Creationist Demands That Houston Museum Ban Atheists and Science Supporters

OK, so who is being intolerant here?

Houston-area creationist David Shormann, author of The Exchange of Truth: Liberating the World from the Lie of Evolution, says members of several Houston organizations who support sound science education are intolerant, anti-Christian bigots. And he wants a Houston museum to bar those groups from using its facilities to educate the public about the war on evolution and science education.

That’s right: the guy who claims other people are intolerant wants the Houston Museum of Natural Science to ban groups he doesn’t like. What’s next? A book burning?

Shormann is upset because organizers from Houston Atheists, Humanists of Houston and Houston Oasis are renting space at the museum to host “Answers In Science: What On Earth Do We Know?” The event on Aug. 4 comes the day after the Texas Home School Coalition ends a three-day convention (in The Woodlands, north of Houston) that features militant creationist Ken Ham, the controversial founder of the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis.

Organizers of the Answers in Science event on Aug. 4 have lined up speakers to discuss what the scientific evidence says about evolution and how creationist activists and pressure groups are trying to distort what students learn about that science. Shormann, however, calls the event an “anti-religion meeting.” From his blog diatribe:

I am particularly disappointed that the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) does not seem to have a problem with making a profit off of such a religiously intolerant group. Not only are they attacking Christianity, they are attacking one man in particular, Ken Ham. It is un-American to support such religious intolerance and false claims that Christians are “anti-science”. Christians are not anti-chemistry, anti-physics, anti-biology, etc! I am sure that we would all make a lot more headway in scientific things if atheists showed a lot more tolerance for historical interpretations that differ from theirs, and focus on advancing testable, repeatable science instead.

If you are also disappointed that HMNS is profiting off of the anti-Christian “Answers in Science” meeting (you can see the sign announcing the meeting in the photo above), please consider contacting them to kindly but firmly express your displeasure.

Organizers of the event are “religiously intolerant”? That’s interesting because they have invited Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller to speak. We have had clergy members, including Christians and Jews, on our board since TFN was founded in 1995. Moreover, our Texas Faith Network includes hundreds of clergy from around the state who support  religious freedom, civil liberties and strong public schools. These clergy members see no conflict between faith in God and accepting the science of evolution. In fact, more than 200 have signed our clergy petition in support of teaching about evolution in science classrooms. (Clergy can sign on to the petition here.) The fact is, the Texas Freedom Network has long brought together people of faith as well as atheists and others who support sound science education.

Fortunately, the Houston Museum of National Science is refusing Shormann’s demand that it bar the science event from its facilities. The museum replied in the comments section of Shormann’s blog post, explaining that it would continue to honor the agreement with the event’s organizers:

While the viewpoints expressed may not synchronize with your personal beliefs, we do not find these sentiments “anti-Christian” only because as a museum – we do not have a position on any religion, politics or other topics of that nature. We rent space to a variety of groups, and, at times, it’s possible that their objectives may conflict.

Seems to us that the museum’s reply is a far better example of “tolerance” than a bully’s insistence that groups he doesn’t like be barred from that institution.

Shormann, by the way, served on a review panel when the State Board of Education adopted online science instructional materials for Texas public schools in 2011. He used his position to pressure one publisher to make scientifically flawed changes to sections on evolution in its materials. TFN helped stop that from happening.

If you want students to learn real science in their science classrooms — not discredited creationist arguments that will leave them unprepared for college and the jobs of the 21st century — then join thousands of Texans who have signed our Stand Up for Science petition here. The Texas Freedom Network will keep you informed about the textbook adoption this year and what you can do to stop anti-science fanatics from undermining the education of Texas kids.

43 thoughts on “Creationist Demands That Houston Museum Ban Atheists and Science Supporters

    1. Yeah, that was the same paper, and the only one I could find under his name, that I “discussed” with him and he basically denied all the science. He’s a total intellectually dishonest creep and should be called out at every opportunity.

      In fact, all of the creationist “reviewers” should have their full creationist credentials publicized as much as possible.

      And, I’m going to put the onus on the moderates on the SBOE. No accommodation. None! Don’t give an inch to creationists. Not an inch. Not a single vote. You cannot compromise with these people.

  1. This atheist has a family membership to HMNS because, unlike some, we are a fan of actual science. Have they demanded that the evolution exhibit of the wonderful new dinosaur section of HMNS be removed too, or do they just walk really quickly past it and make distracting noises in hopes that their kids don’t notice it?

