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Want a Science Degree In Creationism? 848

The Bad Astronomer writes "In Texas, a state legislator wants the ironically-named Institute for Creation Research to be able to grant a Masters degree in science. In fact, the bill submitted to the Texas congress would make it legal for any private group calling themselves educational to be able to grant advanced degrees in science. So, now's your chance: that lack of a PhD in Astrology and Alchemy won't hold you back any longer." The Institute for Creation Research made a similar request to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board last year, but were shot down.
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Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

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  • Mail Order (Score:5, Funny)

    by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:22AM (#27278277)

    I guess my age is showing. I prefer to get my degrees through the more traditional approach: mail order.

    • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:52AM (#27279223)

      The one good thing about Creationism is that it forces teachers to present the scientific method to the students at a much earlier age. Often the nuts and volts of the skepticism that is the core process of science is skipped over in schools.

        Children will say that my pastor showed me a picture of the dinosaurs and the cavemen living together. The teacher will explain that there is a difference between a painting and a photograph, and that with a certain skill, one can paint a picture of anything that looks reasonably like a near-photo.

        Children will say that the earth was created in six days, 4000 years ago. Well we weren't there to witness this. But we can show records and artifacts (ones that weren't stolen from the Baghdad museum) that are over 4000 years old.

          Creationism forces teachers to instill a spirit of skepticism in students. "I don't believe you, prove it" mentality that is more important that the facts themselves.

  • Creationism... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    is the antithesis of science.

    • Re:Creationism... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck&mqduck,net> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:35AM (#27278695)
      Religion is the antithesis of science, logically. Creationism is more of a specific rejection of science.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by digitig ( 1056110 )

        Religion is the antithesis of science, logically.

        That's a myth put about by the scientists and religionists who want a conflict (after all, it sells books), that I believe can only be sustained by taking an unusual definition of religion (or science). What do you think science is? What do think religion is? Why do you think one is the antithesis of the other? Hint: religion is far more empirical than most of its critics realise.

        By the way, slightly tongue in Hegelian cheek: if religion (being older than science) is the thesis, and science is the antithesi

        • Re:Creationism... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:47AM (#27279189)

          Religion is the anti-thesis of science because you are not allowed to question in religion. When was the last time anybody happened to say, "you know the bible/koran/tora needs updating, let's change a few paragraphs shall we."

          Whereas in science things do get updated, changed, and altered. This is what science does in that it makes us question dogma and come up with solutions.

          Many people consider evolution dogma because those who believe do not consider the alternatives. Yet I think if there were plausible alternatives to evolution we would change our thinking.

          One example is plate tectonics. We assume that the earth is a constant diameter, but it is starting to become more accepted that the earth might indeed be growing. You might disagree, but there are people who are researching this.

          My point is that somebody is indeed questioning dogma...

          When was the last time this happened in religion?

          • Re:Creationism... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @02:58PM (#27280857)

            Religion is the anti-thesis of science because you are not allowed to question in religion.

            Speaking from personal experience, this is very nearly completely untrue in Judaism.

            When was the last time anybody happened to say, "you know the bible/koran/tora needs updating, let's change a few paragraphs shall we."

            Most likely not the most recent example, but see Reform Judaism []

          • Re:Creationism... (Score:4, Informative)

            by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @03:14PM (#27281047) Homepage Journal

            When was the last time this happened in religion?

            All the time.

            Changes in the dogma of Anglican churches over women priests are a recent example.

            The history of the early church was full of debates.

            All the founders of religions challenged the dogmas of existing religions. All the reformers of religions challenged existing dogma.

            It happens slower than in science because there is rarely any new evidence to consider

            Scriptures are not changed, but that would be dishonest. It would be like the police changing witnesses' written statements because of evidence they were mistaken or lying. The correct thing to do in both cases is to present both the statements and the evidence or arguments contradicting them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ahankinson ( 1249646 )

        I actually think that Religion is complimentary to science.

        Consider: Religion exists to help us explain the unknown because we're not comfortable (and can't function normally) in uncertainty. That's why every religion has a creation myth - to allow us to formulate a nice, succinct answer to "where we came from." Religion is a scaffold through which we build an understanding of the world.

        As we gradually explain the things around us, we replace the religious scaffold with knowledge: That's why it's not gene

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:24AM (#27278285)

    The idea that one can't study or learn anything from the study of Creationism is just as closed minded and retrogressive as the area of study itself. There are Masters-level degrees awarded for all sorts of fields that most of us would dismiss as poppycock. Religion, Divinity, even Media Studies have advanced degree programs for students interested in the topics.

