News Articles, Essays, and Press Releases in April 2008 About the Quest of the
Institute for Creation Research for a Texas Certificate of Authority
to Award Masters Degrees in Science Education

INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH GRADUATE SCHOOL UPDATE

From the desk of Dr. Henry M. Morris III
Chief Executive Officer
[April 17, 2008]
[no URL]

Dear Friends of ICR:

Many of you have asked for an update concerning the ICR Graduate School's application to grant degrees in Texas. I wanted to take a moment to apprise you of the situation and let you know how you can help us.

As you know, the ICR Graduate School (ICRGS) has offered Master's degrees in California since 1981. Our move to Texas required us to begin a new approval process, one that we have worked through since last summer. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) oversees this process. Let me recap what has been accomplished to date.

In November 2007, a THECB-appointed Site Team visited the Dallas campus to evaluate various aspects of our Master's program. Comprised of educators from around the state of Texas, the team recommended approval of our program.

In December 2007, the THECB Advisory Committee met to consider the Site Team's evaluation. This committee also recommended approval of our program to THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes.

However, during December 2007 and January 2008, the THECB received emails from ICR's detractors, demanding that Commissioner Paredes reject the recommendations of the Site Team and Advisory Committee in order to ensure that science curricula in both public and private schools become completely evolution-based.

ICR received a copy of those messages from the public record and discovered that of the 230 emails sent to the THECB, only 43 (from just 36 individuals) expressed opposition to ICRGS. An overwhelming 177 individuals wrote in support of ICR.

In March 2008, ICR provided all documentation requested by the THECB for compliance with state guidelines. We remain confident that--as was recognized by the Site Team in November and the Advisory Committee in December--the ICRGS program meets and/or exceeds state standards for private higher education in Texas.

The final step in the process is approaching next week.

On April 23 and 24, the senior faculty of ICR will travel to Austin, Texas, to defend our Master of Science degree program before the THECB. On April 23, ICR will attend the Committee on Academic Excellence and Research to defend its formal petition for a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees in Texas.

However, we have recently learned that during the hearing, the THECB has authorized an unusual 30-minute "Public Hearing," allotting 3 minutes to anyone interested in commenting on ICR's request.

Those of you who are educators in Texas, particularly in the sciences or in higher education, who are in or near the Austin area might want to consider attending the hearing--and perhaps signing up for one of the 10 slots for public comment. The hearing will start on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., and a sign-up sheet will be available shortly before then. (Details are available at http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Events)

After the committee has heard from the public and questioned the ICR faculty and administration, it will present a formal recommendation to Commissioner Paredes at a meeting of the full Board on April 24. ICR will attend this meeting and will respond, if asked, to any questions from Board members. The Board will then formally act on the Commissioner's recommendation, and will issue its ruling for or against ICR's request to operate its graduate school in Texas.

Should the commission reject our application, ICR has the option to appeal within 45 days and/or to reapply within 180 days. Should the commission approve our application, ICR will then begin its effort to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Representing ICR will be: Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. Dan Criswell, Dr. James Johnson, Dr. Ed Miller, Dr. Henry Morris III, Dr. Patti Nason, and Dr. Larry Vardiman.

Please pray with us during the meeting times that:

* the opposition and those who speak publicly will not create a disturbance;
* the committee members and Commission board members will have an open and fair mind regarding these issues;
* each ICR faculty and administration member will represent the ICR ministry and the Lord Jesus with integrity, clarity, humility, and boldness.

Pray especially that our Lord Jesus will be honored by what is done and said, and that whatever the outcome may be from these meetings, the ministry of ICR will continue, and the vital message of the Creator will be enhanced.

(The THECB provides broadcasts of Committee meetings on its website, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/Events under Academic Excellence and Research Committee Meeting.)

Thank you for taking the time to read through this update. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you as you seek to serve Him.

Dr. Henry Morris III
CEO, Institute for Creation Research

P.S. Many of you have heard of the new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. This film touches on the very issue we face in Texas: academic freedom in research and education.

We've seen Expelled and endorse it. Visit http://icr.org/News to read our review. And, if at all possible, go see it on Friday or Saturday, April 18 or 19, when it opens in over 1,000 theaters nationwide. For more information, go to www.getexpelled.com.

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Creation College to Defend Science Degrees at Upcoming Hearing

By Katherine T. Phan
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Apr. 18 2008
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20080418/32014_Creation_College_to_Defend_Science_Degrees_at_Upcoming_Ruling.htm
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/texas.creation.college.to.defend.science.degrees/18151.htm

A Christian research institute, which is seeking to grant science degrees in Texas, is asking for prayers and support as it faces the final hearing before state education officials next week.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) will decide at its regularly scheduled meeting next Thursday whether The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) can grant an online master's degree in Science Education.

For the past few months, the school experienced several setbacks in getting state approval for its program, mostly due to a heightened battle between intelligent design and evolution playing out in the state and in Florida where public schools were recently required to teach evolution in science classes.

