If you fail an IQ test in Texas, do they automatically put you in the legislature?

I’m trying figure out how this insane bill could even get a hearing. State Representative Leo Berman (R, of course) was peeved that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ruled that the Institute for Creation Research would not be allowed to grant degrees. So, he came up with an amazingly stupid idea: pass a law that would allow private, non-profit education institutions to grant degrees without the board’s permission. Which, if you think about it, is actually kind of brilliant in the sense that it’s hard to imagine a worse solution.

If it were to pass, though, I’d like to move to Texas for a few months, open a free daycare, and issue doctoral degrees to every toddler who can go a day without pooping his pants. I’d have the diplomas printed on diapers, too.

That’s about what a degree from a Texas university would be worth if Berman had his way.

I hope all you Texans with real degrees from real universities are frantically writing off to your representatives explaining why this would be a very bad idea.


  1. Epinephrine says

    Eugenie Scott certainly stepped in fast :) I’d take a few cheap Texas PhDs in Theology, Baraminology and Creation Science though, it’d make arguing with the cdesign proponentsists so much more enjoyable…

  2. says

    That’s the point of having a board of higher education, of course, totally ignoring any standards that could guarantee a good and honest learning environment.

    But hey, how else is stupidity to assert that it is the equal of knowledge and intelligence?

    Glen D

  3. shyster says

    PZ, take a deep breath and let the outrage drift off of you like soft wisps of smoke.
    Okay, so the Raw Sewage, Texas Bible College and University of Small Engine Repair grants PHDs in Jeebus Study and Advanced Religiousity – who cares? When I want my dose of Invisible Guy information I go the a graduate of an accredited school of religious study.
    Wait, isn’t that one of those oxymorons like “giant shrimp?”
    If the school was accredited would it make the quality of education any better? Let them teach what they want.

  4. ravem says

    Sounds like diploma mill time. The instant spread of thousands of diploma mills should drive the price of a Ph.D. right down to say, 20 bucks or so.

    Of course, anyone with a degree from Texas would have to expect prolonged checking to make sure that their degree didn’t actually come in the mail with a receipt for $20.

    Texas will end up with the highest number of degreed adults in the USA. And the most ignorant, uneducated population.

  5. says

    When I want my dose of Invisible Guy information I go the a graduate of an accredited school of religious study.
    Wait, isn’t that one of those oxymorons like “giant shrimp?”
    If the school was accredited would it make the quality of education any better? Let them teach what they want.

    The point being that they purport not to be teaching just Invisible and Unobservable Truth, instead they claim to teach science. They teach a kind of anti-science.

    I cannot see giving that any accreditation.

    Glen D

  6. says

    Don’t forget PhDs in Truthology!

    But speaking of real schools: I just got a postcard in the mail from Caltech, informing me that the institute is going through accreditation and will be sending out an alumni questionnaire. Having been through a few cycles of accreditation at my community college, I’m tickled to think what a Caltech accreditation self-study must look like. “The institution commits itself over the next six-year cycle to acquiring three more Nobel laureates, either by having faculty win Nobel prizes or hiring them away from other institutions.” There’s a possibility.

    Fake colleges and universities have less to worry about, even while they hand out worthless but fancy-sounding degrees. If the Texas legislature has its way, perhaps soon people will say, “Do you have a real degree — or a Texas degree?”

  7. James F says

    Frito: Yah, I know this place pretty good, I went to law school here.
    Joe: In Costco?
    Frito: Yah, I couldn’t believe it myself, luckily my dad was an alumnus and pulled some strings.

  8. LRA says

    Dr. Myers, Your point is very well made! And I totally agree with you. As a person with two degrees from Texas universities, I don’t want just any school here handing out degrees. But I hope that people won’t use this as an excuse to perpetuate the old stereotype that we Texans are a bunch of ignorant, racist hicks. You’ve got those kinds of people everywhere. And as far as anyone asking me if I have a “Texas degree”, I’m proud of my degrees from University of Texas and Texas A&M (as well as my degree from Columbia). Thank you very much.

  9. North of 49 says

    If I were the mayor of Austin, say, I’d be looking into circumventing this bill through a local bylaw. Something like: within Austin’s jurisdiction NO institution can grant degrees without THECB permission, full stop. Then let the state get into the ridiculous position of challenging that in court, in the event this bill passes.

    I wouldn’t wait for this bill to pass or even get first reading, I’d start talking about and publicizing the countermove right away, make a loud enough noise that the national media might notice.

