Texas: ICR Drops Religious Accreditation, Seeks Reality-Based Accreditation

Steve Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science has the details. Short version: The ICR has withdrawn from the religious-based TRACS accreditation for its “graduate degrees”, and is looking to breeze through normal accreditation in Texas, apparently based upon the antievolution-friendly administration now in place at the Texas Education Agency.

Details below the fold…

My research has revealed the following:

ICR is listed as accredited by TRACS on the U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Programs and Institutions. Information about this database is at http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg4.html and the Searchable Database itself is at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.

A search finds the following:

ICR Graduate School, 10946 Woodside Avenue, North, Santee, CA
Accredited by the
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools,
Accreditation Commission
Period of Accreditation 9/29/1994 –
Action Accredited

However, if you go to the TRACS website at http://www.tracs.org/, you find at http://www.tracs.org/accredited.htm a list of Accredited Institutions, which includes Bob Jones University and Liberty University. However, the ICR Graduate School is not listed. As discussed in previous messages from me, ICR and its founder, Henry Morris, was one of the founders of the TRACS accrediting agency and has long been accredited by it. Today, Henry Morris III is a member of the TRACS Commission (see http://www.tracs.org/commission.htm) that evaluate graduate programs for TRACS accreditation. Now the ICR Graduate School is not accredited by TRACS, and the federal website has not been updated yet. Why?

I phoned TRACS and was quickly referred to the Commission Action Report for November 2007 at http://www.tracs.org/DOE_Nov07.pdf. On page 3 it says:

The following InstitutionB^Rs letter of withdrawal was accepted and accredited status terminated:

Institute of Creation Research, Dallas, TX, formerly El Cahon, CA, a former Category III institution approved to offer the MasterB^Rs degree, was removed from TRACS membership.

It appears that ICR no longer wants TRACS accreditation and association with such fine institutions as Bob Jones and Liberty Universities. TRACS accreditation was the only accreditation that the ICR Graduate School ever had, but it requested only last month, November 2007, to withdraw from TRACS accreditation. Perhaps ICR feels it can get better accreditation in Texas with the help of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. After all, TRACS accreditation is practically useless, since it requires its accredited institutions to follow the fundamentals of Biblical Literalist Christianity, such as “non-evolutionary creation,” “literal existence of Adam and Eve,” “the worldwide cataclysmic deluge,” and similar theological tenets. While no problem for Bible Colleges that teach theology and train ministers, being accredited under such terms removes all mainstream scientific legitimacy and academic acceptance, so any institution that has a vision of being recognized as teaching and researching “real science” would not want TRACS accreditation. It is likely that ICR Graduate School Masters Degrees in Science Education have not been faring well in the mainstream academic marketplace.

Assuming this is the case, then ICR would want to obtain a more scientifically-legitimate accreditation for their scientifically-illegitimate Creationist graduate instruction and research. To do this, they need the help of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Their first goal is winning official state Certification to seek such accreditation. They have already cleared the first two of three hurdles to reach this goal by hosting a site visit for individuals representing the THECB and by receiving a unanimous vote of the THECB Certification Advisory Council to recommend the Board grant the certificate in January. The third hurdle is the vote by the full THECB in January 2008.

There is still time to thwart the ICR plans–apparently in cahoots with the THECB–to start its official accreditation process. First, I request that someone from the press serve the THECB with a FOIA/TPIA request to learn the names and affiliations of the individuals who made the site visit to ICR in Dallas on behalf of the THECB Certification Advisory Council. The purpose of the site visit is to ensure that the graduate school has the physical means to offer graduate instruction. Since the graduate instruction in this case is in science, it would be imperative for the site visit team to consist of legitimate scientists. Was this the case? If not, then the process is corrupt. The site visit was obviously successful for ICR, because on December 14 the Certification Advisory Council voted to recommend that the THECB grant ICR the Certification it desires to seek accreditation. No mainstream scientist on the site visit would have given a favorable report about ICR’s true scientific intentions (which are to corrupt and undermine science, not teach it). If individuals sympathetic to the goals of ICR were selected for the site visit team, then such favoritism and corruption deserves to be revealed to the public.

