ICR throws in towel – then reaches for another

| 243 Comments

The Institute for Creation Research has apparently closed its graduate school after being denied the authority to offer a master’s degree in science education. See the concession by Henry Morris III. The National Center for Science Education reports, however, that the ICR is opening instead a School of Biblical Apologetics, which will offer a master’s degree in Christian education, as well as a minor in creation research. The graduate school may be exempt from licensing requirements as long as it offers purely religious degrees.

NCSE has provided the following links for anyone who wants to investigate further:

NCSE’s collection of documents from the case.

The court’s ruling, which denied ICR’s appeal.

An article on the School of Biblical Apologetics.

ICR’s explanation of its exempt status.

243 Comments

From the ICR website. Apparently, if you’ve got a car, you’re in!

Who are the likely students attending the M.C.Ed program?

Christian working adults who are serious thinkers, lifelong learners, servant-leaders, and who are within driving distance of ICR’s Dallas campus.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing. You get to pay for your unaccredited, useless degree!

Total estimated cost for the entire two-year program: $17,200.00

(Hey, come on, folks, you’re diploma is printed on a Lazer Printer! Lazer!)

“The graduate school may be exempt from licensing requirements as long as it offers purely religious degrees.”

Right. Cause, you know, there are no standards for purely religious degrees.

Look, these guys are just planning on offering exactly the same degree that tried to call “science education” except that now they are calling it “Christian Education”. The accrediting body saw right through their lies and evasions and called a spade a spade. There was never any real content or scholarship involved, just a bunch of stuff about how to convince people that evolution is wrong without actually having any evidence. They are probably even going to use the same “courses” and “professors”. Thing is, now only those who want to be fooled will believe that they are actually learning anything useful in the real world. If they still want to had over their money to these charlatans, fine by me. Everyone knows that they won’t be getting any real teaching jobs anywhere and now everyone should know why.

The NCSE website has an update.

Update. … It appears that THECB failed to clarify the relevant frequently asked questions of its website section in light of the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in HEB Ministries, Inc. et al. v. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (235 S.W.3d 627 [Tex. 2007]), which established that THECB does not have oversight over institutions that offer exclusively religious education and training. The preceding paragraph, speculating on whether the ICR could obtain certification for its School of Biblical Apologetics to offer its Master of Christian Education degree, is thus moot.

Revised on September 4, 2010, to add the fifth paragraph.

Ha! I saw this coming a mile away (or, more accurately, over a year ago):

ICR prepares a fall-back position

I would like to hear from the “house” physicists about ICR’s news item, “The Sun Alters Radioactive Decay Rates”.

Carbon 14 dating has been calibrated using independent data sets going back 35,000 years. They can wave their hands and make things up until the cows come home and crap on their faces, but that is never going to prove that earth is only 6,000 years old. What a bunch of desperate nonsense. These guys will do anything to try and fool the ignorant into believing the impossible. Next thing you know, they are going to claim that the current rate at which the ice sheets are melting means that there could never have been an ice age. Oh and the speed of light is gettin faster as well.

DS said:

“The graduate school may be exempt from licensing requirements as long as it offers purely religious degrees.”

Right. Cause, you know, there are no standards for purely religious degrees.

Look, these guys are just planning on offering exactly the same degree that tried to call “science education” except that now they are calling it “Christian Education”. The accrediting body saw right through their lies and evasions and called a spade a spade. There was never any real content or scholarship involved, just a bunch of stuff about how to convince people that evolution is wrong without actually having any evidence. They are probably even going to use the same “courses” and “professors”. Thing is, now only those who want to be fooled will believe that they are actually learning anything useful in the real world. If they still want to had over their money to these charlatans, fine by me. Everyone knows that they won’t be getting any real teaching jobs anywhere and now everyone should know why.

Is accreditation required? I don’t know. However, it’s relevant to point out that many seminaries do choose to be accredited. For example, the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Dallas Theological Seminary both chose to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, just the same as the schools in the University of Texas system.

“Having addressed this primary issue, the Court will proceed to address each of ICRGS’s causes of action in turn, to the extent it is able to understand them.”

I did a coffee-spit when I read that.

Gary Hurd said:

I would like to hear from the “house” physicists about ICR’s news item, “The Sun Alters Radioactive Decay Rates”.

Y’know … just reading the TITLE of that article tells me everything about it.

From a preview of the New Scientist article:

The sample’s radioactivity has not been dropping steadily over time, as the textbooks demand. It has fallen, to be sure, but superimposed on that decline is an odd, periodic wobble that seems to follow the seasons. Each year, the decay rate is at its greatest around February and reaches a minimum in August.

