ICR v. Paredes: Second Impressions

The Institute for Creation Research has sued the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. They want the Board to be ordered to give their graduate school a Certificate of Authority to grant Master of Science degrees in Science Education.

The pleadings in this case can be read here, and an OCR version of the 68-page complaint, from which you can cut and paste, is here.

We wrote about our first impressions in this earlier post. There’s also a good blog article by a litigation attorney who rips the ICR complaint apart here.

We’ve been giving this matter some additional thought. We observe that the attorney for ICR in this case is James J. S. Johnson. He’s rather closely associated with his client’s views, as can be seen from three articles which he previously wrote and which are posted at the ICR website:

The Graffiti of Judgment, a curious essay about what the author says is a scriptural precedent for the events allegedly described in Expelled, the Ben Stein documentary.

How Young Is the Earth? Applying Simple Math to Data Provided in Genesis. This is standard young-earth material.

To Tell the Truth: The danger of accommodating Darwinism through false testimony. This is interesting in the context of the ICR litigation. Johnson argues that because creationism is Truth, any support of Darwinian evolution is false testimony.

There’s an old legal maxim that says: “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” In this case, because Johnson’s own ideas are so inextricably bound up with those of ICR, he’s going to have a problem in professionally evaluating his position, and he will likely be unable to take a reasoned look at the arguments of his opponents.

Additionally, Johnson has written an article about this case, which is also posted at the ICR website: Censorship in Texas: Fighting Academic and Religious Discrimination. He mentions an earlier case that ICR “won” in California. We can’t find the opinion, but it’s this: ICR Graduate School v. Honig, 758 F. Supp. 1350, 1354 (S.D. Cal. 1991).

The Honig case is discussed as background in A Setback for the ICR in Texas at the site of the National Center for Science Education. They say that ICR settled for a religious exemption, which is not exactly the judicial victory Johnson suggests. Besides, ICR now wants to be recognized as an institution authorized to grant degrees in science education.

Then Johnson describes the current case like this:

Now a similar controversy in Texas hinges on whether a private graduate school is allowed to call its privately-funded Science Education program “science,” while simultaneously declaring its viewpoint that Darwin was wrong.

Hey, that’s not the issue! ICR has been calling their viewpoint “science” for decades, and they can continue to do so. The actual issue in the Texas case is different — ICR wants the Higher Education Coordinating Board to officially certify the Science Education degrees they offer. In other words, ICR can call their offerings anything they like, but asking the state to certify that an orange is an apple is a whole different matter.

Here’s more from Johnson’s recent article:

Of course, the controversy is not unique to ICR’s graduate school. Scientists and professors who are Christians, and even non-Christian academics, continue to face persecution from science censors. Ben Stein’s Expelled documentary in 2008 clearly demonstrated that even highly-qualified scientists in secular institutions are facing various forms of expulsion simply because they question “recognized” Darwinian beliefs and the tenets of evolutionary science.

Ah yes, so perhaps we should call this case “Expelled Goes to Court.” If that’s what ICR’s litigation is all about, then we can predict that Expelled will “win,” because ICR is virtually certain to lose. Big time.

Another excerpt:

… Commissioner Raymund Paredes insists that the 27-year-old Master of Science program at ICRGS cannot possibly be “science” because its professors hold a biblical Christian viewpoint about the origin of the universe and the origin of life on earth. Call it something other than science, he and his board members suggested, and ICR can move its school to Texas.

Paredes is correct. If ICR would settle for granting a Master of Creation Science degree, there would probably be no issue. But while ICR insists that their young-earth, Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark teachings are genuine science, they’re going to be “expelled.” And correctly so.

Then Johnson says:

I still remember from my boyhood the days of racial segregation in America, and walking past public bathroom doors labeled “Men,” “Women,” and “Colored.” Discrimination was ugly then, and discrimination is just as ugly today.

What Johnson doesn’t grasp is that there are indeed genuine instances of irrational, unjust discrimination; and then there are situations where distinctions are very real, and recognizing them makes perfect sense. Knowing the difference requires what we call thinking.

Creationism isn’t science and it never will be. ICR is a religious operation, and they’re perfectly free to teach their creed. But creationism is what it is; therefore — to borrow an expression from Johnson’s inappropriate analogy to racial discrimination — ICR should learn to mind its place.

Johnson finishes his article like this:

Expect to see more about ICR in the news as we seek justice. Now is a good time to pray for ICRGS, for due process, and especially for the God-ordained leaders involved in applying the law to the facts that are placed before them [scriptural reference].

One can indeed pray for both ICR and for due process. We hope that ICR will find the humility to accept the inevitable result.

In conclusion, we note that as of this writing, the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) hasn’t said a word about ICR’s suit. Imagine the Discoveroids’ anguish. Just when they were on the verge of convincing everyone that Intelligent Design is science, those primitive young-earth-creationists burst out of their trailer parks waving their bibles around. They’re going to ruin everything! This is sooooo embarrassing!

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5 responses to “ICR v. Paredes: Second Impressions

  1. If ICR would settle for granting a Master of Creation Science degree, there would probably be no issue.

    I’m going to disagree with this. It makes as much sense as recognizing a degree called “Master of Artistic Science.”

    Now, if they wanted to call it, say, a “Master – Believer Science,” or M-BS, that might be okay.

  2. those primitive young-earth-creationists burst out of their trailer parks

    YEEEEEEHA! It’s a hoedown!

  3. Dear Curmudgeon — Again with the trailer park reference! Makes me want to move to a trailer park just for the sport… and how often do they have these hoedowns? Can skeptics go?
    Please advise.
    J Meyers

  4. J Meyers says: “Again with the trailer park reference!”

    Feel free to suggest an alternative, but stay away from race and religion. Let’s see how you’d zero in on creationists.

  5. To Tell the Truth: The danger of accommodating Darwinism through false testimony. This is interesting in the context of the ICR litigation. Johnson argues that because creationism is Truth, any support of Darwinian evolution is false testimony.

    That’s an interesting article. He’s not castigating evolution in it, he’s after the compromisers among Christians — gap theory, day-agers, and the dreaded theistic evolutionists. That’s actually the kind of article I love to see from the YECs — offensive not to atheists and “evolutionists,” but to many Christians. As I’ve said on a number of occasions, if the anti-evolutionists win, blood will flow in the aisles the next day as the Christians fight it out among themselves.