The Dallas-based school has already cleared several hurdles, including an on-site evaluation by THECB Advisory Committee and the submission of a comparison study. Next Wednesday, ICR officials must also pass a cross-examination hearing in Austin that will determine THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes's recommendation to the board.

A e-mail update sent Thursday by Dr. Henry Morris [III, CEO of ICR], reported that the April 23 hearing will also include an "unusual" half-hour session which will be open to public comments.

Morris told The Christian Post that his contact, who has worked with THECB for 15 years, informed him that the Board never before authorized such a public comment session.

Nevertheless, he said he was "confident" that the school's graduate program meets all the state standards for private higher education in Texas.

"We think we have everything in order and then some," said Morris, who will be among the ICR representatives participating in the hearing.

In his e-mail, which concluded with an endorsement of the film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," the ICR CEO invited nearby supporters, particularly educators who taught science or higher education in Texas, to consider signing up for one of the 10 slots for public comment. He also appealed to supporters to pray for an orderly and fair hearing.

The science degree in question has been offered by ICR, which teaches from a literal biblical worldview, in California since 1981. The program has four concentrations: Astro-Geophysics, Biology, Geology and General Science, according to the institute's Web site.

Critics of the ICR program have mainly questioned the science label of the degree.

Eugenie Scott, executive director of National Center for Science Education, alleged the institute taught "distorted science," the Dallas Morning News reported earlier.

Despite such criticism, Morris said the school will seek state approval for a science degree.

"We have been told second-hand, through our contact, that their objection is that we are using the word 'science.' If we would just drop the word science," the approval would go through, said Morris.

He argued that students exercise critical thinking skills when they are taught how to compare an evolutionary mindset to a creationist mindset.

"How can you be a critical thinker if you don't know what the other side is?" he asked. "We think it makes a better student."

After Wednesday's hearing, the Advisory Committee is expected to issue a formal recommendation to Paredes who will in turn present his own take on the ICR graduate program to the full Board on Thursday. The Board will then rule on whether to approve the school's science degree offering.

The ICR has the option to appeal within 45 days and/or to reapply within 180 days if the Board rejects the application. In the case of approval, ICR will begin its effort to obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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http://www.icr.org/article/3868/

Press Release 04 21 2008

Graduate School, Institute for Creation Research

DALLAS, April 21, 2008 - The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) is scheduled to appear before the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) on April 23 and 24 regarding its application for a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees in Texas.

Relying on First Amendment principles, and in response to the request by the THECB, the ICRGS has carefully reviewed and revised its online M.S. in Science Education program to meet, and in some areas to exceed, virtually all of the AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks (in science, mathematics, technology, etc.) and National Science Education Standards.

The ICRGS, having already received two favorable THECB recommendations (from the THECB Site Team and Advisory Committee), is concerned about whether its public viewpoints have or will become the subject of unequal (or otherwise improper) discriminatory treatment in conjunction with the processing of ICRGS's application. In particular, the ICRGS is especially concerned that any such "discriminatory treatment" may be deemed "unequal" according to federal norms of 14th Amendment-guaranteed Due Process and/or 14th Amendment-guaranteed Equal Protection (or relevant Texas Constitution counterparts).

The ICRGS is concerned that educational politics may unduly influence the processing of ICRGS's application in a manner that chills free speech, and thus dampens postsecondary education diversity, perhaps facilitating the promotion of a postsecondary education market "monopoly."

The ICRGS wants to emphasize its institutional respect for the THECB, which obviously has a very challenging regulatory mission, and continuously faces an "ocean" of interactive laws and governing legal standards, not to mention many political pressures to disfavor "unpopular" applicants, many of whom desire that the ICRGS be expelled from the state of Texas.

The ultimate outcome of THECB approval of ICR's educational program would be the promotion of educational diversity and liberty within the world of private online postsecondary education.

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College wants to offer creationism degree

Published: April 23, 2008
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/04/23/college_wants_to_offer_creationism_degree/6089/

AUSTIN, Texas, April 23 (UPI) -- Texas officials are considering a proposal by a Dallas group that wants to offer a master's degree program in creationist thought for teachers, officials said.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote Thursday whether to allow the non-profit Institute for Creation Research to offer Internet-based training for science teachers, the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Although the school says it teaches both sides of the evolution debate, critics say the institute is attempting to undermine the teaching of science in public schools.

In December, an advisory group from the coordinating board visited the school and approved the plan.

The newspaper reported that the board has received hundreds of e-mails from people around the world weighing in on the controversial proposal.

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Texas' higher education board to hear Dallas group's 'creation science' degree proposal

From Staff Reports
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/042408dntexcreationist.8dfc5713.html

The state board that oversees higher education will consider today a Dallas group's proposal to train science teachers in creationist thought, a proposal that some scientists say dangerously undermines the theory of evolution.

The group, the nonprofit Institute for Creation Research, wants to use online courses to offer teachers a master of science degree. A state advisory group signed off, but a committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will hear public testimony and make a recommendation this morning in Austin. The full board would vote Thursday.

The institute was created in 1970 by the late Henry M. Morris, a Dallas native. He is known as the father of "creation science," the view that science – not just religion – indicates that a divine being created the Earth and all living things.