  10. shyster says

    Glen (#5), I think that is the point. I will note, however, that there are a number of accredited schools of religion and a number of major universities outside of Texas offering advanced degrees in Sky Guy.
    PS: in my post above please substitute “to” for “the” in line five. If I don’t correct my error some English prof will mark me down a grade. English profs teach something that exists and distinguishes us from Sky Guy students – literature written by real people.

  11. LightningRose says

    How would this be any different from the unaccredited, or bogus accredited, diploma mills like Patriot Bible University, Kent Hovind’s alma mater?

  12. J-Dog says

    Sorry LRA, but I have to suggest another solution would be to see if Mexico wants to take Texas back. Or, we could claim we found TMD* and FORCE Mexico to take it back.

    *Texans of Mass Dumbfuckery

  13. says

    I will note, however, that there are a number of accredited schools of religion and a number of major universities outside of Texas offering advanced degrees in Sky Guy.

    Yes, and I doubt that it would be done for any reason other than that it is traditional That is to say, Harvard has the power to ensure that its theology dept accredited.

    Theology should be taught in accredited courses–but only like literature is, as a kind of interesting cultural fiction.

    Glen D

  14. says

    Well geez, if I’d known this was coming, I wouldn’t have spent all that money getting a real degree. Soon enough I’ll have three PhDs and a few MSs, just for kicks!

  15. IST says

    To think I can skip the next 3 years and all the dissertation work, and just mail off for one…

  16. Deepsix says

    Technically, can you really fail an IQ test?

    Besides, I only think this is a good idea if the diploma is free and instantaneous – like my online ordination.

  17. says

    And here I am slaving away on a real PhD. in Europe. It’s all stupid and difficult and junk. Time to move to Texas.

    One of PZ’s PhDs in Bowel Control sounds perfect.

  18. says

    While I hope this thing doesn’t pass…

    I’m the President of the Atheist Community of Austin, a 501(c)(3), non-profit, educational corporation. We’ll be handing out degrees. Count on it.

  19. Steve says

    Read the whole article. Guess what? I am in the elite because I think evolution is a fact. YAY! I’m elite!

  20. Asemodeus says

    Actually this can be used in our favor. Start a diploma mill in Texas for Theology ‘doctorates’. That way when several thousand atheists have theology diplomas we can start making all sorts of outlandish claims on the bible that are completely false and contradictory, but maintain our professional standards while doing so, since theology ‘degrees’ are completely bunk to begin with.

    And when the christians start complaining, show them our perfectly legal theology degrees and tell them that THEIR interpretation is wrong. Since whom has the better stance to make claims about the bible now? Regular christians or people who HAVE degrees in theology?

  21. Dutchdoc says

    Texas State representative Leo Berman doesn’t particularly like the idea of “having ‘come’ from a salamander millions of years ago”.

    I’m definitely with him on that one!

    I don’t particularly like the idea either! (That Leo Berman hasn’t stayed a relative harmless (to Texas education) salamander!)

  22. Clemens says

    No, you can’t. You just get a number. The average value of the entire population is defined to be 100. So if everyone else get’s dumber and you stay the same, youre IQ goes up :-)

    If you’re really stupid, you just get a very low number.

  23. Ray S. says

    Oh what I wouldn’t give to have PhD., ACA after my name. It might even be worth it to move to Austin. Matt’s switched my allegiance to hope this passes. Just don’t alert the bill’s sponsors to what we’re planning or they’ll try to hose it up for us.

    Matt, I hope you introduce your next show by introducing everyone as Dr., even the callers. I can’t wait!

  24. shyster says

    Glen, for grins I went to Theological Schools of North America. More than 300 are listed. In addition to Harvard, Yale, Duke et al, we have Liberty, Bob Jones and Oral Roberts.
    Consider this: If you are looking for a degree in Sky Guy, who does it better – a distinguished research university or a down-on-your-knees, born-again school like Bob Jones or Liberty? Harvard teaches it but Bob Jones TEACHES!!! it.
    This might truly be a case where the last shall be first.

  25. says

    *Rubs hands together*

    You know, PZ, if this law does pass, it only allows us to open our private, non-profit “creation research” institutions “in Texas” (let’s make them distance-learning institutions, we’re all busy people here) to grant degrees without the board’s approval, too.