Second, we need to discover who is on the THECB Certification Advisory Council. The names of the members were NOT listed in the two December 15 newspaper reports, but these should be easier to find out. A unanimous vote by ANY group of public officials supposedly devoted to THECB’s goal “to achieve excellence for the college education of Texas students” is highly suspect. What is going on?

Third, we need to write to Dr. Raymund A. Paredes, the Commissioner of the THECB to express our disgust at how this process has been handled so far, and to object to granting ICR the Certification it desires. The address is:

Dr. Raymund A. Paredes, Commissioner
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
P.O. Box 12788
Austin, TX 78711-2788

or by email at

Raymund.Paredes@thecb.state.tx.us

More soon.

Steven

Steven Schafersman, Ph.D.
President, Texas Citizens for Science
6202 Driftwood Drive
Midland, TX 79707

Update: Steve Schafersman has more on this. The site visit and report glosses over the plain fact that ICR will be serving up heaping helpings of pseudoscience and calling it “science education”. Texas should tell these carpetbaggers to find themselves another patsy.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

3 thoughts on “Texas: ICR Drops Religious Accreditation, Seeks Reality-Based Accreditation

  • 2007/12/18 at 5:10 am
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    I grow tired of these ceaseless attempts to attack under the radar. It is just disgusting (for one observing from foreign shores). I fear it will never stop, and that the USoA, once a beacon for enlightenment, will fall into a dark age, subsisting off the intellect and training of people attracted to something that no longer seems to exist natively.

    On the bright side, Clowns are funny.

  • 2007/12/18 at 8:44 pm
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    We shouldn’t confuse reality with Texas reality.

  • 2008/04/22 at 11:59 am
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    Thank you for keeping on top of this. I was inspired to email Dr. Paredes. I will share… perhaps some of these thoughts might be of use to you…

    Dear Dr. Paredes,

    Should the subject accreditation occur, you will have been instrumental in making Texas… and this country… a laughing-stock throughout the whole world, and for all of future history.

    I would hate to see that happen… but I… and tens of thousands of others like me, including virtually ALL of the world’s most eminent scientists and educators… will diligently work to MAKE that happen, should this accreditation effort succeed.

    [Creation Science / Intelligent Design] “… is an attempt to give credibility to Hebrew mythology by making people believe that the world’s foremost biologists, paleontologists, and geologists are a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.” ~ Ron Peterson

    Here’s the thing that you must deal with. If you overlook and ignore all of ICR’s misrepresentations, pseudoscience, distortions, deceptions, sophistry and outright lies, you still must be able to explain to the world how you reconcile the following…

    In order to qualify as valid and ‘scientific’, a theory MUST…

    … have explanatory power

    … have predictive power

    … be falsifiable

    ‘Creation science’ / creationism / ‘intelligent design’… possesses only ONE of those THREE mandatory properties. It has tremendous explanatory power. Tremendous because it not only purports to explain what evolution explains… it also purports to explain what physics explains… what cosmology explains… what chemistry explains… what biology explains… what quantum theory explains… what genetics explains. Essentially, it purports to explain EVERYTHING…

    … and that explanation is… for all intents and purposes… MAGIC.

    Magic… that’s the good news. On the bad news side of this equation, you have this…

    … it has absolutely NO predictive power. Who knows the mind of god (should he actually exist)? Christians keep telling us that nobody can know the mind of god… so how can they reconcile their ‘theory’ with what they purport to be a holy, divine, cosmic, god-given ‘truth’?)

    … it is not falsifiable… and the only (alleged) ‘evidence’ in support of this ‘theory’ is comprised of the myths, superstitions, fairy tales and fantastical delusions that arose from the sun-baked brains of an ignorant gaggle of Bronze Age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, genocidal goat herders.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you do not make the tragic mistake of endorsing this insanity. You cannot ‘un-ring’ a bell… and if you go down this path, there will be no ‘taking it back’. A tsunami of embarrassment and humiliation will be your legacy… and the only ‘reward’ that you will reap.

    “If we are going to teach ‘creation science’ as an alternative to evolution, then we must also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.” ~ Judith Hayes, In God We Trust: But Which One?

    Good luck.

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