    By bringing serious study and research to this field, we can shed light on it and evolve the field to be at least in line with current scientific thought. Beyond that, it would also be possible to expand the theological underpinnings of the theory and discover the rationale behind it. How much better off would we be if we finally cleared away all the religious baggage of Creationism and brought it inline with real science?

    There are many Deists in the scientific community. Why wouldn't the theory of a Divine Clockmaker be a reasonable field of study?

    • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:27AM (#27278309) Homepage

      Deists and creationists have relatively little in common.

      Science can only be done by following the scientific method, creationism is the opposite of that, it is dogma warmed over.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Valtor ( 34080 )

        Disclaimer: I do not believe one bit in creationism.

        I agree that the scientific method needs to be applied to creationism. But I would like to know if by following the scientific method we could disprove creationism?

        Can we disprove creationism? Because science is not about proving anything, it is about disproving hypothesis and then we work with the ones that we can't with all our might disprove. As long as an hypothesis has not been proven wrong, it stands!

        So I'm just curious, did we or can we disprove

        • by KeithJM ( 1024071 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:44AM (#27278743) Homepage

          can we disprove creationism

          We can disprove some parts of the story as being inconsistent with the evidence we see, but the whole point is that it isn't really testable because it doesn't directly make predictions of how the world would be if it was true.

          It's like trying to disprove 'Romeo and Juliet.' You might be able to say "There is no evidence of a prominent Capulet family in Verona in the 13th or 14th century," but there is nothing you can look at in today's world that would be different if the play was just fiction. That's what makes it a story instead of a theory.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vornzog ( 409419 )

          Can we disprove creationism?

          No. We can't even *try*. And for precisely this reason, creationism is not science.

          Strip away everything else and science comes down to these steps.

          1. Posit a falsifiable hypothesis.
          2. Design an experiment to test it.
          3. If you fail to disprove it, it might be true.

          Any argument that can be boiled down to '$DIVINITY did it!' fails at step one. By definition, God, miracles, etc. fall outside the bounds of science. You can't disprove them. You can *try* to reason about them logically. Everyone who has eve

    • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:41AM (#27278397)

      The study of Creationism (or anything that is not science) cannot be logically classed as a Science program. Just like one can study ballet, it doesn't make sense to give a science degree in ballet since ballet is not a science. Whether the belief in ballet is logical and consistent with reality is irrelevant.

    • by rackserverdeals ( 1503561 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:42AM (#27278405) Homepage Journal

      No, this is a bad idea.

      They just want to be accredited to validate their point.

      This doesn't make any sense. Creationism isn't a field of study. It would be like being aloud to give out degrees in capacitance instead of having it be just part of an EE degree.

      What is there to study anyway? It's just based on what's in the bible.

      It's pretty sad really. Like they don't believe the Bible is authoritative enough and they need a state government to give it credence. Maybe more ironic.

    • by DallasMay ( 1330587 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:50AM (#27278447)
      There are many Christians in the scientific community. That doesn't make Christianity science. Think about it this way. I teach my high school students to form Hypothesis's as "If/Then" sentences. "If [this happens], then [that will happen]." (Sure it's a bit simplistic, but this is high school after all.) You cannot make a God Hypothesis. Think about it. "If I pray fervently, then God will heal my mother." Well not always, as often God says no to prayers. You cannot test Him. The Bible itself says you cannot test Him.

      Therefore, religion cannot be science.
    • by digibud ( 656277 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:51AM (#27278453)
      Idiot. There is no such thing as Creation Science. Creationists wanting to provide a degree in science is an oxymoronical concept. (if they can make up fake degree ideas I can make up a word). Read the Dover transcripts if you don't understand why creationism is NOT science. Discovering the theological underpinnings to a theological theory belongs in a theology class. If you clear away the religious baggage of creationism you IS religious baggage. The theory of a divine clockmaker cannot be measured, tested and replicated. The clockmaker by definition is beyond the scope of science. There can be no theory within science the starts with the premise of a deity that is responsible for creating the world and then which forces all observable data to fall under the scope of a book that is taken on faith to be true. Creationism is a purely religious position and always will be. Allowing the awarding of fictional degrees would be just plain stupid, but anyone who believes creation science is real reflects a poor education to start with so it's no surprise the same poorly educated people are in favor of spreading their lack of education. But I forgive them because they know not what they do. god that was funny...
    • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:54AM (#27278463) Homepage Journal

      You can't even argue that creationism is a serious religious line of study. A good religious study is, at least in christian tradition, is deeply prayerful and meditative. It's a rejection of the flesh to try and understand the soul. It's not about this world, but the other. Becoming focused on the making of the earth and engaging in so called scientific debate as creationism does actually misses the point of religion in general and Christ in particular.

