Via Pam’s House Blend comes the latest stupid bill in Texas: Bill Would Allow Texas School to Grant Master’s Degree in Science for Creationism Blasphemy. The bill, HB 2800, is proposed by Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler) and would allow schools that meet certain criteria to grant degrees without authorization from the state’s Higher Education Coordination Board. Berman proposed the bill after he learnt that the Institution of Creation Research was denied authorization to grant Master of Science degrees by the HECB.
Unsurprisingly, Berman is a creationist. “‘I don’t believe I came from a salamander that crawled out of a swamp millions of years ago,’ Berman told FOXNews.com. ‘I do believe in creationism. I do believe there are gaps in evolution.'”
I’ve already commented about this at PHB, but I’ll reiterate what I said here. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Indeed, “…the theory pf evolution by natural selection is so broadly supported by different lines of inquiry that biologists accept it with as much certainty as they do the theory of gravity. The theory of evolution is particularly important to biologists because it provides the conceptual framework that unifies biology as a science.” [Raven, Peter; Johnson, George. Understanding Biology, 3rd edition. Wm. C. Brown Publishers. 1995. p10] Berman’s quote also shows that he probably has no idea about what evolution actually is. Humans did not evolve from swamp-dwelling salamanders any more then they evolved from monkeys or paramecia. Instead, humans, salamanders, monkeys, and paramecia share a common ancestor.
Since the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, creationism is a indirect way of claiming that God is deceptive. As I’ve mentioned before, isn’t this akin to saying that God is a liar? And isn’t this blasphemous? It’s not me who’s asserting this; it’s Theodosius Dobzhansky, evolutionary biologist and member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
It gets better. Since I’m assuming that Berman is a Christian, perhaps he needs refreshing about what the punishment for blasphemy is. From the NIV:
10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) 12 They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them.
13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.
Finally, perhaps we can offer Berman some solidarity in his blasphemy. We can send the following letter in support to various people and newspapers in Texas:
Representative Leo Berman has introduced a bill to grant certain institutions the ability to award Masters of Science in Creationism. That bill is incomplete. I find it undignified and demeaning to personhood that anyone does promote the lie that people once were tiny cells. I demand that Masters of Science also be authorized to be awarded for the Stork Theory. It should be included in textbooks and equal time with the sex theory should be required by law.