    Which means that every legitimate scientist in the world could be automatically granted a degree in Creation Studies! What good would that do? Well, can you imagine the headline, “Overwhelming majority of Creation Scientists accept evolution, reject Designer”?

    “Consensus of Creation Scientists for evolution; Dembski stunned”

    “Creationists a minority in Creation Studies”


    “In scientific stunner, creation scientists reject creation”

  26. Quidam says

    About time there was a Federal Academic Standards & Accreditation Board. Completely optional of course. There could be three classes:

    Class A – Real Universities to educate the great scientists, engineers, leaders and artists
    Class C – Vocational Colleges for all the “people who do the actual work”.
    Class B – Texas Youniversties for the middle third. Includes Priests, telephone sanitizers, hairdressers, advertising account executives, mystics and Republicans.

    Any resemblance to any Arks is purely intentional.

  27. Dianne says

    The answer to the question asked by the title of the post is “yes.” People in Texas, especially rural Texas, tend to think (with some justification) that the Texas legislature has no power and therefore is a reasonable dumping grounds for people they’d like to see the last of. Unfortunately, as this post shows, there are consequences…

  28. Richard says

    In some ways it doesn’t matter as long as the name of the degree granting school is available. For example, if you are an employer (a consumer of degreed people) and you care about the quality of the degree, then you’ll look to see where it is from. If it’s from UT Austin then you know you’re getting quality. If it’s from Bubba’s Backwards Creationist Academy then you’ll probably pass.

    We already have this situation. For example, which quality biology departments at US universities would hire a biologist from Liberty Uni?

    In my own department (not biology) we screen immediately by where the degree came from. Only then do we look at the applicant in more detail.

  29. Mu says

    Matt, does my thesis “evidence of Norathian gods in Zul’Farak” qualify for a Dr. theo. sci.?

  30. nmcvaugh says

    Asemodeus #25

    when several thousand atheists have theology diplomas we can start making all sorts of outlandish claims on the bible that are completely false and contradictory,

    But the religious already do such a great job of making false and contradictory claims – the market is saturated!

    But PZ, as Molly Ivans pointed out, we have to have idiots in the Lege, or it woudn’t be a representative body. I think the real driving force behind this (and please correct me if I’m wrong) is so that ‘graduates’ of this mill will have ‘science teaching certificates’, an thus meet the legal requirements to teach science in Texas. Cuz you know – we’re all about standards and accountability.

  31. c-law says

    Hey, maybe they’ll be able to give out degrees in Earthonomics like i got from Taiwan. or even better a place that gives out official “Pope” certification like i got over the internet!
    I can excommunicate people, de-excommunicate people, re-de-excommunicate (no backsies) people, and incite infallibility whenever i want.

  32. Asemodeus says


    “But the religious already do such a great job of making false and contradictory claims – the market is saturated!”

    That’s the beauty of it! Christians are far too lazy and apathetic to check sources, so our nonsense backed up with our theology degrees will mix in completely with the actual theology nonsense. They won’t be able to tell the difference.

  33. says

    This law would set a very dangerous precedence. Imagine if you could get a degree in creationism in America, the world would laugh at us even more so than they do now. I think the international community can smell blood in the water when it comes to the United States waning, cultural, economic, and military dominance. This is just one more embarrassing nail in the coffin of the Pax Americana. Oh, by the way, I’m offering degrees in Thruthology from my University, Christian Tech. Only $19.99, But wait if you act in the next 20 minutes, because I can’t do this all day, I will throw in a Masters Degree in Reptoids at no additional charge. All you pay is shipping and handling!


  34. Scooty Puff, Jr. says

    #1 has it right: beat them at their own game! I’d mail-order enough degrees in both creationism and real science so that I can always best them in a game of “who has the most impressive academic credentials.”

    And, given the meaninglessness of all degrees in Texas under this proposed system, I could easily make up credentials that don’t even exist! How are they gonna know that Bob’s Diploma Hut doesn’t offer a degree in advanced “Talking Out of Your Ass Studies”?

  35. Christopher says


    Isn’t it eerie how much more toward reality the movie Idiocracy is getting these days?

  36. Epinephrine says

    – LRA

    Don’t worry, we all know that there are plenty of intelligent people in Texas, and that wackaloonery is everywhere (heck, the Canadian minister of science is a chiropractor and creationist *sob*). It would be sad if Texas did become a hotbed for degree mills.

