Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's see how Purdue handles this...

Our student newspaper, the Exponent, had a special low rate for clubs advertising their callout. We decided to take advantage of it, and the ad ran today:


I think it looks pretty snazzy - they added the color. If you can't read the fine print, it says "A student organization for atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, or anyone who lacks religious or supernatural beliefs." I'm curious to see if there will be any negative reaction to this - maybe an angry letter to the editor? The Exponent has gotten letters about less controversial things in the past.

Can't tear this down!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More school drama - flyers

The Society of Non-Theists has had a particularly bad time putting up flyers at Purdue. I've had events where 75% or higher of the flyers were torn down after 24 hours, and I had to constantly replace them. We only put them where they're allowed to be, but that doesn't stop students from tearing them down. Purdue used to allow you to tape flyers to the ground (no longer do, it was an eye sore), and even those went missing. I actually caught someone in the act and tried to stop them, but since he and his friends were very large males and weren't being too kind to me, I decided my well being is more important than a flyer and backed off. And if the flyers aren't being torn down, they're being written on - stuff like "Jesus loves you" and "You're going to hell." Interesting dichotomy there, no?

Anyway, we have some new flyer drama developments. I was going to LILY to relax in the library, but instead I got all riled up. Why? Of our five flyers on the main for, two were torn down and replaced by a Fraternity's flyer, and the other three were directly covered by that Frat's flyers like so:

These poster boards had plenty of space for the flyers to go, and the only other group that had a flyer perfectly covering it was the Queer Student Union:

Coincidence? I think not.

My first instinct was "Grrrr Delta Pi Rho!!! You're a minority frat! Shouldn't your members know better than treats other minority groups' flyers like that?!" But then I looked at the flyer set up again. None of them completely covered our flyers, which had been the case in the past. They all made sure to include "Atheist?!" or "God?!" or "Big Gay." What do I think is really happening? Some jerkface probably thinks it's funny to slur Delta Pi Rho by calling them gay atheists by rearranging the flyers that way.

And you know what? That probably makes me crankier than if Delta Pi Rho themselves had just been acting like jerks. The fact that "atheist" is used as an insult really illustrates how most of America (especially conservative parts like Purdue) view nonbelievers. It's a dirty word and a slur. What's worse than being an atheist or gay?

I usually could care less when rival frats play pranks on each other (which is probably all this is), but at least do it without making some of the largest minority groups in America the butt of the jokes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trying to find God - could he at least yell "POLO!"?

I don't get too many overtly religious comments on my blog, but since I read all the comments you guys leave, I do read the occasional "you're wrong, love Jesus" remarks. I have no problem with people disagreeing with what I say - I don't pretend to be infallible or anything. But recently someone commented with a religious remark that I hear all the time and is a big pet peeve of mine (emphasis mine):
"...See the whole picture. There is plenty of proof there is a God, but you need to see what you see and believe what is clear. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." So... there is evidence... look for it and you will be satisfied. ..."
The old "you're just not looking hard enough" idea. It drives me nuts, particularly because I hear it over and over. They don't claim God is making it difficult for me to believe in him or anything - I'm just too lazy or in denial to see the truth. One, it's an ironic statement since it usually comes from the very same people who deny scientific facts in order to support their faith, and make no effort to actually understand said science. The vast majority of people who don't believe in evolution don't even know how to define it.

But the main reason it bugs me is because it implies atheists haven't tried. Most atheists were at one point religious, and many of them had religious experiences that theists would say were evidence for God. They, however, realized such experiences were just their mind playing tricks on them or pure human emotion, not some supernatural force. And often those people take a long time to actually become atheists because there's a period where they investigate their faith closely and look for proof of god. And you know what? They don't find any. Are they really not looking hard enough?

I would even hazard a guess that many life long atheists have tried this at one point. I know there was a time in my life where I really wanted to believe in a God. I asked for all sorts of signs for evidence, I hoped beyond hope, and I got nothing. You know why my prayers weren't answered? Not because I wasn't trying hard enough, not because I hated God and I didn't want him to exist - but because he doesn't exist. I was talking to no one.

The idea that atheists aren't trying to find truth is mildly insulting, honestly. We're not sticking our fingers in our ears and screaming "LALALA GOD IS DEAD" every time someone tries to present religious "evidence." No, we listen, think about it, and then (so far) come to the conclusion that it's all bunk based on reason and facts. I say "so far" because I, like others, am open to the idea of God if given real proof. Our lack of belief isn't based on faith or hope. We aren't wishing that God doesn't exist, or going around ignoring all these pieces of "evidence" theists claim to have.

On the contrary, this is exactly what most theists do. The commenter said it himself: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for." It's not based on truth, it's based on your desires. If you desire a God, your mind will start creating "evidence" to support your position. That doesn't make the evidence true or real. Think of it like flirting. Sometimes you're so infatuated with someone, that you interpret every smile to mean that they like you back. It's because you desire that they like you, and you start looking for things to confirm this - not necessarily because they actually do.

So Christians, we have been trying. Maybe your God isn't too keen on giving us any evidence, but until I see it, I'm remaining an atheist. What does he have to do for me to be convinced? I don't know, but if he's all-knowing, he can surely figure it out.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Photo Scavenger Hunt Results

So a month ago I mentioned that our club would be having a freethinking photo scavenger hunt, where they had to take photos of various atheism and science themed things. I finally have most of the photos from people (still missing some good ones, but I give up) so I'm going to post some of my favorites. Feel free to do this event at with your group too!

1. …your team spelling out a word related to science or atheism. (Bonus point for each stranger you get to help you)
Lipid! Randomly ran into an old high school friend who helped us.
2. …physics in action.
3. …someone NOT in your group playing chess, go, sudoku, or other strategy/puzzle game
4. …a teapot.
5. …a scientific statue.6. …the oldest scientific apparatus you can find.
7. …a man with a Darwin-like beard.
8. …an atheist stereotype. (The best was one of my secretary with a stuffed Devil on each shoulder, but no one sent me that one! Boo hiss!)
9. …the oldest copy of "The Origin of Species" you can find. (Bonus: Team w/ oldest).
10. …the silliest version of the Bible that you can find.
11. …evolution.
A classic.
12. …natural selection.
Josh is about to be removed from the gene pool.
13. …a scarlet A.
14. …a mutation.15. …someone in a lab coat.
16. …as many places of worship as possible in the background (Bonus point for each extra building).Mine had a Christian, Jewish, and Mormon place, but I think we counted six churches in this one.
17. …someone NOT in your group who was reading an atheist/science book
18. …your group smiling with a theist wearing some sort of religious clothing (Bonus: Awesomeness of outfit. For example, cross necklace = +0, Pope = +infinity).
19. …an endorsement of a religion in a public place where such an endorsement shouldn’t be or just seems silly.
Ah, the Indiana "In God We Trust" license plate. No brainer there.
This is the artwork you see when you walk into Lilly, the biology building (where I basically live nowadays). Yes, those are the hands of God creating all life on earth. In the biology building. All of the biology professors hate it, and it's been vandalized and removed multiple times since its been put up.
20. …a dinosaur.
21. …a mythical creature.
22. …the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Some people need religion

Yesterday was the activities bonanza, an outdoor event where student organizations try to get the attention of random passers-by. Overall, it went very well for the Non-theists. We had 35 people sign up for our mailing list, many more people who were interested, and some religious people who talked to us and reacted very positively.