Some advocacy groups say the group is trying to undermine the teaching of science in public schools. Officials with the institute say they teach both sides of the evolution debate.

A team of educators and officials from the state coordinating board visited the campus in November. The group decided that the institute offered a standard science education curriculum. In December, an advisory group – comprising officials from two public colleges and four affiliated with religious institutions – approved the plan.

Also, the board received hundreds of e-mails from people around the world weighing in for and against the proposal.

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Panel rejects creation institute's proposal

By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz
Austin American-Statesman Blogs
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/highereducation/entries/2008/04/23/panel_rejects_creation_institu.html

A panel of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted today to reject a proposal by a Bible-oriented group to offer a master's degree in science education.

The unanimous vote by the board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee came after Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes recommended against the plan submitted by the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research.

Paredes said the institute's program is infused with creationism and runs counter to conventions of science that hold that claims of supernatural intervention are not testable and therefore lie outside the realm of science. He also said the institute failed to demonstrate that its proposal for a master's of science degree in science education met the coordinating board's standards.

"Religious belief is not science," Paredes said. "Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

The full board, which makes the final call for the agency, is scheduled to consider the matter Thursday. Judging by the panel's unanimous vote, it appears likely that the board will also reject the institute's proposal.

Henry Morris, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, said its options -- assuming the full board rejects the proposal -- include appealing to the board, submitting a new proposal and going to court.

Steve Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, an advocacy group, praised Paredes for a recommendation that was "very strong and courageous."

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Texas higher education board rejects 'creation science' degree proposal

By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News
tstutz@dallasnews.com
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/042408dntexcreationscience2.917bf873.html

AUSTIN -- A bid by the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research to train future science teachers -- focusing on creationism instead of Darwin's theory of evolution -- was flatly rejected by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board members on Wednesday.

The decision to turn down the proposal, subject to final action by the full board on Thursday, came despite arguments from ICR officials and faculty that teaching of creationism to students would not hurt their future effectiveness as science teachers.

A lawyer for the Bible-based group also warned that the coordinating board could eventually face legal action for suppressing the free-speech rights of the institute.

Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes paved the way for the board action by recommending rejection of the ICR request for a state certificate of authority to offer an online master's degree in science education.

Citing the group's teaching of creationism rather than evolution in its science curriculum, Dr. Paredes said it was clear the school would not adequately prepare its graduates to teach the scientific principles now required in Texas public schools.

"Evolution is such a fundamental principle of contemporary science it is hard to imagine how you could cover the various fields of science without giving it [evolution] the proper attention it deserves as a foundation of science," he said.

"Religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

Henry Morris III, chief executive officer of the institute, contended that the school would prepare students to "understand both sides of the scientific perspective, although we do favor the creationist view."

After the adverse vote from several coordinating board members meeting as a committee, Mr. Morris said the institute may revise its application or take its case to court.

"We will pursue due process," he told the board. "We will no doubt see you in the future."

Texas public school biology classes teach evolution, the theory that humans evolved from lower forms of life. Creationists, including the ICR, advocate a literal, Bible-based theory that a supreme being created the earth and all life forms -- including humans.

In explaining his recommendation, Dr. Paredes cited the institute's general catalog, which states: "All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week described in Genesis. The creation record is factual, historical and perspicuous; thus all theories of origin and development that involve evolution in any form are false."

Therefore, the commissioner said, the proposed ICR program "in insisting on a literal interpretation of biblical creation, gives insufficient coverage to conventional science and does not adequately prepare students in the field of science education."

Before the vote, the board heard comment from several persons, most of whom urged rejection of the proposal. Among them was Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, who said the ICR was a Christian ministry rather than a science organization that was primarily interested in promoting pseudoscience.

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Institute's plea for creationist degree dealt blow

Commissioner, committee say group shouldn't be able to offer a science master's


By JEANNIE KEVER
Houston Chronicle
April 23, 2008
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5725955.html

AUSTIN -- Saying that a belief in creationism -- the theory that God created the Earth in six literal days, as recounted in the Bible -- falls outside the realm of science, the state's commissioner for higher education has recommended that a Dallas-based organization not be authorized to offer a master's degree in science education.

A committee of the Higher Education Coordinating Board unanimously backed the recommendation by Commissioner Raymund Paredes on Wednesday. The full board votes today.

Paredes said his decision wasn't an attack on creationism or religion, but an attempt to defend science education.

"Religious belief is not science," he said. "Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

Henry Morris III, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, said the program teaches creationism and evolution. But he and others at the institute believe creationism is the correct explanation. He said there is no proof for evolution.

If the full board agrees with Paredes, Morris said, the institute may appeal or file a new proposal, perhaps changing the proposed master's degree from science education to a more general "teaching" degree. It could also file a lawsuit, he said.

Without the approval, the institute can offer only an unaccredited degree.

Scholarly split

Paredes' recommendation and the vote by members of the Academic Excellence and Research Committee followed a 30-minute public hearing, during which 10 people -- most of whom said they held doctoral degrees in a scientific field -- split over the issue.

