The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School has accused Texas officials of participating in illegal “viewpoint discrimination” for refusing it a Certificate of Authority to grant degrees.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently rejected the formal application from the ICR graduate school program even though the organization now is approved to grant degrees by the state of California, and has been for decades.

The organization said today it wants the education agency to reverse its rejection of the ICR plan to grant Master of Science degrees.

The petition paves the way for ICRGS to file a legal action against the state agency and its officials. Named in the action that cites the state’s unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination are Commissioner Raymund Paredes, Assistant Commissioner Joseph Stafford, Academic Excellence Committee chairman Lyn Bracwell Phillips and other THECB board members.

According to ICR, Texas “denied the application of ICRGS because its program is based on a creationist interpretation of scientific data rather than an evolutionary interpretation, which is prevalent in public education.”

The organization said its formal petition includes 26 evidentiary appendices that support the academic freedom and other legal rights of ICRGS to offer its 27-year-old graduate program to Texas residents. The petition also was delivered to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott because of the alleged constitutional violations.

WND reported earlier when the state made its decision. It came despite the fact the ICRGS faculty sports Ph.D.’s  from UCLA, Penn State, the University of Montana, Colorado State, Case Western and Indiana University.

The rejection came on the recommendation of Paredes despite earlier approval recommendations from a site team dispatched by the state agency to evaluate the education offerings as well as the agency’s advisory committee.

In a situation that appears to be an example of the academic censoring described in Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled,” state officials even read into the record for the agency’s hearing a state statute regarding “fraudulent” education programs without giving supporters of the ICR program an opportunity to explain or respond.

“Expelled” covers the following key questions:

  • Were we designed or are we simply products of random chance, mutations and evolution occurring without any plan over billions of years?
  • Is the debate over origins settled?
  • How should science deal with what appears to be evidence of design?
  • What should be taught to children and college students about our origins?
  • Is there any room for dissent from the evolutionary point of view?
  • Is it appropriate for eminent scientists who depart from strict evolutionary dogma to be fired and blacklisted, as is occurring in academia today?
  • Should government schools and other institutions be engaged in promoting the secular, materialistic worldview to the total exclusion of differing points of view?
  • Is science so advanced and so certain that it should be exempt from the societal norms of open dialogue and free debate?
  • Why is it simply inconceivable and unacceptable for some evolutionists to consider the possibility – no matter how remote – that our world might actually have a Creator?

“This is the second time in 18 years that a state’s top educational authority has attempted to thwart the Institute for Creation Research’s ability to offer master’s degrees in science and science education,” said a statement from the Answers in Genesis organization.

“Such a setback for a school – which has several qualified Ph.D. scientists on its faculty – merely confirms what the just-released film ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ has been exposing: academia will not tolerate any challenge to evolutionist orthodoxy and will suppress the liberties of Darwin-doubters,” AIG said.

ICR has been issuing master’s degrees in California since 1981. In 1990, it overcame a challenge from state educational officials who tried to deny the school the opportunity to offer degrees.

Henry Morris III, the chief executive officer for the ICRGS, said the school prepares students to “understand both sides of the scientific perspective, although we do favor the creationist view.”

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