Here’s a novel idea for creationists: Be honest!

As you know, the Institute for Creation Research is trying to get an online Masters Degree in “science education” approved in Texas. A faux committee comprised of nincompoops and creationists has approved the degree at the first stage, and it is now being considered by the Texas higher education commission. (Details here)

A recent report indicates that the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education has chimed in on the suggestion that this degree simply be called a “degree in creation studies.” Interesting solution.

Apparently, one of the sticking points for approval of this degree is that the program would only be open to a certain class of students, which may create problems at the level of government approval.

The program is open only to students who believe that God created the universe in six days and that those who deny Jesus Christ face eternal damnation, …. Adultery, homosexuality and fornication are banned.

Can you do that with an online degree? Really?


  1. #1 Eamon Knight
    January 11, 2008

    A faux committee comprised of nincompoops and creationists…

    There’s a difference?

  2. #2 Blake Stacey
    January 11, 2008

    Dang it, Eamon Knight stole my joke.

  3. #3 Paul W.
    January 11, 2008

    Anybody interested in this subject would do well to check out the articles about it on the Texas Citizens for Science web page:

    (For people in the Austin area, they’ll hold a briefing next wednesday at 7 PM at Mangia pizza on Mesa—see their site for details and a map. Part of the presentation will be from Chris Comer, the science ed director who was recently forced out after forwarding an email about Barbara Forrest’s talk for CFI Austin.)

  4. #4 AaronInSanDiego
    January 11, 2008

    Not all nincompoops are creationists.

  5. #5 Virgil Samms
    January 11, 2008

    Patricia Nason, who heads the institute’s science education department, said that the planned curriculum includes evolution and those who earn the master’s degree would be qualified to teach in public schools.

    Uh… didn’t Edwards v. Aguillard have somethign to say about that?

  6. #6 Constance Reader
    January 11, 2008

    Considering that, on the internet, an overweight 50 year old man can magically transform himself into a superhot 19 year old girl, certainly. It’s not as if one of the program requirements in 24-hour access to your home via webcam.

    You will note that while most forms of recreational sex are banned, booze, drugs, cigarettes, gambling and the devil’s music apparently pose no problem. And thank God for that — I’d hate to see these fundies completely miss out on the college experience.

  7. #7 The Samaritan
    January 11, 2008

    Mr. Laden, you are a very scientific guy; I challenge you to a very real experiment… Since you seem to take great pleasure in maligning those of God’s children who believe that He created the world:
    “A faux committee comprised of nincompoops and creationists…”
    I DARE you to do the following; prove once and for all to yourself that God does not exist and ask Him the following aloud:

    “God, if you created the world, prove it to me.”

    If you have the guts to ask Him, He WILL answer you and when He does, I predict that within one year this blog of yours will be forever transformed…

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2008

    I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes. Check back in a year.

  9. #9 MCullen
    January 12, 2008

    I wouldn’t send my dog to school in Texas.

  10. #10 Derwood
    January 12, 2008

    Greg, because you were such a good sport to Samaritan’s request, it seems fitting that he should return the favor.

    He should contract a bacterial illness, take half the prescribed amount of antibiotics, and stop. Then, when the illness returns, he should see whether the remaining antibiotics work at all.

    If his faith is strong enough, presto, he’ll have won points with the Lord for disproving Survival of the Fittest (bacteria, that is).

  11. #11 rlgordonma
    January 12, 2008


    I suggest a looksie through Karl Popper. If it can’t be disproven, it is not science.

    Nothing wrong with faith, so long as it consistently defined so that it can exist alongside science, not be confused with it.

  12. #12 bob
    January 12, 2008

    Some nincompoops are way smarter than creationists

  13. #13 Buckeye Hillbilly
    January 12, 2008

    I’d like to suggest a much simpler solution. Since Texas persists in embarrassing the rest of the nation, can’t we simply agree that admitting Texas to the US was a big mistake, and let it go off on its own again? Or even better, give it back to Mexico? Would we really miss the state with the highest number of executions, the largest population of fundamentalist nitwits, and George W. Bush? I don’t think so.

