This weekend, I’m happy to say I’ll be giving a lecture at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I plan to explain what Texas deems ‘essential knowledge and skills‘ regarding instruction on evolution, as it is introduced -even to home school students- at the high school level.
Now why is a factual education so much better than politicized pseudoscience propaganda? Just today I saw the answer to that question beautifully-illustrated by an overtly hostile vitriolic reactionary blog, posted by a fundamentalist extremist presuppositionalist. According to this post by Dr. David Shormann, it is not those who ignore who are ignorant. It is not those who pre-judge who are prejudiced, but those who withhold judgement pending analysis. He says those who’s positions are tentative, malleable, and dependent on evidence are the biased ones, not the ones who have assumed their conclusions at the onset and won’t hear anything else. He says those who are governed by reason have actually rejected reason, while those who believe on faith -with no explanation or justification– are the ones who have and embrace reason. He says those who rely on evidence and logic are ‘irrational’, rather than those who assume their beliefs on faith, and then refuse to be reasoned with. In Shormann’s world, empiricists like myself are the ones who believe in magic, and not those who are convinced of an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. The ‘bigots’ aren’t the ones who are obstinately or intolerantly devoted to their own opinions, (as explained in their statement of faith) but rather those who can still be objective, having no obligation to any a-priori conclusion. Shormann’s post is attempting to reverse everything, just as I said in Kamloops. It really is the case that the creationists’ position has not progressed beyond the playground retort of “I know you are, but what am I”,
We are demonstrating to alert concerned home-school parents to the fact that the speakers at their event are frauds and con-men lying to children to undermine their education, and that there is no truth to be found in their pseudoscience lessons. Yet none of our number would bother the Woodlands Waterway Marriott for allowing such a sham to take place on their site. However Shormann has rallied his horde to harass the museum’s director of visitor services, trying to pressure him into cancelling our reservation. Shormann himself tried to do that by implying that advocates of education on evolution are secretly violently anti-semitic neo-Nazis. That’s what he said in his blog!
Now even though the word, ‘intolerance’ has historically rarely been seen without the word, ‘religious‘ as its usual prefix, most of these sort of sensationalist propagandists tend to accuse egalitarian lefty-liberal ‘Darwinists’ of being godless Nazi fascists from the far right. It doesn’t matter about the 1st foundational falsehood of creationism, nor the erroneous association of evolution and racism. It doesn’t matter that many of the most historic evolutionary biologists were Christian. It doesn’t matter that Hitler was openly and obviously a self-proclaimed Christian creationist. Neither does it matter that Darwin argued that the word, ‘race’ was meaningless when applied to humans, that he expressed a preference for dark-skinned natives, that he protested eugenics, and vowed never to return to a country (like the US) that still allowed slavery. It doesn’t matter what the facts are if it doesn’t matter what the truth is. Religious fundamentalists can’t seem to compose any commentary on unbelievers without evoking Godwin’s law, and Shormann does that early on. But he breaks with tradition by demonizing me for being a capitalist, where most of his ilk might have accused me of being a socialist or a communist instead. Remember, this is while he accuses ME of intolerance.
Why are they behaving so reprehensibly? Because an animal is never more dangerous than when it is wounded, and by challenging creationism, we are killing a cash cow, sacred to those who would otherwise have to return to selling snake oil. By hurting the popularity of mystic woo, we are diminishing power and profits. We have struck a nerve, and it’s going to bite back. So expect more of this type behavior, because it’s only going to get worse.
Creationism is all about lies of equivocation, and projecting their own faults onto others who will not share them, while claiming our exclusive virtues as their own. As you read Shormann’s blog post, remember that he is one of the presenters to the Texas Home School Coalition Conference alongside Ken Ham. Now imagine how much more sense it would make this way: Take his reference to a venue hosting “a display of bigotry and intolerance with irrational, untrue, and downright goofy claims”, and swap the name of the museum hosting our event with the name of the hotel hosting his. Only then will his raving inanity be accurate at all.