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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/06/25

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The Institute for Creation Research suffers a legal defeat in Texas,
while Louisiana's politicians are reproached for their anti-science
agenda in light of the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.


The Institute for Creation Research suffered a significant legal
defeat in its lawsuit over the Texas Higher Education Coordination
Board's 2008 decision to deny the ICR's request for a state
certificate of authority to offer a master's degree in science
education from its graduate school. A June 18, 2010, ruling in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas found
(p. 38) that "ICRGS [the Institute for Creation Research Graduate
School] has not put forth evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue
of material fact with respect to any claim it brings. Thus, Defendants
are entitled to summary judgment on the totality of ICRGS's claims
against them in this lawsuit."

As NCSE's Glenn Branch explained in Reports of the NCSE, "When the
Institute for Creation Research moved its headquarters from Santee,
California, to Dallas, Texas, in June 2007, it expected to be able to
continue offering a master's degree in science education from its
graduate school. ... But the state's scientific and educational
leaders voiced their opposition, and at its April 24, 2008, meeting,
the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board unanimously voted to
deny the ICR's request for a state certificate of authority to offer
the degree." Subsequently, the ICR appealed the decision, while also
taking its case to the court of public opinion with a series of press
releases and advertisements in Texas newspapers.

The issue was not, strictly speaking, about accreditation, but about
temporary state certification, which would have enabled the ICR
graduate school to operate while it sought accreditation. When in
California, the ICR graduate school was accredited by the
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which
requires candidate institutions to affirm a list of Biblical
Foundations, including "the divine work of non-evolutionary creation
including persons in God's image." TRACS is not recognized by the
state of Texas, however, and after the ICR moved from Santee,
California, to Dallas, Texas, the ICR expressed its intention to seek
accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Finally, the ICR filed suit against THECB in 2009, accusing it and its
members of imposing "an unconstitutional and prejudicial burden
against ICRGS's academic freedom and religious liberties." The prolix
style of the ICR's initial complaint -- which the Dallas Observer
(April 20, 2009) quipped "reads kind of like stereo instructions" --
was apparently continued in its subsequent documents; the court
complained, "It appears that although the Court has twice required
Plaintiff to re-plead and set forth a short and plain statement of the
relief requested, Plaintiff is entirely unable to file a complaint
which is not overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering, and
full of irrelevant information" (p. 12).

In summary, the ICR claimed that THECB's actions violated its rights
to free exercise, free speech, and equal protection, its rights to
procedural and substantive due process, and its rights under the Texas
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as that "Standard 12" --
the civil regulation on which THECB's decision was based (19 Texas
Administrative Code sec. 7.4(14)) -- was vague. The court found merit
in none of these claims. With respect to the free exercise claim, for
example, the court found that "the Board’s decision was rationally
related to a legitimate governmental interest, and there is no
evidence the decision was motivated by animus toward any religious
viewpoint" (p. 24).

For the court's ruling (PDF), visit: 

For Branch's article in RNCSE, visit: 

For NCSE's collection of documents from the case, visit: 


As the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico worsens, a
columnist finds it ironic that the state's politicians are now
"seeking the brightest minds in science and engineering to help" when
they "have built their careers by pandering to large anti-science
constituencies in our state." Writing in the Shreveport Times (June
19, 2010), Charles Kincade argues that such pandering "will condemn
our students to instruction in junk science and dumb down public
school curricula. It already has brought our state national ridicule.
And, most importantly, it will, unless changed, render us and future
generations unable to deal with future challenges, which will
increasingly be more scientific and technical in nature."

Kincade's targets are Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal, who in 2008
supported and signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which opened
the door for creationism to be taught in the state's public schools,
and Louisiana's junior senator, David Vitter, who in 2007 attempted to
earmark $100,000 of federal funds to the Louisiana Family Forum -- a
religious right group with a long history of promoting creationism and
attacking evolution -- "to develop a plan to promote better science
education." That plan would have involved a study of the Ouachita
Parish School Board's antievolution policy, which was adopted with the
LFF's support in 2006, and which subsequently provided the basis for
the LSEA.

Quoting NCSE's Glenn Branch and Eugenie C. Scott's "The latest face of
creationism" (which appeared in the January 2009 issue of Scientific
American) as warning that "scientific literacy will be indispensable
for workers, consumers, and policymakers in a future dominated by
medical, biotechnological, and environmental concerns", Kincade adds,
"That future is now. The current Gulf disaster implicates all these
concerns. And Jindal's educational policy handicaps future
generations' ability to deal with inevitable future crises." He
concludes, "unless the anti-science policies of Jindal, Vitter, et
al[.] are corrected, and soon, future generations will be unable to
function in the modern world."

For Kincade's column, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Louisiana, visit: 

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x310
fax: 510-601-7204

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