Kickstarter project: Creationists try to prove God exists by asking for money for a Galápagos trip

August 24, 2015 • 12:15 pm

I’m exhausted from writing about science, so don’t expect much substantive stuff for the rest of the day. But here’s a bit of popular science, or rather unpopular science: a lovely Kickstarter Project by a creationist, one Christian Klingeler. Klingeler is apparently studying evolutionary psychology at a good university but is also a creationist who accepts a “multi-stage” creation, with evolution occurring within stages but each “stage” created by God.

He’s now e-begging for seventy-five thousand bucks to take six people to the Galápagos Islands to prove that Darwin was wrong and to prove as well that God exists! What kind of scientist sets out to prove what he intuits already? The proposal below is one of the baldest examples of confirmation bias I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, it’s pretty funny, as well as poorly written (my interpolations and commentary are in bold and enclosed in brackets):

Proving GOD Exists 

In order to prove God exists we have to eliminate the idea that evolution is all-encompassing. I believe in evolution on a small scale. We see evolution from a maggot to a fly. [That is not evolution; it’s development!] However, to say that humans came from a single cell organism is a bit far fetched. I believe the populist [sic] has accepted the idea of evolution due to the lack of evidence of [sic] the contrary. Currently evolution is being taught in public schools as a fact, and new generations do not accept intelligent design. [According to his bio, Klingerer believes in intelligent design.]

I am graduating with my Maters [sic; or is he getting a degree from his mom?] degree in psychology and entering into my Doctorial [sic] program at Arizona State University. [ASU is a good school; how did this guy get in?] I plan to concentrate in Evolutionary Psychology [????] and Child Psychology. I am currently working on my Doctorial [sic] thesis that will follow Charles Darwin’s journey to the Galapagos Islands. By following the steps and research of Darwin my researchers and I can detail the evidence and experiments that Darwin used for his Theory of Evolution. By following in Darwin’s footsteps, I hope to prove  that evolution is confined into [sic] stages.[n.b. He’s not testing anything, he’s trying to show what he believes already. Who would pay for a religionist to do that? Oh—I forgot about Templeton.] Each stage will allow evolution to occur but is limited to a self-sustaining longitudinal circle. [What the hell is a “longitudinal circle”?] Publishing this theory with a documentary film and publications, we can eliminate the over all [sic] idea that evolution is all-encompassing. The above idea is step one of a multi step plan to change the view of evolution by proving that certain aspects could not have evolved without being created by an intelligent design. [How does he know that any designer would be God?] I am not out to promote a region [sic] or way of life. [Preceding sentence is a lie.] I just believe there has got to be a better answer than all in compassing [sic] evolution. Thank you for reading this.

Goal: Document and film the work of Charles Darwin to discover evidence of intelligent design. In order to prove intelligent design we must debunk the idea that evolution is all encompassing (from single cell to human).

Plan of Attack: My belief is evolution exists in individual self-sustaining circles. [???] By proposing this theory, with evidence from Darwin’s research we change the evolution flow chart from an all-inclusive chart to a multiple circles of self-sustaning [sic] life. By doing this the process of elimination will suggest the origin of each circle was conceived by intelligent design.

Passengers: 6 Total 4 researchers and  2 film crew

Days: 21-Day journey to Galapagos Islands

Passengers: 6 Total 4 researchers and  2 film crew

Days: 21-Day journey to Galapagos Islands

Additional resources: Film work and Publication for Documentary, Publication of Theory

Cost:

$1500 per passenger for tickets to Galapagos Islands

$1500 per passenger for tickets to Indonesian Islands to compare results [WHAT??? What is he looking for in Indonesia?]

$15000 for transportation around Galapagos Islands and other areas

$6500 for $50 budget per day for food

$20000 for expense including: Hotel and equipment rental

$15000 for cost to complete film and release budget

 $75000 Total with Documentary Film 

$55000 Without filming crew or documentary

Here’s the good part—the dosh raised so far:
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.24.25 AM
I doubt that he’ll get much more. Somehow I get the feeling this guy is just trying to fund a vacation in the Galápagos . . .

107 thoughts on “Kickstarter project: Creationists try to prove God exists by asking for money for a Galápagos trip

    1. There is a good reason for this. I own a company – “Encompass Corporation”, since 1981 and will not allow him to use the proper word. 🙂

      1. Print out of his application to use your trade mark, or I’ll continue to believe that the scammer is really iggorant of proper Inglish like wot I wuz drug up wiv.

  1. I have seen better writing from 12 year-olds.

    Why does he need to go to the Galápagos islands? Everyone knows its turtles all the way down.

  2. Jimminey Crickets, Batman!

    I don’t think that even Templeton would go for this, although you never know.