      Jesus doesn't care how old the earth is. It's here, and its a sufficient vehicle within Christianity for us to make our moral choices. Arguing whether or not its some age or another only serves to deflect from the purpose of a devout Christian's life - to live in accordance with the words of Jesus as son of god. IF Christ would have wanted us to worry about the earth, he would have given us a geologists report on the mount, rather than a sermon.

      I would almost argue that creationism is actually satanic!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Slur ( 61510 )

        I agree totally.

        Maybe it's more about transcendence of the body rather than rejection of it. While we live we are sensual, and Christians influenced by Tao might realize that our natural desires only need tempering, not abolishment, and that there are skills involved in keeping them within bounds.

        I'm not sure all Christians follow the premise that Jesus is THE son of God. Scholarly Christians may have learned that in the original languages Jesus is only referred to - or refers to himself - as "a son of God"

    • by Narpak ( 961733 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:55AM (#27278465)

      By bringing serious study and research to this field, we can shed light on it and evolve the field to be at least in line with current scientific thought. Beyond that, it would also be possible to expand the theological underpinnings of the theory and discover the rationale behind it. How much better off would we be if we finally cleared away all the religious baggage of Creationism and brought it inline with real science?

      Serious study and research into the evolution of man and origin of our planet and the cosmos is already being done. Getting creationism in line with "current scientific thought" would pretty much destroy the fundamentals behind it. The idea that the universe is 6000 years old does not fit and can not be made to fit without a leap of faith that usually discounts any research and knowledge gained as lies or Satanic propaganda.

      In short, if you "cleared away all the religious baggage" from creationism you leave nothing. Creationism is by definition religious baggage.

    • by PuckSR ( 1073464 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:38AM (#27278713)

      There are three problems with this idea.

      First, whatever your opinion of "poppycock" degrees, they are drastically different from this degree in creationism. A few examples:
      Degree in Religion: You have studied and become an expert on the social phenomenon known as religion. You have studied a number of different religions. This degree requires that the student have an advanced understanding of history, philosophy, and anthropology.
      Degree in Divinity: While typically granted by 'Christian' universities, this degree requires that the student have an advanced understanding of Christian texts and their interpretations and translations. In practice, it is only slightly different from having a degree in any the study of any ancient manuscripts.
      Creationism: Creationism 'science' is essentially a list of poorly constructed arguments that attempt to refute evolution. The main requirement for any argument on this list is that they are 'convincing' rather than being accurate. There is no academic rigor to this field.
      Creationism does not compare to other religious degrees.

      Second, Creationism is currently operating under the idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity. They don't actually want to be 'accepted', they just want to grab as many headlines as possible. They want big, showy, and silly public debates with well-respected scientists. They don't want to sit down in a lab and prove anything. i.e. Creationists frequently argue that if you place an organism in observation and wait thousands of generations, that organism will not evolve new features. However, no creationist has even attempted to demonstrate this fact. It wouldn't even be particularly difficult to attempt. However, actual scientists have done this experiment and dedicated a massive amount of time to the work. They were rewarded with the exact opposite of the creationists predictions. If you want to know more about this research, please visit :

      The third, and biggest problem with Creationism is that it is a concept, not a field of study. You don't grant degrees in 'ideas'. We don't have a degree for perpetual motion machines, proving Goldbach's conjecture, or any other crackpottery you can imagine. A degree is rewarded for a field of study. What exactly are Creationists going to study?

      I am not opposed to this "Degree in Creationism" in the same way I am opposed to Creationism. I want to admit that I think Creationism is absurd. However, I am even more opposed to a degree in creationism for the reasons stated above. I would be equally opposed to a degree is Deism, Skepticism, or any other idea I believe in.

  • Names Please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmknsd ( 1184359 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:26AM (#27278299)

    As someone from Texas, I would appreciate the name of the legislator in the summary.

    And now that you have made me read TFA, it doesn't mention the legislators name either. I guess Mr. Bad Astronomer felt like taking this opportunity to bash Texas without actually helping people get something done.

  • by Targon ( 17348 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:28AM (#27278321)

    When you try to justify anything by using religion, it opens the door to a huge number of problems. Science implies the use of the scientific method, and while they might open a new field of study into trying to prove the existence of God, that is the ONLY way that a science degree in creationism might be seen as legit, but with almost no chance of proving anything.

    So, if they want to really study how God could create life, then they would have to go into all those areas that the religious groups are against, like cloning, genetic manipulation, etc.

