ICR at 0 degrees

By Phil Plait | April 24, 2008 6:08 pm

A Texas judge state’s commissioner for higher education has ruled that the Institute (heh) of Creation (heh heh) Research (HAHAHAHAhahahaha) can’t award Masters of Science degrees.

I mean, duh. The judge commissioner said, basically, that religion isn’t science.

Again, duh.

But then the judge commissioner said:

Religious belief is not science… Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing.

Perhaps some aspects of religion are reconcilable with science, but not the idea that the Earth is 6000 years old. That’s just wrong.

The money quote is here:

“What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality,” said Paul Murray, a geophysicist from Austin.

Man, I’ll have to remember that.

And to the ICR, I say: <Nelson>HA ha!</Nelson>

Tip o’ the mortar board to BABloggee Richard Wilbourn.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Religion, Science

Comments (32)

  1. What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality,” said Paul Murray, a geophysicist from Austin.

    Oh, my-my-my… nice quote. :D

  2. Greg in Austin

    And you said Texas was doomed.

    “DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooomed!”

    8)

  3. Raymund Paredes, who is quoted here, is not a judge. He is commissioner for higher education and a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He has a Ph.D. in American civilization, and no particular legal expertise that has ever been mentioned in the news.

  4. I’d be fine with this, as long as the religious establishment doesn’t mind MIT handing out Doctorates of Divinity.

  5. Yoshi_3up

    I first saw the title as “WR at 0 degrees”. I thought of the WR-104 star, and thinked “Oh, no, it’s gonna go GRB on us and it’s gonna kill us!!11!1!oneoneeleven!1!shift!!1″.

    Well, not like that, but you startled me a bit.

    Back on topic, well, this is a small step for de-doomification of Texas.

    (And, come on. Institute of Creation RESEARCH?! What the heck?!)

  6. Adam

    See? Us Texas can get stuff right after all!

  7. Adam

    Or not. Hmm… I meant “Texans”, obviously.

    Not sure how I managed to post both the correct and incorrect spellings.
    Sorry ’bout that, Y’all.

  8. A glimmer of hope from the Lone Star State.
    Thanks for the good report, Phil!
    Don’t mess with Texas! ;-D
    Rich

  9. Zen Faulkes, good catch. I had heard (incorrectly it seems) days ago that a judge had ruled in this case, and for some reason went with that while writing. I’ll have to be more careful about that in the future. Thanks.

  10. MandyDax

    Adam, it’s funny that way, though. o^_^o

  11. Alan

    Yoshi_3up wrote: “(And, come on. Institute of Creation RESEARCH?! What the heck?!)”

    Didn’t you hear, “research” apparently got a new meaning in the last few decades. If you’re a religious fundamentalist or woo-woo believer, researching a topic means finding a few random sources that support the viewpoint you want to “prove” and reading them while nodding your head in agreement.

  12. Damon B.

    “What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality.”

    ZING!

  13. Blu-Ray-Ven

    “What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality.”

    OHHHH SNAP, thats the quote of the year

  14. Wayne

    “Perhaps some aspects of religion are reconcilable with science, but not the idea that the Earth is 6000 years old.”

    I’m sure that’s not what he meant. He probably just meant that one shouldn’t try to be the other. To paraphrase, “Render unto science that which is science’s”. I have to say, I’m relieved to hear this.

  15. Brango

    Yoshi_3upon said: “And, come on. Institute of Creation RESEARCH?! What the heck?!”

    Is it just me, or does anyone else despair of humanity sometimes?

    First believers want to argue, and now they want to research…

    What kind of weak-assed version of faith is that!?!?

    Just read your bible and be happy that everything you need to know is in there. You don’t need to argue about it and you definately don’t need to research anything.

    Leave all the work to us realworlders, and we’ll even share the spoils with you… unless of course your internet protocol is supernatural bytes and your computer is powered by those zappy lightning bolts that come out of gods finger… in which case, you don’t need us!!