    I’m mildly alarmed that someone with a Master’s degree apparently can’t even use the built-in spell-check that comes with every internet browser these days.

      1. Between the last time I got advising and the time I signed up for my fall courses they had added a requirement for Advanced Technical Writing to my IT bachelor’s track. Sometimes (all the time) I type like Google Translate doing a terrible job, so it’s not like I won’t benefit from it at least.

    1. As he clearly states on the Kickstarter project site it is not a Master’s degree but a “Maters degree in psychology”. I guess you do not need spell-check with those credentials.

  3. Sorry to ruin his $0.00 contribution stat, but I pledged $1.00 so I could leave a comment about the project. I’m not worried about losing my $1.00 since the project will never hit its funding goal.

    Thanks for bringing this hilarity to my attention!

    1. Great comment on the KS site, Mr. Patrick. (I don’t know if you’re allowed to edit after posting, but since the comment does contain criticism of his spelling/grammar, you might want to see if you can go back in and fix the “believe,” to “belief.”)

      I tried to contribute $0.01 (I figured that that would be comment enough), but apparently $1.00 is the allowed minimum, and you already had the inspiration to do that!

      1. Excellent initiative, but you were a little too fast in typing: “…Finally, I really think you’re writing skills are outing you…”
        Should be “your writing skills” I think. Hope you can correct it.

    2. Thumbs up, great comment!
      And one personal remark: If this guy really has a Maters [sic] degree, then I am waiting to get a Nobel prize in October. After all, I have a Diplom in chemistry. That has to be worth something. 😉

    3. +1 – I also enjoyed the comment you posted, and it’s a dollar well-spent. Kudos.

      PZ Myers did a count of published evolution papers and it was in the low six figures, though I don’t remember the time span – it may have been the previous year or five years, but it was not a very long period. I am astounded at the arrogance that amateurs show when they think they are on to something so many thousands of people are missing – especially when those people are working over decades in serious, hard- and expensive-to-do science.

  4. As of a minute ago, he has $1.00, which would at least buy an eraser-tipped pencil and allow him to correct the spelling and grammatical errors in the proposal.

    1. Obviously written before I saw the response above. I was wondering if it was a reader of this site who had thrown in the dollar.

  5. ASU? He ain’t gonna get an anti-Evolution doctorate from here.

    I’d be willing to make a donation to his cause…in the form of a copy of WEIT.

    Seems he takes a Platonic view of Evolution…organisms may wander around some idealized archetypal form for their species, but never stray too far. One would think that the domestic d*g and pretty much every cultivated food plant would be ample evidence that that’s not the case, but whatever….

    b&

    1. I think that may be it. He might be referring to the olde idea of the Scala Naturae (a.k.a. Great Chain of Being) which was, before Darwin, molded into the view that species go extinct but are replaced by new creations at their corresponding level on the chain. Each level is represented in an idealized form, or archetype, which is a kind of idealized body plan for a given level. I think it was Sir Richard Owen who pushed that idea, but I am not sure.

      1. You may be thinking of Louis Agassiz, the polygenist abolitionist. He was a Harvard zoologist and founding member of Lincoln’s National Academy of Sciences.

  6. Oh boy. This is one of the funnier/crazy stories to appear on your site. I had to laugh out-loud to myself there a couple of times. From a maggot to a fly…

    The folks over at WUMO comics could make this one last for a week maybe. The Sunday strip was the teacher in the class room with a note on the board saying – What do you want to be when you grow up? The dinosaur sitting at one desk says – My dream is to study psychotherapy, but my dad became a fossil, and my granddad did as well, so I’m afraid it’ll be hard to break that cycle.

  7. I doubt he would meet anyone sympathetic to his view on his trip. It would be nice to send him just so he feels alone in the universe with his childish agenda.

  8. Glad to see he has his maters degree! But personally I prefer taters over maters; though it is hard to beat a good bacon, lettuce and ‘mater sandwich.

    1. I wondered there might be a missing apostrophe, given his spelling, and it was mater’s degree. The degree actually belongs to his mother – Latin: mater.

    2. It reminds me of an old comedy bit that I think was regularly on NPR called ‘Ask Mr. Science’. The ‘scientist’ would provide a wacky answer to a science question. The closing lines were always “I have a Master’s Degree! In Science!!”

    1. It would be cheaper to fund a trip to the Grand Canyon to prove that it was formed in a great flood. But I think that has already been done.

  9. I think I might have worked out what these “evolutionary circles” are. A whole lot of species were created by God, and they have evolved from there. Each animal pair created by God represents its own “circle.” There’s nothing before that back to a single origin as we devil-worshipping atheists claim.

    I’m more worried about the child psychology bit and the trip to Indonesia, where there’s easy availability of children for sex. I think this guy needs to be kept an eye on for other reasons.

