More on The ICR Lawsuit

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There’s more on the ICR’s lawsuit against the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board over at Tony’s Curricublog, and from Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science. Shafersman makes an important point here:

ICR claims it “met or exceeded” the 21 Standards of Certificates of Authority. In fact, ICR did not meet several of those standards which was the basis of the THECB’s refusal to grant the Certificate of Authority. Three of those unmet standards were faculty qualifications, the curriculum, and academic freedom of the faculty and students. The standard of judging these things is comparison with other Texas institutions of higher learning that offer the same Master of Science Degree in Science Education. ICR was in no way comparable to other institutions, which was the original THECB justification for denial of the certification. Indeed, ICR compares so unfavorably that in my opinion it would never be able to achieve accreditation from a legitimate accrediting association, and I believe ICR’s plan was to keep renewing its state Certificate of Authority indefinitely (or seek legislative assistance in some fashion.…)

ICR’s claim that it suffers from “anti-accommodational evolution-only-science enforcement policy practices” is frankly absurd. ICR has every right in the world to teach its Creationist pseudoscience to paying students and can continue to do that, so that falsifies its claim of illegal victimization by the State of Texas. It has no right, however, to demand that its graduating students be awarded a Texas-certified Master of Science degree, since under no definition of science or practice of legitimate science education in the United States is ICR’s curriculum “science.”

91 Comments

Also, I think one could argue that ICR is not a “degree mill” as they charge around $13,000 for a Masters.

So, let me get this straight. They take 13 grand from people desperate enough to fork out the dough for a bogus certification. Nice work if you can get it, I guess!

I’d grant one for $100. Where do I sign up?

Some of that seemed, oh, I don’t know, VAGUELY IMPORTANT:

In fact, ICR did not meet several of those standards which was the basis of the THECB’s refusal to grant the Certificate of Authority. Three of those unmet standards were faculty qualifications, the curriculum, and academic freedom of the faculty and students.

Now, WHO?????? has the problem with academic freedom????? Would someone from the “Big Tent” like to enlighten me on this issue? Anyone? Anyone?

KP said:

Now, WHO?????? has the problem with academic freedom????? Would someone from the “Big Tent” like to enlighten me on this issue? Anyone? Anyone?

The ICR has absolutely no problem with “academic freedom,” as the students and faculty are free to believe whatever their blessed hearts desire, provided it falls within the statements of faith forbidding them from ever ever contradicting a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. It’s only those evil liberals that regard something like this as a “lack” of academic freedom.

These guys obviously have a bad case of science envy. Why do they want real accreditation anyway? Won’t the religious organizations hire their graduates without it? Can’t they contrive some phoney accreditation by another religious institution? Why do they even want the vaneer of respectability? Who do they think that they will be fooling? Just imagine what a job interview for a tenure track position would be like. Anyone who was going to hire their graduates would no doubt already be aware of the quality of their graduates anyway. Isn’t it good enough for them to just go to work at the place they graduate from? After all, they already know that the standards for faculty there are pretty low.

Oh well, at least it is theoretically impossible for a court to change the law anyway. The suit will probably thrown out with extreme prejudice and the judge will probably charge them for wasting his time by making him read such a lengthy piece of nonsense. It’ s about time that these people learned that there are consequences to such actions.

As for academic freedom, I suppose that means that they do not allow anyone to “teach the controversy” or that they allow the teaching of the weaknesses but not the strengths of evolutionary theory.

Stanton said:

KP said:

Now, WHO?????? has the problem with academic freedom????? Would someone from the “Big Tent” like to enlighten me on this issue? Anyone? Anyone?

The ICR has absolutely no problem with “academic freedom,” as the students and faculty are free to believe whatever their blessed hearts desire, provided it falls within the statements of faith forbidding them from ever ever contradicting a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. It’s only those evil liberals that regard something like this as a “lack” of academic freedom.

I wonder if we’ll see the DI trying to convince the ICR that they need more ID in their system? It would be amusing, because the ICR has been critical of those wish-washy IDists before.

Giving Degrees in Awesomeness, and Reptoid Studies @ http://www.TheNewAtheist.com

I wonder why they don’t just merge with one of the established fundamentalist schools like Liberty University, Bryan College, or one of the seminaries like the Southern Baptist one in Louisville, KY? Would they need additional certification or acreditation? I thought Liberty U’s education major graduates could get certified to teach in Virginia and numerous other states. Hope I’m not giving them any ideas. It would be especially rotten for KY to have both the ICR and the Creation “Museum”.

Of course Ham could let them have a spare room in the warehouse/book distribution center attached to his “museum.”

Dan said:

I wonder why they don’t just merge with one of the established fundamentalist schools like Liberty University, Bryan College, or one of the seminaries like the Southern Baptist one in Louisville, KY?