I do not have a subscription, so I did not read the entire article and do not intend to. However, I think I remember that some laser calorimeters at NIST behaved similarly – that is, their responsivity varied slightly with the seasons. Had to do with the heating and air conditioning. Be suspicious of anything that varies seasonally or diurnally.

Matt Young said: However, I think I remember that some laser calorimeters at NIST behaved similarly – that is, their responsivity varied slightly with the seasons. Had to do with the heating and air conditioning.

Dang, any time someone mentions “NIST” and “measurements” one automatically thinks of “femtos” and “attos” – and readings confounded by trucks driving down the road nearby.

We’re not talking bathroom scales here.

Accreditation is provided (in the US) by private accrediting bodies, and as far as I know these are unregulated, although the Secretary of Education maintains a list of approved accrediting agencies. I thought that, at the university level, departments or programs were generally accredited, rather than entire colleges. The graduate school at ICR is accredited by an agency (TRACS) that accredits Christian schools; the original Henry Morris was one of the founders of both ICR and TRACS. You can read more about it on PT here.

I first came across the decay rate findings a couple of weeks ago, and it looks legitimate, if tentative. The researchers have done their best to discount environmental effects, and have demonstrated a link to solar activity.

Here’s the story from a more reputable source.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/[…]-082310.html

On page 14 of the judgment we have the following statement

“Dr. Patterson noted the textbooks specified in several of the program course descriptions were introductory texts typical for freshman-level undergraduate classes. Id. at ¶ 10. Dr. Patterson states in his declaration, “[t]he rigor of the proposed course work appeared to be remarkably low, certainly not what we would expect of graduate-level courses.” Id. He also concluded the overall curriculum of the program indicated a “strikingly deficient and incorrect understanding of modern science, its methods, procedures, ways of knowing, and generally-accepted conclusions.””

I am unsure of what the phrase “ways of knowing” might mean in this context. I have always regarded the use of the phrase as an indication of weak support for a religious or New-Agey argument, or perhaps the real phrase I take umbrage with is “other ways of knowing.”

I guess we have to know how we know what we know (apologies to Donald Rumsfeld), but it makes me question its use in the judgment.

Altair IV said:

I first came across the decay rate findings a couple of weeks ago, and it looks legitimate, if tentative. The researchers have done their best to discount environmental effects, and have demonstrated a link to solar activity.

Fascinating article, but I would be astounded if the change was as great as one in a million, and that would be really pushing it. Anything that large would have been noticed a long time ago. The article didn’t mention the magnitude of the effect. No doubt we’ll hear more about it – either excitement among thunderstruck physicists, or embarrassment by folks who dropped the ball.

It does seem conceivable that subatomic activity could be influenced by the number of neutrinos and/or anti-neutrinos coming through per unit time, though more than a very subtle effect would have been noticed already.

(I see somebody else already made this same point, but I’m still putting in my 10 cents anyway.)

Henry J

Gary Hurd said:

I would like to hear from the “house” physicists about ICR’s news item, “The Sun Alters Radioactive Decay Rates”.

There are a number of papers on this here, here, and here.

In fact, google “periodic variations in radioactive decay” to pull up all sorts of stuff, some of it bogus; maybe most of it.

If you will note how ICR reports this, they never mention the nature of the variation and how much.

The effect, if it is there at all, it so tiny – and it is periodic – that it’s effects on radiometric dating is irrelevant.

The effect lies in the noise, and it is being seen only after extremely rigid controls on temperature, voltages, and a number of other things that affect the efficiencies of detectors.

This is an experimental issue at the moment. If there is anything to it – such as the effects of solar neutrinos, or perhaps dark matter – it will be extremely useful as a measuring tool in the future.

But it needs to be understood first; and then it can be used if it is real.

It does not impact the techniques of radiometric dating.

Mike Elzinga said:

The effect, if it is there at all, it so tiny – and it is periodic – that it’s effects on radiometric dating is irrelevant.

Yeah. Like the fact that my digital wristwatch might be off a few seconds a month, so what.

I would imagine that for radioactive dating, even the maximum variation envisioned by this effect, even assuming it didn’t average out, would be less than the experimental error bars for the measurement procedure.

“The graduate school may be exempt from licensing requirements as long as it offers purely religious degrees.”

Wouldn’t it be great if they got the briliant idea to offer a degree program in intelligent design? Somebody should suggest that to them…

Matt Young said:

Accreditation is provided (in the US) by private accrediting bodies, and as far as I know these are unregulated, although the Secretary of Education maintains a list of approved accrediting agencies. I thought that, at the university level, departments or programs were generally accredited, rather than entire colleges. The graduate school at ICR is accredited by an agency (TRACS) that accredits Christian schools; the original Henry Morris was one of the founders of both ICR and TRACS. You can read more about it on PT here.

