Texas judge rejects creationist master's degree
Here’s education news from Texas that you can applaud: A federal judge has denied an effort by the Institute for Creation Research to issue master's degrees in science education from “a Biblical scientific creationist viewpoint,” instead siding with state officials who initially refused to allow the program to go forward.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled in a lawsuit filed against the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which in 2008 had denied an application by the institute for authority to award master's degrees, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.
The institute rejects the theory of evolution and espouses what is called "Young Earth creationism," the belief that Earth and life were created by God between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago.
The institute filed a lawsuit last year, alleging that the state, in refusing its request, was violating the First Amendment and practicing religious discrimination. Sparks, in a 39-page decision, said that the institute had not proven any of its claims and that the state had the authority to prevent the master's degree program from going forward.
Actually the state’s Certification Advisory Council initially recommended conditional approval for the proposed program at its Dec. 14, 2007 meeting, according to the legal ruling.
But Raymund Paredes, the Texas commissioner of higher education, discovered flaws in the site visit team’s report, and recommended to the board that a group of scientists and science educators re-evaluate the proposed degree program.
As Commissioner Paredes later wrote, “It seemed clear to me upon reading the various evaluation documents that the central issue of whether the proposed program met appropriate standards of science education had been insufficiently addressed. As a result, I directed staff to conduct a fresh review.”
The state board ultimately recommended that the institute’s application for a certificate of authority be rejected.
“Essentially, the panel reasoned much of the course content was outside the realm of science and lacked potential to help students understand the nature of science and the history and nature of the natural world,” wrote the judge in Friday's ruling, which concurred with the state.
The last bit of education news to come out of Texas was the rewriting of social studies standards by right-wing ideologues. This is a welcome change.
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| June 23, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories: Science | Tags: creationism, creationism vs. evolution, creationist science, earth science institute and texas, institute for creation research, judge rejects creationist masters degree, judge sam sparks and ruling, texas and creationist institute, texas higher education coordinating board
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