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.
The bill presents a dilemma. The Texas board has a responsibility to ensure the legitimacy of degrees. Yet the government plays no proper role in either encouraging or discouraging religion or any religious doctrine.
The problem here is that the state legislature has absolutely no businesses endorsing, sanctioning, or funding any educational program. What the legislature funds, it necessarily monitors and directs. By getting involved in education, the government has automatically set itself up us an arbiter of intellectual disputes, including religious ones.
It is wrong for the Texas legislature to endorse the pseudo-science of Creationism. But it is also wrong for the Texas legislature to inhibit it. The only real solution is for government to stay out of education altogether. Until then, such conflicts will inevitably and routinely arise.
Let schools certify their degrees by whatever (nonfraudulent) means they wish — and let their students pay the price if they offer ridiculous degrees and fail to earn reputable certification.