  16. rocketguy

    “Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable”

    It’s easy if you treat religion as what it is: a set of parables to teach one how to live. Not a history text to tell us our history verbatim.

  17. Ian

    “It’s easy if you treat religion as what it is: a set of parables to teach one how to live. Not a history text to tell us our history verbatim.”

    Shhhhhhh. The atheists are having a good time patting themselves on the back and being smarmy about it.

    The trend I’ve noticed so far is that the the extreme creationist folks try to pull a fast one, the extreme atheists then have kittens and while those two scream at each other and basically engage in a girl slap fight over their matching prom dresses, the moderate folks work things out get things back to normal.

  18. Tony

    Ian, thank you. Sometimes I feel like the only person who feels that way. I am not alone!!!!

  19. Your knowledge of religion seems quite limited – to creationism rather than to religion in general. Personally, I have little use for religion but have found the devout atheism exhibits the same qualities as extreme religions. I have come to think of hyper-atheism itself as a strongly converting, anti-salvationist religion. You are an excellent science writer and communicator. The other seems egoistic.

    “The one principle sure to keep humanity in eternal ignorance is contempt prior to investigation.”

  20. KC

    Alan:

    I was about to reply that was the Usenet definition of research, but then it hit me that this exact same thing has cropped up in academia. Sometimes it gets caught, sometimes not. Also known as cherry picking, it seems to be common human response regardless of belief. Something we should all watch out for in ourselves.

    About “Science and religious belief are surely irreconcilable:”

    What do we make of this quote?

    “The aim of natural science is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.”

    That was said by St. Albertus Magnus.

  21. KC

    OK:

    According to the link, this is an accreditation issue. The idea of accreditation is to endure that the graduates of a program meet certain standards. This means a curriculum that adequately covers the same material.

    Depending on Texas Law (I’m not a lawyer and don’t pretend to be one), the Institute of Creation Research may or may not be allowed to issue a Master of Science degree. However, if they do issue one, it’s an non-accredited degree. Non-accredited degrees are regarded with suspicion, and for good reason.

    Something doesn’t quite track here and I came away thinking we’re hearing only part of the story. Unless the Institute of Creation Research wanted to offer MS degrees only in biology or geology or astronomy, then a complete ban of accreditation based on the idea of young earth creationism seems odd. One can have a solid grounding in, say, physics, without addressing either creationism or evolution.

    So I actually went to the Institute of Creation Research site and found they have a graduate program in Astro/Geophysics, Biology, Geology, with a minor in General Science. Suddenly the Texas board’s decision becomes clear. The belief that the universe is only several thousand years old flies in the face of what can be observed. If they’re not teaching evolution theory with the same degree of attention of creationism, then accreditation of that degree is out as well.

    As one of the few YEC I know once said, you must learn the material in order to graduate. The ICR must meet certain guidelines, whether they accept it or not, in order to meet accreditation standards. It doesn’t seem that they have. End of issue.

    The IRC may try to fight it, but I don’t see where they have a valid argument. But then, I’m not a lawyer.

  22. KC

    Yikes!

    I misread the sentence “Science and religious belief are surely reconcilable, but they are not the same thing.” Reconcilable, not irreconcilable.

    Sorry, everyone.

  23. TheOtherOne

    If religion is “a set of parables to teach one how to live”, rather than a “history text”, what’s the point of picking one? I can get some nice “how to live” parables out of Aesop – frankly, some are much more useful for teaching a child how to behave then some of those bible parables . . . .

    What’s so wrong in taking the step from “it’s just a bunch of stories, but it’s useful” to “it’s just a bunch of stories, and they’re not really useful except to explain cultural attitudes and references, and I’ll pick my own rules to live by, thank you”.

    Having taken that step, why is it wrong to stand up for myself against people who think that I can’t *possibly* be a good person if I don’t base my morality on that book of parables?

