Pharyngula

There is lots of video on the web from our visit to Ken Ham’s Palace of Lies, but here’s one of one of the rare incidents to mar the trip. This is the student who was kicked out; I was with him when he was pulled aside, and can verify that he was doing nothing but engaging in quiet conversation with a small group of us godless atheists when Mark Looy arbitrarily singled him out and took him aside to tell him stories about how unruly he had been. It was genuinely bizarre. As you can see in the clip made as we were standing outside, there was no shouting, no disruption, no rudeness at all going on — they simply plucked Derek out of the group and told him he was a bad boy.

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Not shown is the other stuff that went on at the same time. While Looy had Derek off to the side, their head of security hovered about and tried to interpose himself between Looy and all the cameras aimed at him…an impossibility, since there was a whole arc of watchful atheists around them. At one point he gestured to one of the uniformed guards and sent him to escort one attendee with a large, high-quality video camera off the premises — this happened to be a fellow who was there making a documentary about atheists, who had been careful to not directly participate and who was certainly not wearing any godless apparel. The creationists are certainly brilliant at PR, aren’t they?

I can say that all of the atheists were well behaved and civil, that the only behavior the museum staff could possibly have complained about is that we engaged in quiet criticism, and that the only bad behavior was by people like Looy and the noticeably edgy security guards, who we could tell were looking for an excuse to throw all the people laughing at their joke of a “museum” out. I think Derek was simply their chosen sacrificial lamb, used as an excuse to vent their failed expectations for a ferocious confrontation.

One last irony: after expelling a few of our people for imaginary infractions, Looy came up to me with their photographer to ask to take my picture, presumably to put on Ken Ham’s blog. I let him, of course, but I expect they’ll also use it to let their security know who I am, in case I should make future invasions. (Which is not likely, by the way. I think I got enough.)

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