I have mixed feelings about this article in Inside Higher Ed on the issue of approving an ICR degree program in Texas. On the one hand, it’s clear that the Texas bureaucracy is being cautious and thorough and working its way through their official protocols. Raymund Paredes, the commissioner of higher education, has raised concerns about the proposed program—online graduate degrees in he sciences are problematic because they lack the laboratory component; the proposed curriculum is not equivalent to other graduate programs in Texas; they haven’t documented that the ICR is a research institution. He’s said that because the subject is controversial, it’s going to be examined “thoroughly and fairly.”
OK, that’s all good. Let’s all calmly work through the proper channels.
On the other hand, though, it’s freaking insane. The ICR is an organization that demands a loyalty oath for its employees:
The statement of faith for everyone at the institute requires support for both “scientific creationism” and “Biblical creationism.” The former includes the belief that humans were created “in fully human form from the start” and that the universe was created “perfect” by the “creator.” The latter includes the beliefs that the Bible is literally true and “free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological.” Specifically, the statement requires belief in the literal creation of the earth in six days, that Adam and Eve were the first humans, and in the virgin birth of Jesus.
This is a sectarian theological program, a rinky-tink mob of cultists with no scientific credibility at all, demanding that a state recognize its work as equivalent to, say, that of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Texas Austin. Alarmed? Every Texan ought to be furious at the idea that any yahoo with a Bible and a flaky idée fixe can set themselves up as logistically equivalent to a multi-million dollar research institution.
And these people are proposing to teach the state’s teachers, who will then go on to teach the state’s children.
The whole idea is subversive, lunatic, and destructive to the educational system as a whole, and the commissioner can simultaneously say that it is “controversial” and that he could still authorize the program? Insanity.
Texas is in the spotlight on this issue, but there’s another state that needs to be examined: California. The ICR is moving from California, where they have been handing out degrees in creationist inanity for many years — where has the quality control been, California?
Maybe every state ought to reexamine its approval processes. It’s hard to believe that we’re actually seriously considering whether fundamentalist nonsense and distortions should be regarded as equivalent to modern science, and that these crackpots and their clown college proposal weren’t laughed at and rejected out of hand.