Monday, March 10, 2008

Creationist Science Fair

Umm, apparently a creationist science fair was held a couple of years ago and this is the link to the results:

Ok, to be honest, I'm not really sure if this is a joke or if it is indeed a real "organization". I haven't seen any punch lines anywhere and by all accounts, these people are serious as a heart attack. I also must note that this science fair took place back in 2001 and it is possible that they have "evolved" past this type of child neglect.

Anyway, this organization actually held a Creationist Science Fair which was open of course to home schooled kids and other kids grade 1-12 who attended private Christian schools and weren't taught the nonsense that man evolved from lower forms of life but rather the rational theory that we were created from dust and that women, our servants, were created from a man's rib.

Without further ado, the awards go to these future Creation Museum janitors:

Elementary School Level: (as if they actually have grades in home schools)

1st Place: Place: "My Uncle Is a Man Named Steve (Not a Monkey)"
Cassidy Turnbull (grade 5) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas, but he declined to eat them. Cassidy has conclusively shown that her uncle is no monkey.

Look out Einstein, the Scientific Method is in full effect here. Let's see, she had:
A. A hypotheses which was, "My uncle Steve is NO monkey". Ok, not grammatically correct but she is a home schooled so we will let it slide but it is a hypothesis none the less.
B. She has empirical evidence; Steve has no tail, doesn't fling his poop (at least he didn't in the experiment) and doesn't appear to be a monkey to which I have to agree. Perhaps she is on to something.
C. She has conducted an experiment with measurable evidence; every time she threw a banana at him, the pile of bananas got higher as he was not eating them. Since monkeys eat bananas and Steve isn't eating the bananas, she has proven two things:

1. Uncle Steve is no monkey.
2. Any thing or anyone who eats a banana is a monkey.

Although the evidence is still out with regards to the banana eaters, I would say she has successfully completed this assignment and gets a C+. Of course this doesn't prove that man and apes don't share a common ancestor, but it does prove her hypothesis that her uncle Steve is no monkey. C+

2nd Place: "Pine Cones Are Complicated"
David Block and Trevor Murry (grades 4) showed how specifically complicated pine cones are and how they reveal God's design in nature.

I never really thought of pine cones as being all that complicated. But if they are complicated my question is why? If God wanted more trees, why doesn't he just wave his magic wand and create new ones like he did in the Garden of Eden? Why should a tree go through the effort of producing male and female pine cones, one containing the seed and the other creating the pollen, and waiting for the wind or birds, insects and other animals in order to propagate its species? Now, if they wanted to say that complex compounds can't come from simpler ones that would be one thing but I would then show them a snow flake and the experiment would have failed anyway.

Sorry David and Trevor, no scientific method applied here, you fail. It's why you didn't get first place. F

Middle School Level:

1st Place: "Life Doesn't Come From Non-Life"

Patricia Lewis (grade 8) did an experiment to see if life can evolve from non-life. Patricia placed all the non-living ingredients of life - carbon (a charcoal briquet), purified water, and assorted minerals (a multi-vitamin) - into a sealed glass jar. The jar was left undisturbed, being exposed only to sunlight, for three weeks. (Patricia also prayed to God not to do anything miraculous during the course of the experiment, so as not to disqualify the findings.) No life evolved. This shows that life cannot come from non-life through natural processes.

Oops, she forgot Nitrogen / Ammonia. No big deal, probably wouldn't have made a difference. And of course I assume she figured she could just obtain Nitrogen from the air.

That being said, it's funny you should bring up that topic. Last weekend I sanitized my bathtub scrubbing it thoroughly with bleach and iodine. I was not raising any creatures in there or planting any seeds throughout the week but today I discovered life and it apparently came from non-life. I now have mold, a type of living fungus, in my bathtub. I think you may have just tried too hard, or not. The point is, and I'm not saying this is the case but how does she know life didn't occur? Did she examine it with a microscope or did she just look in the jar and conclude that since she didn't see any fish or people that there was no new life created?

Of course I am ignoring the obvious fact that three weeks is hardly enough time for evolution to occur. Now, if she had a control subject which was left alone for say, 2 billion years in a very hot and sterile environment, free of all other living creatures, like the Miller-Urey experiment which did derive organic compounds from inorganic compounds, her experiment would have held more water. She may have noticed that the Garden of Eden was also absent from her jar. She has also "proved" that God doesn't exist because after all, life can't appear out of nothingness and therefore a higher complex being such as God couldn't have possibly just spontaneously appeared out of nothingness. For that she would receive a B.

