In May 2000, I moved to Manhattan, Kansas, to begin a three-year postdoctoral position at Kansas State University. Shortly after arriving, I heard about a conference for Christian home-schoolers to be held in Wichita, the state’s largest city. Because anything related to public education in Kansas had relevance to my job, I decided to attend. It turned out that the conference was largely a celebration of young-Earth creationism.
So began a strange hobby I pursued steadily over the next decade. If you are interested in studying anti-evolutionism up close, then central Kansas and my current home, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, are two excellent places to live. As a politically liberal nonreligious mathematician who accepts the scientific consensus on evolution, I was curious about how those on the other side arrived at their views. And because I could think of no better way of getting answers than to go where they were and ask them myself, I resolved to attend as many of their conferences and gatherings as I could.