Court Smacks Down Creationist Institute Suit

An effort by an anti-evolution “institute” to dumb-down science education in Texas hit a brick wall in federal court last week. On June 18 federal district Judge Sam Sparks refused to force Texas to grant authority to the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) to offer master of science degrees in science education.

In 2009 the ICRGS filed a lawsuit against the Texas commissioner of higher education, Raymund Paredes, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board after the coordinating board refused to approve an application for authority to grant the degrees. The ICRGS claimed that the coordinating board had engaged in “viewpoint discrimination” and thereby violated the “institute’s” constitutional rights to free exercise of religion, free speech and equal protection. Judge Sparks disagreed:

“(T)he Court finds ICRGS has not put forth evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any claim it brings.”

Actually, Judge Sparks used much sharper language throughout his ruling, noting the rambling and confusing complaint filed by the ICRGS:

“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.”

Judge Sparks’ ruling vindicates the opinions of expert reviewers appointed by Paredes to examine the ICRGS application before the coordinating board voted on the issue in 2008. Prof. David Hillis, a widely respected scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, was one of the reviewers. Hillis said in his review (which was noted in Judge Sparks’ ruling):

“[T]he evidence in this application clearly indicates this proposed program is not about science education. Science education emphasizes that science is learning about the unknown from a neutral perspective, relying on observable evidence and experimentation. In contrast, this program is about religion, not science[.]… The [ICRGS] program clearly does not meet the standards of the [Board]. In particular the proposed course of study in no way ‘adequately cover[s] the breadth of knowledge of the discipline taught.’ The vast majority of the proposed science courses do not resemble any offered for graduate credit by other Texas colleges and universities in breadth, depth, or content, and they would not be acceptable for transfer or credit as a result. The proposed program of study in no way would adequately prepare students in the field of science education, at any level, and certainly not at the graduate level.”

The ICRGS lawsuit has helped further expose the efforts of anti-science pressure groups to promote ideology over real science and sound scholarship in education. Judge Sparks’ noted in his ruling this passage from the ICRGS program catalog:

  1. It is the position of the institute that…all genuine facts of science support the Bible.
  2. The phenomenon of biological life did not develop by natural processes from
    inanimate systems but was specially and supernaturally created by the creator.
  3. All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the
    Creation Week described in Genesis…[.] The creation record is factual, historical, and
    perspicuous; thus all theories of origin and development that involve evolution in any
    form are false.

Even so, Judge Sparks wrote that he had seen nothing to indicate that the coordinating board’s decision in 2008 was motivated by an alleged anti-religion bias on the part of board members, Paredes or their reviewers:

“ICRGS has set forth no actual evidence of any animus toward it because of its religious viewpoint by any Defendant (although ICRGS’s filings contain no shortage of speculation on this subject).”

We don’t know whether the ICRGS will appeal, but the ruling is clearly a huge setback for anti-science extremists. The full ruling is here. The National Center for Science Education has more information here.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted July 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    trog69…one might think that the older one gets, the less insane they might become regarding this craziness. W.C. Fields once caught reading the bible. Being a atheist or agnostic a friend of his asked him what he was doing. “Looking for loop holes, my good man.”

    If I had the ability to do so, I would take every funny-mentalist and segregate them from the rest of the population. If they reproduced, I’d have their children removed at age of six months so they would not absorb their parent’s disease. What is that disease? STUPIDITY!

    Too many people believe that every word of the bible was written down by their deity. Probably written on Indian paper with seal skin coverings and the words HOLY BIBLE stamped on the front, else it would not be “holy.”

    Who wrote the bible, including what Christians call the New Testament. JEWS! Each and every word was written by a people who used a style of writing called Midrashic. Jesus was quiet fond of using parables to illustrate the points he wanted to make. He used language the people could understand. Who was the original readers of the Torah? It certainly wasn’t the Turks; it was the Jews who read it and understood the Midrashic style of writing.

    Adam and Eve, for example, had a couple of kids. One killed the other. Later on he found a woman and married her. WHERE IN THE BLAZES DID SHE COME FROM? No, not A&E, the human population was large; A&E are parables. The teaching? Gd can even forgive murder.

    Six days to build everything including the whole universe? The universe is STILL GROWING. New stars are coming into being all the time, so the nonsense that Gd created everything in existence is just that: NONSENSE!

    There are historical events reported in the bible, and a load of parables.

    Have you ever wondered why Jesus was so proficient in teaching via parables? Because he attended one of the finest schools (Talmud Torah) in Israel. The “dead sea scrolls” were written by the Essenes…and that was where Jesus spent the so-called “lost years.”

    Science has trumped the religious non-thinkers. Take a look at some of the pictures of the Hubble space telescope. Watch the universe being created in front of your eyes, then either admit you’ve been in error or check into a hospital where the mentally ill go in an attempt to be cured of their superstitions.

  2. trog69
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Oops. That should read as the judge remarking about the attorneys representing the ICR.

  3. trog69
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Charles, I read the summary judgment, and the judge really laid the wood the ICR, especially noting the verbose yet ineffectual methods they used as evidence of religious bias against the board.

  4. trog69
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Beverly, as I get older and more crotchety, it seems I am now finding more and more of my friends and relatives who flat-out disbelieve in evolution though they almost always have some mishmash of the theory in their heads. The cognitive dissonance between what they can tell is reality, and what they’ve been told all their lives in church is a sad thing to behold. Once we get off that subject and talk about non-logical things, they go back to being normal people that I care about.

    Similarly, just as with conspiracy theorists, they won’t listen to anything that disputes their pre-conceived notions. I no longer try, as they have to want to learn before they will, usually. The brother-in-law is sometimes amenable to reason. hehe.

    If the religious right would kick the liars and obfuscators to the curb, we seculars would have a lot less to complain about. But that would mean less money in the coffers for them, so that’s right out.

  5. Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    During a conversation with someone who I thought should knew better said, “Gd made everything the way it is, even the so-called fossils.”

    Welll…I still respect her as her field of specialty is not science, but she knocked me off my feet with that statement. But I am THRILLED that a judge finally had the chutzpah to say NO, NO, NO…SLAM…SLAM…NO to superstitious, substandard idiots.

    I believe in Gd. I believe in the bible. But that does not preclude me KNOWING that the age of the universe is between 15 and 20 BILLION years old and that the earth is is about 5 BILLION years old. Fact or fiction? FACT.

    Two things drive me up a wall; liars and deliberate idiots, so it is nice to see a judge who is not afraid to use uncommon sense to make an intelligent decision. Hurray for our side!

  6. Charles
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    The judge’s legal staff accidentally left out a word his honor no doubt intended to insert at the end of his ruling. Being an editor, I wiil fix it for his honor right here:

    “In conclusion, the Court finds ICRGS 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. Fruitcakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  7. Science Teacher
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Must have been some sort of pinko, commie, liberal, rationalist, reality-based judge. You just can’t trust that sort to support ANY kind of precious dogma. That right there’s grounds for appeal. ;-)

  8. Doc Bill
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    The shorter ICRGS lawsuit: “Unfair! WAAAHHHH!”

  9. Coragyps
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    “Maundering.” My new favorite word.

    We need to get ICRGS’s brief-writer together with Orly Taitz, the birther “lawyer.” The two together could write some STUFF!

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