The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) has, some time ago, filed for approval to run a masters degree program in life science education. The purpose of the degree is to train educators to present biology in a way that is consistent with Christian Biblical beliefs, as opposed to actual scientific knowledge. The Texas board in charge of these matters is taking the proposal under consideration this week. (Please sign the petition linked below!)
The Texas Freedom Network has recently conducted a survey of Texas colleges and university faculty to get their opinions on this proposal.
The survey was conducted on line and queried 881 faculty in science at 50 public and private schools.
The survey asked whether the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board should certify a master’s degree in science education from the Institute for Creation Research. Nearly 200 faculty members responded, with 185 (95 percent of respondents) opposed to certifying the program and six (3 percent) in favor. Four (2 percent) respondents skipped the question.
The overwhelming opposition to certification reflects broad agreement among science educators that they should focus on teaching sound science, not religious beliefs, said Kathy Miller, president of the TFN Education Fund.
“Our universities should be training science teachers who can provide a 21st-century education in Texas classrooms,” Miller said. “Approving degree programs that instead promote a false conflict between science and faith would be a disservice to students and a threat to our state’s reputation as a center for science and research.”
The online survey invited respondents to explain their positions.
“In our race to keep America current and at the forefront of modern science and technology, it is critical that we do not add any self-imposed hurdles,” wrote Frank Pezold, professor of biology and dean of science and technology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Teaching religion as science or science as religion confounds and weakens the objectives of both.”
Coordinating Board committees are considering the Institute’s application at a public hearing on Wednesday. The full board is set to vote on the issue Thursday.
The online survey was conducted April 6-19 by Raymond A. Eve, professor of sociology and acting head of the Center for Social Research at the University of Texas at Arlington. Prof. Eve conducted the survey as an independent consultant for the TFN Education Fund. He has substantial experience in survey research and is co-author of The Creationist Movement in Modern America (Boston: Twayne Press, 1991).
More information and a petition can be found at the Texas Freedom Network web site.
Sign the Petition supporting sound science teaching in Texas (you need not be a resident of Texas to do this)