  37. LRA says

    nmcvaugh #38

    OH! Creationist “scientists” teaching religion in science classrooms! I hadn’t thought of that! Of course, they could always get a degree in regular biology (but once they see the evidence, it’s pretty tough to dispute). They’d still have to pass the ExCET (or whatever they’re calling the teaching certification tests these days). So the state board would have to change those tests as well.

    Damn, I’m writing my legislator right now!

  38. says

    This law would set a very dangerous precedence. Imagine if you could get a degree in creationism in America, the world would laugh at us even more so than they do now. I think the international community can smell blood in the water when it comes to the United States waning, cultural, economic, and military dominance. This is just one more embarrassing nail in the coffin of the Pax Americana. Oh, by the way, I’m offering degrees in Thruthology from my University, Christian Tech. Only $19.99, But wait if you act in the next 20 minutes, because I can’t do this all day, I will throw in a Masters Degree in Reptoids at no additional charge. All you pay is shipping and handling!


  39. NewEnglandBob says

    With the state of the education system in Texas, I am not sure there willbe any toddlers that learn not to poop in their pants.

  40. Ray S. says

    I’ve already read and commented on the article mentioned @35. We should get as many scientists to comment over there as we can.

  41. Akiko says

    If this passes Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma will all have similar laws by the end of the year.

  42. Captain Mike says

    I commented on that article myself, but the comment didn’t show up. I suspect they have to be reviewed first. I don’t think mine will make it through :(

  43. JJR says

    I don’t know what’s scarier…that EdNews article, or the even dumber comments that follow it.

    The legislator that proposed this piece of dreck is from East Texas. Big surprise. I don’t think it will get anywhere; the ledge is running out of time this session and has other bills to attend to before this one will come up.

    All of my degrees are from Texas…Texas A&M, Rice U, Univ. of North Texas, plus classes at UH and HCCS.

  44. says

    Dillahunty, next time I come down you better have a degree for me. I want mine in Mass Dumbfuckery, or you could offer a degree in Magic and Mentalism, that would work for me too.

  45. Ray Ladbury says

    I’m tellin’ ya. There’s got to be a loophole somewhere in the Treaty of Appomattox. Time to move the border North.

  46. dNorrisM says

    (Apologies if said already)
    A degree like that would look very good on Leo Berman’s CV, not so good on mine.

  47. Felix says

    I’m certain that Shormann’s article at ednews is a Poe. That is so extreme, such concentrated dumb has never come from any acknowledged creationist, note the addition+ of wrong after each little dumb. Yep, definitely Poe.

  48. Larry says

    Time to pull out baseball’s asterisk for records since they are using them any more. Any degree from a Texas university is automatically starred as a matter of record.

    For example, Leo Berman, PhD*

    * Degree granted by a Texas University. Do not take seriously.

  49. Valis says

    I’ve already read and commented on the article mentioned @35. We should get as many scientists to comment over there as we can.

    So have I, but I don’t see my comment appearing there, or Ray.S’s for that matter.

  50. puseaus says

    And soon I can have my MTTW (Master of Terrific Texas Waffles). That’s some professional.

  51. LRA says

    A little story about Tyler (where this legislator is from)…

    My family is from Tyler. It is half way between Dallas and Shreveport. It is, indeed, deep in the buckle of the bible belt. My dad and his two siblings were raised there by my feisty and incredibly progressive grandmother. My uncle went on to get his Law degree from Harvard. My aunt went on to get her PhD in history from Oxford. My dad, on the other hand, is a bible beating ignoramus. (We don’t talk much). Now, I’m pretty sure my grandmother voted for this guy because she is a fiscal republican and because she doesn’t know anything about the war on science being waged by ID. I will be sure to tell her about this guy. I have a feeling that next time she’ll vote differently. See, Dr. Myers… your blog is affecting positive change in the lives of real people!

  52. says

    This was a really good post. I’ve been reading only for a few weeks, but I’m always amazed how much you manage to read and expose yourself and others to. Where do you find obscure backwards legislation?
    Isn’t Liberty University accredited? Aren’t degrees currently worth less as a result of private Universities that meet but don’t exceed standards pumping out religious doctorate dickheads? Can’t you get a phd in Theology, making Dr. meaningless without clarification?

    Thanks for another good post. Peace.

  53. says

    Sounds okay to me.

    Doctor Scooter,
    I like the sound of that.

    I’ve narrowed it down to Doctor of Beer,
    or Doctor of Radio.

