Thursday, March 12, 2009

Texas, on a different but related subject

I thought this was a dead deal, but I certainly should know better. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) wants to give out Master's Degrees in Science Education. Apparently for them to do this, they have to become EXEMPT from the State regulations governing such degrees.

Last year the the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected an application from the ICR to to offer master’s degrees in science education. One suggestion made was they might get approval if the degree was in 'Creation Research', not 'science education'. Well the ICR seemed to be playing to the public and doing the normal whines, but they also got to one of Texas's more conservative representatives, Leo Berman. Apparently he s sponsoring a bill that would exempt organizations like the ICR from regulation and oversight by the coordinating board.

If the bill passes, then the ICR can offer degree programs in pretty much anything they want! Gee isn't that going to do wonders for Texas Education? And we thought using the law to undermine evolution was bad, here it is being used to undermine the protections Texas built into their own education system! The ICR would have free reign to do anything they want.

I wonder how many 'diploma mills' will follow and set up shop in Texas? No, I am not calling the ICR a diploma mill, but when your previous accreditation agency was founded by the founder of the ICR, you have to question the organization's integrity! I know I do!

Text of the bill is here.
Here is the article that alerted me Using the Law to Undermine Science

Texas, please don't do this to yourselves! Don't think this is a free speech issue, this is about the future of science education for your children specifically, and the future of all education disciplines!


  1. I am a big supporter of ICR offering master degrees. Why shouldn't they? You don't think that ICR teaches science? The scientist at ICR are just as qualified to teach science as all the liberals in the secular universities. Evolution is the biggest scientific lie in modern history. It has been disproved a number of times, but people only believe it because they don't want to believe in the alternative.

  2. Greg,
    It doesn't bother me if you support the ICR, or even if they offer Master's Degrees. But I cannot categorize their work as science, nor their employees as scientists. They do not seem to know the meaning of the word or the methodology. A Master's in Theology, maybe, Creation Research, why not, but Science? Not by a long shot.

    My issue is simply that they start with an assumption, a faith-based answer and then they either ignore the evidence that contradicts it, or they twist the evidence to support their starting point. That is not science!
    Don't take my word for it, look at their own website:
    "Biological life was specially and supernaturally created by the Creator" -- Assumption, unproven and unsupported by empirical evidence, yet this is their starting point.
    "The first human beings were specially created in fully human form from the start" -- Completely ignores the evidence of Anthropology and Paleontology.

    As I looked over their information for the very first time I realized that they are even promoting ideas that Ken Ham and his 'Answers in Genesis" website says have been discredited and debunked -- and when AIG says it's a bad argument, it must be because Ham is one of the more rabid anti-evolutionists on the planet.

    You do realize that Liberals aren't the only science teachers in the country who teach Biology and Evolution? In fact the largest non-secular universities in the country also teach Evolution! Here is a statement, in its entirety, from Baylor University:
    "Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teach evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science's statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously."

    In fact many non-secular clergy people have signed open letters supporting Evolution and Evolution education. Google "The Clergy Letter Project" and read for yourself.

  3. You say that Creation Scientist start with an assumption. That is correct. However, I would argue that evolutionist also start with an assumption that has never been proven. You can either believe in God and study science with that in mind, or you don't believe in God, and study science with no God in mind. Both sides will have their biases. That is why most evolutionist are atheist, because evolution is an atheistic viewpoint. I also agree that many clergy have adopted the theory of evolution. That is because they have never really studied the facts. The reason why so many people believe in evolution is because they get it crammed down their throat at a young age. You learn it in elementary school, in highschool and even in college.
    The fact is, it hasn't been proven and the evidence is constantly contradicting itself. People are going to believe it just like this scientist:

    George Wald, an evolutionist, states, "When it comes to the origin of life, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!" ("The Origin of Life," Scientific American, 191:48. May 1954).

    People are creationist because they know order doesn't come from chaos. People are evolutionist because they don't want to answer to a supreme being.

    Don't try to say that evolution is science, and creationist aren't. Creationist are scientist that have come to the realization of the truth. They have PHD's in all fields of science just as their counterparts.

    It takes a lot of assumptions, and faith to believe that this complex universe came into existance by chance.

  4. I disagree, the study of Biology, including evolution, did not start with an assumption, it started with the existence of life. That existence is what drove the questions that biology strives to answer.

    You are also making a very poor assumption yourself when you claim that most 'evolutionists' are atheists. You don't know that for a fact, you assume it because it fits your prejudices. In fact many scientists of all disciplines are also deeply religious people. Many say that the more they learn, the deeper they understand their beliefs. I know ALL the Biologists I am acquainted with are also practicing 'religionists' (for lack of a better term to take into account all religions).

    So at the same time you are questioning the education of over 12,000 clergy members, some of whom teach Biology at non-secular schools? That's pretty disingenuous, I think I would look at your own education on the subject first. So far you haven't shown much of a grasp of evolutionary theory, and your presumptive assumptions make me think you know less that you claim.

    I don't know who George Wald is, but if he claims himself to be an evolutionist, you are being mislead. There is no scientific discipline that would describe a member as an 'evolutionist'. Is he a Biologist? Microbiologist? Biochemist? I don't know, and apparently neither do you.

    As for the time frame mentioned, you must be talking about Louis Pasteur's experiments disproving 'spontaneous generation', which had NOTHING to do with evolution. He proved that micro-organisms were responsible for meat spoilage and caused fermentation. The theory his work replaced was not the origin of life on this planet, but how come living things, like maggots and bacterial, seemed to appear out of thin air when food products were left exposed. Once again, you really need to read more than just the headline. Pasteur confirmed Biogenesis, but did not address Abiogenesis.

    You keep making assumptions! People become Biologists for many reasons, implying that they don't want to answer to a supreme being is nothing more than your own prejudices coming into play, especially since many Biologists are also religionists.

    If I said that I believe many people become Creationists because they don't want to accept responsibility for their own actions and education, that they would rather leave the thinking to someone else. You would disagree with my unsupported statement, yet you continue to make unsupported statements based on your own prejudices as if they were truths.

    So you think it takes more assumptions to understand Biology that a particular religion? So you know even less religious history than you do Biology? One is based on evidence, the other is based on faith. Your own two posts here prove that, but I doubt you will see it.

    So the next time you go to the Doctor, look for that ICR diploma hanging on the wall -- and if you survive the encounter consider yourself fortunate. I would rather go to someone with an actual degree. You can keep claiming all you want about the ICR, they are not scientists and they do not act as scientists when twisting the facts to support their religion -- a religious point of view not supported by most other religious people in the world!

    Let's see, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Unitarians, Methodists, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists, just to name a few have no issue with Evolution. You're just part of a minority fundamentalist evangelical group who thinks the Bible is a science text book, a very small, yet vocal, minority.