Getting a Masters of Science Degree in Creationism

Texas has enough problems of its own when it comes to Science standards. This doesn’t make it any better:

A Texas legislator is waging a war of biblical proportions against the science and education communities in the Lone Star State as he fights for a bill that would allow a private school that teaches creationism to grant a Master of Science degree in the subject.

State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) proposed House Bill 2800 when he learned that The Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a private institution that specializes in the education and research of biblical creationism, was not able to receive a certificate of authority from Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant Master of Science degrees.

Berman’s bill would allow private, non-profit educational institutions to be exempt from the board’s authority.

HB 2800 brings to mind a few thoughts:

  • There’s nothing Scientific or “Masterful” about Creationism.
  • Get ready for three word Masters Theses: “God did it.”
  • You thought your Bachelors degree in Communications was useless…?
  • At least the textbook cost would be low. You’d only need one book the whole time you’re working on your degree.

The bill is not likely to pass, so there’s that. But the fact that an elected official is trying to get this through in the first place says a lot about the people voting for him. What is wrong with you people…?

(Thanks to everyone who sent the link!)

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    I think it would actually be quite interesting to see what would happen if you put a creation science degree graduate into the field and see how long it takes for them to realise they haven’t actually learned anything.

  • http://imaginggeek@blogspot.com Bryan

    While a MSc should be out of the question, why not let them have a MA (masters of arts).

    Maybe then they’d understand that creationism is not a science.

    But then again…

  • Larry Huffman

    It seems to me that what they are trying to put forward is something that could begin to make creationism acceptable as a science. If you look at it from purely practical terms, the degree would be largely meaningless…except that such a degree exists. The only people who would even consider it credible are people who already put the bible over proof and evidence anyway. So what is the true motive?

    I am sure this guy is shrewd enough to think that if he could but get his state to allow such a degree…it would make the field of creationism credible within the realm of science.

    He is only approaching this from his emotion and feeling driven faith…not his scientific understanding…and so there is no thought to how the rest of the science community would receive such a degree…which is patently oxymoronic (creationism is not science, it is myth…theological at best).

    Part of me would like to see some whacked bible colleges and private institutions adopt this. It would simply further to divide them from the true educational institutes and make them even more conspicuous in their promotion of psuedo-science and mythology as fact to promote their own agenda rather than teach.

    Just what scientific profession would such a person seek employment anyway? A group determined to understand the cosmos? I would think they would dismiss this peron upon reading the “education” portion of their resume.

    I am quite positive the motivation is not to devlope a true scientific degree…but instead to simply create a degree with this name in order to say “see, it is a science”…which falls right in line with the religious manufacturing their own support for their untenable arguements. The content would..quite obviously…be irrelevent.

  • http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com Mike Caton

    A former co-worker told me the following. He had finished his PhD in protein chemistry and was transitioning the materials from his project to a grad student. The grad student was a creationist. When presenting his project and tracing the history of the protein’s evolution and the relation of point mutations to gain or loss of function, my colleague used the Clarence Darrow trick, the meanest thing to do to a creationist: he took it seriously. “And then the Lord changed this serine to an alanine, in order to do away with the hydroxyl moiety and make the fruit fly closer to God. But then the Lord added a cysteine so a disulfide bond would form, because he knew that the fruit fly would one day be in our lab, and that we would need a way to stop the development of resistance to chemotherapy, to treat cancer which He created to test our faith.” Apparently he tortured the guy like this for weeks. No word on whether the grad student ever woke up, but it was sure fun.

    In California we no longer have to consider home-schooled students that learned creationism to have taken biology. Some pouting Christians sued the UC system over this and lost.

  • Larry Huffman

    I do want to point out an observation. Not saying that the catholic church is suddenly enlightened on all counts…especially with the condom announcement earlier this week…but, they are holding conferences on evolution. They do seem to be more open minded to science than the evangelicals.

    This guy is trying to make a totally unbelievable myth…based on what we know today…accepted as fact in the science community. Thus the evangelical agenda: Make people think something that is false is really true any way you can.