There was one exception, though, and of course the person came when I was in class. Though this is the basic conversation I was told happened:

Old guy: Why don't you believe in god?
Student: Well, we don't have enough proof.
Old guy: I have proof. He healed my peg leg.
Student: ...
Old guy: How can you be moral without religion?
Student: Would you rape and murder if you found out there is no god?
Old guy: No, but I'm a molester in my heart
Student: ...

Needless to say, that was kind of a conversation stopper. What do you say to a guy like that? The people who openly admit that they need religion in order to not do horrible things? I'm all for rational thought and atheism - but buddy, you go right ahead and keep believing in Jesus.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My hilarious run-in with CRU

I was originally going to come home and rant about how shitty and busy my last three days have been. To put at least today in perspective for you, I had to wake up at 6 am in order to set up a bacteria culture, had classes, work, and homework constantly, and then my four hour laboratory class ended up lasting 6 hours because our gel kept mysteriously failing, so I wasn't done with that until 7:10 pm. I was sleep deprived, frustrated, and frumpy by that point - imagine Hermione's potion scene from Harry Potter 6, and you'll understand how I felt. But then I remembered I needed to slap up a couple of heathen callout flyers in that building, and I figured I'd do it on my way out.

I go to a lone poster board and pin up flyer design number 1 - "Atheist?! You're not the only one." There was a guy next to me hanging up the annoying MCAT flyers that take up every inch of every poster board, and he stopped.

"Atheists? Really?" he asked somewhat disdainfully.

"Yeah. Something wrong with atheists?" I replied politely.

"No...I just...well let's say I don't agree."

"Agree to disagree, then." I smiled and moved onward.

My main target were the four giant poster boards outside of the largest lecture hall in LILY. Not only are tons of science classes held there, but people have to wait in the hallways to get in, so the flyers there are effective. I'm about to walk to the poster boards and and I pass three girls in pretty dresses. I figured they were there for a sorority callout or something.

The red-headed girl said, as I was walking by, "Hey, coming to the CRU meeting?" For those of you who aren't up to date in campus evangelism, CRU stands for Campus Crusade for Christ, one of the biggest, wealthiest, and most organized Christian groups across the nation. Members often joke that CRU is our arch nemesis, partly out of distaste (one of their main goals, listed in their constitution, is to convert students to Jesus) and partly out of jealousy (they have so much freaking money they're always holding huge block parties with free food and putting ads on the side of buses here). If that's not enough to annoy you, they seem completely oblivious as to why we think the word Crusade in their name is a bad idea.

Anyway, I'm one of those friendly altercation-avoiding atheists, so I just smile. "Ah, uh, no." I move to put up more flyers, but she keeps going.

"Really? I swear you look familiar."

She looks vaguely familiar, possibly from a biology class, but I have no idea. I flip my flyers over to show them the giant "ATHEIST" plastered all over the front. "Well, I run the atheist club, so maybe you know me from there," I say jokingly.

Her two friends giggle, but the red-head's face turns completely sour. "I wouldn't be going to atheist meetings," she scoffs. Sneers. Honestly, it was so stereotypical sounding, insert whatever disdainful adjective you want.

"Oh, I dunno, I thought maybe I'm infamous or something," I say with a big grin, obviously joking. Her friends smile back, but the red-head looks mildly terrified or disgusted to be talking to me. I then finally moved on to put the rest of our flyers - including "You can be good without god" and "God?! We don't think so, either" up while more and more CRU people shuffle in, all dressed in their Sunday best, staring at me incredulously.

Some may consider that just even more crap to put up with, but it made my day. I'm weird like that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thoughts about school

Well, the first day of school is over, and I'm pooped. Mondays are going to be hell for me - class 10:30 to 5:20 with no breaks for food, and TA meeting at 5:30. I survived, but I'm tired. Have to run from LILY to PHYS in 10 minutes, when it's really a ~12 minute walk (and I usually walk quickly anyway) and then run back to LILY immediately after that. Nothing like being in a hurry to notice every annoying trait of the people around you. People who walk super slow, people who travel in large herds or while holding their significant other's hand so you can't get around them, people who smoke while walking so you have to inhale their shit the whole way to class, bicyclists who are manically swerving amongst the pedestrians...ugh.

BIOL 500 (the protein lab) will be...interesting. It's only four weeks long, but in that time period we have three papers, two exams, two 4 hour labs a week, and a whole bunch of coming in extra. That's always super annoying about labs. I already have to come in at 7:30 am on Wednesday so our stupid bacteria are fresh. Sadness. Thankfully I have a friend in the class who I'm partners with, so that makes things soooo much better. Nothing worse than having a lab partner who's a jerk/doesn't know what they're doing. Oh, and Prof. Wang produced this lovely quote in one of the first few slides of her Power Point (verbatim):
"What if a protein can not doing its job?"
The grammar Nazi within me died a little. But to be honest, she doesn't have a thick accent and I can fully understand everything she's saying, so I won't complain. I've had TAs and Professors where I had no idea what they were saying the entire semester, so...yeah.

Physics was boring as hell, as predicted. Sigh. I mean, the professor explained everything well and had demonstrations and everything, but she was just so...bland. Monotone. Unexcited. I can understand that once you've been teaching the same things for so many years it becomes a bit rote, but it equals automatic teaching failure. All of my wonderful teachers were animated and excited and genuinely interested in what they were about to teach us - not that they just wanted to fulfill their requirements and get back to research. I want a teacher with some personality - someone who actually, you know, uses inflection in their voice, laughs, jokes, acts like a human being. Is that too much to ask?