    Gettin’ too old for Doctor of Love

  54. JPS, FCD says

    Just posted a comment at the page linked to by outlier @ 35 — I want to see all the details of Karl Priest’s “mathematical proof that evolutionism [sic] is nonsense — and it doesn’t show up. I can’t see Ray S’s comment either.

    I did get an acknowledgement of my one-star rating of the article.

  55. says

    @shyster, variable, and others

    I didn’t notice this being pointed out yet, so I think it is worth noting. This isn’t about them being able to offer degrees in theology or religious studies or anything like that, it is about them being allowed to give out advanced science degrees. The ICR failed to receive permission to give a Master of Science degree, while this bill would allow them to do so. That is the important bit. Yes, there already exist accredited institutions which give degrees, but to grant a science degree they have to meet science requirements. I’m not sure how Liberty University ever managed to garner approval for their science department, but I haven’t really dug into that…

    Regardless, PZ is absolutely correct in pointing out that this is a very bad idea.

  56. Longstreet63 says

    I’m going to call my diploma mill Prestigious Eastern University and offer Phd’s in SCIENCE! My graduates will be like those guys in 50’s monster films or the Professor from Gilligan’s Island.

    I think I’ll also offer a degree in Mad Science (Phd, MS) and maybe a graduate course in World Domination.

    Not many people know this, but you have to be board certfied to take over the world, so we’d best slap together a board, too.

  57. Steve says

    The quote from Idiocracy @ 10 is appropriate now that I had a look at the ICR website. I mean, wow!

    The authors of their magazine claim academic and professional degrees, even. It’s a real hoot.

    Reading through the “articles” made me feel like I was reading the script to a Sid Meir videogame: total gibberish.

  58. ice9 says

    Enough theology degrees, enough people, and you can form a tax-free organization for advancing whatever the hell you want. I wouldn’t just award that Creation Science Doctor of Amenology–I’d cash the hell in, baby.

    And, #10, at least the folks in Idiocracy were stupid and honest.


  59. says

    But wait, there’s more! As if that wasn’t bad enough, Texas is about to vote on the state science standards (Next Wednesday, April 25th), and that will help determine which text books Texas uses. The chair of the Texsas State Board of Education (TSBOE) wants the “strengths and weaknesses” of science theories, particularly evolution, to be taught so that kids can “make up their own minds”. Of course, the “teach the controversy” ploy is just the latest morphing of Creationism/Intelligent Design. If this passes, it will not only make Texas look bad, but it will have an effect on much of the rest of the country. Texas and California are the two biggest purchasers of text books, and the books deemed worthy for Texas students are likely to be the books purchased in many other states, so the rest of the country also has a stake in this. There have already been two hearings on the text book standards, and it looked like cooler heads were prevailing, so Don McLeroy, the Chariman of the TSBOE has been trying to scare Board members by “proving” that the National Academy of Science is really an atheist cabal using evolution as a front to sew atheism. His “evidence” is a book called “Sowing Atheism”, and it is a really crude propaganda tract. I’d call it laughable, because it’s so obvious in it’s naked appeal to fear, but if that fear gets into the heads of enough SBOE members, I won’t be laughing!

    Here is a downloadable PDF of the book…


    …and here is an article about Don McLeroy…


    OK, with all the bad news coming out of Texas, and Mr. Bad News himself moving from DC back to the Lone Star State, there must be something good to report, right? Right! Well, sort of… Back in January PZ had a post about Richard Mullens, the East Texas teacher who was allegedly fired for being “too liberal” and “an atheist”. Well, there have been some positive developments in that case. The principal who let him go has now been let go, and witnesses have stepped forward to say that the school board did indeed discuss Mr. Mullens’ religious beliefs and politics at the School Board meeting before they canned him.


    One step forward, two steps back? I hope not! The science standards haven’t been decided yet, and that crazy bill has been introduced, but as far as I know, not passed, so there’s still hope.

    BTW: I don’t know if the links I posted have already been posted elsewhere on this blog before. If so, I apologize for the redundancy.

  60. Crocoduck says

    if you open the diploma mill sign me up, i want be on equal footing with Kent Hovind :0

  61. Stark says

    This is disheartening, I’m moving to Austin in a few months. Time to roll up my sleeves and kick some asses when I get there.

  62. LRA says

    Rik (#75)

    I think what will happen if these pass is that Texas schools will get the pants sued off of them! There are already precedents in Pennsylvania (Dover) and Kansas. So it won’t devastate other states, only the children of Texas. (Yeah, those IDers will do anything for their agenda, won’t they!?!)

