Texas Education Battle: Creationists vs. Reality

SOME STORIES TAKE TIME to develop. Our last report on this was a few days ago: Texas Creationism Controversy — Alive Again!, but that news didn’t come from our usual sources. Then days went by with no further word, and we began to doubt our report.

But now, from the Houston Chronicle, we learn: Creationist school fights ruling. So the story is real. Here are some excerpts, with bold added for Curmudgeonly emphasis:

A Bible-based school and research institute has asked the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to reverse its decision not to allow the school to offer a master’s degree in science education.

They’re talking about the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).

Institute spokesman Lawrence Ford said the voluminous appeal — it is 755 pages long, including supporting documents — is based upon a claim of “viewpoint discrimination.”

The appeal described the board’s decision as “academic (and religious) bigotry masquerading as Texas Education Code ‘enforcement.’ ”

Board members and staff are accused of denying the request in April because the institute and its leaders believe the biblical version of the Earth’s creation is literally true.

Actually — although we’re shocked, shocked! to see it — the creationists are distorting the truth here. Their request wasn’t denied because of ICR’s beliefs, but because ICR wants the state to approve those beliefs as “science education.” The article continues:

The real issue, Stafford [Joe Stafford, assistant commissioner for academic affairs and research at the state’s coordinating board] said Monday, is whether the institute’s course work — offered online and still available, although not accredited — fits the label of the proposed degree.

That pretty well sums up the opposing viewpoints. So, Curmudgeon fans, will Texas yield to the creationists and give state approval to ICR’s proposed “master’s degree in science education”?

If you have some time to waste and you want to drink deeply from the ICR’s Kool Aid, the article also informs us that: “Both the institute [the creationist ICR] and the coordinating board have posted on their Web sites (www.icr.org and http://www.thecb.state.tx.us) a 371-page document prepared by the institute last spring to describe its program.”

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