But alas, her "scientific" experiment is equivalent to me hypothesizing that mold doesn't form on bread by opening a bag of bread, leaving the room for 5 minutes and finding no mold on the bread upon returning.

For this, she gets a D.

2nd Place: "Women Were Designed For Homemaking"

Jonathan Goode (grade 7) applied findings from many fields of science to support his conclusion that God designed women for homemaking: physics shows that women have a lower center of gravity than men, making them more suited to carrying groceries and laundry baskets; biology shows that women were designed to carry un-born babies in their wombs and to feed born babies milk, making them the natural choice for child rearing; social sciences show that the wages for women workers are lower than for normal workers, meaning that they are unable to work as well and thus earn equal pay; and exegetics shows that God created Eve as a companion for Adam, not as a co-worker.

This is by far the best one. This is the most scientific part of the whole thing: "social sciences show that the wages for women workers are lower than for normal workers, meaning that they are unable to work as well and thus earn equal pay; and exegetics shows that God created Eve as a companion for Adam, not as a co-worker." I am assuming that this future Libertarian was raised by his father who is possibly a minister and was also the judge of this contest. I am led to believe the only effort and scientific research put into this hypothesis was a couple episodes of Archie Bunker. He also failed to realize that Adam and Eve didn't have homes or laundry or groceries which I guess means women were obsolete from the get go.

In disputing evolution he is using social Darwinism which is just the opposite of what he's trying to accomplish.

By applying Darwinism to this non scientific study, he also receives an F.

High School Level:

1st Place: "Using Prayer To Micro evolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria"
Eileen Hyde and Lynda Morgan (grades 10 & 11) did a project showing how the power of prayer can unlock the latent genes in bacteria, allowing them to microevolve antibiotic resistance. Escherichia coli bacteria cultured in agar filled petri dishes were subjected to the antibiotics tetracycline and chlorotetracycline. The bacteria cultures were divided into two groups, one group (A) received prayer while the other (B) didn't. The prayer was as follows: "Dear Lord, please allow the bacteria in Group A to unlock the antibiotic-resistant genes that you saw fit to give them at the time of Creation. Amen." The process was repeated for five generations, with the prayer being given at the start of each generation. In the end, Group A was significantly more resistant than Group B to both antibiotics.

But both created antibiotic resistance? And is "significant" a new scientific unit of measure? Exactly how much is "significantly"? Did they also pray that the control subject develop a little bit of resistance? I get it, its like the teams in the NCAA final 4, one side prays that God will help them make the last second 3 pointer but the other side didn't so they are the ones who always loose. I just wonder why teams like Ozark Christian College don't win the NCAA tournament every year if prayer really works. You know what else ends up working a majority of the time, placebos.

Let me get this straight, the antibiotic strep strain was created by prayer? The poisonous newt developed higher levels of poison to ward off snakes who have become immune to its previous levels of poison through prayer? So was the newt praying to become more toxic or were the more toxic ones able to live long and thus produce more, and more toxic offspring? And what else I find interesting is that they are saying organisms can evolve assuming prayer and God is involved. So does that mean God set evolution into motion but Moses just dropped that tablet on the way to slaughter all the Canaanites and that's why it's not in the Bible?

Some scientific method applied here. We have a control group and the findings weren't based on the conclusions of a single experiment. C-

2nd Place: "Maximal Packing Of Rodentia Kinds: A Feasibility Study"

Jason Spinter's (grade 12) project was to show the feasibility of Noah's Ark using a Rodentia research model (made of a mixture of hamsters and gerbils) as a representative of diluvian life forms. The Rodentia were placed in a cage with dimensions proportional to a section of the Ark. The number of Rodentia used (58) was calculated using available Creation Science research and was based on the median animal size and their volumetric distribution in the Ark. The cage was also fitted with wooden dowels inserted at regular intervals through the cage walls, forming platforms which provided support for the Rodentia. Although there was little room left in the cage, all Rodentia were able to move just enough to ward off muscle atrophy. Food pellets and water were delivered to sub-surface Rodentia via plastic drinking straws inserted into the Rodentia-mass, which also served to allow internal air flow. Once a day, the cage was sprayed with water to cleanse any built-up waste. Additionally, the cage was suspended on bungee cords to simulate the rocking motion of a ship. The study lasted 30 days and 30 nights, with all Rodentia surviving at least long enough afterwards to allow for reproduction. These findings strongly suggest that Noah's Ark could hold and support representatives of all antediluvian animal kinds for the duration of the Flood and subsequent repopulation of the Earth.