Money.

And power.

Mostly money.

Stanton said:

Dan said:

I wonder why they don’t just merge with one of the established fundamentalist schools like Liberty University, Bryan College, or one of the seminaries like the Southern Baptist one in Louisville, KY?

Money.

And power.

Mostly money.

Yes, yes, but more importantly, they’d be certified to teach in the public schools and other public institutions as well as outside of Texas. That, I think, is their ultimate goal.

Steven Schafersman Wrote:

The lawsuit names as defendants the eight members of the THECB in both their official and individual capacities, thus making it expensive for each member. No doubt all will be represented by the same team of attorneys, but each will have to consider their individual financial liability, which will be unappealing and discouraging to them. This will intimidate them to settle with terms favorable to ICR. ICR could have just sued the THECB as an institution, but that would not be mean-spirited and intimidating enough for the litigious ICR.

Wow; talk about mean-spiritedness. These ICR fake Christians are really gunning for a fight this time.

I would hope that, after this ploy fails, the members of the board would counter sue to recover their losses and impose extreme punitive costs on the individual members of ICR for wasting taxpayer money.

There must be enough evidence by now to start throwing these clowns in prison for fraud. Every other type of misrepresentation and misdirection of other peoples’ money and resources is considered fraud, why should this not be the case with the tactics of these idiots?

It might take a team of scientists to go through the decades pseudo-science material pumped out by these crackpots and compile a convincing case for the courts. It would take a little time, but at some point these creeps need to feel some real pain and brought to a halt. Unless they are finally “body-slammed” in the courts and in public, they will continue to nickel-dime the public coffers to death indefinitely. Apparently that is how they think

Nope. That would just prove that they’re being persecuted, would generate more funds from the flock, and so load to another stunt with financial and political objectives. But it’s hard to see what approach would work best.

These people lie - fluently, repeatedly, and unhesitatingly. The people they lie to most are their own followers. Those followers, like most Christians, tend to have strong views on the ninth commandment. However, authority figures who get caught with their [body part] in the [cliché] are allowed (after a tearful appearance on someone’s cable show) a degree of forgiveness that verges on colletive amnesia. (I suspect this has something to do with reinforcing group identity in an authoritarian culture, but that’s a question for another thread). So you can try to discredit them in the eyes of their supporters, but the nature of their appeal - which is to reinforce their supporters’ own sense of self - means that trying to discredit them is interpreted as trying to discredit the group identity. Not much prospect for success there.

The science argument is irrelevant: the loons lost that one even before Darwin. (And as anyone who has suffered through a dose of Dembski/Hovind etc knows, they consider science only a means to their religious and political ends.) Engaging with them on that level is counterproductive and just make it look like there really is a ‘controversy’.

That leaves the approach of insulating them from means by which they can do damage to those who don’t want to go along with their world of make-believe. That means constant fire-fighting on school boards, state government panels, etc etc. Depressing, but I don’t see any other realistic options.

And here’s your 98 cents change.

IANAL, but I seem to recall that part of the legal definition of fraud is that the accused must have profited personally or vicariously in some quantifiable, tangible way from the imposture. It is perfectly true that the ICR is using up public money, and it is quite certain that their case is nothing but lies and misrepresentation, but I don’t know how it would fit any definition of fraud that I know.

Amadan wrote:

“Nope. That would just prove that they’re being persecuted, would generate more funds from the flock, and so load to another stunt with financial and political objectives. But it’s hard to see what approach would work best.”

This is probably true. However, when they get laughed out of court they will play the persecution card anyway. They will never even consider the fact that they are completely in the wrong, legally or scientifically. The only real deterrent to such behavior is to make them pay financially. Eventually the followers will get tired of paying for a hopeless cause that hasn’t won a court case in over one hundred years. They may never give up, but they might at leaast be forced to try some different tactics, hopefully ones that are less expensive for tax payers. Who knows, they may eventually realize that trying to force your religious views on others is not desirabe for anyone. Is this really what Jesus would do?

Mike Elzinga said:

Steven Schafersman Wrote:

The lawsuit names as defendants the eight members of the THECB in both their official and individual capacities, thus making it expensive for each member.

Why are the moderate Christians keeping quiet about it? Why are the people who argue persuasively why the Bush admin officials who authored “torture is legal” opinions must not be prosecuted silent now?

Also, I think one could argue that ICR is not a “degree mill” as they charge around $13,000 for a Masters.

So it isn’t a diploma mill. Looks more like an outright scam. How long does it take to teach someone to write GODDIDIT?

You can get the same material for free from AIG and countless creo websites.

IIRC, a lot of the ICR’s program is distance learning, available over the internet. $13,000 sounds outrageous for an internet pseudoscience fake degree. You can also get an enormous amount of real, up to the minute science over the internet for free.

