10 January 2008

Texas Higher Education and Creation Research, Part 12

Austin American-Statesman logoI've been gaining a lot of respect for the Austin American-Statesman for its continued and very good coverage of Texas education, starting with its uncovering of the Chris Comer story. Today, it has a new article on the Institute for Creation Research's application to grant Master's degrees in higher education, and an interesting postscript.

I can't help but snicker at this somewhat reserved statement:
Paredes has asked an informal panel of scientists and science educators to comment on the institute's curriculum, which is flavored with a Christian worldview.
Saying the institute is "flavored" with a Christian worldview is a little like biting into a mouthful of habanero peppers and saying it's "a little spicy."

But I'm also reminded of something Kevin Padian said at the SICB meeting in San Antonio. He really objects when students say they don't accept evolution "because I'm a Christian." He points out that many Christians have no problem with evolution, so if you're going to let religion be a sticking point, be honest enough to admit that you're rejecting evolution because you're a fundamentalist. Similarly, I think ICR should be tagged as a fundamentalist Christian institution, because the qualifier really is important in distinguishing their particular point of view. Their views are not supported by all -- probably not even most -- branches of Christianity.

For instance:
(T)he institute's bylaws, tenets and other records show that students and faculty members are required to believe that humans did not evolve from animals but were created in fully human form from the start, that God created all physical and living things in the universe in six days, and that anyone who rejects Jesus Christ will be consigned to "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Not exactly an institution that's big on the idea of academic freedom, really. I'm sure they allow people lots of freedom within that framework, but it's a very narrow framework indeed.

The associated postscript notes that Paredes is being extraordinarily careful over this situation, as ICR has shown a tendency to sue when things don't go their way.

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