Wow, picking one of the smallest yet fastest reproducing and most populous mammals on Earth was a bold statement. Next time, try the same experiment with Elephants and see what happens.

I noticed they conducted this experiment for 30 days and night and the main problem with that was that Noah and the Animals were in the Ark much longer than 30 days. In fact, the rains lasted 40 days and nights yet the entire Earth was under water for over 150 days because that's how long it took before the Ark rested on the peak of Mt. Ararat. It then rested on Mt. Ararat for several months. All together Noah, his family, the Brontosauruses, Elephants, Kangaroos, Dodo Birds, Bison and T-Rex's were on the ark for over a year. Here is what it would have taken for this experiment to be valid:
1. If Noah had only taken rodents on board the Ark.
2. If the kids would have continued the experiment for another 300 days or so.
3. If Noah had plastic straws and "food pellets"

A better experiment would have been to show how Noah got the Komodo dragon back to Indonesia or the Panda back to China without leaving his home in Turkey. Or better yet, how flood waters of only 15 cubits (22 feet) could cover mountains.

There was an attempt at an actual experiment but with the poor job of recreating the actual conditions of the situation they were emulating, they get a D-.


trick said...

You have handed out some very generous grades.

Patrick M said...

First of all, let me say I believe in creationism in the sense that God is responsible for life in this world. That having been said, though:

Ok, to be honest, I'm not really sure if this is a joke or if it is indeed a real "organization". I haven't seen any punch lines anywhere and by all accounts, these people are serious as a heart attack. I also must note that this science fair took place back in 2001 and it is possible that they have "evolved" past this type of child neglect.

Well, I don't think there will be a punchline.

Sadly, even some of our representatives from around here support "intelligent design", which is simply repackaged creationism, with overt God references removed. It is simply a ploy for votes from the ignorantly religious.

Sadly, they try to introduce this as a competing "scientific" theory to evolution, which is far from perfect, but it is a scientific theory. Sadly, there are far too many people out there that devote their lives to God without an honest thought about it. Conservatives should cattle prod these holy automatons just to jolt a bit of sense in them.

I never understood why you can't reconcile these two ideas. Evolution explains how, creation explains why. Then nobody loses but the dumb.

KG said...

It kind of makes a girl want to set up a profile advertising her "low center of gravity."

Whenever I hear the words "home" and "schooled" used together, I have to talk myself down before I run screaming in the other direction, and this article couldn't be a better summary of why.

Based on their criteria, I delight in thinking of what a piss poor wife I will make someday.

Toad734 said...


Well, the first girl did prove her uncle was "no monkey", in that, she succeeded. You can't fail her for meeting her objective. Of course she only met half of her objective which is why she received half of an A.


Look, if you want to say God is still responsible for life and did so through evolution, which the Catholic Church as essentially done, then fine. No one is going to find a way to prove you wrong so its a safe conclusion. But if you are going to say that God made the Earth in a couple of days and ignore the many inconsistencies in the creation story and all the scientific evidence we have before us now, then you are an idiot.

I do question the Creationist argument that life can't come from non life when thats exactly how they say their God came about. Either life can come from nothing, without a creator or it can't. You can't have it both ways. Yes I know, God is magic but that doesn't fly. The other problem is that the Creationist have no proof, no evidence, just a book written by someone a few thousand years ago and then edited and translated by about a thousand other people since then.


I think rappers like girls with low center of gravity. If that's your thing...

Patrick M said...

Yet more clarification:

(I have to do this a lot with you, you know.)

I don't expect beliefs to be proven or disproven. That's why they're called beliefs. I don't believe in science, I evaluate and listen to evidence and draw conclusions. Here's how it breaks down for me: God begins where science ends. That means that mixing science and religion always comes up with flawed theories.

Creation is not a scientific theory and never should be. And this creation "science" fair is a travesty. These people are the reason I often despise the religious right.

And it was worth a good mocking. You got that, right? I'm agreeing with you.