    And while we’re at it, why not just admit once and for all that Lincoln was wrong, and let the Confederacy go, too? I think we’d all be better off. Educated Southerners (both of them) would be invited to move to Cambridge, Mass., and all the rednecks up north could emigrate to Texas and Alabama. Sounds like a perfect solution to me. Y’all can keep Bill Clinton, too…

  14. #14 jaycbird
    January 12, 2008

    The program is open only to students who believe that God created the universe in six days and that those who deny Jesus Christ face eternal damnation

    And the point of studying something you already believe in is…?? It seems to me this is just creating a loophole in which to spread the word of “creationism”, er, I mean, to take the first step in adding creationism into educational curricula.

    If you’ve got a degree in it, you can teach it.

    I wish the fundamentalists, aka the nincompoops, would recognize the human capacity for “choice” and admit that the NETWORK of churches more than allows the opportunity of “studying creationism”, instead of this insistence that ‘god’ be integrated into EVERY aspect of society – with no exceptions!

    Why don’t they just keep heaven all to themselves and leave the rest of us alone?

  15. #15 kilkee
    January 12, 2008

    Not all nincompoops are creationists.

    True, but all creationists are nincompoops.

  16. #16 star57
    January 12, 2008

    What in the world would they study? I guess all of those peer-reviewed scientific journal articles by creationists, which have been… oh. Let me start again. All of that lab and field research done by creationists who worked so diligently to… Oh. Nothing there either. Hmm… Would it be the Bible? And this would be some kind of SCIENCE degree? If the weather weren’t so pretty today, I’d be sorry to live in Texas.


  17. #17 Brandon
    January 12, 2008

    Adultery, homosexuality and fornication are banned.

    How are they going to enforce this? Do they set up a webcam in your bedroom and watch to make sure you don’t have sex? That’s, like, antiporn.

  18. #18 AxelDC
    January 12, 2008

    I’d love to see the curriculum.

    I was going to ask what type of a degree it is, but it’s obviously BS.

  19. #19 Brian
    January 12, 2008

    When I was a kid, they taught creationism in school: sunday school. The difference between creationists and evolutionists (I’ll call them that for sake of argument) is that science calls it a theory because, while there is compelling evidence to suggest it may be true, there is no smoking gun to prove it. The other difference is that no one who accepts the theory has called the story of creation junk faith. And it might be worth pointing out that the overwhelming majority of evolutionary scientists believe in God.

    The evangelicals of today remind me of the Puritans of the 17th century, they demand respect for their freedom
    of worship according to their faith, while simultaneously trying to deny you yours.

  20. #20 harveykek
    January 12, 2008

    well let’s see…
    at the time the bible was written (or came down from god, if that is your preference) the educated consensus was:
    – the earth is flat
    – the sun revolves around the earth (the rest of the universe, of course, being as yet undiscovered)
    – all behavior and earthly events were governed by the four elements (earth, air, fire and water for those who slept thru class)
    – evil spirits caused disease
    are they teaching these things as “facts” too, in this idiot course?

    and of course, as noted in a widely-seen meme, gravity is only a theory, too. one of newton’s if i remember. maybe if you creationist nincompoops take a dive off a bridge and **PRAY REALLY, REALLY HARD**, you won’t go splat.


    and we let these people actually RUN things. christ!

  21. #21 Knemon
    January 12, 2008

    “the educated consensus was:
    – the earth is flat”

    Untrue. The (roughly) spherical shape of the earth was known to Eratosthenes, d. 194 bc.

  22. #22 Dreggas
    January 12, 2008

    Seems to me this is just a way to give complete idiots a degree since they can’t get one in the normal university/online university environment.

  23. #23 G
    January 12, 2008

    Evolution – that change in species has occured over time – is a fact. It’s the mechanisms for evolution (the “how”) that is theoretical. Scientific theory is just an explanation of facts. Darwin’s theory was incomplete in that genetics and mutations weren’t understood. That didn’t change the fact that evolution occurs. Even Newton’s “Law” of gravity was a theory too – that didn’t mean objects didn’t fall before or after him. And in fact, has been shown to be incomplete as well (Einstein improved on it with his general theory of relativity).

  24. #24 oddjob
    January 12, 2008

    The program is open only to students who believe that God created the universe in six days and that those who deny Jesus Christ face eternal damnation, …. Adultery, homosexuality and fornication are banned.

    And they expect this to pass government muster…..

    Unbelievable (except that it’s happening in Texas, of course)……….