Nope. That would just prove that they’re being persecuted, would generate more funds from the flock, and so load to another stunt with financial and political objectives.

…which could promptly be taken as legal fees and punitive damages with the next court case… followed by more claims of persecution and more donations… followed by legal fees and damages… Eventually, the ICR’s donors might as well just start funneling their donations directly toward the attorneys for the defendants and cut out the ICR middlemen.

Why are the moderate Christians keeping quiet about it?

That is a perennial mystery. Moderate xians exist but there don’t seem to be very many of them.

1.5 million people leave the xian religion every year in the USA. Xianity has lost 10% of its adherents in a few decades and is now down to 76% of the population.

My parents mainstream protestant church might be typical. Most of the active members are old and female. There are virtually no couples with young children. They might get a couple of kids for sunday school or not. This is a large church in a well to do area.

ravilyn sanders said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Steven Schafersman Wrote:

The lawsuit names as defendants the eight members of the THECB in both their official and individual capacities, thus making it expensive for each member.

Why are the moderate Christians keeping quiet about it? Why are the people who argue persuasively why the Bush admin officials who authored “torture is legal” opinions must not be prosecuted silent now?

Never fear, we’re out here, though not so vocal and eloquent as you guys.

Why are the moderate Christians keeping quiet about it?

‘Moderate Christians’ exist and some of us do speak up in various places, but, perhaps due to the generally poor quality of science education, the media’s false ‘fairness’ of ‘balance’ in its reporting of the issues (the credulity the local rag, the Ottawa Citizen shows toward creationism is depressing) and the lack of interest in science in and of itself, most ‘moderate’ Christians simply don’t get involved. Projects like the one enlisting clergy to sign on to statements supporting good science education including the teaching of the theory of evolution can draw out opinion from the ‘moderate’ Christians by actually addressing individuals who may take the time to consider it.

The reality is that most people don’t spend a lot of time and effort on this sort of issue, even most fundies (and thank God for that!) so mobilizing ‘moderate’ Christians, as such, is hard to do. The fundies have an advantage in that their churches provide an organizational basis for their creationism. This is because the fundies see (real) science as a threat to their religion and thus it is an issue that would engage a bunch of people who have come together to engage in their religion - i.e. a ‘church’. It is in the nature of those Christians who accept science as our waying of knowing about the material universe that the issue isn’t critical to our religion itself and thus does not have an obvious connection to our religion that would make our churches into rallying points for science and science education. That asymmetry is inherent in the fundamentalist and non-fundamentalist Christian views.

The result is that ‘moderate’ Christians who accept science would engage as ordinary people outside the context of their churches and not necessarily identifying as Christians. In my case, for the most part, I see my Christianity as being irrelevant to the science and vice versa, so there’s particular point in bringing it in unless the milieu is one where the example of someone who is a Christian and accepts good science would be useful.

Moderate xians exist but there don’t seem to be very many of them.

Not much encouraged to come out as such by the general tenor of contempt indicated by the use of terms like “xians”.

Using a term to label someone when they would not apply that label to themselves is an indication of disrespect, and I’ve not run into many Christians who label themselves as “xians”.

Stanton said:

KP said:

Now, WHO?????? has the problem with academic freedom????? Would someone from the “Big Tent” like to enlighten me on this issue? Anyone? Anyone?

The ICR has absolutely no problem with “academic freedom,” as the students and faculty are free to believe whatever their blessed hearts desire, provided it falls within the statements of faith forbidding them from ever ever contradicting a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. It’s only those evil liberals that regard something like this as a “lack” of academic freedom.

Except that you can’t get more liberal than ID, which in Dembski’s own words can “accommodate all the results of Darwinism.” Compared to that the ICR is almost as “conservative” as us “Darwinists.” They require that the whatever is taught conforms to their particular (one of many mutually contradictory) interpretations of Genesis, while we require that whatever is taught has been rigorously tested and peer-reviewed to earn the right to be taught. ID’s (unspoken) motto is “If it feels good, teach it.”

I’d kind of like to see an atheist group launch a ‘Christian university’ that would grant degrees in theological education and teach that Christianity is the belief there is no God, there was no Jesus, the Bible is hogwash and there is only the material and no such thing as the spritual and required students to sign a statement affirming they hold those beliefs. Somehow I can’t see the ICR agreeing that an organization that accredits schools of theology should accredit such a ‘Christian university’.

Mike from Ottawa Wrote:

Using a term to label someone when they would not apply that label to themselves is an indication of disrespect, and I’ve not run into many Christians who label themselves as “xians”.

I am not only not a Christian, I like to think of myself as the last person in the Universe that would ever join an organized religion. But I still won’t say “fundie,” let alone “xian,” and not only because it’s foot-shooting.