  63. Michael X says

    PZ said

    If you fail an IQ test in Texas, do they automatically put you in the legislature?

    No, PZ. This is false. They first elect you Governor. If you do not become President within a short period, they then assign you to the legislature.

    It’s much more thought out than you’re giving it credit for.

  64. Free Lunch says


    It used to be that the only colleges that bothered to get accredited were those that had a solid commitment to education of their students and joined their regional accrediting organizations to make sure that they were keeping up to the high standards that the schools had set for themselves. Professional schools often were accredited through the professional organization that wanted good doctors or lawyers or whatever.

    Then, because of some problems with the way federal financial aid was being used, the feds decided that only accredited colleges could offer federal financial aid to their students. This led to a rush of new accreditation organizations to accredit everything from cosmetology schools to bible colleges and the US Dept of Education accepted almost all of these accrediting organizations.

    The six regional accrediting organizations are still the one who matter for colleges and non-professional graduate programs. If the school says that TRACS accredited it, it’s a religious college that isn’t concerned about standards. If the school says North Central accredited it, it had set proper standards at the time of the accreditation review (not all schools, particularly if they are for-profit, keep to the same standards they demonstrated to the accreditation team). No well-respected college that happens to be religiously affiliated chooses to be accredited by TRACS rather than by their regional.

  65. says

    LRA (#75) I sure hope you’re right! As an American, I’d be hugely relieved, but as a resident of Texas, I’d still be depressed!

    Stark (#78) It sounds like Texas is about to become a better place! Now do yourself a favor and get’cher butt down here while the wildflowers are in boom–you won’t regret it!

  66. says

    Clemens writes:
    If you’re really stupid, you just get a very low number.

    Consider this problem with testing methodology: I forget whether it’s 4-way or 5-way (or whatever) multiple choice, but you’d actually have to get 1/4 of the answers deliberately wrong to get a score below what would be expected if you filled the answers in at random. If the number of questions is large enough, it might take a real genius to score a perfect zero!!! :D

  67. Primewonk says

    @ 63
    < < Posted by: Valis Author Profile Page | March 20, 2009 3:13 PM I've already read and commented on the article mentioned @35. We should get as many scientists to comment over there as we can. So have I, but I don't see my comment appearing there, or Ray.S's for that matter.>>

    I submitted one a couple hours ago, it still hasn’t shown up. Apparently you have to know the secret handshake to post there.

  68. Ray S. says

    Ednews.org knows my comment is there because it displays it to me when I go back to that article. For some reason I’m unaware of, the comments seem limited to the first four comments made. Three of those four give the article 5 out of 5 stars as a rating. Currently the average rating for the article is one star, owing probably to the fact that zero stars is an invalid choice.

    Shormann has published three articles on the site, each approximately a week apart and all an attempt to influence the TBOE science standards vote.

  69. says

    I’ve narrowed it down to Doctor of Beer

    I nearly got my horse, P-nut, a doctorate in equine massage from a certain alternative medicine degree mill, a few years ago. I was going to frame it and hang it over the door of his barn. But then I decided that I’d spend the $250 on carrots, instead, since that’d make him happier than being a PhD.

  70. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    where is Friday Cephalopod?

    Maybe we need to all go to Morris and picket Pharyngula central. First we have to find Morris on the map. Isn’t it somewhere near Finicky?

  71. says

    Hang on, giving degrees to babies? I thought we were supposed to eat ’em! Do babies with degrees taste better?

    Or is this another change in the plan…?

  72. Primewonk says

    @62 – < < Posted by: Larry | March 20, 2009 3:12 PM Time to pull out baseball's asterisk for records since they are using them any more. Any degree from a Texas university is automatically starred as a matter of record. For example, Leo Berman, PhD* * Degree granted by a Texas University. Do not take seriously.>>

    How about they have to call the degree a Doctor of Obfuscation in Pseudoscience and Education?

    That way we could pick them out easily – Leo Berman DOPE

  73. Robster, FCD says

    PZ, no, if you fail an IQ test in Texas, they put you in the electric chair. I thought you knew that they execute the retarded.

  74. T_U_T says

    robster, by “failing an IQ test” you mean like reaching score bigger than 70 ?

  75. says

    No PZ, the diaper degree would be worth more than the university degree from Creation U because the baby could fill the degree with something real, something tangible, something verifiable.