"What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality," said Paul Murray, a geophysicist from Austin.

Chris Krosschell, a former Air Force pilot, played a tape of Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman, speaking as he looked back at the Earth.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," Borman said, quoting the opening passages of Genesis.

Several suggested that the institute was targeted because of its beliefs.

Not true, Paredes countered. He and Joe Stafford, assistant commissioner for academic affairs and research, said their concern, backed by a panel of scientists and science teachers, was that the institute's online classes would not prepare graduates to teach science in middle and high schools.

Issue of free speech

"They clearly stand at odds with the most basic works of science," Paredes said. "Evolution is such a fundamental principle of modern science, it's hard to imagine how you could" teach science without it.

Morris and other representatives of the institute, which moved to Dallas from California last year, said they simply hold a minority view in a scientific world dominated by followers of "naturalism," which espouses a belief in evolution.

The institute's lawyer, James Johnson, told the committee that the issue was one of free speech and academic freedom.

"The board needs to be very careful that the decision isn't, 'Do we agree with creation science?' " he said. "That is not the issue."

Stafford agreed, saying the issue was whether the institute's graduates would be qualified to teach science.

"If this were a program in accounting, it would be an expectation that when a student finished, they would be qualified to be an accountant," he said.

Looking for accreditation

The institute asked for authority to offer an online master's degree in science education last year, sparking an immediate and intense reaction.

Partly that had to do with timing: The Texas Education Agency's science director, Christine Comer, quit last fall after being criticized for allegedly showing bias against creationism.

The institute had been accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools in California, but the group isn't recognized in Texas. Approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Board is considered an interim step to give new programs time to gain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or a similar group. Morris said that 27 students are enrolled in the institute program.

An advisory council at the Higher Education Coordinating Board recommended approval in December, and a board vote was set for January. That was pushed back to April after Paredes asked the institute for more information and visited the program with scientists in January.

jeannie.kever@chron.com

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State frowns on creationists' bid to offer science degree

Melissa Ludwig
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted: 04/23/2008
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA042408.05B.CREATION.378242d.html

The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research's bid to offer an online master's degree in science education in Texas sustained what appeared to be a fatal blow Wednesday.

A committee for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously to deny its application based on the recommendation of the board's commissioner, Raymund Paredes.

The full board will make a final decision at a meeting today, but as six of its nine members sit on the academic excellence and research committee, the outcome is unlikely to change.

Paredes said ICR didn't meet the board's criteria for a science education program because it rejects scientific explanations-- specifically evolution -- that don't jibe with the biblical account of the Earth's creation.

"Religious belief is not science," he said. "Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

In Texas, religious organizations have tried for years to get creationism taught alongside evolution in K-12 science classrooms, sparking heated debates and turning the textbook adoption process into a national media circus. So far, those efforts have failed.

Henry Morris III, the institute's CEO, said he was disappointed, but not surprised by the decision.

"The whole issue has grown more intense over the past decade," Morris said. "We anticipated because of the resistance to our program that this would be the case."

The institute has 45 days to appeal, or 180 days to reapply for another certificate of authority to grant degrees.

Though Morris did not say whether the institute would appeal, ICR lawyer James J.S. Johnson hinted it might sue -- as it did in California -- if it believes its free speech rights are being trampled.

Wednesday's vote reversed an earlier recommendation by a council of university educators to approve the application.

Paredes called that initial review "flawed," citing a lack of science education experts on a team that conducted a site visit in November.

Nine scientists and science educators came on board for a second review, Paredes said. They combed through the ICR's course descriptions, textbooks and syllabi and were concerned that traditional science was getting short shrift in a curriculum that insisted on a literal interpretation of biblical creation.

For instance, the ICR catalog states: "All things in the universe were created and made by God in six literal days of the Creation Week described in Genesis. The creation record is factual, historical and perspicuous; thus all theories of origin and development that involve evolution in any form are false."

Morris said he believes in the scientific method, but thinks all the evidence points to a supernatural creator.

"We still feel that we teach good science," Morris said.

Supporters and critics of the application testified in a short public hearing before the vote.

"I am literally pleading with you. Do not grant ICR its certification," said Richard Neavel, a geologist from Baytown. "Surely you must recognize that teaching science to our children will be critical to humanity's survival."

Supporter Chris Krosschell brought along a portable boom box to make his point, playing a clip of astronaut Frank Borman quoting from the biblical account of creation upon seeing the Earth from lunar orbit during the 1968 Apollo 8 mission.

"Frank Borman himself was on the leading edge of scientific and academic achievement," said Krosschell, a former Air Force pilot. "As a flight commander, I think it is significant that he sees creation as the foundation for that scientific and academic achievement."

mludwig@express-news.net

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Creationists Get Failing Grade

by Melissa del Bosque
Texas Observer Blog
April 23rd, 2008
http://www.texasobserver.org/blog/index.php/2008/04/23/creationists-get-failing-grade/

A bid to teach creationism as science in Texas is facing extinction. Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, today recommended that the Institute for Creation Research not be allowed to offer a Masters of Science degree in Science Education.