This is true except for the only real, general purpose accrediting agencies, the regional (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Western Association of Colleges and Schools, etc) bodies. A school must have accreditation from one of these bodies to receive Federal Financial Aid.

Most of the specific accreditation bodies are very specific (for example, chiropractic schools have their own accreditation body) trades or skills. This is beneficial and generally awarded by the national association of the trade. But it’s not a regional accreditation, which means the schools passes several review processes, has a large set of very standard practices and maintains certain minimums for teacher student ratio, record keeping, facilities, etc.

I know of no school with regional accreditation that will accept transfer credits from a school without regional accreditation.

Here’s a link about accreditation in the regional bodies. This website includes the standards and even some ‘faith based accreditation’ that I haven’t read yet.

http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp

OgreMkV said:

Here’s a link about accreditation in the regional bodies. This website includes the standards and even some ‘faith based accreditation’ that I haven’t read yet.

http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp

I found it worth a quick look – the faith-related accrediting organizations (not “faith-based”) have scopes of accreditation related directly to specific faiths (Christian or Jewish). Accreditation of, say, a geology degree should not be possible through these organizations.

So, ICR’s SOBA could possibly be accredited through one of these, but not for a non-faith-related degree program. The (at least to me) amusing question is, could SOBA even meet the standards of rigor needed to be accredited as a faith-related institution?

this is now how the world should be. if YECs from bogus institutions aren’t claiming to have science qualifications, they should be free to make fools of themselves and go about their foolish business. they will still twist vulnerable minds, but not being able to claim a (secularly supported) authority they don’t have is a serious restriction for people whose favorite argument is authority

Periodic effects have no effect on trends provided you’re aware of them. Even if you’re not, if their period is roughly a divisor of the time period you’re trending, they won’t make a difference. If you weren’t aware of the periodicity beforehand, it’ll be evident in the trend.

You may have read or heard the often-quoted prayer of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Honestly, ICR is simply demonstrating what Niebuhr’s prayer looks like in the real world.

Frankly, Henry Morris III’s essay does an excellent job of explaining what ICR was doing and why it was doing it, as well as spelling out exactly what they were up against (not only at the educational level, but also at the spiritual level.) His article also clearly illuminates the negative implications of the ruling that even Christian private schools with no government funding will have to watch out for.

But–and this is extremely important–ICR is clearly refusing to lay down and die, in the face of apparent defeat. They are making a huge statement, right now.

Matt Young was quite correct in the way he phrased the thread topic. ICR did what it could and lost one battle, forced by a judge to “throw in the towel.” But they didn’t lose their vision, didn’t abandon their mission, didn’t lose their fire.

Instead, they picked themselves up off the ground, they “grabbed another towel” that is currently within their reach, and now they’re coming out swinging again, boldly. No apologies, no kowtows, no compromises, no regrets.

A positively inspirational example, to be honest. As if they were taking a cue from Niebuhr’s prayer.

FL

Matt Young said: I do not have a subscription, so I did not read the entire article and do not intend to. However, I think I remember that some laser calorimeters at NIST behaved similarly – that is, their responsivity varied slightly with the seasons. Had to do with the heating and air conditioning. Be suspicious of anything that varies seasonally or diurnally.

According to the Purdue press release on the finding,

In general, the fluctuations that Jenkins and Fischbach have found are around a tenth of a percent from what is expected, as they’ve examined available published data and taken some measurements themselves.

I find it very hard to believe a tenth of a percent variation.

FL said: … (ICR) picked themselves up off the ground, they “grabbed another towel” that is currently within their reach, and now they’re coming out swinging again, boldly. … A positively inspirational example, to be honest.

“(T)he ICR is opening instead a School of Biblical Apologetics” is “coming out swinging”? That’s “inspirational”?

C’mon, FL, that’s the closest thing to an admission of guilt and defeat that I’ve seen in quite a while: “We agree that our “Master Of Science” program was bogus from its inception, so we’re opening a School of Biblical Apologetics instead.”

And as true believers in Lying For Jesus™, they probably can’t even see the irony.

Perhaps some readers might ask, “Well, so what? Their M.C.Ed. degree is ‘possibly exempt from licensing requirements’ because it’s apparently ‘a purely religious degree’, so the degree is useless.

Unfortunately for that objection, ICR’s graduate degree is FAR from useless, especially since there’s a clear focus on biblical apologetics and Christian education, as well as a minor in creation research.

The need for all three items right now within American Christian churches is HUGE. That’s simply the ground-floor truth.

Besides, do you remember what your evolutionist Eugenie Scott said? A most famous observation:

“I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!”

And indeed, thanks to evolution and evolutionists, quite a few clergymen (and women) are running around with backward collars these days. Unable to reconcile the very serious incompatibilities between evolution and Christianity, they themselves have “thrown in the towel” and placed evolutionary theory’s claims above the claims of their own Bibles. A bad situation for sure.

