17 December 2007

Texas Higher Education and Creation Research, Part 2

An advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has, to my shock, actually recommended the Institute for Creation Research be allowed to award Master's degrees in science education in Texas.

My surprise was slightly mitigated by this information:
(T)he Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be taking up the issue in the wake of an August ruling by the Texas Supreme Court questioning the grounds on which the board had evaluated seminaries and warning the board not to impose secular values on seminaries.
But the surprise factor went back up when I read this familiar sounding quote:
“A lot of people believe creationism is a legitimate point of view. I respect them,” (Raymund A. Paredes, commissioner of higher education for Texas) said. “I’m an advocate of the principle that when there is a controversy and there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the conflict, my pedagogical principle is ‘teach the conflict.’ Maybe that’s a possibility here.”
Ah, yes. "Teach the conflict." I refer you back to the letter to the Texas Education Agency signed by many biology professors in the state, which surveyed journals to find 29,639 peer-reviewed scientific papers on evolution in 12 journals to 0 on intelligent design. I expect "creation science" would yield a similar total.

From a scientific point of view, that's not a conflict. That's a massacre.

In some sense, however, although surprising, the advisory report is almost meaningless, since the major accrediting agency is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (universally known in the area as SACS). I can't imagine SACS would accredit them, since the Institute for Creation Research has never had mainstream accreditation, by all accounts. They had accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), but apparently have no longer, according to Texas Citizens for Science. Texas Citizens for Science is turning out to be a very active ad interesting source of information on this matter.

No comments: