A California-based Creation college is challenging a decision by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that denied the school the right to grant science degrees in the state of Texas.
In its petition, the Institute for Creation Research Graduate School alleges that THECB board members rejected its application to grant state approved degrees on the basis of "viewpoint discrimination" and its views differing from the evolutionary interpretation of Darwinism.
The petition, which was also submitted for review to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, will open up the path for the school to sue the state education agency and its officials in a federal or state court.
"THECB, and its advisers, failed to properly evaluate the ICRGS program based on educational and academic standards… preferring rather to penalize the ICRGS program because of differences in viewpoint regarding how and why ICRGS teaches science and science education," the school explained in a statement.
Last month, members of the THECB voted to turn down the Christian research institute's proposal to offer an online Master of Science Education degree program. The Academic Excellence and Research Committee also rejected the proposal.
Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Raymund Paredes said the proposed degree program did not demonstrate it met acceptable standards of science and science education. He added that the decision was not questioning the validity of religious belief as a means of comprehending the world, but commented, "Religious belief is not science. Science and religious belief are reconcilable, but they are not the same thing."
ICRGS argued that it was contradictory for its application to be rejected given its status as a leading institution of learning that had been granting degrees to students in California "with full authority" by the state since 1981.
"For the past 27 years, qualified applicants have completed the M.S. degree through ICRGS, some going on to enter doctoral programs in the sciences at various universities throughout the U.S., while many have obtained their degree to assist them in the teaching of science in secondary and post-secondary schools, many of whom have had as their primary career emphasis the teaching of science in the Christian school environments," the school said.
Founded in 1981, the Institute for Creation Research lists as its mission to equip believers "with evidence of the Bible's accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework."
In 2007, the school began the process of relocating from its campus in Santee, Calif., to its brand new 5-acre campus in Dallas, Texas.