    Just trying to pawn off creationism as other than a way to deny evolution by this sort of stunt just shows how stupid some people can be.

    • by maraist ( 68387 ) * <michael.maraistN ... ]com ['am.' in g> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:00AM (#27278487) Homepage

      You're not looking at it through their eyes, and thus you're misrepresenting their motivations.

      They're not trying to prove God. They are trying to disprove Atheism. They are as grossly offended by the teaching of Evolution to their children as they would be about condom use, sex education, condoning sex outside of marriage, promotion of interracial relations, public support of planned parenthood, etc.

      These are honest points of disagreement (some being more laughable than others).

      Thus, teaching Evolution exclusively is essentially forcing their children to admin that the 7-day universe is false - they come home to the parents and pose difficult questions.

      By promoting at least one other distinct alternative to evolution, then the parents can successfully say, see, it's only one of several possible theories, so don't worry about it.

      It's the exact same process I use to disprove Christianity. If you have 2 or more mutually exclusive descriptions of God's will, then at least one is guaranteed to be at least partialy wrong (and thus not worthy of mindless acceptance), and in the absence of any credible proof of one verses the other, then in all likelihood they are both wrong.. Continue this trend until you've reach every single man made religion, and you've welcomed the world of Agnosticism.

      Note I don't believe Atheism is legitimate - because you can't prove the absence of something. But functionally, Agnosticism is equivalent to Atheism. I frown at Dawkins (and others) view that Agnostics are cognitively dissodent. It doesn't serve his cause of winning the hearts and minds of the religious, and is provably incorrect.

      • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:31AM (#27278673)

        "I don't believe Atheism is legitimate - because you can't prove the absence of something"

        Congratulations on totally misunderstanding Dawekins and (most) atheists.

        Religions can be dismissed based on the fact that they are flawed, contradictory of each other and themselves, can be shown to take ideas from other religions and long-dead cults and are basically patently ridiculous.

        As for the possible existence of some sort of creator god? No proof of absence is offered, it is simply that there is no evidence or even credible suggestion to the positive, so for now I'll operate under the assumption there isn't one. Most atheists are agnostic too. They are without evidence (agnostic) so they don't believe in a god (atheist).

      • by Xtravar ( 725372 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:39AM (#27278717) Homepage Journal

        Note I don't believe Atheism is legitimate - because you can't prove the absence of something. But functionally, Agnosticism is equivalent to Atheism. I frown at Dawkins (and others) view that Agnostics are cognitively dissodent. It doesn't serve his cause of winning the hearts and minds of the religious, and is provably incorrect.

        Atheism just means the absence of belief in god, not the absolute denial of the possibility of existence in god. This is a common misconception. What you are referring to is "hard atheism" which is, more or less, impossible to prove and not really subscribed to.

        Self-proclaimed agnostics are either, in reality, "soft atheists" or people pleasers who feel the need to assert their special individuality in such a way that offends the least amount of people.

        Basically, if you're not a theist then you're an atheist... because you're without theism. It's not like sexuality where you can swing both ways.

  • I can see money! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loftwyr ( 36717 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:31AM (#27278343)
    If this passes, I'm going to open up an Institute of Paranormal Studies in Texas, and hire every two bit crackpot psychic to be professors!

    I'll make a fortune off the gullible who believe in every kind of pseudo-reality!

    I'll have leprechaun pots full of gold fast!

    *insert evil laugh here*
  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:34AM (#27278365)
    To all the people that already answered saying that it is people right to have a degree in Creationism, you are missing the point. The problem here is not the degree per se (there are already Theology advanced degree courses), but calling it a *Science* degree. Creationism is not science, and should not be equated to one. It is the same reason that makes the advanced degree in Philosophy to be a "Master of Arts", and not "Master of Science".
    • It is the same reason that makes the advanced degree in Philosophy to be a "Master of Arts", and not "Master of Science".

      I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by equating philosophy with creationism, since natural philosophy is in many ways the grounding without which science can't exist.

      I think the real issue here is that a Bachelor of Science or a Masters of Science should include some scientific investigation and preparation for further scientific work. And this is where the whole "creationism is not science" comes from: there's no scientific work to do in the field of creationism. It's a done deal. You know th

  • Speak for yourself (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smchris ( 464899 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:41AM (#27278395)

    So, now's your chance: that lack of a PhD in Astrology and Alchemy won't hold you back any longer.