  2. Sometimes I would really like to take a sneak peek into the heads of such fanatics.
    I don’t mind them, as long as they leave me alone with their believes, sadly that is a rare case.
    I often ask myself, weather they belief what they are telling themselves or if it is just a way to gain money, attention, followers or something else…
    I really like the diplomatic reply of the museum to the rather undiplomatic request.

    1. I would like to cut off the heads of these fanatics and spit in it.. no pity for such ignorant scum who are destroying the earth in the name of a fairy tale god.. pathetic in the age of science this type of person is allowed to breath. This may sound harsh but these people are nothing but a destructive force against nature and humanity. I personally belive anyone who take thier child to a church should loose custody and be imprisoned for child abuse.

      1. No madam, we are reasoners not murderers. Don’t give the deluded more fuel to dump on their roaring fire of cocksure self righteousness.

        I agree, 100%, that religious is nothing but a entropic, vitriolic and hateful stain on the otherwise remarkable resume of Homosapien Sapien – however “an eye for an eye” is a religious doctrine, let’s leave vengeance and escalating violence to the pious. What we need to do is stop them brainwashing children before they are given the chance to mature to the age of reason. ONLY then will religion decay.

      2. I think the judgment here is just as harsh as Shormann. To say taking a child to church is akin to child abuse and a parent should lose custody is lumping every religious person into the same group. Not all are ignorant, intolerable, and hate-mongering. Please reconsider your stance to judging each situation and person on their own merits. I wouldn’t think all atheists are mean-spirited, vengeful, and intolerant of those who don’t share their same views.

      3. The Mom – You have at least 11 grammatical, punctuational, and spelling errors in your comment. If you are not able to get these small things correct, is it possible that you are incorrect in your assumptions regarding what is true science?

  3. science supporters at the NATURAL SCIENCE MUSEUM…does this guy know what words mean? does he know what science is? can he read? this can’t be real. that’s it, we’ve reached the end of the line.

  4. I got into a comment exchange with Shormann when his fellow creationist and preacher pal, Marty, was running for SBOE (and won, dagnabbit!) and without a doubt Shormann is among the most dishonest creationists I’ve run across in decades of following these creeps.

    I even pulled up a paper he wrote studying the Brazos river for his PhD because it conflicted with his childish false dichotomy of “historical versus experimental” science. I pointed out that a plot he published, pretty much a straight line, indicated that the river would have had a certain temperature even thought they didn’t have a measurement for that year and he replied, “We can never know because we can’t go back in time” or some such BS.

    PhD from A&M. Big whoop!

    1. Doc Bill, Shormann is probably the most dogmatic and aggressive Creationist in Texas. You could call him the “Ken Ham of Texas” and he would feel honored. He writes books for and teaches home-schooled children whose parents are Christian Fundamentalists. In these books he constantly promotes Young Earth Creationism and teaches about biological evolution in ways that misrepresent and derogate it, so his students finish their home-school science education by becoming stupid as well as ignorant.

      Shormann is very dangerous because he knows enough about biology to present his specious arguments about evolution in ways that are superficially believable to non-scientists so they end up being confused and misinformed without realizing how Shormann’s sophistry has deceived them. Ken Ham operates in an identical manner. Both of these guys are dogmatic, aggressive, and hard-edged because they are so convinced they know the truth. Self-deception has never had better role models and exponents.

      1. Shormann would make a great addition to the staff at the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) now located in Dallas. They recently picked up an equally willfully ignorant intellectually dishonest PhD from AIG, Jason Lisle.

        Jason and Shormann are like two peas in a pod. Co-evolved, you might say. They put out just enough science to sound sciency, then jump right into “God did it.” I don’t know what psychosis they share but I’d love to get a psychologist’s opinion on their behavior.

        Ken Ham is just a con man willing to sell worthless “Ark pegs” to children for a bag of coins. Lisle and Shormann are a little different because they don’t seem to be in it for the money, but they’ve got a big chip on their shoulder about something. Under a thin veneer of civility is a very, very nasty troll lurking. It’s almost self-loathing. I wish I knew more.

        1. I taught geology at Miami University in Oxford, OH, for six years. Oxford is 35 minutes from Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from Ham’s empire in northern Kentucky. I have had several interactions with Ham and heard him speak several times. He tried to get me to debate him on more than one occasion but I always refused. He and his top AiG staff people all drive Mercedes and live in huge, expensive houses, just like the top Fundamentalist televangelists. I met and talked to several of them including Ham. They are hard, mean, unsmiling, and uncompromising men whose business is deceiving ignorant and uneducated Fundamentalist Christians and extracting money from them. I considered them to be thugs who operate a racket.