    1. It seems to be his way to try to concede that “micro” evolution is true, but “prove” that some magical force prevents micro evolution over a long period of time from becoming “macro” evolution.

      I note that in his “Risks” section of the Kickstarter he doesn’t mention, say, lack of any experience as a documentary film maker or as a scientific researcher as potential barriers to the success of this project. That seems consistent with Jerry’s “somebody wants strangers to pay for a three week vacation for him and his family” hypothesis.

  10. Wow! He was accepted at ASU?! I teach history at ASU, but I got my undergraduate degree in Psychology from ASU. Unless the program has changed dramatically, this guy will get no support for that crazy thesis! He hasn’t even started his coursework so he’s mistaken if he thinks his future doctoral committee with support this crazy thesis!

    1. Agreed. Been quite a few years since I got my B. Music from ASU, but I can’t imagine they’ve changed enough since then to let this bullshit through. That includes a couple non-majors classes from the psychology department.

      b&

      1. The best part is that he typed “doctorial” more than once. Clearly, this isn’t a typo, though even once is questionable since ‘i’ is situated nowhere near ‘r’ or ‘a’ on the keyboard.

  11. So if he fails to raise the dough can we take that as the cosmos answering the God question with a big, fat “NO!!!”?

    (“Christian Klingeler” — sounds like a character out of a Thomas Pynchon novel.)

    1. Come to think of it, the whole Galápagos/Creationist crowdfunding scam come off like a paranoid Pynchonian subplot.

  12. Re Indonesia, wouldn’t Alfred Russell Wallace have done field work in what is now Indonesia? Of course, if that is the connection, and the intent is to compare (in some unknown way) Darwin’s field work with Wallace’s, it could have been plainly stated.

  13. I believe in evolution on a small scale. We see evolution from a maggot to a fly. However, to say that humans came from a single cell organism is a bit far fetched.

    Now that’s an odd juxtaposition. He believes in development (or evolution, or something) from a maggot to a fly, but he doesn’t believe in single-celled zygotes? Where does he imagine the maggot starts out, much less the human?

  14. Maggots evolving into flies! What next? Eggs evolving into chickens? What a complete buffoon. I have yet to see a better real-world example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  15. “I plan to concentrate in Evolutionary Psychology”
    That’s a good learning strategy.

    “…will follow Charles Darwin’s journey to the Galapagos Islands. By following the steps and research of Darwin my researchers and I can detail the evidence and experiments that Darwin used for his Theory of Evolution.”
    Oh oh, from what I understand, all Darwin was doing on the Galapagos was wandering around saying “WTF?” and shooting things. I hope he leaves his guns at home.

    I am not out to promote a region or way of life.
    Huh? He’s from San Francisco?

    multiple circles of self-sustaning life…
    I think he means “self-suntanning”.

    $50 budget per day for food
    For 6 people? What’s he planning to do? Cook and eat the animals???

    $1500 per passenger for tickets to Indonesian Islands to compare results
    Um dude, Darwin didn’t go to any Indonesian Islands. Your project has already failed.

  16. Where to start? This is surely another example of a creationist tract that’s so bad it’s not even wrong!

    Lets see: as pointed out, flies from maggots is development, not evolution. And humans do develop from a single cell.

    And while Darwin collected lots of observational evidence, from the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere, that overwhelmingly supports his idea of descent with modification, as far as I know, he didn’t do any experiments on evolution, unless you count breeding pigeons.

    And there’s the typical logical fallacy that most IDers make: disproving any portion of Darwin’s work doesn’t prove the existence of a sky fairy.

    I assume that by the term “longitudinal circle” he must mean an ellipse, which indicates his understanding of geometry may be as weak as his understanding of evolution.

    Finally, the number of grammatical errors make me wonder what kind of education this chap has. I hope the sky fairy isn’t counting on this dude to prove it/she/he exists!

  17. Oh, and just once I would like to see something by a creationist that indicated they had read and understood anything about evolution. As a scientist, I’ve always thought that if your going to criticize something, at a minimum you should understand it!

    1. Now this is good:

      3 backers
      $6.66 pledged of $75,000 goal

      The third backer had a wicked sense of humor. 😀

  18. Spellcheckers don’t catch real words used incorrectly.

    Occasionally one hears references to a “doctorIal candidate” for a “doctorAl degree”!! Theses and programs I’m sure are always the latter.

    A longitudinal circle has a specific meaning in geography as a geodesic circle which unlike latitude lines are always the shortest distance between two points. It has no meaning outside of this. I’m sure he doesn’t mean species propagate along longitudinal line. However, I suspect his project may be using circular reasoning. 🙂

    By “not promoting a region” he might mean he’s not specifically promoting the Galapagos. But I suspect not. 🙂

  19. if I could get hired as a videographer for the trip, I would throw in the editing for free. Although, it would be less of a documentary about evolution, and more about psychology.