Mike from Ottowa:

Brillian, absolutely brilliant.

Make sure to include the words ‘Southern Baptist’ and ‘Rapture’ and ‘Evangelical’ in the name.

Mike from Ottawa said:

Moderate xians exist but there don’t seem to be very many of them.

Not much encouraged to come out as such by the general tenor of contempt indicated by the use of terms like “xians”.

Mike, I usually agree with you but I have to disagree with you here. Using X to designate Christ goes back to the early church and was originated by Christians themselves. There’s nothing contepmtous about it. Why do you think so many stained glass windows, banners, robes, etc have the overlapping letters “X” and “P” on them? They represent the greek Chi and Rho and stand for the first two letters of the word Christ.

Xian may be more contemporary and not in general use by Christians, but its origin is Christian shorthand, invented by Christians to represent Christians. Its about 1,700 years too late to start complaining about its use.

Moreover, anectdotally I know lots of Christians who use “Merry Xmas.”

Dave Luckett Wrote:

IANAL, but I seem to recall that part of the legal definition of fraud is that the accused must have profited personally or vicariously in some quantifiable, tangible way from the imposture.

I don’t know what the legal definition of fraud is either; perhaps there is a different concept that applies.

Another difficulty, however, is finding a significant number of people who have legitimate standing in any such any such suit. Class action suits are complex and difficult to bring together. Individuals may not feel sufficiently harmed to make their involvement worth the effort. Scientists are generally too busy, and individually they may not have legal standing in any such litigation.

Amadán Wrote:

That means constant fire-fighting on school boards, state government panels, etc etc. Depressing, but I don’t see any other realistic options.

Unfortunately, this may be the case. Legal methods have only limited effect with this kind of sectarian fanaticism.

Humor might be better, but we also see them imitating any tactics that are use against them.

This keeps bringing me back to my appreciation of the National Center for Science Education, Panda’s Thumb, TalkOrigins, and those blogs in which the ID/Creationist pseudo-science is contrasted with real science. I guess we just have to rely on peoples’ ability to recognize the stench of fraud and fake science; not comforting, but perhaps the best we can do.

On the positive side, having to deal with pseudo-science of any kind does in fact push those interested in good science education to be clear about their explanations. I have occasionally used various kinds of pseudo-science as a foil to add humor to some of my own lectures. Stupid science fiction and peddlers of pseudo-science have provided fodder for the humor. I have even used some the ID/Creationist clap-trap without having to mention its source. Just pointing out the absurdities is effective enough, and it avoids any blowback from fundamentalists.

I’ve not run into many Christians who label themselves as “xians”.

See it all the time and used often by xians. Up until recently I was a moderate xian myself and used the shorthand often in informal writing.

If you really feel like complaining about something trivial, somewhere in the world right now it is raining or even snowing. If you are in Ottawa, the Canadians love to bitch about the United States.

raven said:

I’ve not run into many Christians who label themselves as “xians”.

See it all the time and used often by xians. Up until recently I was a moderate xian myself and used the shorthand often in informal writing.

In informal writing, yes. In my own notes I frequently write “Zism” for “Zoroastrianism” and “Bism” for Buddhism. But posting on a message board is a step up from informal, and I would never use it here. Notice as well that you rarely see it capitalized – “Xian” – as would be appropriate for a proper noun.

Further note that although “X” has been used in the past as a symbol for “Christ,” “xian” does not have such a pedigree. And remember that usages change.

from a xian apologetics website

Xtian Some people refer to Christians this way. “X” is a symbol for Christ, from the Greek letter chi (shaped like an X) of Christos (Christ). Xtian

I leave the t off because x is the symbol for christ. Most don’t. This useage is millenia old.

Since when did xians become so hypersentive? There is a backlash in the USA against the fundies for sure. After they nearly destroyed the country and are destroying the religion, this is not surprising. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” They earned it the hard way.

Even so xians are still a persecuted minority of only 76% of the population and no one can be elected even as a dog catcher without claiming to be one.

… and how much longer does it take to type those 4 extra letters anyway? It’s not like you’re being charged by the character. It might look disrespectful if non-Christians do it, but Christians typing “xian” just looks… shy.

Just chiming in… OEC here. Furhermore, in spite of those who claim it to be a contradiction, I also hold to evolutionary development as true. Ultimate cause may be debatable, but arguing that evolution never happened is like denying the solar cycles. We got sundown and sunrise and that is just that!

Have a great day ladies and gentlemen.

Xian Joe P.S. (:D I take no offense. That X in IXOYE, the Greek word for fish, stands for Christ, and is really the christian origination for X being used as an abbreviation for CHristian. It’s not “Crossing out” anything.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on April 21, 2009 6:04 PM.

ICR Lawsuit Against Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board was the previous entry in this blog.

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