Speaking of which, I really like the Professor who teaches the lab that I'm going to TA. He's not super animated, but he's funny in the deadpan delivery/wry humor sort of way that I appreciate and a lot of students don't get. Anyway, for that lecture I basically sat all the way in the back and ate my lunch while getting a refresher on amino acids. There has been one change in that class since I took it two years ago, though. Before my junior year, Purdue decided to be evil bastards and implement an optional +/- grading system (profs can decide if they want to use it or not). I personally hate this because it helps mediocre students and hurts A students like myself. Why? If you're taking hard ass biology classes and get an A-, that's a 3.7. But if you get an A+? Still just a 4.0, nothing extra. So there's absolutely no incentive to do extra well, but you get hurt for just making it. Not to mention certain classes are easier As than others, as are certain majors, yadda yadda whine whine... but this Prof's solution?

He has $200 dollars. Whatever students in this class of 400 get an A+ get to split the $200. Last year only two people got A+s, so they each got a hundred bucks.

My immediate reaction was "Kickass! Damnit, I would have tried harder for an A+ to get some cash!" But then I stepped back a bit, and my reaction scared me a little. I would actually try harder for a small short term reword, but not for a big long term reward? I guess that's human psychology - we're more motivated for things in the present. But it saddened me that even I thought that way. Yes, if all my classes did this, I would probably put forth the extra effort for some money. There are many times where I didn't bother studying for a final because I was effectively locked into an A, and a 93 was no different from a 99. But is this just unethical bribery, or should we do it in order for people to try harder? Would it just result in more cheating and more cut throat competition for a prize, rather than your own evaluation? I guess there are some parents who would give money for As on a report card - mine didn't because they would have gone broke, grumble - but I wonder if that method actually works?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

School's no longer out for summer

School starts Monday here at Purdue, so I've been trying to get organized. I'm still mildly terrified that this is my senior year. The last three years have gone by so ridiculously fast, and the idea that by December I will be done applying to grad schools is scary...especially since I'm still not sold on any particular places (If anyone knows great scientists studying the genetics and evolution of humans, let me know). Anyway, let's focus on the present. Here's what I have in store this semester:

BIOL 500 - Protein Expression (2 credit)
This class has two four hour labs that meet twice a week for six weeks (first third of the semester) and a one hour lab prep on Mondays. I believe all biology majors who needs lab modules have to take this specific one first. Proteins aren't really my thing, but maybe doing something other than genetics will be novel.

BIOL 542 - Animal Cell Culture (1 credit)
This is another lab with the same format that meets that last six weeks of the semester. Unlike the previous one, you get to choose your other lab modules, and this has a lot to do with gene transfer and making mutant lines, so it sounded pretty neat. Oh, and since I got the lab for DNA Sequencing waived (since I've kind of been doing that for the last two years in the lab I work in), I don't have a lab module the middle six weeks! Hooray!

BIOL 597 - Sex & Evolution (3 credit)
I have been waiting to take this class since I arrived at Purdue four years ago. It's offered every other year to upper-class men, so that's why I've had to wait so long. Evolution of sexual reproduction? Sexual selection? Mating systems? Human sexual behavior? This is going to be the best class ever. Not to mention it's with a professor I absolutely love. I also accidentally signed up for the Grad student Recitation, but he told me to stay in there because I would like it better. Yay!

BIOL 441 - Biology Senior Seminar in Genetics (1 credit)
So, I honestly have no idea what's going on with this class. It has a conflict with Sex & Evolution, and the prof (who I also like) said we could work something out to make up for missing the seminars. What I'll be doing, I have no idea. I'm talking to him on Tuesday.

PHYS 221 - General Physics, Electricity & Magnetism (4 credit)
I apologize to all the Physics people out there, but - ewwww, physics. Sorry, but I'm really not a fan. Physics was okay in high school - I got A's, but I found all the math parts insanely boring - but god is it bad at Purdue. It's one of those huge classes with thousands of students where they don't really care if you understand anything because they're just going to curve it 30% at the end so the required amount of people pass. It's ridiculous. It's horribly boring and tedious the way they present it. I want to make it clear that I think theoretical stuff ala Elegant Universe is absolutely fascinating, but doing busy-work math problems is not interesting at all. Sigh.

BIOL 498 - Biology Teaching (3 credit)
Like I've mentioned way too many times (excited!!) I'll be teaching a lab class this fall, Cell Structure & Function. Like all intro biology courses at Purdue, the name really doesn't correlate to what you actually do in lab. It's a hodge podge of proteins, genetics, evolution, anatomy, and random science skills. Oh, and lots and lots of gel electrophoresis. Lots. My first class is Tuesday, andI have to look over all the information I received about teaching the first lab. Oh, and ironically, my Grad student TAing partner (the two of us teach it together) is also a member of Non-Theists and works in our club advisor's lab. Small world! Well, maybe not so much in the Biology department.

That's only 14 credits, which is amazing. I'm usually at 16 to 18, and some of the credits this semester aren't even taking place all at once, so I hopefully won't go totally insane like usual. Of course, I'll have other stuff to keep me busy:

1. Society of Non-Theists, woo! We're having a ton of events this year, but those are always fun to organize.

2. Research. Trying to finish up two projects and have them submitted to journals before I apply to grad school. Will start working on my Senior Thesis and basically whatever else I can cram in before I graduate.

3. A fun development that I think is awesome - I was suggested by both of the Biology counselors (yay) to a Professor who's creating a new class. It's going to be a lab class for honors biology freshmen that gives them real hands on experience with research and teaches them how to think like scientists, rather just go through cookbook experiments to learn the required skills. This semester I'm getting paid to help develop the curriculum, and next semester I'll be TAing the class! I am super excited about this. I want to be a professor someday, so this is perfect for me. The freshmen labs also need a lot of improvement, so hopefully I can help to make them a better experience.

Still, the fact that this is an easy semester for me should really illustrate what an overachiever (aka, how crazy) I am. Don't worry, I'll still be blogging away. I consider it a break from the insanity. Oh, and I'll be hanging out with friends and stuff...right. Have to remember to actually have a social life. I bought season football tickets mainly so I go out and do something every couple of weeks - I could care less if Purdue wins or loses. Yeah. ...I think this post pretty much illustrates why I'm probably not going to have a boyfriend for a while.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Atheists teachers corrupting our youth, oh no!!!

I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the pure lunacy going on with the Illinois Family Institute and Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist. You know a group is going to be wacky if they have to put 'Family' in their name in order to prove their worth (because they have no other redeeming qualities). And now they've taken a break fighting the evils of homosexuality to focus on an even more threatening menace: atheist teachers! The super short version of the story is that they're absolutely appalled that an outspoken atheist could be teaching your children (long story, please go here and here). Nothing else matters - Hemant has an excellent teaching record and never discusses atheism in the classroom, but he's still a role model. And who wants an atheist as a role model? After a stunning lecture about acute angles, all of your children will burning Bibles and eating babies! I know I thought my high school math teachers were the paradigm of cool! ...Hm, wait a second...