  76. Dave Huntsman says

    If Steven Colbert’s guys are on the ball, they’ll catch this and have a gig Monday on Steve’s decision to take advantage of the legislation to create a PhD in ‘Truthiness”.


  77. jellay says

    ” ‘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.’ ”
    This man is hilarious! Speaks complete childish nonsense and then cites gaps in evolution. The ignorant arrogance is awesome to watch. I do hope he gets more publicity.

  78. says

    Sadly, those with real degrees can write to our legislators all we want. In my case, I happen to live in that bozo’s district (job brought me here), and he is pretty much a local hero (at least outside our small university library). But we shall try to carry on the good fight. We did have a pretty successful Darwin Day event on the campus. Maybe there is hope.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

  79. says

    If this happens, I’m so starting a Texan diploma mill to take money off creationists in return for fake degrees, to help pay off the student loans amassed studying for my real degree.

  80. Ray S. says

    Manduca@100 reports that more sane comments are showing up on ednews.org

    Indeed. Apparently they have some moderation phase to ensure that comments aren’t spam or contain offensive words. It is important to note that the author is commenting on his own articles and (surprise!) gives them a full five stars each time. He’s authored books and DVDs for homeschoolers that follow up on the Bob Jones textbooks (please forgive me for using the term ‘textbook’ so loosely). I’ve never quite understood how one can teach calculus from a Christian point of view, but he claims to do it. Industrial strength loon from my perspective.

  81. says

    Metroplex Atheists is already well established in Texas and is a registered nonprofit. And you can bet we’ll be selling quality low-priced PhD’s if this passes.

  82. D. Anaya says

    I’ve always wondered about theology degrees wherever they come from, diploma mill or actual college. How can you get any degree at all studying something with no content? Nothing there to study except maybe the anthropology of human stupidity about religion.

  83. Ian says

    I don’t think it’s been made clear just how much you can do with a law this lax. Drive through degrees were suggested, but that option is too time consuming for me. I want an institution which, on receiving a one line email from me, will instantly grant me degrees in…

    and Biology,
    Medical Technology,

    Norse Theology,

    Film, Food, History,
    Chemistry, Dentistry,
    Reiki, Palmistry,
    plus Creationometry,

    Soil Science,
    Earth Science,
    Poli’ Science

    it’s a college
    for fanatics.

    I’ve got all degrees, man,
    I’ve got all degrees, man,
    Hundred PhD’s man,
    Easy as you please man,
    Credentials down to my knees man,
    I’ve got all degrees…

    Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. The best part is that under pending Texas law, all that would be legal.

  84. Stark says

    Yes, I think I know why Austin, Texas is called the little blue dot in the sea of red. ;)

    Thanks guys!

  85. says

    *sigh* Great. Just when I think my home state can’t embarrass itself any further, I hear about something like this. I’m so glad I moved out of Texas for grad school!

  86. Jadehawk says


    If this passes, I’ll feel sorry for 1)all those texans with real degrees, who will be looked at suspiciously, and 2) the poor suckers who spend money and effort to get degrees at sub-standard “universities” and think they’ll be able to get a good job 3)all of texas’ youth, who will be pretty much crippled by this, unless they study out-of-state (and who can afford that?!)

  87. eddie says

    The IQ of half the population are below average. I wonder what the stats for TX are like.

  88. Felix says

    theologians study a lot of useful things. Useful things such as languages, archaeology, history, sociology, psychology… which are all separate subjects in their own rights. I wonder for how long they’ll continue to get away with studying ‘things that people made up long ago and that they preserved so that it still convinces a startlingly large number of people today who mostly have no understanding of theology at all’.

  89. eyeoars says

    ISTR a quote from a Texas official relayed via Molly Ivins, to the effect of “Hell! If you took all the idiots out of the lege [Texas state legislature], it wouldn’t be a representative body.”

    I can vouch that there are sane people in Texas, but some days one wonders.


  90. Nepenthe says

    To be fair, there appear to be three types of theology schools. The Bob Jones churn-out-the-nuts types, the standard mainstream Christian therapy-lite with some crazy shit on the side and then there’s folks around my neck of the woods (UChicago), who are generally atheists or deists with a serious book fetish. Type one is despisable, type two is just mildly annoying, and the people from type three are great to have a beer with, granted that they can be coaxed out of the library.