The ICR teaches that the earth was created in a week and that it is 6,000 years old.

Paredes made his recommendation before the Coordinating Board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee. On Thursday the 9-member Coordinating Board will meet to take a final vote on the Commissioner's recommendation.

Three participants spoke in favor of ICR's application: a radio announcer with a science background, a military officer, and a tax attorney. Seven folks spoke against authorizing ICR to grant degrees. Among them were several science teachers and two representatives of science education organizations: the Science Teacher's Association of Texas and the Texas Academy of Science.

Commissioner Paredes said in a press release that he based his recommendation on two considerations: ICR failed to demonstrate that the proposed degree program meets acceptable standards of science and science education, and the proposed degree is inconsistent with Coordinating Board rules that require the accurate labeling or designation of programs.

Dr. Henry Morris, president of the ICR, told the Observer he was not surprised by Paredes' recommendation. Morris said there has been an "intensity of resistance from the academic community toward creationism in the last year in Texas." He cited the dismissal of Texas Education Agency employee Chris Comer, the upcoming review of TEKS and critical thinking standards for Texas schools, and the pro-creationism movie "Expelled" as topics that had generated media attention and public debate in the last year.

Morris said if the Board votes to uphold the Commissioner's recommendation, the Institute will appeal the decision in the next 45 days. If the appeal is denied, Morris said, the Institute may take its case to the Texas Supreme Court. "We were denied the right to operate in California and we went through a lengthy and onerous court case before we won," he said. "It's an option that we will consider in Texas if we are denied."

Morris said the real issue at hand is "whether science can tolerate a different presumption about the beginning point of creation."

The ICR attorney said it was a question of freedom of speech and the Constitution that the Institute should be granted the authority to teach science in Texas.

Steven Schafersman, who testified against ICR at the hearing, said he thought Commissioner Paredes had made a "decisive and strong decision based on sound reasoning."

"The ICR attorney said it was about fair play and free speech, but I disagree," Schafersman said. "They have the right to teach whatever they want, but not the right to have the state grant them the authority to teach pseudoscience."

There's always home schooling…

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Evolution 1, Creationist Institute 0

by Melissa del Bosque
Texas Observer Blog
April 24th, 2008
http://www.texasobserver.org/blog/index.php/2008/04/24/evolution-1-creation-studies-0/

Creationism studies in Texas went back to square one Thursday. The nine-member Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board backed Commissioner Raymund Paredes' recommendation to deny the Institute for Creation Research's bid to teach creationism as science.

After Wednesday's lengthy hearing and full day of testimony, board members voted that public testimony not be admitted today--proof, perhaps, that God is merciful.

The vote was quickly and unanimous. Joe Stafford, assistant commissioner for Academic Affairs and Research, read into the record a Texas Education Code statute about preventing public deception in the face of fraudulent or substandard college and university degrees. He also read from Texas Administrative Code rules 12a and 12d, which discuss the quality and content of curricula.

Dr. Henry Morris, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, told the Observer that his school will appeal the decision within 45 days. Morris said the ICR may also take its case to the Texas Supreme Court.

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HIGHER EDUCATION

Creation institute's proposal rejected by panel

Master's curriculum is not science, higher education commissioner says.


By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Thursday, April 24, 2008
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/04/24/0424creation.html

A Bible-oriented group's proposal to offer an online master's degree in science education was unanimously rejected Wednesday by a panel of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The action by the board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee came after Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes recommended against the proposal, submitted by the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research. The full coordinating board is scheduled to consider the matter today.

Paredes said the institute's plan is infused with creationism and runs counter to conventions of science, which hold that claims of supernatural intervention are not testable and therefore lie outside the realm of science. He also said that the institute, by insisting on a literal interpretation of biblical creation, would fail to prepare students adequately for the field of science education.

"Hence, the program cannot be properly designated either as 'science' or 'science education,' " Paredes said.

Based on the committee's vote, it appears likely that the board will also reject the proposal.

Henry Morris III, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, said Wednesday's ruling was not a surprise. He conceded that his organization is biased in favor of a creationist worldview but said that shouldn't be a disqualifying factor.

"We do understand very thoroughly that we represent a minority viewpoint in the scientific community," Morris said. "We still feel we teach good science."

If the full board rejects the proposal, Morris said, the institute's options include appealing, submitting a new proposal or going to court.

Steve Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, an advocacy group, praised Paredes for a recommendation that was "very strong and courageous." Schafersman said the institute's proposal amounts to religion masquerading as science.

The issue comes before the coordinating board, which oversees higher education, at a time when the state is reviewing the science curriculum, including that involving evolution, for primary and secondary public schools. The State Board of Education is expected to take up the matter later this year.

The proposal by the Institute for Creation Research has been a difficult one for the coordinating board, in part because of what Paredes described as a flawed review process. The coordinating board's staff and an advisory committee recommended approval of the proposal last year, but Paredes ordered a fresh review after an outcry from scientists and science educators, including some of the state's leading university researchers.