They’re eroding and corroding other Christians’ trust and confidence in the historicity, authority and reliability of God’s Word–not merely regarding origins, but other vital areas as well, up to and including the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. How? By saying that evolutionary theory’s historical and theological claims trump the Bible’s historical and theological claims. A mess, a tragic situation, currently in progress.

However, that’s where ICR’s graduate degree can be very useful, very much needed. Each person that graduates with an ICR master’s degree in Chr. Ed. will be equipped to help fight against that trend in a big way. Providing solidly biblical, rational, evidence-based, Christ-centered responses to skeptical and evolutionist challenges. Helping Christians to see that the claims of Genesis are foundational to the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Helping them to trust ALL of God’s word despite skeptical attacks, helping people towards full acceptance of all of the Bible’s historical claims as accurate and trustworthy.

ICR grads are NOT going to have all the answers (nobody does, other than God!). But they’re going to make a huge difference in the lives of individual Christians, one mind, one heart, one life at a time…

…and THAT’s how you break evolution’s dominance in a nation or a culture—one mind, one heart, one life at a time. No judge’s decision can stop that winning strategy.

That’s what will make the ICR graduate degree most useful.

FL

Just read the decision … I had to laugh when I read this on page 34:

ICRGS claims the vagueness of Standard 12 is proven by the fact the initial site visit team gave a positive evaluation of ICRGS’s curriculum under Standard 12, whereas the subsequent review panel gave a negative evaluation of the curriculum. Id. at ¶ 10. ICRGS cites no legal support for its argument whatsoever, but instead relies on rambling, repetitive assertions and a hodgepodge of legal terminology, most of which are irrelevant to its argument. Thus, before evaluating ICRGS’s vagueness claim, the Court is faced with the exasperating task of determining exactly what the claim is.

FL said:

Perhaps some readers might ask, “Well, so what? Their M.C.Ed. degree is ‘possibly exempt from licensing requirements’ because it’s apparently ‘a purely religious degree’, so the degree is useless.

I did a little more reading since my first post in this thread. The fact that SOBA will, Texas willing, be granting a religious degree will not exempt them from the requirement to be accredited either by an accrediting organization recognized by the State of Texas or by the THECB itself.

Oclarki said:

henry said:

If your claim of improper use of the equipment by Creation scientists is true, what about other scientists coming to the same conclusions?

What was improper in the “studies” conducted by both Snelling and Austin was not just the “equipment” they used. It was that they specified the wrong analytical technique for their samples and used a lab that was not capable of providing accurate measurements for samples so young.

It does not really matter how many “citations” you regurgitate. It was entirely inappropriate for Snelling and Austin to submit their samples to a lab wghose stated minimum effective age for the K/Ar technique was 2 million years. That is like submitting a water sample that needs to be characterized at the parts-per-billion level to a lab that can only quantify the chemicals of interest at the parts-per-million level. In other words, worthless.

The point of Snelling’s article is not only is the technique unreliable for recent, known lava flows, it is unreliable for anything on earth, since nothing is millions of years old.

He included publications such as Nature and Science. Are these peer reviewed publications that shouldn’t have published the studies of scientists simply because they call into question the reliable of this technique? Are you discounting the work of these other scientists?

Here are the references in the third reference of Dr. Snelling’s article.

Are we supposed to be impressed?

Show of hands – is there one person, ONE person out there, who honestly believes that Snelling is doing anything more than piling up citations from articles containing items that he has cherry-picked?

What actually might be impressive is a list of citations of Snelling’s ICR papers in scientific journals – y’know, real ones – as anything except a joke and a bad example.

henry said:

The point of Snelling’s article is not only is the technique unreliable for recent, known lava flows, it is unreliable for anything on earth, since nothing is millions of years old.

He included publications such as Nature and Science. Are these peer reviewed publications that shouldn’t have published the studies of scientists simply because they call into question the reliable of this technique? Are you discounting the work of these other scientists?

The “point” of Snelling’s article is completely negated by his selection of an inappropriate analytical technique for his samples. The only legitimate conclusion that can be supported by the analyses he specified is that the laboratory could not provide accurate age determinations for materials as young as those Snelling submitted for those analyses. Oddly enough, that conclusion could have been supported without sending any samples to the lab, as the lab clearly stated their analytical limitations for the method.

Instead of providing a mountain of “references”, Snelling should have performed and described a robust data evaluation program that demonstrated that the lab could indeed provide accurate results for his samples. He did not. His “study” was inconsistent with one of the absolutely basic elements of a scientific endeavor: selection of appropriate analytical techniques for his samples. That failure to select an appopriate technique invalidates the entire “study”.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on September 5, 2010 10:56 AM.

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