of diverse opinions. However, these people are idiots…and not even useful idiots. Appropriate responses: avoiding them or laughing in their face.

  22. davidc1 says

    I bet there is a big photo of you posted up at the entrance .I also bet it says ,
    “Do not let this person inside ,he is a known trouble maker “

  23. says

    On a rare serious note from me: it’s not worth going, even with a whole bunch of PZers.
    Idiots will be idiots so let them be; go visit your spiders instead, much more fun and way more intelligent company.

  24. Sastra says

    Oh, david c1#26 makes an excellent point: you could very well be in danger of being thrown out.
    So, obviously, you should go.

  25. Wrath Panda says

    richardelguru @ 28:

    You want to kill PZ?!?!?!?

    Want? No. He’s is however freely and of his own volition breeding an army of eight-legged little bastards in his evil laboratory. For the good of humanity (or a certain part of humanity at least, ie me), it must be done before they break free of their containment and we wind up with Eight Legged Freaks shenanigans happening in small town Minnesota.

  26. starfleetdude says

    From the Talk Origins archives about where Lucy’s knee was:

    Dave Nutting was sent a letter by Jim Foley asking about the claim in January 1994. He did not respond to that letter, and subsequently repeated the claim (1994). Foley sent Nutting another letter, including an earlier version of this article, on July 5, 1994. Nutting replied on August 14, 1994, admitting that “it seems that some of the statements you made along with the article are correct” but maintaining (as does Willis (n.d.)) that “Johanson gives the impression in lecture … that the two [1973 knee joint and Lucy] go together–although he never states that.” The Nuttings did not admit any errors nor agree to withdraw any claims. Instead, they repeated the claim in the September/October 1995 issue of Think and Believe (vol. 12, no. 5). In the October 1997 Colorado Christian News (Martin 1997), it is reported that Dave Nutting gave a talk at the “Steeling the Mind of America” in Vail, Colorado on August 23, 1997, in which he claimed that “Lucy’s knee and head bones were found considerable distances from the rest of the fossil” and that “It is certain that Lucy is actually at least three separate creatures.”

    Dave Nutting has continued to repeat the Lucy claim as recently as a creation/evolution presentation at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, CO on June 3-4, 2003.

    I’m guessing he’s still repeating it, but maybe P.Z. can verify it for us.

  27. says

    “Debunking” evolution doesn’t support an alternative theory. The best way to debunk evolution would be a better theory. What are these guys offering, “god did it!”?

  28. rietpluim says

    Note the sign doesn’t say debunking evolution. It says debunking the agenda of evolution.

    Didn’t know natural processes had an agenda, but then again, I’m not a former evolutionist.

  29. says

    Yes. One of the small joys of attending these things is that I’m always surprised with some new nugget of stupidity.

    People seem to have the wrong idea about my intent. I wouldn’t go to debate these loons, or to convert the audience — I would quietly sit in the back with a notebook and write down their foolishness. It might turn into a blog post, at best.

  30. petesh says

    It might turn into a blog post, at best.

    Cat fud

    (Gary Larson cartoon: search for it if it doesn’t immediately ring a bell.)

  31. Pierce R. Butler says

    Attending all three, um, events would take four days.

    Could the Twin Cities endure that much Pharyngulation?

  32. says

    Wrath Panda @ 31

    Ah! Sorry I completely missed your point.Of course in PZ’s defence it could be worse—far, far worse; what if his new 8-legged breeding fetish was Sleipnirs!?!?!!!!!
    The horse-shit alone would be insurmountable.

  33. evanolcott says

    TC native here- I’ll go if you go. Been a long time since I’ve been to one of these. I’ll maybe bring the wife, too- she loves these cult thingys.

  34. says

    If I do go, I’d probably hit up the Tuesday 7pm one on “biology”.

    Anyone care to go & join me in a post mortem at one of the fine local Dinkytown eateries?

  35. happyrabo says

    If I’m not helping my parents unpack (moving truck arrives between 1st and 9th) I’ll go. My wife will probably be interested as well.

  36. susans says

    And in related news, Delusionist Hugh Ross will be speaking in Los Angeles a short walk from UCLA at the Westwood Hills Christian Church, 10808 Le Conte Ave, next Sunday 30 September at 10:15 a.m., about faith and science. There is a Q & A after.

  37. asclepias says

    When I first read this, my thought was that the surname Nutting is perfect. It can just go so many ways. Nutting for nutter, or just plain nut. You can also imagine it being nuttin’, as in ‘I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas,’ which is likely the only thing to be gotten from one of their lectures.

  38. michaelwbusch says

    I see that the Maranatha Christian Fellowship is apparently responsible for this. I recall them from when I was at Minnesota (15 years ago now … woah). They were at one point picketing outside the Tate physics building, for a reason that I never learned, proclaiming that the Earth was 6,000 years old and shoving pocket New Testaments at passersby. I walked around them. They don’t seem to have changed their lines much since then.

  39. emergence says

    I think you should speak up at some point if you attend, PZ. They’re a pair of charlatans with fake degrees who make tired, threadbare arguments even by creationist standards. You should make them squirm by demonstrating just how out of their depth they really are.