Anyway, IFI's latest post is a feeble attempt at spinning the story (likely before anyone threatens their ass for libel). They claim they never called for Hemant to be fired. It's technically true that they never used those exact words, but it was obviously their intention. Why else sent out an email to every faculty member in his school district(well, except him, how honorable), if not to alert his bosses of his evil ways? Why else email all of your members and encourage parents to pull their children out of his class? They can't get him fired because of that pesky First Amendment and other laws, but parents have power. If they refuse to let their children attend his class, then hopefully the administration's hands will be tied. They can't exactly have him teaching a class with no students, can they?

The thing that really gets me (well, other than the blind hatred that these people have) is their flawed logic. They compare having an atheist teacher to having one who is racist or a Holocaust denier. In the most ironic statement of the century, they claim "It's all about diversity and choice." You shouldn't have to have your student exposed to those evil atheists! This is ridiculous for so many reasons, please forgive me while I make a list:

1. If you're that concerned with letting your children see ANY sort of subversive culture (gay kissing!! someone not believing in your God!!! oh noes!!!!), you basically have no choice but to home school them and keep them under house arrest with no television, radio, or internet for the rest of their life. I'm terrified to even joke about this, because I know people who do such things and it's depressing. These children are being brainwashed by the hateful rubbish their parents spout and will never know an alternative.

2. The fact that atheists seem as bad as racists or Holocaust deniers (basically also racists) shows how insecure you are about your invisible Sky Daddy. The idea that our mere existence fuels doubt is both hilarious and rewarding.

3. If you're going to pull your child out of every class where the teacher doesn't conform to your narrow minded world views, then everyone has that right, yes? So when I reproduce, I in no way want my children to have religious teachers, or Republicans teaching history/government classes, or fans of modern art teaching Painting. They're obviously a horrible influence. ...Oh, wait, I actually want my children to be able to think for themselves, so I want them to be exposed to different viewpoints! That's right, I forgot.

4. And finally, the idea that Hemant is somehow the only atheist you and your family may come in contact with... You know what? You may want to sit down before you read this, because it's shocking: Atheists are everywhere! They're your neighbors, your doctors, your friends, your family, and yes, your children's teachers. Most probably don't have blogs, many are probably still closeted (because cruel people like you go around trying to turn them into the town pariah), but some are definitely outspoken.

If you want to go on a crusade against atheist teachers, why pick on just Hemant? I'm President of an atheist club, I have a blog no where near as Friendly as Friendly Atheist - more like, Friendly Until You Show Your Ignorance in Which I am a Snarky and Pissed Atheist (doesn't have as nice of a ring to it). And you know what? I'm going to be teaching starting Tuesday! Yes, I'll be teaching ickle sophomores how to run gels and do experiments with peroxidase and all sorts of neat Biology things. And even though I will never bring up atheism in class, never wear my club shirt there, never bring in a baby for a snack - my sheer awesomeness will surely convert them all to the evil ways of heathenism. So you have a lot on your plate, IFI. There are a lot more atheist teachers out there than Hemant and me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Distractions, distractions

I really don't have a significant post to make - just seeing how updating my blog from my new iPod Touch works. Yep, I caved and got one, and it's pretty awesome! I figured I should figure everything out before I get to campus on Monday and don't know what I'm doing. Now I can update my blog while sitting bored in physics! Er, I mean only between classes, of course.

Any suggestions on what Apps are must haves?

Oh, and I totally think I'm going to ask for this for my birthday:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recruitin' the freshmen

This morning was Purdue's big activities fair, where freshmen get to go scope out all the different student organizations they can join. We were there, representing the heathens:
Last year we were stuck with the religious clubs, but I think they got the hint that we didn't belong there and we were just with some other random clubs this year. Though behind us were all of the religious clubs, and they got to see the back side of our sign - "There probably is no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life." We didn't get too much trouble from freshmen. One felt they need to go give us a flyer from another booth about finding Jesus, one started swearing loudly about how dare there be atheists here, and one kid from France tried to debate us for a half hour. We got about 30 signatures for our mailing list, which is pretty good and about what we accomplished last year. Many more people were interested but didn't sign up, so hopefully they'll check out the website and come to the callout. We passed out about 1,500 flyers, though apparently when people actually read them, this is what happened:
Yep. 90% of the flyers on the floor are ours. I'm sure their thought process went something like, "Hmm, what's this? Gah, atheists?!?! I MUST LITTER!"

Oh well. I'd consider the day a success!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why I shouldn't debate religion with my mother

Me: *explains different ludicrous things I saw at the Creation Museum*
Mom: ...That doesn't make any sense! What did all of the animals eat after the flood since everything else was killed? How did plants survive the flood? How did the Ark not sink? How did all of the animals on earth fit on a single boat?!?
Me: God did it. It was a miracle.
Mom: But...that doesn't make any sense. What about the fact that man wrote the Bible?
Me: Oh, well it was inspired by God.
Mom: But how do they know that?
Me: Because the Bible says so. (At this point, I'm relishing in hearing my woo-filled mother bring up so many good arguments all of her own. And then it turns sour.)
Mom: I don't see why they have to be so literal. I mean, I believe that there's something bigger out there, and in spirits and ghosts and stuff, but what they believe is just silly.
Me: ...Well, do you believe in unicorns? Why you don't believe in them is the same reason why I don't believe in ghosts or God.
Mom: Well I don't know, maybe there were unicorns back with the ancient Greeks or something...
Me: ...*facepalm* This thought experiment is lost on you.
Mom: Well, that's the whole thing about religion, you need to have faith!
Me: Faith is believing in something which you have no reason to believe.
Mom: So?
Dad: I need evidence. Faith doesn't make atomic clocks work.
Mom: Well, it makes me happy to believe in it, so there.
Dad: Just because it makes you happy doesn't mean it's true.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Awww, I missed the cut for Ken Ham's disdain!

Remember when I said I was told the Creation Museum was taking photos of cars that had liberal bumper stickers? Well, it turns out that was true. Ken Ham, still cranky that a bunch of atheists invaded his museum, posted a bunch of the horrible bumper stickers that our group had. I mean, look at these awful things!
Doing good is your religion? Marriage is love?! Ethics?!? OBAMA?!?! *swoon*

Though I admit, I'm severely disappointed that none of my bumper stickers made the cut. I guess my Darwin Fish and Obama sticker were too common, and I have a feeling he didn't get my "Republicans for Voldemort" one. Pretty sure they're the kind of people who don't read Harry Potter.

