Saturday, December 15, 2007

Did Someone Say Texas?

It seems like everyday there is another story about Texas and creationism. Today is no exception. According to Dallas News

The nonprofit Institute for Creation Research in Dallas wants to train future science teachers in Texas and elsewhere using an online curriculum. A state advisory group gave its approval Friday; now the final say rests with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which will consider the request next month.
Thankfully, the well-known champion of evolution Eugenie Scott has a reply
"They teach distorted science," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the California-based National Center for Science Education, which opposes teaching creationism in public schools. "Any student coming out from the ICR with a degree in science would not be competent to teach in Texas public schools."
The institute claims that their teachers will be instructed to teach both sides of the evolution debate leaving it up to the student to decide. While the creationist leanings of the institute may lead most of us to believe that no science is taught at the institute,

[a] group of educators and officials from the state Coordinating Board visited the campus in November and met with faculty members. The group found that the institute offered a standard science education curriculum that would prepare them to take state licensure exams, said Glenda Barron, an associate commissioner of the board.

Dr. Barron said the program was held to the same standards that any other college would have to meet.

"The master's in science education, we see those frequently," she said. "What's different – and what's got everybody's attention – is the name of the institution.

Further investigation revealed that no one on the committee had a background in science leading me to devalue the findings of the committee. Thankfully Texas does not recognize the institution's accreditation, and Eugenie Scott does not see recognition coming easily.

"There's a huge gulf between what the ICR is doing and what they're doing at legitimate institutions like ... [the University of Texas] or Baylor," she said.

The institute says the purpose of its graduate school is to prepare science teachers "to understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism using proven scientific data."

The Dallas News aritcle also reproduce a table of information about the institute which I will reproduce here. It is quite interesting to read though.


Offices: In Dallas and Santee, Calif.

Annual budget: $7 million

Faculty members: four full time

Students: more than 50

Degrees: master of science degree in science education with minors in astro/geophysics, biology, geology and general science.

School: The institute runs its own graduate school that offers master's of science education degrees. Its stated mission: to "research, educate and communicate Truth involving the study and promotion of scientific creationism, Biblical creationism, and related fields."

The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School sets out its educational philosophy and beliefs on its Web site,

On its philosophy: The institute says its administration and faculty are "committed to the tenets of both scientific creationism and Biblical creationism." It says the two "are compatible ... and all genuine facts of science support the Bible."

On public schools: The institute "maintains that scientific creationism should be taught along with the scientific aspects of evolutionism in tax-supported institutions."


•The physical universe "was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity."

•Life "was specially and supernaturally created by the Creator."

•All plants and animals were "created functionally complete from the beginning and did not evolve from some other kind of organism."

•Evolution since creation is "limited to 'horizontal' changes (variations) within the kinds, or 'downward' changes (e.g., harmful mutations, extinctions).

•Humans "were specially created in fully human form from the start."


•The creator of the universe is a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

•The universe was created "in the six literal days of the Creation Week" described in Genesis.

•All human beings descended from Adam and Eve.

Last time I checked, science does not allow for supernatural explanations to natural phenomena. I don't see how the state of Texas will let this one slide through, but we will see. Texas has been doing a terrible job separating its science from its religion but maybe as of late, but perhaps the recent media spotlight will burn some sense into those in charge.