  91. Aquaria says

    I may have to get a degree from Matt over in Austin. Will he charge less for state residents?

    Now for the topic…

    My mother knows just about everybody in Tyler, and she’s had a few run-ins with this clown, Berman. From what she’s told me about him, he’s just as much of an officious prick as he seems in this article.

    I grew up in and around Tyler. It’s a horrible place, full of horrible people. Most of them are just as ignorant, bigoted and appallingly self-righteous as this asshole.

    For the curious, the movie Rush is based on events in Tyler circa 1979. A friend of mine was busted during the drug raids that are part of the story. She’d never done anything wrong, didn’t even have drugs on her, hadn’t been drinking, even. So why bust her?

    Her brother was a troublemaker, who’d had some run-ins with “the law.”

    The rich bitches with her had cocaine, pot and ecstasy on them, but they got to walk, because one of them was a judge’s daughter, and another was the daughter of that oil baron, and etc.

    And for the really curious, the late televangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, tried to pick up another friend of mine and me at a restaurant in Tyler. Yes, he wanted a threesome.

    Of course when we told people about it, because we thought it was funny, we soon learned that we were either liars, to be saying such things about a good, God-fearing man, or whores, for even thinking such thoughts about him.

    I kid you not.

    That’s the kind of place Tyler is.

  92. Chris says

    Coincidentally I sent my state rep. (Mr. Berman) an email on this subject just three days ago…

    Mr. Berman-
    Can you confirm that the quotes below (seen in this article from the Longview News-Journal: Link HERE) are truly your words and views on this subject?

    ”Why are people who call themselves scientists afraid to hear two sides of a debate?”

    ”Personally, I don’t believe in evolution,” he said. ”I don’t believe I came from a salamander that came out of a pond.”

    Thank-you for your time.

    His response? “They are my words.”, and his description of the bill followed.

  93. John.St says

    If this law is passed, there is no way to make Mexico take Texas back – they ain’t that stupid, the Mexicans.

  94. John.St says

    I simply can’t wait to become Dr. Phomph. for – how much – $30? 20?

    As all you Texan doctors in spe ought to know, Phomphology is the science of those words that don’t exist, but ought to.

  95. says

    The worst of the knuckledragging thugs on the Texas State Board of Education is a Christard psychopath harpie, Cynthia Dunbar, who has a law degree from Liberty College, a Jerry Falwell operation if I’m not mistaken.

  96. says

    Hmm.. interesting..
    So with an iq of over 165 (they couldn’t measure precise anymore after that number), how many phd’s could I purchase?

    and on another note.. Do you Accept euros?


  97. Danny says

    Remember – if you’re making yourself into a Texas Diploma Mill, you have to be NON-PROFIT.

    So you can’t charge anything beyond the cost of the ink and the paper it’s printed on, which — not coincidentally — would be all that a Texas diploma would be worth.

  98. Brother Maynard says

    Guys, worse has been introduced in the Texas Legislature this session. I submit the following press release headline: “REP. WAYNE CHRISTIAN SUPPORTS STRONG SCIENCE, TEACHERS & STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM”. The purpose of this bill is to ensure “that Texas continues its nearly 20 year commitment to teaching students to “to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to the strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.” The bill is HB 4224. You may find the press release about it here: http://www.house.state.tx.us/news/release.php?id=2608. You can find a copy of the bill here: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/billlookup/billnumber.aspx (be sure to enter HB 4224 in the bill number field).

    The short of it, is that there’s a bill in the Texas Legislature that appears to mirror the intellectual slop that was approved in Louisiana. This is the kind of thing that can get legs and could pass before this session of the Texas Legislature ends in 80 days or so.

    -brother maynard

  99. gaypaganunitarianagnostic says

    The Texas legislature meets 90 days ever two years, some say it would be better if they met two days every 90 years.

  100. SquidBrandon says

    I actually have a degree from Texas Tech. Somehow I don’t think job offers will come pouring in to me now.

    Texas Tech!? You’re not allowed to be postin’ on liberal blogs!! Gasp!! I say this as a Red Raider alumnus who fled to Maryland.

    Luckily, this legislation wouldn’t have any affect on the validity of my PharmD.

  101. Beery Swine says

    Don’t worry, we Texans who worship the Many True Gods (peace be upon their tentacles) will see to it that they work their machinations so that half of these nutbags will kill the other half, and then the state will no doubt put their remaining numbers to death. After all, we execute the retarded in Texas.

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