(Via Pharyngula)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Format Update

Soonish I'm going to be updating the blog's layout. I don't terribly dislike the current one, but I want 1) three columns instead of two and 2) a slightly wider column for where the actual posts go. I'm going to keep it minimalistic and have the same banner with cute mini-Jen typing away. I'm thinking about this layout, but I'm not sold on it. Any suggestions what I should or should not do before I go changing things? Any special widgits you want to see included, any layouts you think I'd like, etc...now's your time to throw in your two cents.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Om nom nom rabbit stew

In case that last post got you down, go take a peek at Hemant's post for an embarrassing (and delicious) baby photo of me. I actually asked my mom to go find a baby photo of me dressed as food. She was a tad bit confused.

I swear I was probably only 2 years old in that photo - I was a ginormous child. To put that in perspective, I was 5'9" at age 10 (have only grown an inch since) and in my kindergarten class photo I was taller than the teacher. She was pretty short, but...yeah.

So, bunny outfit redux this Halloween? =P

With school comes much non-theisty drama

Hey everyone. I just wanted to give all of you a heads up that I'm probably not going to have many updates for the next week. School's starting on the 24th, which means I'll be a going a bit crazy trying to get stuff done. Have to visit the family, finish up a lot of work, get books and supplies together, see friends I haven't seen all summer, and organize Society of Non-Theists events. And speaking of non-theist stuff, we already have some drama going on. Instead of explaining, I'll just show you the email I sent to the appropriate people here at Purdue:

Residential Life Managers,

On Tuesday, August 11 the Residence Hall Association held a religious diversity panel during Resident Assistant training. I am emailing you on behalf of the Society of Non-Theists because I received a complaint from an RA, who for their protection will remain anonymous. They said that while you included an atheist on the panel (which we thank you for), the discussion was upsetting for many reasons:

  1. Said atheist did not appear to know the basics about non-theism (wasn’t able to define atheism and agnosticism, had a hard time answering other questions)
  2. Said atheist had never been involved in the very active non-theist community here via either the Society of Non-Theists, the Skeptics Society, of the Lafayette Freethinkers
  3. Said atheist was a student going up against religious leaders and professors, resulting in an unfair power differential in the discussion
  4. Said atheist was jibed and teased because of his lack of belief by the other panel participants

Obviously, not being an RA, I was not personally at this event and cannot confirm how accurate these statements are. However, especially since I have previously received complaints about an unfavorable environment towards non-theists in the Resident Halls, they concern me. Non-theists are one of the most disliked and stereotyped groups in the United States, so promoting tolerance and understanding is one of our organization’s biggest goals. To have an unknowledgeable atheist student representing the largest “religious” minority in the US up against highly knowledgeable adults frankly makes us look bad and is detrimental to our progress. It is also incredibly inappropriate for the other panelists to tease each other or debate whose beliefs are more valid in a panel about diversity and acceptance.

We are incredibly happy to finally be included in the discussion about religion diversity, but we want to make sure these events themselves do not discriminate. I do not claim that the atheist was “set up” or that this was some sort of conscious act of discrimination, but that is was rather due to a lack of knowledge about the atheist community at Purdue and at large. For future events, we ask you to please make sure there is no power differential (for example, have everyone be students) and to contact our student organization for a representative who is knowledgeable about non-theism.

Thank you for your time,
Jennifer McCreight
President, Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University
http://www.purduenontheists.com/
jmccreig@purdue.edu

Hopefully we get some sort of positive response. I'll keep you guys updated.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Secular Student Alliance Conference!

Yes, I just can't stop posting! Or as PZ said, "I think the blogathon has permanently warped her brain."

After our trip to the Creation Museum, we drove north to Columbus, OH for the Secular Student Alliance conference. Passed two signs that each had five of the Ten Commandments (I think Mark was waiting for a third sign to appear), and stopped in a rural gas station totally forgetting I had atheist buttons and stickers all over me. Whoopsie. I already mentioned how when we were checking into the dorms we watched part of an episode of Wife Swap featuring an atheist and evangelical family with PZ, which was good fun. Oh, and the fact that PZ's dorm room was directly across from ours. Weeeeeee.There were a lot of great talks at the conference, covering activism, basic club running, volunteering, cooperation with other groups, and just some silliness. I met a lot of great people who I knew of but I had never personally met - Jesse Galef, who works for the Secular Coaltion for America and sometimes posts at Friendly Atheist; Debbie Goddard from the Center for Inquiry, who helped bring Eddie Tabash to Purdue last year; Lyz Liddel, the SSA's Senior Campus Organizer, who has helped our club so much and delt with thousands of my emails; Ashley Paramore, who video blogs as healthyaddict; Jon Sussman, who I talked to for various SSA things and who made a big list of topics for me for my blogathon...and I'm probably forgetting people, so I apologize. I also met a lot of cool people from Indiana, and I really want to try to organize some state wide freethinker event.

The talks were excellent, but I don't want to talk about them too much since they'll be online soonish, and then I'll link you to my favorite ones. And I'm totally burnt out from all those other posts, heh.

Some highlights:

- Meeting people who read my blog! It was very cool and weird having people saying "Oh, you're the Blag Hag!" (which, in retrospect, was an unfortunate name choice). If I looked freaked out I promise I wasn't - I'm just sort of socially awkward and not used to this whole random-people-knowing-me thing yet. Hi everyone!!
- Someone asked me for my first autograph! A student had PZ, Hemant, Ashley and me sign two Creation Museum tickets, and they're going to try and auction them on eBay so they can start a club at their university! Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure my signature just devalued them...
- Jon Weyer, a Christian minister who gave a wonderful talk about cooperating with religious groups, had a little contest where the first six people who could name what PZ and Ken Ham were riding in my comic would get a free book! Seeing all the people who ran up there was very cool. I then shunned one of my close friends because he got it wrong. Boo.
- They used my I Squid Cephalopods design for some of the signs!
Photo by evodevo_mike
- My group of Purdue people and Hemant went to Buffalo Wild Wings for some much needed relaxation...and after spending the day in the Creation Museum, I had a MUCH needed giant glass of beer. Mmmm Blue Moon. Oh, and being outnumbered by math geeks at the table was interesting...
- PZ actually remembered my name, which I did a little internal fangirl flail about.
- PZ also said he reads all of his comments on his blog, which I find absolutely amazing. Oh, and just so you know, I do too - I get so excited when I get emailed about a new comment.
- Playing freethought trivia games. Sadly I could recite the Chinese zodiac, yet couldn't name more than four of the last ten US Vice Presidents. Ultimate failure. I could practically feel my history teacher father's scorn from miles away.
- Watching people play "throw the atom bombs in the volcano to blow up the Thetans" while wearing Xenu crowns:- Saturday night had incredible fun socializing and PZ actually attended, and I'm pretty sure I can't say much more than that (but Jesse already said it involved Captain Morgan, so draw your own conclusions). Multiple male students commented on my boobs, so I'm pretty sure they weren't listening to Hemant's atheist dating advice.
- A group of us decided that a required session for next year's conference should be a "sexy lingerie party." Still trying to convince people about that one.
- Collecting way too much atheist flair (plus a FSM one which you can't see in this photo):- Listening to George Carlin for three hours on the drive home.