    The catholic church, however, is taking the approach that there is far too much evidence for the topic to be ignored or simply spoken over. They are meeting to at least discuss it in terms of what is known. I learned of this when a bunch of creationist groups complained that they were not invited to the conference. I applaud that as a step in the right direction…at least on this front. Of course they will rationalize in terms of god, but still.

    Perhaps the catholic church simply has more experience at this than the newer evangelicals. The whole Galileo thing is probably on their minds when they look at science vs their holy books. They have the distinction of having said that if the world is flat, god cannot exist (the trials of galileo reflect this thinking over and over…god said the world was flat…god cannot be wrong…therefore, either the world is flat or god does not exist…that was the arguement put forth). They do not want to be there again.

    It is just an interesting juxtaposition of christian ideologies and reactions that I wanted to point out.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I think it would actually be quite interesting to see what would happen if you put a creation science degree graduate into the field and see how long it takes for them to realise they haven’t actually learned anything.

    Read this please: Why I left Young-earth Creationism
    by Glenn R. Morton

    This guy is trying to make a totally unbelievable myth…based on what we know today…accepted as fact in the science community.

    Not quite. The scientific community knows better, because it relies on data, publications, peer review, etc. They are trying to make their myth appear to be accepted as fact in the science community, for the benefit of misguiding their flock.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    They have the distinction of having said that if the world is flat, god cannot exist (the trials of galileo reflect this thinking over and over…god said the world was flat…

    The Galileo affair was not over the flat Earth, but over whether the Earth revolved around the sun, or vice versa. As to whether the Holy Roman Catholic Church is accepting of good science, or still rides the fence and is reluctant to admit past errors, see the 1990 remarks of pre-Pope Joseph Ratzinger. He attempts to use relativity to get the Church off the hook over whether the Earth or Sun is the center of the solar system. Note also a devious ploy he continues to use to this day: He expresses his views by quoting others, so that if anything he says gets shot down, he can claim it was not his own view, but just a quote. Slimy SOB.

  • Richard Wade

    Prof. Edwards: Steve, I wanted to ask you about the radiometric data summary you compiled for me on that hadrosaur fossil.

    Steve: Yes, Professor Edwards? Is there something wrong?

    Prof. Edwards: Uh, yeah. Your summary says the fossil’s matrix is only 6,000 years old. You used the standard isotope decay rates, right?

    Steve: Yes, I did Professor, but the standard rates indicated that the matrix is 77 million years old, so that must be some kind of error. The fossil could only be 6,000 years old, maximum.

    Prof. Edwards: You do understand the isotope decay rate method, right? It’s been tested and corroborated for many years.

    Steve: Yes sir, but as I learned in my classes, any data from a test or measuring instrument that does not fit Biblical parameters must be wrong, and so all I can assume is that those isotopes must have decayed at a rate many thousands of times faster than the standardized figure.

    Prof. Edwards: Uh, even though those isotopes have never been observed decaying at any rate other than the much slower figure?

    Steve: Yes sir. Just as I wrote in my Master’s thesis, no matter what we observe, no matter how carefully we check our findings, if it contradicts the Bible, it must be wrong.

    Prof. Edwards: Uh, okay Steve, I’m going to need you to work on moving all those old crates out of the storeroom and put them out on the loading dock. Tomorrow, you should wear clothes you can get dirty. You’ll be doing that kind of work for quite a while, until your next assignment.