  25. #25 harveykek
    January 12, 2008

    G –

    so we allow THIS ONE and *only* this one of the major theories that govern all of science to be challenged, because some nutcakes really, truly believe in the book (written by people) that tells them the whole world was created in seven days about 6000 years ago.

    why not base our scientific theories on eric von daniken. or maybe isaac asmov – at least he was a real scientist.

    this is bullshit. no, these people must be rooted out and sent back to their sunday schools or madrassas or wherever, like the dover pa school board that lost in court and then got booted by the voters. screw ’em. they don’t deserve the time of day.

  26. #26 Trase
    January 12, 2008

    This mean I can also has degree in Hollow Earth theory?


    Sorry, but absurdity such as this can only be responded to in kind.

    And although I’m not a strict adherent to any one philosophers words, Rand included, I think her words apply here: “If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking…the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind.”

  27. #27 Scott Hatfield, OM
    January 13, 2008

    The problem is that there are many creationists who are not nincompoops. We Christians who are not nincompoops have an old-fashioned word to describe this type of creationist: we call them liars, usually for cash.

  28. #28 G Felis
    January 13, 2008

    The problem is that there are many creationists who are not nincompoops. We Christians who are not nincompoops have an old-fashioned word to describe this type of creationist: we call them liars, usually for cash.

    You get cash in return for calling creationists liars? And here I’ve been doing it gratis for all these years…


  29. #29 Caledonian
    January 13, 2008

    The problem is that there are many creationists who are not nincompoops.

    No, there aren’t. At this point, I doubt there are any people fitting the description of ‘creationists’ who still lack access to the data indicating that their claim is wrong. So the ignorance is no longer a defense: the only reasons people are creationists is that they’re dishonest, stupid, or stupidly dishonest.

  30. #30 S. Walker
    January 13, 2008

    Since a nincompoop is a ‘silly or foolish person’ ( I’d say there are lots of creationists who aren’t nincompoops.

    I’d argue that ,based on the available evidence, that those leading the movement are dishonest and are aware of the it (

    The folks that are following, they may be nincompoops, but many just can’t seem to get around all the lovely misconceptions/deceptions the Jonathan Wells, Bill Dembski, and Dr. Dino seem to have thrown at them. Since all those folks have such impressive resume’s and all believe in God, how can they be lying. On the other hand, those pesky scientists really seem to be a shady bunch. That whole global warming thing has got to be a hoax.

  31. #31 Smarteritan
    January 14, 2008

    Samaritan sets up the same trap as most creationists — the assertion that an inability to provide disproof is proof in itself. This is not science, it is a logic puzzle for debate in philosophy class.

    Science — the category into which evolutionary study falls, and creationism does not — is defined by an ability to observe and test. There is no educated debate that evolution occurs, it is a witnessed phenomenon. Observation of its effects over vast periods is made possible by the fossil record. Breeding experiments in flora and fauna are artificially-induced evolution. The much-touted phrase “theory of evolution” refers to HOW it happens, not IF it happens.

    Religion — the category into which creationism falls and evolution does not — is the philosophical treatise by which unanswerable, untestable questions are asked. While many scientific questions began as unanswerable matters of faith, many can now be understood by many of the processes since discovered, including evolution. Creationism establishes the hypothesis that God created everything more or less as it is today. There it stops. There is no means to observe this, since creationists dismiss the fossil record on many oft-repeated fallacies, all of which have been countered and disproven; though creationists ignore or dismiss the counters ad infinitum, inevitably leading back to the untestable premise that God is all-powerful and unknowable. There is no test for creationist hypothesis. Its only strength — the inability to be disproven — is its Achilles’ Heel: without a test for falsifiability, without corroborating observation independent of the hypothesis itself, there is no scientific thought to be explored, no experiment to be conducted. This precludes it from ever being considered genuine science.

    So no, Samaritan, there can be no test to disprove God. There is also no test to prove God. In the course of scientific understanding, an impossible being which can instantly and totally alter established laws of reality is irrelevant — mathematically expressed, infinity = 0 for the purposes of the equation. Otherwise, any law of science could instantly and inexplicably be altered, rendering all scientific study useless. Until that happens, God is a null set factor in trying to understand his 12+ billion-year-old creation.

  32. #32 Diploma owner
    January 31, 2008

    That’s bad. I do not think that the belief in God or ateism must affect on the quality of education.