And I may not have gotten to ride the Triceratops at the Creation Museum...but I got something even better (click for larger):Photo by Gus Brunsman
The whole conference making Cthulhu faces! Though no, we didn't all transform into Cuttlefish. I guess PZ wasn't trying hard enough.

As long as I can travel there, definitely looking forward to going to the conference again next year! It was super fun and got me totally motivated for this upcoming school year. Now, time for me to go plan club events!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creation Museum Part 9

I found Hemant again, who was just outside the room, and we decided that we wanted to try to go see the "Ultimate Proof of Creation" presentation that was supposed to start in about fifteen minutes. Because of that I didn't really pay much attention to the last bit of the exhibit, since we were trying to hurry. A guard with a dog popped around the corner (trying to sniff out the brown people, we said). My friends (who had abandoned me at the antibiotics display) pulled me aside to point out one last bit of hilarity, which I got on video. Mark is Jewish (well, and an atheist, you know how that works) and had a bone to pick about some of the museum's Hebrew:



Apparently it's a little more complicated than that, and Mark has a more in depth explanation at the end of his post about the Creation Museum. There are also people at Pharyngula saying all of the other languages are messed up, too. Good quality control, Ken Ham!

You pop out into the gift store (how strategic) but I didn't look around much because we wanted to get in line - a giant freaking line. Hemant and I knew we probably weren't going to get in, but we felt obligated as bloggers to try, especially since PZ was even farther behind us. We snaked around the museum and saw some random nice exhibits about different gem stones and rocks and fossils, and I just enjoyed them without reading the signs telling me they were only thousands of years old. Then the entrance to the theater was in sight, but they closed the doors with only about 25 people in front of us...so no Ultimate Proof of Creation for us. I'm sure I would have converted if only I had seen it.

Having failed, my group of friends went to eat in Noah's Cafe. I brought a bagged lunch because I couldn't bare to spend a penny more on the place. The napkin holders here had this delightful advertisement for some sort of toy/game/thing:Apologetics for kids. Barf. I almost lost my lunch.

After lunch I wanted to go check out the petting zoo with some people in the group. On the way out, we happened to walk by right when the only incident of the trip happened. PZ has the full story at his blog - the part I saw was Derek getting a stern talking to by a Creation Museum staff member. I agree that Derek was being peaceful and really just trying to defend himself from this guy accusing him of doing bad things. There was another guy who was shooting film for a documentary the entire trip, and he tried to film their discussion. When they asked him to stop and he didn't, they asked him to leave and he peacefully did. That's all. I was going to stick around, but then I saw Pastor Tom again (still lurking around the entrance!) so we decided to leave and go to the petting zoo.

The petting zoo was alright. It made me sad because I knew the whole point they had one was yet another reason to attract kids. What little kids don't like a petting zoo? Hell, I was flailing gleefully about going there. It was pretty typical except for two animals. One, they had a camel:And two, they had a Zorse:Wtf is a Zorse, you ask? Apparently it's a cross between a Zebra and a Horse - and yes, this isn't just another lie from the Creation Museum, they have a Wikipedia article that confirms their existence. Why the hell did they have a Zorse, you ask? Well, it's supposed to be proof of their "Kinds" idea I talked about earlier. They claimed that Horses and Zebras aren't really different species because they can breed, which is utter bull crap for multiple reasons. Now what defines a species is a complicated topic in biology, but they violate even the most basic of definitions, so let's just go with that right now.
"A common definition [for a species] is that of a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring, and separated from other such groups with which interbreeding does not (normally) happen."
I instantly guessed that Zorses were sterile, but the keeper was busy talking to someone else, so I didn't ask. But yep, they are. When two species mate and produce a sterile hybrid, that's means that they're two different species. Also, Zorses do not occur naturally in the wild, which is a major part of the definition. They only occur when humans forcibly breed a Horse and a Zebra - this is an example of interbreeding not normally happening. Often times the barrier between reproduction isn't so much incompatible sperm and eggs, but incompatible behavior. Honestly, the whole species concept thing is so much more complicated than that, but it's annoying how the Creation Museum just lies about it (again).

At this point Mark called me to tell me to come join him and Hemant again (they were busy in the gift shop instead of the petting zoo). When we got back they were following a crowd of atheists including PZ, and not wanting to miss any potential excitement, I followed. It was during this time where three older atheists in the group informed me that they had been watching the parking lot, and that security guards were going around photographing the license plates of all the cars with liberal bumper stickers. That almost certainly included mine since I have a Darwin Fish, an Obama sticker, and a Republicans for Voldemort sticker (though they may not have understood that last one). I didn't see it myself, but I don't see why they'd lie about it. Not quite sure if anything will come out of that, who knows.

We went outside the gates, and that's where PZ underwent a debaptism by Edwin Kagin (legal director for American Atheists) and was then made a Kentucky Colonel! Good thing I tagged along!After that, a lot of people started to go home. I could have gone back and poked around the gift shop and probably found tons more to laugh and cry about, but by that point I had had enough. In the parking lot I formally introduced myself to PZ ("the crazy person who drew that cartoon") and got a photo before heading home:
All of the Creation Museum staff and guards were very nice (even with the tasers and glocks and dogs...). I was oddly surprised that they never really talked about Jesus, but I guess they were focused on Creation, not really modern Christianity. Honestly, typing this up and thinking about everything with a clear mind was more horrible than walking through the museum. When I was there I treated it like Disneyland - all fantasy, nothing true, just something to giggle about. But now that I can take a step back and think about it, it depresses and horrifies me. These people are blatantly anti-science and anti-reason, and their sole purpose is to brainwash children (well, and to make money). The Creation Museum was literally mind numbingly stupid: it took nearly two hours of philosophical and scientific discussion in the car ride to Columbus until I could form grammatically correct sentences again.

Hopefully my recount of the trip was detailed enough that you guys won't feel the need to go there and suffer through it. However, I am glad I went. People were criticizing our decision, but I think hearing about this craziness is just what people need. This isn't just some private belief system. These people are out to convert, to warp the minds of children, to slander scientists and spread lies about the world, to instill archaic morals into the minds of many. These religious extremists may be a minority, but they are a vocal minority. We need to step up, be activist atheists, and keep working hard to make sure this rubbish doesn't get spread around anymore.

