Texas state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, clearly has a problem with scientists who -- go figure -- support science. Rep. Berman is calling on the University of Texas at Austin to fire a tenured biology professor who objects to including an anti-science creationist group on a list of state-approved charities that are supposed to be involved in delivering health and human services. The Austin American-Statesman has reported that biology professor David Hillis and other UT-Austin faculty members are trying to get the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) removed from the charity list. Employees can have donations to charitable organizations on the list deducted from their paychecks. According to the Statesman, state law requires that charities eligible for the list provide "direct or indirect health and human services." But that's not what ICR does. The Dallas-based nonprofit promotes biblical creationism and rejects mainstream science about evolution. Hillis told the Statesman: "The Institute for Creation Research is an anti-science organization. They work to undermine the mission of the university and of science in general, and especially the science that is the very basis for health and human services. How could such an organization possibly be listed as a charitable organization…… Read More

It's bad enough that politicians on the Texas State Board of Education have decided that promoting their own personal agendas is more important than the education of millions of children in public schools. Now a member of the Texas House of Representatives wants to give oversight of the state's college and universities to the SBOE! State Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station, wants to abolish the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. His plan would turn higher education over to the Texas Education Agency and the SBOE. Read More

An effort by an anti-evolution "institute" to dumb-down science education in Texas hit a brick wall in federal court last week. On June 18 federal district Judge Sam Sparks refused to force Texas to grant authority to the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) to offer master of science degrees in science education. In 2009 the ICRGS filed a lawsuit against the Texas commissioner of higher education, Raymund Paredes, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board after the coordinating board refused to approve an application for authority to grant the degrees. The ICRGS claimed that the coordinating board had engaged in "viewpoint discrimination" and thereby violated the "institute's" constitutional rights to free exercise of religion, free speech and equal protection. Judge Sparks disagreed: "(T)he Court finds ICRGS has not put forth evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any claim it brings." Actually, Judge Sparks used much sharper language throughout his ruling, noting the rambling and confusing complaint filed by the ICRGS: "It appears that although the Court has twice required Plaintiff to re-plead and set forth a short and plain statement of the…… Read More

The Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research Graduate School has filed its long-threatened lawsuit against Texas' commissioner of higher education, Raymund Paredes, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Last year the coordinating board rejected the ICR's application to offer master's of science education degrees in Texas. The board said the ICR -- which argues that the concept of biblical creation is backed by science while evolution is not -- failed to meet required academic standards. (Well, yeah.) According to the complaint (available here), the ICR is charging that the coordinating board Dr. Paredes are working to perpetrate viewpoint discrimination and censorship, inter alia, in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment (and in violation of other laws), especially as the 14th Amendment is recognized as applying to the constitutional rights of free speech (including academic speech and religious speech), freedom of the press (including freedom from "prior restraint" censorship of academic speech associated with freedom of the press), freedom from viewpoint discrimination (as well as content discrimination), free exercise of religion, freedom of association, freedom from hositility toward religious viewpoints), freedom from arbitrary and…… Read More

Creationists are taking their efforts to undermine science education to the Texas Capitol. In April of last year, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected an application from the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research to offer master's degrees in science education in Texas. Members of the coordinating board clearly recognized the ICR's program as simply an attempt to cloak the promotion of biblical creationism in science. A survey by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund also found overwhelming opposition to the application from university science faculty in Texas. ICR officials, charging that they were the victims of "viewpoint discrimination," have said they will seek help from the courts to overturn the coordinating board's decision. Now they are also looking for help in the Texas Legislature. Read More