Just when you think that you have been as outlandish as possible by presenting an absurd idea as a joke, someone comes along and proves that stupidity has no limits.
I wrote a huffingtonpost.com blog on creationism entitled "Ending Pornography in Creationism: Part Deux." This proposed in jest the ludicrous idea of an online degree in "creationism" and its twin brothers/sisters "creation science" and "Intelligent design." I never imagined that anyone could seriously put forward such an outlandish idea. Boy, was I ever wrong.
I first wrote on creationism here.
I followed this with "Part Deux."
A distinguished professor suggested that I take a look at what was happening in Texas. That's the location of a battle that could affect children nationwide. I was astonished to see that the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) has proposed that the State of Texas allow them to grant an online master's degree that would promote "creationism." I am not making this up. In addition to their attempt to emasculate science textbooks in the State of Texas, the ICR is actually proposing that they be allowed to create an online master's degree in science education. The mind boggles.
The online master's degree is really step two. Step one is an attempt to incorporate religious dogma into science textbooks. Because of the centralized, mandated purchasing of millions of approved books for every public school in their states, Texas and California have enormous influence in determining the content that publishers incorporate in their textbooks. While there are 21 states that have some form of textbook adoption, the content in books approved by these two states becomes the de facto standard for textbooks. Publishers tend to incorporate material in their books so that they are not required to produce one book for California and Texas and then create another for the rest of the country.
As of now, the amendments proposed by this religious-right organization have received the support of half the members of the Texas State Board of Education. Reputable scientists throughout Texas, including Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, have appealed to the Board to reject this assault on science. The changes sought by the ICR would make Texas an educational laughing stock and damage the education of millions of Texas school children. The amendments proposed to the textbooks would put the children of Texas at a marked disadvantage in any pursuit of science at a higher educational level. Denying the explanatory power of evolution, the only legitimate organizing system in biology, would later force the children of Texas to unlearn religious dogma and learn true biology while their competitors race ahead based on an understanding of the true principle of biology -- evolution.
Perhaps good sense will prevail in Texas when the Boards vote on proposals in March and April. If reason triumphs and the ICR proposals are rejected, then more than just the children of Texas will be the winners. Winners will include children nationwide who use textbooks in science. If the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognizes that the online master's degree is a non-science religious ploy and declines this application, then future generations of schoolchildren would be spared from wrong-headed, dogmatic, non-science taught by holders of some online bogus degree masquerading as a legitimate degree in science.