Wednesday, January 16, 2008
One of the educational train wrecks that were threatening to happen in Texas has apparently been shunted onto a siding for the moment. According to Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed:
The Institute for Creation Research, which received preliminary approval last month from an advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board [to teach a masters program in science education], asked the commission not to consider the matter at this month's meeting. The institute acted after the commissioner of higher education sent the institute a series of questions about its program — questions that weren't considered in the initial review.Raymund A. Paredes, commissioner of higher education for Texas, revealed that he had posed 3 questions to the ICR:
Online learning. "Given all the research that demonstrates that science is best learned by actually doing it, how are you going to give students the proper exposure to the experimentation side of science online?" Parades said that this question is one he would ask of any online science program and wasn't related specifically to creationism.None of them are easy but the last two have to be killers for the ICR. Indeed, it is doing what any condemned man might do: praying ... literally:
Curriculum. "Their curriculum doesn't line up very well with the curriculum available in conventional master of science programs here in Texas," he said. "I wanted them to either revise the curriculum or explain why it departed from the norm."
Research. Paredes said that the institute "claims that their faculty do actual research," so he asked for "material that documented the research activities under way" and that show the research to be "based on solid scientific research."
Pray for the THECB Commissioner, Dr. Raymund Paredes, and his staff, that they will see the difference between experimental science (laboratory research) and forensic science (interpretations of present data about historical events). ICR teaches exactly the same experimental science as any university, but we have a very different perspective when it comes to forensic science (origins, pre-history). Pray that such distinctions will be made clear.Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science has already written a good refutation of that alleged "distinction." But the ICR's blather just emphasizes how much trouble it will have answering the second question posed by Paredes. After all, if the ICR is making a distinction that normal science education programs don't make, why should ICR be allowed to give the same degree as the others?
Now if we can just find a siding to park Don McLeroy on.
I think breaking this story through as many media outlets as possible is a good way to quell this nonsense. No one likes to be laughed at, so hopefully a large amount of media coverage will keep the kooks from pushing their agenda any further.
If laughing at creationist stupidity is any help at all, I'll do my bit! ;-)