Darwin Was Wrong, Part 2: Plans and Precautions
After reading the press release about the Darwin Was Wrong seminar, I had to run off to work. While I’m sitting there at work, my mind is coming up with all of the reasons I shouldn’t go. It takes place in one of their churches. I’d be surrounded by fundies! What if my head exploded? What if they tried to gang-save me? What if I got cooties? (This is what psychologists call catastrophizing)
If I’m really going to go down to Santa Ana to see their “overwhelming evidence”, I have to know what the risks are. I tried infiltrating a fundie “seminar” once before, and it was a traumatic experience. What to do? Give them a call, of course!
The top of the press release said “Contact: Dick McDonald” and gave his phone number. OK, Dick. Let’s see if I can pull this off without screaming at you.
I’m at work. I can’t make the call from my desk. What would my coworkers think?
You might recall that under great protest, I did finally get a cell phone. It’s only for when my car breaks down or if I’m ever being chased by Scientologists. That’s all. Otherwise, I run the risk of becoming one of you obnoxious cell phone people, who are always yakking on your phone no matter where you are and pissing off everyone else around you. (Although, now that I think about it, everyone else is also on their cell phones. I’m usually the only person in a crowd who isn’t plugged in to some other state of awareness. It’s like my high school experience all over again!)
A mental breakdown (i.e., considering going to a fundie church) probably falls into the same category as fighting off hordes of killer zombies, so I guess I can justify using the phone just this once. (It’s just a cell phone, not a magic ring of invisibility. It could never control me !)
OK. So I decide to use my cell phone. I run out to my car for some privacy. I dial the number. It rings. And rings. Oh, crap. What if he isn’t there? Oh good, he picks up. Oh crap! It’s his voice mail! I don’t want to leave a message. He might call back! I hang up and return to work.
A few hours later, I decide to try again. I go back out to my car. Strange. I have a voice mail. Oh crap! It’s from Dick McDonald! He called me back! I have caller-ID blocking on my home phone, but I forgot that I don’t have it on the cell phone! Oh crap! A fundie has my phone number! O-crap-o-crap-o-crap-o-crap!
I listen to the message:
Hi. This is Dick McDonald. I see you tried to call me, but I wasn’t here. I thought this might have to do with the Darwin Was Wrong seminar. It’s going to be a wonderful two days of great speakers. I hope you can come. If it isn’t about that, please forgive me. God bless!
While I’m digesting that message, the phone rings. I see by the caller-ID (Hey! That’s a useful feature!) that it’s Dick McDonald. I answer the phone, and we talk for several minutes.
He tells me that the seminar is free (That’s a relief. The last thing I want to do is pay them to lie to me.). He also says that lunch on Saturday costs only $6, and it’s catered by Chik-Fil-A. Why does that not surprise me?
I tell him that I see it’s taking place in a church. Is this really a seminar, or is it just a sermon? Am I going to get there and just hear that Darwin was wrong, because it says so in the Bible?
He said “Oh no! This is all about the science! We have seven PhD scientists who will present lots of evidence showing how Darwin was wrong. We have a geologist…”
No, I thought. You have Steve Austin!
“… and a biologist and a paleontologist and a…” he went on and on.
I can’t remember what else he said, but it was clear to me that he was trying to convince one of us (I’m still not sure which) that this really was a scientific seminar full of lots of real actual science.
I tell him that I can hardly wait to attend.