  20. Ah well, I’ve just offer to pledge $500 on the condition he submits a proposal conforming to the NSF guidelines. I’m not holding my breath. My question copied below.

    I think that this is an absolutely ill conceived project, but I will give you the benefit of doubt. I will pledge $500 if you prove to be able to structure this project as a scientific enterprise. Namely, you will need to provide a proposal conforming to the Proposal Preparation Instructions of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant Proposal Guide (see http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/, Part 1, Section II in particular). You will not need to provide any Proposal Certification (C.1.e) but it’s essential that you provide a list of Suggested Reviewers. These will have to be experts in the field (Rank of Assistant Professor or above at an accredited US College or University, Research scientists at a non-profit US research institution) who will review your proposal and recommend wether it should be funded. To leave sufficient time for review, the deadline for submission is in 28 days (i.e. 30 days before the funding deadline).

  21. Hoo, boy. Perhaps he is hoping to find evidence for microevolution and maybe formation of sister species, but to not find evidence for evolution above the species level.

    1. Right. Why would an infinitely powerful sky fairy need the likes of Klingeler to demonstrate she/he/it exists? They could easily rearrange the Northern Lights occasionally to spell out “Hi, god here” in several major languages.

      1. Maybe God’s sorry about the whole thing and just wishes people would leave him alone. have they no compassion!

  22. Hold on … 

    Pledge $10,000

    Detailed account of Thesis and findings

    He’s asking for $10k for the privilege of a detailed account of a thesis which, I assume, will be publicly available through the NSU?

    That whiffs of fraud … 

    /@

  23. I guess this is the epitome of Poe’s Law. I can’t figure out if this is somebody’s attempt at humor using Kickstarter to try to parody a creationist, or if it’s an honest to goodness creationist who’s serious in their proposal.

  24. “Document and film the work of Charles Darwin to discover evidence of intelligent design.”

    Hey, the guy isn’t completely stupid as he’s obviously invented time travel. Arizona State U?? I’d have guessed Liberty “U!” And, forget how this guy got into ASU, how in hell did his supervisor get in?!?

  25. I just want to say that I have been guffawing so much over the witty comments in this thread that Mrs. Gnu has asked me to remove myself to a different room.

    Thank you one and all.

  26. “Somehow I get the feeling this guy is just trying to fund a vacation in the Galápagos . . .”

    And what’s wrong with that?

    Now *I* have this proposed research to validate Newton. It’s called the Gravity Confirmation Project. For a mere $100,000 I and my wife/assistant will travel to certain critical locations and, err, drop a ball to confirm that it does indeed fall downwards. Locations to include the Canyon du Verdon, Col de l’Iseran, Stelvio Pass, Eiffel Tower, Verzasca Dam, and other significant locations indicated by my preliminary research in Lonely Planet.

    Please contribute to my upcoming Kickstarter project. For the sake of science.

    cr

    1. I can tell from the diversity of your proposed list of research locations that you “are not out to promote a region”.

  27. Right off the bat, he says disproving evolution proves God. There’s his first (of many) mistakes. Jerry, I think saying he’s trying to prove what he intuits is generous. This loon doesn’t intuit anything. He states faith as fact. Sadly he’s one ‘v’ short of being right on the money.

  28. Apparently, “Evolutionary Psychology” is a real thing. I don’t understand how he’s willing to focus on it but wants to disprove Evolution, but I don’t understand how the religious mind works either.
    I have a reminder setup so I can see how much he gets. I’m thinking of pledging $25 to get the movie with the “out takes [sic] and bloopers.” I can only imagine the hilarity…

  29. The way I read this is that he has tried pitching this programme to the likes of “Discovery” Channel, and they’ve shown him the door, possibly with the ‘Jackass’ ejector boot.

  30. The Kickstarter page itself has this funny instruction in the Comments section:

    “Use this space to cheer the creator along, ask questions, and talk to your fellow backers. Please remember to be respectful and considerate. Thanks!”

    The humour in those sentences as they relate to this campaign is almost scripted!! Go God go!!

  31. It now says it’s funded for $6.51… okay, who pulled out of their 15 cent commitment?! ‘Fess up!

  32. The bad grammar, syntax and spelling make perfect sense to me:

    If you try to crowd-fund a cool vacation for yourself and a bunch of friends, you should appeal to a large group of people, preferably known for their lack of critical thinking skills.
    Creationists fit that bill perfectly: so all you have to do is mention ‘disproving evolution’ and ‘proving God’s existence’.
    And you have to do all that in a very badly written text: the last thing you want to do is come across as ‘sciency’.

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