And that was an incredibly depressing ending. Here, have a photo of us before we went in, back before we had died a little inside:

(Thanks to Vanessa and Josh for extra photos)

Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Creation Museum Part 8

*takes a deep breath*

I've been dreading to write about this part of the Creation Museum trip because I know it will put me into a frothing rage all over again. But being a biologist, this is the part I should talk about the most. I'll try to keep Caps lock and exclamation points to a minimum.

When I saw this sign, I went straight into the room:The whole theme of this part of the museum is that they accept natural selection and microevolution, but not macroevolution. Which makes no sense whatsoever, since microevolution over time leads to macroevolution. Actually, I hate those stupid terms anyway. Evolution is evolution, whether it's a change in a trait or a change of a species - it's just the change of genetic material from one generation to another. Since their stance makes absolutely no sense, they deal with it by repeating over and over again that things "are not evolution" even when they just perfectly described evolution happening.

They also never really talk about species, either. Instead there are just "Kinds."
Their basic idea is that Noah took a certain "Kind" on the Ark, and then that differentiated after the flood. Horrifyingly enough, they have a made up word for creationists who waste their time studying "Kinds": Baraminologists. Just because you can stick "ologist" at the end of a word doesn't make it scientific. Here's an example of "Kinds":Noah took a small proto-horse, and that eventually evolved - sorry, gradually changed through time (wtf?) into modern horses, zebras, mules, etc. All the proto-animals Noah took were smaller than their modern day counter parts because that's how they could fit on the boat (wtf?!). Their main argument is that all living equines aren't really different species, because that would imply evolution. I don't know why they even bother with all the microevolution stuff, because it just complicates their argument. Why not say Noah took two horses and two mules and two zebras on and they didn't evolve at all? Why start redefining species and messing with all this "Kind" stuff?

The other thing they beat over your head is that God put so much genetic diversity into the animals Noah took onto the Ark, that once the flood was over, they were able to differentiate. Any geneticist can tell you this is pretty much impossible. Noah forced every single living creature into an extreme bottleneck of two individuals that would eliminate virtually all genetic variation present. Think of it this way: at a single gene locus, if both individuals were heterozygous, the maximum number of alleles you could have in the population would initially be 4. That is not a lot of diversity, and certainly not enough diversity to produce different "species" or whatever the hell they call them. And most likely, not every animal would be heterozygous, or they'd both share alleles that were common in the population. Have the people at the Creation Museum never heard of the Founder effect? It would take insane rates of mutation to make up for this, but they don't claim that happened - they just say God filled the creatures with variation, which shows that they have absolutely no understanding of genetics.

Oh, but they did provide an answer to one of my favorite questions about the flood! How did the animals redisperse across the world once the flood was over and the Ark landed? It's simple!
Yes, they really do claim that uprooted trees floated in all the oceans, and animals walked across these trees to get to the other side.

Let that sink in for a moment.

...

I really don't understand how these people can NOT see how ridiculous this sounds. Have they ever tried to walk across floating logs before? How would a fucking mastodon walk on logs across an ocean? How many days would that take to get across, where the animals wouldn't have food or would have to sleep on makeshift rafts without drowning. Keep in mind there are only TWO of each animal at this point. Better hope both of them make it! That must have been what happened to the unicorns.

On that note, how the hell did any of the plants survive? I'm pretty sure the vast majority of plants couldn't survive being under salt water for months, dealing with whole continents moving and mountains being formed, all the soil be moved around so they're ripped out, or having miles of soil being deposited on top of their seeds (if they even have them). Hell, most plants die if you water them too much! Even if only a couple plants died, it would cause huge complications since ecosystems are so interconnected. Or what about plants that needs specific animals or pollinators to survive? How do they know if that animal is going to end up in the same place since the animals now have to move all over the world? What if a plant that likes growing in a valley ends up on top of a mountain? IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL!

*heavy breathing*

Ok, back to the Creation Museum raping genetics:
The whole point of this case was to say that all mutations are negative (mice with mutations are blind, sick, blah blah blah). They claimed no mutations are ever neutral or positive or produce anything new, which is an outright lie that has been debunked over and over again. It's one thing to fabricate stories, but it's another to try and use science and utterly fail. It just drives me mad that this stops being about religious beliefs and starts being about demonizing science. No where in the Bible does it say "all mutations are negative." They can't go around asserting that this is their opinion (not that opinions are sacred, but you know what I mean). They are just making shit up to discredit scientists and to promote their own cause. Another example:
I probably stood in front of this case for 15 minutes. First, I had no idea what it was trying to say. Second, the museum was making me feel so confused and stupid that I actually had a hard time reading full sentences to understand it. Third, once I understood what it was saying, I was so flabbergasted that I just stared at it with my jaw hanging open. The whole diorama isn't there, so let me summarize for you:

1. Wild type bacteria + antibiotic = dead bacteria

Hmmm, that seems okay.

2. Mutant bacteria + antibiotic = living bacteria

Alright, still with you there.

3. Wild type and mutant bacteria WITHOUT antibiotic = living wild type, but dead mutant bacteria

...Wait, what?

The whole premise is that since there are ONLY negative mutations (aka, something destroying a receptor that an antibiotic targets), that without antibiotics present, mutant bacteria are less fit. This again is a downright lie. Proof? How about all the people who are infected with mutant, antibiotic resistant bacteria BEFORE they take any antibiotics? Those resistant bacteria seem to be doing just fine! There, in two seconds I debunked their entire display.

I still couldn't stop staring at it though, because it angered me so much. Hemant finally appeared and gave me a hug, and after talking to him a bit I still stayed and stared at the stupid thing. Then PZ came through the entrance with Ashley (healthyaddict) who was videotaping this exchange, so I hope it goes up (with more accurate quotes):

PZ: *sees me staring forlornly at the thing* Hmm, so what's this?
Me: *explains what I just said above*
PZ: ...What.
Me: Yep.
PZ: That doesn't make any sense.
Me: Have you seen the rest of this room?
PZ: ...No.
Me: Have fun.

At that point I had to pry myself away or I was going to start crying.

(Thanks to Vanessa and Josh and robsterFDCD3 for extra photos)

Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Creation Museum Part 7

Next was the Ark room. To be completely honest, I don't have a ton to say about it. The story of Noah's Ark was probably the first Biblical story I learned, so the ludicrous things presenting here weren't so shocking since I had heard them all already. I mean, we all know due to size and construction method the Ark would have sank in a couple of days, if it made it that long at all. Part of the room was made to look like part of the Ark, and guys were sitting around talking about how crazy Noah is in super stereotypical Jewish accents:I also have to point out that this is where I found the single black mannequin in the entire museum, and he's ostracized and drinking out of a flask:
An astute museum goer pointed out that some of the mannequins seemed to be borrowed from a Discount Fake Celebrity store. For example, here we have Kiera Knightley weaving away:With her friend Angelina Jolie:I also found this sign particularly funny, and tweeted it with the comment of "That's what she said":To which Hemant (who was apparently further back in the museum) replied "No, that's what she said" with this photo.