Paredes said the institute's catalog and other records portray as unshakable fact that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, that God created all things in the universe in six days as described in Genesis, that theories of origin and development involving evolution are false, and that most biblical miracles require a temporary suspension of basic natural laws.

"Whatever the ultimate merit of such views, they clearly stand at odds with the most basic tenets of scientific work such as observation, testing and analysis," Paredes said.

Believers of many faiths might well attribute to a creator the beginning of life on Earth and the formation of the universe billions of years ago, Paredes said. "But religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

rhaurwitz@statesman.com; 445-3604

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Creationism is fine, just don't call it science

By The Editorial Board
Austin American-Statesman
Thursday, April 24, 2008
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/editorial/entries/2008/04/24/creationism_is_fine_just_dont.html

Texas may not be the next Kansas after all. The state's Higher Education Coordinating Board voted Thursday to deny a biblically based institution the right to offer online graduate degrees in science education.

We applaud the board for setting this precedent in what will surely be a long series of battles involving science education in Texas. After the wars over the teaching of both evolution and intelligent design that have splintered Kansas for the past nine years, Texans can breathe at least a momentary sigh of relief.

The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research, which sought coordinating board approval for an online master's degree in science, lacked many of the standards required of other universities to award degrees. Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said that the institute, by insisting on a literal interpretation of Bible's creation story, would fail to prepare students adequately for the field of science education.

The decision follows both Paredes' recommendation and a unanimous vote Wednesday by a coordinating board panel to deny the institute's petition. The proposed degree became an issue because a coordinating board advisory committee last year recommended approving the course of study. Paredes has said the advisory committee's review process was flawed.

Dedicated learning in its many forms is generally wonderful. But course work must be labeled correctly. The state is right to require that a graduate degree in creation studies, which the Institute of Creation Research offers, be called what it is -- a degree in religion, not science.

State education officials should continue to keep religion separate from science as they debate and make final changes to the state's science curriculum this summer. Just as a graduate degree in science education shouldn't have a religious base, creationism should remain separate from elementary, middle and high school science education.

Once the State Board of Education approves a public school science curriculum, it will begin selecting new science textbooks. Texas has immense power in the textbook arena because it is the second-largest state, after California, to choose its books on a statewide basis. Textbook publishers tend to sell a Texas version of their books, depending on what the state deems acceptable. Many other states, in turn, adopt the Texas books for their students.

Texas officials must use their power over course curriculum and textbooks in responsible ways to ensure that Texas students receive the best science education possible. Failure to do that diminishes the ability of Texas students to compete nationally.

Paredes and the coordinating board took a correct and principled stand in denying the creationist institute's science course.

===========

Creationist school's plea is denied by state board

Plan to offer a science master's degree is voted down unanimously


By JEANNIE KEVER
Houston Chronicle
April 24, 2008
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5729298.html

With virtually no discussion, the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously Thursday to deny a request by a Bible-based school and research institute to offer a master's degree in science education.

Leaders of the Institute for Creation Research were in the audience but were not allowed to address the board.

"So be it," said the institute's CEO, Henry Morris III.

Members of the board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee had voted Wednesday after a public hearing and discussion to recommend that the request by the Dallas-based group be denied.

Thursday, Committee Chairwoman Lynn Phillips of Bastrop, suggested that no more public discussion be allowed.

The issue was whether the institute, whose leaders believe in creationism, or that the world was literally created as recounted in the Bible, could adequately prepare its graduates to teach science in middle schools and high schools. Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes had found — and board members agreed — that it could not.

Board Vice Chairman A.W. "Whit" Riter III, in the only public comment before the vote, said after looking at the background material, he simply felt "the program presented to us was inconsistent with Coordinating Board rules.

"I still question that science can come to one conclusion (about the origin of life), but as a board, I think we need to be very sensitive," said Riter, a businessman from Tyler.

Several board members pressed Paredes and other coordinating board staff members Wednesday on whether the institute had been treated differently because of its founding religious beliefs. They were told "no," that the objections to the program had been based upon academic quality.

Thursday's decision ended the issue, but probably only temporarily. Morris said Thursday that the institute has not decided on its next step, but that it is likely to either appeal or file a new proposal.

jeannie.kever@chron.com

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Texas rejects creationist science degree

United Press International
Published: April 24, 2008
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2008/04/24/texas_rejects_creationist_science_degree/3318/

AUSTIN, Texas, April 24 (UPI) -- Higher education regulators in Texas Thursday rejected the Institute for Creation Research's application to offer a master's degree in science education.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board acted a day after its Academic Excellence and Research Committee recommended rejection, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes had said the proposal is flawed.

Paredes found that the institute, based in Dallas, takes the story of creation in Genesis as literally true.

"Whatever the ultimate merit of such views, they clearly stand at odds with the most basic tenets of scientific work such as observation, testing and analysis," Paredes said.

Henry Morris III, the institute's director, said before the full board made its decision that the organization might consider an appeal.

"We do understand very thoroughly that we represent a minority viewpoint in the scientific community," Morris said. "We still feel we teach good science."

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Board denies request for Bible-based master's program

The Associated Press
April 24, 2008
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5728581.html

AUSTIN — The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Thursday rejected a religious institute's request to start offering an online master's degree program to students working to become science teachers.

Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes argued that the proposal from the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research did not demonstrate it met acceptable standards of science and science education.

Paredes said "religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are reconcilable but they are not the same thing."

The institute has 45 days to appeal the decision or 180 days to reapply.

An advisory council has previously recommended that the board approve the proposal, which teaches creationism as part of science, but a vote was delayed in January after science advocates launched vigorous protests.

Henry Morris, chief executive officer of the institute, has said the organization probably will appeal the decision.

Morris said the proposed curriculum included the teaching of evolution but also included Bible-based alternatives.

Students and faculty in the institute must profess faith in a literal translation of Biblical creation, that God created the world in six days and that the Earth is much newer than evolutionary science suggests.

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Texas Education Officials Strike Blow to Academic Freedom

THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes bars ICR Graduate School degrees in Texas.

http://www.icr.org/article/3864/
http://www.icr.org/article/3855/

Press Release 04 25 2008

Graduate School
Institute for Creation Research

Dallas, April 25, 2008 - Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Commissioner Raymund Paredes on Wednesday recommended that the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) be denied a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees in the state. On Thursday, the Board voted unanimously to accept Paredes' recommendation.

Paredes issued his recommendation, prepared in advance of Wednesday's meeting, despite the approval of both the THECB Site Team, which evaluated the ICRGS in November 2007, and the THECB Advisory Committee that affirmed the Site Team's approval in December 2007. He rejected both reports as "flawed" and instead convened a separate panel of scientists and science educators that advised him not to approve the ICRGS application. ICRGS scientists and faculty were not included in or allowed to respond to this panel.

On Thursday, Joe Stafford, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Research, read into record a Texas Education Code statute about preventing public deception in the face of "fraudulent" or "substandard" college and university degrees. ICRGS representatives present at the meeting were not allowed to respond to this mischaracterization of the graduate program.

The manner in which the hearing was conducted was characterized by viewpoint discrimination. Prior to Wednesday's consideration of the ICRGS application, THECB committee chairperson Lyn Bracewell Phillips allowed public testimony for 30 minutes on the ICRGS application. Several political activists, including Steven Schafersman—who had evidently not reviewed the ICRGS application materials—launched ad hominem attacks against the credibility and reputation of the ICRGS and its faculty.

Critics have sought to draw false associations between the ICRGS program and alleged attempts to introduce religion into taxpayer-funded public schools, even though the ICRGS is a private postgraduate institution seeking to train science educators for private schools.

Questions have surfaced concerning the treatment of the ICRGS application by THECB officials and whether Commissioner Paredes and his agency altered the normal process of application review because of external pressures based on ideological biases against the ICRGS.

Under Texas law, the ICRGS may appeal the decision of the Commission or seek other remedies as appropriate.

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Rejected: Creationists Lose Bid to Offer Education Degree in Texas

American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
28 April 2008
http://www.aibs.org/public-policy-reports/2008_04_28.html#004829

On 24 April 2008 the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) unanimously rejected an application from the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research (ICR) to grant graduate degrees in science education. ICR, like Answers in Genesis, espouses Young-Earth Creationism, a literal view of the Bible that contends the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. ICR sought approval from the THECB to begin offering degrees immediately while waiting for accreditation from the state-recognized Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.

This decision was a reversal from December 2007 when the Certification Advisory Council of the THECB preliminarily recommended that ICR be allowed to offer on-line Master's degrees in science education. This recommendation was soundly criticized by science and education experts, including a letter from 2007 AIBS president Douglas J. Futuyma (see http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20071228aibsletterto5.html).

In response to the concerns raised by the scientific and education communities, THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes appointed a second committee of scientists and science educators to re-evaluate the ICR. Paredes requested ICR to supply more specific information on its online learning program, science curriculum, and faculty research. The entire THECB was initially scheduled to vote on the ICR request on 23 January 2008, but ICR asked for an extension to address Paredes' concerns; the vote was postponed until 24 April 2008.

The day before the THECB vote, the Academic Excellence and Research Committee heard public comments from 10 people, including Steve Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science; the majority of the speakers, like Schafersman, urged the committee to reject ICR's request. THECB Commissioner Paredes agreed and recommended a denial of the ICR proposal. According to an article from the 23 April 2008 Dallas Morning News, Paredes said, "Evolution is such a fundamental principle of contemporary science it is hard to imagine how you could cover the various fields of science without giving it [evolution] the proper attention it deserves as a foundation of science." He continued, "Religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

Henry Morris III, chief executive officer of the ICR, indicated that his organization will appeal the decision within 45 days and may pursue legal action in the Texas courts.

=============

Creationists fail in bid to offer 'science' degree

April 30, 2008
http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080430/full/453015e.html

A religious group has had its application to offer Master of Science degrees rejected by Texas authorities.

The Institute for Creation Research -- which backs a literal interpretation of the Bible, including the creation of Earth in six days -- was seeking a certificate to grant online degrees in science education in Texas (see Nature 451, 1030; 2008). But the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously last week not to grant the institute's request, following the recommendation of Raymund Paredes, the state's commissioner of higher education.