    Sorry, but I’ve heard *way* too often that it isn’t possible to be a moral person without a belief in that book of parables. Sometimes, I just have to tell people I don’t buy it. At which point, I’m often immediately called “militant”, with the inference that my opinions are therefore slanted/biased/non-credible.

  24. Funnily enough a week or so back I receieved and email from ICR wanting me to go in person to the hearing IIRC and support them.

    Unfortunately I was washing my hair that day and could not hop on a plane and get across. I was also a bit skint at the time.

    Sorry ICR I let you down.

    We now return you to your normal programming

  25. MartinM

    The trend I’ve noticed so far is that the the extreme creationist folks try to pull a fast one, the extreme atheists then have kittens and while those two scream at each other and basically engage in a girl slap fight over their matching prom dresses, the moderate folks work things out get things back to normal.

    Fortunately, no reasonable observer could possibly regard this as one of those moderate folks having a good time patting himself on the back and being smarmy about it.

  26. Taz

    “The trend I’ve noticed so far is that the the extreme creationist folks try to pull a fast one, the extreme atheists then have kittens…”

    Extreme atheists – they don’t just not believe in god, they REALLY don’t believe in god. (Or does it have something to do with not believing in god while snowboarding?) I guess since you’re admitting that the creationists are always trying to “pull a fast one”, it’s a good thing the atheists are there to call them on it. And can we dispense with the idiotic “atheism is a religion” nonsense? If atheism is a religion then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  27. Celtic_Evolution

    @Ian

    The trend I’ve noticed so far is that the the extreme creationist folks try to pull a fast one, the extreme atheists then have kittens and while those two scream at each other and basically engage in a girl slap fight over their matching prom dresses, the moderate folks work things out get things back to normal.

    Wow. Great speech. Got some questions for you, though. Seems to me the only one being extreme in describing any of this is you.

    So… first, which extremist atheists are “having kittens” and what are some examples of these kittens? Seems to me that neither Phil’s representation of the issue in his post nor the comments of the referenced commisioner would fall anywhere near the category of “extreme”. Now, your comment above… THAT I think might qualify as extreme.

    Second, “girl slap fight over their matching prom dresses”? Are you rejecting relevent content in favor of mildly amusing humor? If so, well done!

    Third, which moderate folks are you referring to… yourself? Please… your prior posts on this board would reveal that to be a mis-representation. And what exactly is “normal”?

  28. Stephen

    “What they are calling science education has as much to do with science as reality television has to do with reality,” said Paul Murray, a geophysicist from Austin.

    Nice quote, but still excessively generous to the ICR. After all, there is actually some connection between reality television and reality, even if it is frequently pretty strained.

  29. StevoR

    I like Galileo’s quote in this context which went something like (in Italian though naturally .. or maybe Latin, a-n-y-w-a-y) :

    “Science tells us how the heavens go, not how to go to heaven.”

    That sums it up perfectly.

    Want an ethical code on how to live your life well?

    Well then, in that case, the Bible’s fine but a geology/biology/astronomy text is totally inapplicable & unhelpful.

    Want to know the facts about the age of the Earth or how Humans came to be?

    Well then, in that case, a geology/biology/astronomy text is fine but the Bible’s totally inapplicable & unhelpful.

    Seems simple & clear enough if you look at things that way doesn’t it? Can’t both religion & science get along with that?

    As for atheism not being a religion, well strictly speaking neither
    is Buddhism either. Perhaps both more broadly belong under the
    philosophy not religion classification however both areforms of belief about religion. Buddhists are passionate believers in Buddha’s path to
    enlightenment, atheists are passionately & sometimes stridently convinced that there is no God but NO God

    … & agnostics like me shrug our shoulders and say well .. heck .. we’re not sure & like Socrates we know what we don’t know .. and thus have open minds.

    ———————–

    Then of course there’s the old joke of :

    What do you get if you cross a Mormon withan atheist?

    Answer : Someone who knocks on your door for nothing! ;-)

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