Hemant wins.

And in case you didn't notice, by this part of the museum I was going a little insane.

The next room was full of disturbing miniatures of what happened when the flood began. There were a bunch of tiny humans trying to make animal sacrifices, or running in fear, or clinging to rocks, or being swept away by waves. Like I said, very family friendly. There was a funny one where they explained that Noah's family fed themselves by growing a small garden deep within the boat. In the dark. Again with the photosynthesis fail - I'm pretty sure they didn't have heat lamps back then and that a couple of candles aren't going to be enough. Oh, and let's not forget the diorama of dinosaurs getting on the Ark too:This room also had what I think (may have missed others) was the only interactive exhibit in the museum. It was just some computer screens with a simple jigsaw puzzle you could put together, and a couple of real life puzzles. That's it. This is one part where you can tell this really is more of a theme park than a museum (well, other than all the mind numbingly stupid inaccuracies and lies, of course). You're not supposed to interact or ask questions, you're supposed to just accept what you're being told. God did it, the end. Yet another reason to be terrified that small children are learning this - not only are their minds being filled with rot, but they're not encouraged to question anything at all.

And since we haven't had anything extraordinarily stupid yet, here you go:
Yes, you read that right. They believe that the earth had a different set of continents before the flood, that the flood was so disruptive that everything moved around and that Pangaea formed under water, and by the time the flood ended Pangaea had already broken up and formed our modern continents.

...

WHAT?!?! Why do they even bother saying this?! They outright deny so many other facts, why even bother claiming that Pangaea existed at all? How is the theory of plate tectonics (which they bastardized by saying the flood moved everything) necessary to somewhat include, but we can just say evolution never happened at all?!?! This is where all of my coherent mental thoughts were replaced by repeated screaming. I was just trying to keep it mental and not actually start yelling at the exhibits.

Then I saw signs talking about evolution, and I knew it was about to get much, much worse.

(Thanks to Vanessa and Josh for extra photos)

Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9

Creation Museum Part 6

Now that Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the world's about to go to crap. We rounded the corner and found this pleasant scene:A very kids-friendly museum! Of course, it's alright to scare little kids if it teaches them to follow the Bible - think hell houses. This was also in a dark scary room, but the flash from my camera kind of ruins that feeling. Anyway, this is supposed to illustrate their shame of being naked, and how they need to make animal sacrifices to God to make him happy.Please join me in facepalming: "But because humans are not related to animals." So, let's get cracking on the human sacrifices then with that logic! And as a side note, does God love nudists because they have no shame? ...Moving on.
We meet Adam and Eve again, but now things are different. They have their sons, Caine and Abel, they have to produce their own food, Adam has put on a few pounds (sin = beer belly?), and Eve is barefoot and pregnant like she belongs (somehow I missed a photo of that, oh well). This seems tame enough, but things start getting really crazy here with a new theme: Before Adam's Sin, and After (you really should click for a larger image and read these things, they're terrible).
Plants aren't alive? The hell? I guess we need to kick Botany out of Biology! What do those silly scientists know about what's alive, anyway? I guess animals not dying for the short period of time they were in the Garden of Eden isn't too preposterous. Well, immortality is silly, but it's not like the entire ecosystem would be out of whack or overpopulated because of a lack of deaths. But this is the sign that killed me:
Wut.

...

They're saying a T-Rex was a vegetarian until sin. I don't think I need to explain why this makes no fucking sense. Why the hell did some dinosaurs have big freaking pointy teeth? So they could munch up lettuce better? I don't think so. Either God did a shitty job at designing creatures and arbitrarily gave some useless teeth, or he already knew the fall was going to happen so he had some animals ready to fill the carnivore niche. In which case, did Adam and Eve really have free will if God already knew what was going to happen because it was part of his plan? Did God really just want an excuse to make bacon? EDIT: Apparently I missed a vital part of the exhibit: Velociraptors prior to the fall had MOLARS that through "natural selection" (not evolution, since that doesn't exist) turned into canine teeth. What the HELL. NO.
Om nom nom. Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.

Of course, I'm probably thinking about this too much. I'm sure there's a simple explanation to all this. Oh...maybe that the Creation Museum is full of shit and denying everything science or even common sense has ever told us! That's right, I forgot.
Yeah, I'm not even going to touch this one. It's just here to show you how outstandingly stupid this room was.

Of course, once you think it can never get worse, it does. I stood in front of this sign for a good long time, probably with a look of confusion and rage on my face (click for larger):
God logic for why Biblical incest is okay but modern incest isn't hurts my brain:
1. "All humans are related. So whenever someone gets married, they marry their relative." You know, this is true with evolution too! But I think all reasonable people can see a difference between marrying your sister or cousin and marrying someone thousands of years removed from you.
2. Abraham was a cool guy and married his half sister, so that makes it okay! Well okay for then, then God changed his mind and now you can't marry close relatives. So, are they actually saying that some of God's laws were applicable for ancient times but not for modern times? I guess there's hope for gay and women's rights! Right?
3. We have inbreeding depression today because Adam's sin caused mutations. Ugh, I hate when they bring in genetics to explain their crazy ideas.
4. Adam was genetically perfect, so inbreeding back then didn't matter because there we less mutations. Man, at the mutation rate necessary to go from "genetically perfect" (whatever that means) to our current level of diversity in just 6,000 years, I'm surprised we don't all have superpowers or extra limbs sprouting out of our foreheads.
5. Irrelevant comment about sex outside of marriage.
6. Lie about marriage being defined by God. You have no right to criticize the Bible if you don't believe it. Wait...what? Well isn't that convenient. Only the people who don't have anything to criticize are the ones that can criticize it!

...

We all felt like soon we'd have no brain cells left, so we moved on.

The next room has a absolutely terrifying animatronic Methuselah. He was creepier then the little girl we first met, and I nearly jumped out of my skin when his eyes moved and looked right at me. I didn't take a photo because I was afraid my camera would disintegrate from the pure evil emanating from this thing. They had a sign next to Methuselah with all the ages of various famous people from the Bible, and I think they were trying to show that people lived shorter and shorter lives since sin was introduced. I'm not quite sure how sin "builds up" over generations (I think they meant mutations), but I'm not sure about most of the stuff in this museum.

(Thanks to Vanessa and Josh for extra photos)

Part1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9