    Steve: Okay, Professor, whatever you say.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    WHO ARE THE CREATION “SCIENTISTS”?
    by Lenny Flank


    The creationist movement also does not like to talk about the scientists who leave after being given the opportunity to do real field research. In 1957, the Geoscience Research Institute was formed in order to search for evidence of Noah’s Flood in the geological record. The project fell apart when both of the creationists involved with the project, P. Edgar Hare and Richard Ritland, completed their field research with the conclusion that fossils were much older than allowed under the creationist assertions, and that no geological or paleontological evidence of any sort could be found to indicate the occurrence of a world-wide flood. (Numbers, 1992, pp 291-293) Hare concluded, “We have been taught for years that almost everything in the geological record is the result of the Flood. I’ve seen enough in the field to realize that quite substantial portions of the geologic record are not the direct result of the Flood. We have also been led to believe . . . that the evidence for the extreme age of the earth is extremely tenuous and really not worthy of any credence at all. I have tried to make a rather careful study of this evidence over the past several years, and I feel that the evidence is not ambiguous but that it is just as clear as the evidence that the earth is round.” (cited in Numbers, 1992, p. 294) Ritland, for his part, pointed out that Morris’s book The Genesis Flood contained “flagrant errors which the uninitiated person is scarcely able to detect”. (cited in Numbers, 1992, p. 294) Ritland concluded that further attempts to justify Flood geology would “only bring embarrassment and discredit to the cause of God”. (cited in Numbers, 1992, p. 293)

    A few years later, creationist biologists Carl Krekeler and William Bloom, who taught creationist biology at the Lutheran Church’s Valparaiso University in Indiana, left after concluding that a literal interpretation of Genesis was not supported by any of the available scientific evidence. Krekeler concluded, “The documentation, not only of changes within a lineage such as horses, but of transitions between the classes of vertebrates– particularly the details of the transition between reptiles and mammals–forced me to abandon thinking of evolution as occurring only within ‘kinds’. ” (cited in Numbers, 1992, p. 302) Krekeler also criticized the creationist movement for the “dozens of places where half-truths are spoken, where quotations supporting the authors’ views are taken from the context of books representing contrary views, and where there is misrepresentation.” (cited in Numbers, 1992, p. 303) The two became theistic evolutionists, and later wrote a biology textbook which accepted evolutionary theory.

    Perhaps as a result of these defections, the creationist movement no longer finances or carries out any field research of any sort. Its sole method of “scientific research” consists of combing through the published works of evolutionary mechanism theorists to look for quotations which can be pulled out of context and used to bolster creationist beliefs.

    Citations are from The Creationists by Ronald L. Numbers (Knopf, 1992). Updated & expanded edition now available, Harvard University Press, 2006, ISBN-13: 978-0674023390.

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  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Expect USians to be even suckier at science after this goes through….

  • Jen

    I was listening to the Atheist Experience podcast* this morning and apparently some Republican in Texas is proposing a law that would allow schools to buy cheap science and math textbooks and let students take them home (and then reference them later) at the end of the year. So that’s pretty cool. Of course, their text books might include include “teaching the controversy” if those Austin Atheists don’t get to have their say.

    *Anyone have any great atheist/skeptic podcasts to recommend? Totally off topic.

  • Polly

    If I lived in TX, I’d start doubting human evolution, too.

  • vivian

    Are they going to require the students to be able to prove their theories through scientific experiments? That could be a good thing since no one can duplicate what they think their god has done.

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  • SteveA

    I hope that the people at the Friendly Atheist don’t mind hearing the opinion of a Christian, soon-to-be seminary graduate…

    It’s bothered me for a long time that so many of my fellow believers, like Mr. Berman, feel the need to discredit evolution in order to defend scripture (and their faith), as though if you grant that living things evolve and weren’t put on earth by the hand of God exactly in their present form, everything we believe must be false. Even apart from the uselessness of a degree in “creation science,” it’s not just unscientific, it’s not scriptural: nothing in the Bible contradicts the theory of evolution. And yes, I’ve read Genesis 1-2; the ancient Israelites were making a theological statement about their God’s omnipotence, not writing history or science.

    The real irony is that some Christians’ closeminded attacking of other people’s opinions probably convinces more people to be atheists than the theory of evolution does. That’s my own guess, but I’d be interested to take a poll sometime. Please feel free to weigh in on that, and forgive me if my rant is misplaced on this Web site.

  • Anticontrame

    @Jen: You’ve probably already heard of it, but The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe is an awesome podcast.

