Well, Amanda, Julia and I stopped by the 2007 Home Schooling Creationist Science Fair over at the unique Har Mar Mall in Roseville, Minnesota. Very few of the shoppers passing through the mall seemed to take much of an interest. There were a couple of moms showing each exhibit to their children, reading off the relevant parts … “Evolutionists think fossils take millions of years to form, but creationists have shown that this is not true…” and so on.
The 15 or so exhibits demonstrated a wide range of levels, from what must have been pre-school to at least one clearly done by the parents (that one, present yesterday during an earlier trip to the mall, but missing today) compared the affective behavior of childcare-kids vs. home school kids.) Most of the exhibits had a quote from “the scriptures” related in some way to the exhibit. For instance, my favorite: a very young child’s exhibit (I’m guessing) on bunnies. The Scripture: “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (I Corinthians
2:1912:18). Of course, I Corinthians 12 is about the unity of the spirit and the body, and that bit about the arrangements of the body parts is part of a sort of mini parable in which each part of the body stupidly asks “If I am not an eye, I am not part of the body?” and so on. So note, fellow rationalists. As annoying as it is when creationists “Quote Mine” from the scientific literature, take heart. They don’t get in much trouble for doing that, but when the quote mine from The Bible, well, I assume they are going to Hell for that. What goes around comes around.
Anyway, the “Bunny” science fair entry was my favorite not because of the misquotation of scripture, but because of the hypothesis being tests:
Question: What do bunnies do?
Hypothesis: God made bunnies with many parts that work together so they can do lots of things.
We all had to laugh when, on the way home, Amanda slammed on the breaks to avoid flattening a bunny tearing across the street. “Well, praise the lord, all the parts seem to be working…”
Many, really the majority, of the exhibits were just regular (mostly half baked) science fair exhibits that had some scripture slapped onto them. In other words, despite the occasional exhibit clearly motived by pure creationist philosophy, most of the kids ended up doing some kind of science or another. Funny, I don’t remember ANY of the 200 exhibits or so at the Brimhall Fair (see this on Julia’s entry) held earlier in the year just down the street at a Real School addressing creationist ideas. But when the kids enter into a creationist fair, they can’t seem to help themselves from doing some actual science.
Nonetheless, the overall quality was unimpressive, as one would expect from the home school environment.
After my first visit to the fair, I swooped into Barnes and Noble and bought myself a copy of Dawkins “The God Delusion.” … I just needed to do something. After this trip, I think I’ll just take a shower.