"Religious belief is not science," Paredes said in his recommendation. "Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."

The institute has 45 days to appeal or 180 days to reapply.

============

Texas demands faith in Darwinism

Regulators reject teaching from team of Ph.Ds


WorldNetDaily
Posted: May 01, 2008
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=63103

The state of Texas has decided that a graduate school with a faculty sporting Ph.Ds from UCLA, Penn State, the University of Montana, Colorado State, Case Western and Indiana University, with a few lowly Ed.D. degrees thrown it, isn't qualified to grant master's degrees because it teaches students to evaluate thoroughly the pluses Đ and minuses Đ of evolution and creation.

The verdict came just a week ago from the Texas Higher Education Consulting Board, which rejected an application from the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School for a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees.

The rejection came on the recommendation of Commissioner Raymund Paredes despite earlier approval recommendations from a site team dispatched by the state agency to evaluate the education offerings as well as the agency's advisory committee.

In a case that appears to be an example of the academic censoring described in Ben Stein's movie "Expelled," state officials even read into the record for the agency's hearing a state statute regarding "fraudulent" education programs without giving supporters of the ICR program an opportunity to explain or respond.

"Expelled" covers the following key questions:

* Were we designed or are we simply products of random chance, mutations and evolution occurring without any plan over billions of years?

* Is the debate over origins settled?

* How should science deal with what appears to be evidence of design?

* What should be taught to children and college students about our origins?

* Is there any room for dissent from the evolutionary point of view?

* Is it appropriate for eminent scientists who depart from strict evolutionary dogma to be fired and blacklisted, as is occurring in academia today?

* Should government schools and other institutions be engaged in promoting the secular, materialistic worldview to the total exclusion of differing points of view?

* Is science so advanced and so certain that it should be exempt from the societal norms of open dialogue and free debate?

* Why is it simply inconceivable and unacceptable for some evolutionists to consider the possibility--no matter how remote--that our world might actually have a Creator?

"This is the second time in 18 years that a state's top educational authority has attempted to thwart the Institute for Creation Research's ability to offer master's degrees in science and science education," said a statement from the Answers in Genesis organization.

"Such a setback for a school--which has several qualified Ph.D. scientists on its faculty--merely confirms what the just-released film 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' has been exposing: academia will not tolerate any challenge to evolutionist orthodoxy and will suppress the liberties of Darwin-doubters," AIG said.

ICR has been issuing master's degrees in California since 1981. In 1990 it overcame a challenge from state educational officials who tried to deny the school the opportunity to offer degrees.

"ICR eventually won approval in a federal court," Answers in Genesis said. "Due to its recent move to Texas, ICR had to apply to the THECB for similar authorization...and once again found itself running another educational gauntlet."

According to the Dallas Morning News, Henry Morris III, the chief executive officer for the ICRGS, said the school prepares students to "understand both sides of the scientific perspective, although we do favor the creationist view."

After being rejected, he said the institute may revise its application or pursue a court action.

"We will pursue due process," he told the board. "We will no doubt see you in the future."

Under state procedures, the ICRGS now would have 45 days to file an appeal, or 180 days to begin a new application.

According to Answers in Genesis:

"ICR has argued that its quality faculty and rigorous program--presented in a creationist framework--students to become effective science teachers. Comm. Paredes has claimed that what ICR teaches is contrary to what is required in Texas's public schools, and that because ICR's program insists on accepting the biblical account of creation, it inadequately covers science. ICR counters with the observation that its students learn all about evolution, the scientific method, etc.--but that they are also exposed to the scientific problems with evolution."

It was Joe Stafford, assistant commissioner for academic affairs in Texas, who during the hearing read into the record a Texas Education Code statute about prevent "fraudulent" colleges, but ICRGS officials were denied any opportunity to respond to that allegation.

Among the 13 faculty members listed by the ICRGS, 10 have earned Ph.Ds in their fields of expertise, another is a doctor of veterinary medicine and two more have doctorates in education.

Going into the hearing, officials from ICRGS said they had revamped their offerings "to meet, and in some areas to exceed, virtually all of the AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks (in science, mathematics, technology, etc.) and the National Science Education Standards."

However, it had a level of concern "about whether its public viewpoints have or will become the subject of unequal (or otherwise improper) discriminatory treatment in conjunction with the processing of ICRGS's application."

"The ICRGS is concerned that educational politics may unduly influence the processing of ICRGS's application in a manner that chills free speech, and thus dampens postsecondary education diversity, perhaps facilitating the promotion of a postsecondary education market 'monopoly,'" the organization said.

On the Dallas newspaper's forum, opinions were divided:

"They rightly rejected the attempt by the Institute of Creation Research to inject religion into scientific teaching," wrote David Alkek.

But Daniel DeVelde said, "Good educators should want to give a complete education, including both evolution and intelligent design. Many scientists and educators should want to put both on the table for examination. Good education should explore all theories, not just the one someone happens to like."


Texas Citizens for Science
Last updated: 2008 May 4