          1. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said Ham would sell a wooden peg to a kid for a bag of coins. In fact, the kid didn’t even get the peg and I’m not sure if he even got a certificate for the pet. Part of the Ark Park racket that Ham’s running.

            Fagin, anyone?

        2. How does one “research” creationism? Do they sit around waiting for the next animal to appear from out of thin air?

          1. Creationist “research” consists of reading through the scientific literature without any real understanding or appreciation, then quote-mining it to misrepresent its content with specious arguments that deliberately and mendaciously distort the scientific data and reasoning. Creationist “research” is both pseudo-scholarship and pseudoscience, both totally unethical.

  5. We should all make a small (even $1!) donation to the museum and comment on his blog post when we do. That would drive him mad. And fund a science museum. LOL – set up an endowment in his name. The focus would be to make sure everyone gets a solid science education starting with Kindergarten. It could fund field trips. Don’t let science ignorance happen to your kid…if only I had a bunch of money!

  6. What I really MEAN is–make a case–a SERIOUS case–for giving these people column inches. Don’t write about them; they don’t exist.

  7. Ok, I donated $5 towards “Educational Programs” and “In Honor of” David Shormann. 🙂

    Thanks for finding the link, Kierin!

  8. If we started feeding these fools to the lions again, we would have less fools and more fat, happy lions.

  9. To Sam:
    – You use the accepted species designation Homosapien Sapien(sic). I think it’s somewhat presumptuous to claim that we have achieved true knowledge. I propose a new designation, Homo interrogans (= Humans who ask questions).
    – We belong to the subspecies that seeks answers through observation, measurement, testing for validity and reproducibility, and then speculating what lies ahead (a.k.a. the scientific method). We admit “we don’t know – yet” when that’s the case, and we accept changes when new evidence mandates them.
    – There is another sadly insecure subspecies that can’t live with un-answered questions. They will actually pay (every Sabbath or whenever) for fabricated answers that give them some sort of peace of mind.

    – Some years ago, we at Humanists of Houston heard a self-invited Fundamentalist who told us why Humanism is all wrong and literal belief in the Bible is the only way. He is an engineer with a PhD in thermodynamics, from a respectable university. His problem is called compartmentalization (think of two computers sharing keyboard, screen and printer through a switching device). Sad.

    – “For every absolute truth there are one or more absolute truths of equal validity and opposite direction. Beware of all who hold onto absolute truths, for they are duty-bound to destroy all others”.

  10. Come on people. There’s a reason why most of your doctors come from other countries these days! Why? Because our country is completely behind the rest of the world in science. Teach your kids some creation myth if you want, but dammit you need to teach them science also if you want them to succeed in this world.

  11. As Pew research and others have empirically shown, more and more people are recognizing that religions are myth worshipers. Congregations are dwindling. Like the Iron Curtain, you have to keep them locked in; for their safety of course.

    Oh, to be born 100 years from now when all of this religious, creationist garbage will be a thing of the past.

    1. No, the reason so many doctors are imported is the same reason we import so many other things. Medical education is so much cheaper overseas, esp in 3rd world countries. It is a form of outsourcing. Like John Kerry once said, it a “Benedict Arnold” practice. Think about that when the next doctor you see did not get her medical education in the USA.

      1. I would be comforted by the fact that a doctor did not get a U.S.A education. You guys are like 53rd in the world for education.

        That’s really nothing to be proud of.

  12. I am not familiar with this Shormann fellow but with the creationist/intelligent design mindset I have much experience. It is a wonder that those who are believers in ID/C can walk and chew gum at the same time. Ken Ham is among the ones who not only trumpet their ignorance but work hard to teach others their belief system.

    In the view of so many in the world America is losing its place in the world of science and education. I am ashamed that the believers in ID/C even have a place at the table.

    1. I live in New Jersey and unfortunately, in my town (part rural/suburban), we had to deal with attacks from the Christian Coalition on our school for a time back in the late ’90s in the form of board members who represented their views(the reading program, thankfully they never had the chance to jump at the science curriculum). For people so fond of Christian values, these people seem more like the high priests and Roman sentries who had Jesus crucified – all authoritarianism and no concern for the well-being of young minds. I’d say that while they may be ignorant – they’re not necessarily dumb, but for the most part, exceedingly manipulative. I will grant you that ID/C – is quite a good acronym for them put together – they don’t care about facts, evidence, or the hard work that researchers have done over 150 years – all they care about is shoveling their perception of God down peoples’ throats.

  13. I donated to the HMNS. And glad to have done so in light of this event, the nutty C/ID folks and because I sometimes travel to Houston for work and on occasion my family of freethinkers sometimes checkout the museums. Would hate to see them turn into bible study institutions.