  • Richard Wade

    SteveA,
    Your rant is very welcome here, at least by me. I wish more Christians shared your views, and I hope you can convince others to see their scriptures in a more intelligent light. When talking with Biblical literalists, I sometimes use the example of Aesop’s fables. To take those wonderful stories literally, thinking they are about real animals who actually talked with each other and did very human-like things, would be to completely miss the point of the stories and to miss their value. The silliness of blanket literalism is obvious in that case, but somehow they don’t see the silliness of applying it so mindlessly to the Bible, and I think they miss its greater value.

    Your idea of a poll on those causes of apostasy you mentioned would be interesting. Certainly several of the atheists I have met were strongly influenced by the unfortunate behavior of anti-intellectual Christians, but I have no idea about the percentages.

    Oh and please don’t take it personally that I used the name Steve in my little scenario above. That is not a reference to you. :)

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  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com Cannonball Jones

    C’mon though, how cool would it be to have that diploma on your wall? If they offered it as a correspondence course I’d take it in a flash :)

  • EatenByChutulu

    Canonball Jones has a point:P

  • Spurs Fan

    If I lived in TX, I’d start doubting human evolution, too.

    Low blow Polly! :)

    Don’t forget that because of our sheer size (and the city of Austin), we Texas Atheists can be a force to be reckoned with!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It’s bothered me for a long time that so many of my fellow believers, like Mr. Berman, feel the need to discredit evolution in order to defend scripture (and their faith), as though if you grant that living things evolve and weren’t put on earth by the hand of God exactly in their present form, everything we believe must be false…

    There are difficulties in reconciling religion and science in general (heliocentricity, madical advances, general requirement for evidence and reason), but evolution seems to be an especially difficult theory for many religionists because it strikes at human origins. After all, if the Genesis creation story is a myth, then what of the Garden of Eden story? If Eden is an allegory, then what of original sin? If the whole talking snake story didn’t go down as written, then what did Jesus H. Christ die for?

  • http://www.methodicalmusings.com Joshua

    “the ancient Israelites were making a theological statement about their God’s omnipotence, not writing history or science.”

    Gosh, it sure would have been nice if they had just said that then. Would have saved a lot of stress and bickering within the church. Too bad the Holy Spirit didn’t make this clear to all the believers :( Poor Ken Ham, thinking all these years that he is doing God’s will…

    Jeez, why can’t the Bible just mean what it says?

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  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Most commonly heard phrase of “Master of Science” graduates in creationism:

    “Would you like fries with that?”

  • http://eiredrake.livejournal.com E in MD

    Can I have a masters in alchemy now?

  • Allen G

    The school should just move to California. California exempts religious schools from accreditation requirements, unlike Texas.

  • sc0tt

    C’mon though, how cool would it be to have that diploma on your wall? If they offered it as a correspondence course I’d take it in a flash

    That would be something – how cool would it be to get a couple thousand people with graduate degrees in creationism to simultaneously renounce creationism as nonsense in a peer-reviewed journal?

  • JJ

    As a Texas resident, I am unfortunately unsurprised that a representative from my state would propose something like this. To be quite honest, and there is little exaggeration here, this is the most absurd thing I have ever read. We’re going to start needing super heroes to save us if something like this ever goes through.

  • http://h-manga.info SadistiX

    Next up: Masters in Science Rejection

  • Van

    The poster was ‘hee-hawing’ over the fact that a Texas legislator was proposing a Master Degree be made available for those who studied Creationism. It’s ironic that the poster’s sarcastic article was accompanied by a diploma mill offering a Master Degree for only one year of on-line lessons. Sheesh! I’ll never understand why these avowed atheists continue to insist that their closest evolutionary relatives are grunting, stinky, smelly, hairy, slobbering, knuckle-dragging, cootie-picking primates. But if they insist, who am I to second-guess their miserable self-image? After all, I don’t have a Master Degree, either.

  • hilarious

    I wonder if we wanted them to teach science in church how that would work out.

    Hey, we need both sides of the “debate”, right?


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