Sunday, December 23, 2007

Creationist College Advances in Texas

Yeah, this is pretty special.

On Friday, an advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recommended that the state allow the Institute for Creation Research to start offering online master’s degrees in science education. The institute, which has been based in California, where it operates a museum and many programs for people who don’t believe in evolution, is relocating to Dallas, where it hopes to expand its online education offerings.

In Texas, the institute needs either regional accreditation (for which is applying, but which will take some time) or state approval to offer degrees. Some science groups are aghast by the idea that Texas would authorize master’s degrees in science education that are based on complete opposition to evolution and literal acceptance of the Bible. And these groups are particularly concerned because the students in these programs would be people who are or want to be school teachers.


Paredes, the commissioner of higher education, said it was “way too early to get worked up” about the prospect of creationism degrees being awarded. He said he would be making a recommendation to the coordinating board based ultimately on “what is in the best interests of college students in Texas” and that since this program would train teachers, he would take an even broader perspective of what is best for all students.

Asked for his views on evolution, Paredes said “I accept the conventions of science’ and “I believe evolution has a legitimate place in the teaching of science.” But he declined to say that evolution should be taught as the science.

“A lot of people believe creationism is a legitimate point of view. I respect them,” Paredes 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.”

More from News: Inside Higher Ed

I've heard comments that the consequences of this won't just be bad PR for a state famed for its fanatical idiocy and mistrust of anything not advertised on The 700 Club. Some people have worried that students from Texas will not have attended accredited schools by the standards of the rest of the nation. Can we just let them secede already?

But... for fuck's sake. There is no conflict in the scientific community over this. There isn't a controversy among people who actually understand evolution. This whole "teach them as equal theories" thing doesn't hold water because it makes it seem like there's any question to educated people as to which theory makes the most scientific sense.

The only hope I have here is that the program wouldn't be called "science education," because at that point it isn't. If you're not teaching what scientists believe based on evidence at their disposal and education not everyone has, you're not teaching science.

Blagh. I don't even know what to say. This is disgusting.

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