    I miss the old Chaoseum. I have a couple polo shirts, alumni association mug, auto stickers (including the parking lot passes), multiple T-shirts and the Bachelors and Masters (Medieval Metaphysics) kits from "Old Misk". It was my understanding they got the word to cool it or they might get charged with being a diploma mill? At an IT training about a decade ago I was wearing the Miskatonic U, Dept of Astrology polo shirt and the instructor asked me, "Your university doesn't really have a department of astrology, does it?"

    As for Texas, or Oklahoma or much of the South and Midwest, I've been saying on the political blogs that if Chuck Norris wants to lead a secession, let him. Give Bubba a reservation to run free so the rest of us can get on with progress -- and we can deny them visas to return.

  • Part of the Plan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:44AM (#27278411)

    Once you start shoveling out these bogus degrees, you get a pool of right wing religious nuts with 'credentials' that make them look like reasonable candidates for educational boards or other public offices. You can be sure that they won't provide any detail on where they got the degree in their campaigning, and the voting public will not be interested enough to check themselves.

    "Oh look, Jebus McFearhim Phd is running for the Texas State Board of Education. That's just the kind of learned individual we need."

  • Giggle... (Score:5, Informative)

    by flajann ( 658201 ) <fred.mitchell@ g m x . de> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:56AM (#27278471) Homepage Journal
    This gives the rest of the world one more reason to giggle at us. I mean, really.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:11AM (#27278555) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like a class where I can just make up answers out of absolutely nothing. It's a miracle anyone passes!

    • by daemonenwind ( 178848 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @10:34AM (#27278693)

      Sounds like a class where I can just make up answers out of absolutely nothing

      I have a minor in Religion from a Lutheran college, and while I don't see the point in granting a master's in Creationism outside of the liberal arts wing of academia, I will say that religion classes in general don't allow the sort of thing you describe at all.

      You have to support any position you take by using the actual texts, understanding the history of the document itself as well as the Sitzt im Leben and supporting traditions. In fact, the professors tend to make you feel pretty small if you just spout off some fundie crap and say, "it's just what I believe".

      It's a shame someone modded your obvious troll insightful. Try expanding your horizons before being so superficially critical.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        look at what you are 'majoring' in. you think its serious?

        all men have the same amount of 'special info' about god and religion. therefore there is no more secret knowledge that one has that the others also don't have (religious guys disagree but that's their problem).

        why do you need to 'study' the ravings of just regular old people? that's not science or even worthy of study any more than watching some random tv program is.

        it amazes me that people believe that some guys in 'funny hats' have some special

  • Star Fleet Academy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:02AM (#27278859)

    Hey, let's start Star Fleet Academy in Texas!

  • by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#27278923)

    I propose a degree in Religious Engrineering. Here are example test questions:

    Religious Engineering midterm exam. 5 questions, 60 minutes. You can use the Bible, the Qur'an, the Torah, and the Book of Mormon. In all questions, assume that Jesus is perfectly spherical and has an uniform density of G. Parying during the exam is forbidden.

    1. (20 pts)
    Adam and Bob are at rest. God loves them equally (L-0). Subsequently, Adam accelerates to 0.9c. From the point of view of Bob, how much more does God love Adam?

    2. Stephan, a Catholic, is in a state of sanctifying grace. After some time he has an intercourse with a sheep S.
    a) (8 pts) What is Stephan's retribution coefficient if the sheep S consented?
    b) What is Stephan's retribution coefficient if the sheep S didn't consent, but it couldn't be said it had something against it?

    3. (20 pts) The Holy Spirit's eternal, all-encompasing love is in the XY plane. The soul of Sue is at (0,0,5) at t = 0s, and its velocity vector is (0,0,5) m/s. The model was constructed according to rational positivism typical of the Enlightenement period. At what time tS will Sue's soul achieve salvation? (Hint: assume that souls are point-like).

    4. (20 pts) Assume that the Ascension happens at the time t. Cameron, a saved human being in the state of sanctifying grace, at the time t has her head crushed in the jaws of an alligator. Calculate the mass of meat left for the alligator at the time t + 10s.

    5. Isaac is a frictionless Jew of uniform density at rest. For his faith level, his sin factor is 11 Moseses. He subsequently eats 300 grams of pork, and he enjoys it. For this question, assume that Jews are always right.
    a) (10 pts) What is Isaac's sin factor after eating the pork?
    b) (10 pts) What is Isaac's heritage adjusted sin factor if he's from the tribe of Judah?

    Bonus question.
    25 g of wafer and 20 ml of cheap wine undergo transsubstatiation to become the flesh and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Calculate the amount of heat that is liberated during this process, in joules.

    (note: originally this was a Polish text by an anonymous author)

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel