Institute for Creation Research
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Institute for Creation Research|
|Type||Young earth creationist|
|Chairman||Henry Morris III|
|President||John D. Morris|
|Faculty||4 full time |
|Students||(online classes) either about 30 or more than 50, depending on source|
|Location||Dallas, Texas, United States|
The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is a Christian institution in Dallas, Texas that specializes in education, research, and media promotion of creation science and Biblical creationism. The ICR adopts the Bible as an inerrant and literal documentary of scientific and historical fact as well as religious and moral truths, and espouses a Young Earth creationist world view. It strongly rejects the science of evolutionary biology, which it views as a corrupting moral and social influence and threat to religious belief.
The ICR was formed by Henry M. Morris in 1972 following an organizational split with the Creation Science Research Center (CSRC). Originally a creation science research division within the Christian Heritage College, the ICR became an autonomous institution in 1981. Its work in the field of creation science has been thoroughly rejected by most mainstream scientists, but has been significant in shaping anti-evolutionist thought in the United States by introducing creation science through churches and religious schools, and by engaging in provocative public debates against supporters of evolution. The ICR also offers (currently unaccredited) graduate level programs in creation science and online distance learning training. They operate a museum and host adventure tours, radio broadcasts, and print publishing.
The ICR was founded as a research institution devoted to challenging the science of biological evolution and finding empirical evidence to support the Biblical account of the origins of heaven and earth given in Genesis. Its founders and faculty embrace belief in Young Earth Creationism, judging the earth to be no more than 10 thousand years old, and strongly rejecting the scientific community's current estimate of 4.54 billion years. The institute denies the conclusions formed by most current scientists in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and geology, whose estimates converge and thoroughly refute this young earth age hypothesis. The ICR also denounces the biological concept of descent with modification through evolution via random mutation and natural selection of inherited genetic information. The institute instead asserts that speciation only occurs within the boundaries of a kind as described in the Bible, and argues all variations among living organisms are only differing manifestations of pre-existing genetic information fixed at the moment of the kinds' special creation.
In 1961, Henry Morris and John C. Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood, a seminal work that claimed to provide the scientific rationale for Young Earth creationism. Its authors accept the Bible as a literal account of historical origins, including not only a special, separate creation of humans and all other kinds of plants and animals, but also the historicity of Noah´s Flood. The Genesis Flood was the first significant 20th-century effort to present a scientific rationale for special creationism. The field of creation science has been further developed in later books and pamphlets authored by Morris and others who were inspired by him.
Though the name "Institute for Creation Research" was adopted in 1972, the organization itself and its founder, Henry M. Morris, date its founding to 1970 with the launch of the Creation Science Research Center (CSRC). Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Epperson v. Arkansas, public schools were no longer allowed to prohibit the teaching of evolution. In response, the California State Board of Education in 1970 approved policy changes which opened the door to the teaching of creationism concurrently with evolution in the sciences. The policy changes passed by the state board of education were the culmination of a several years long campaign first initiated by Nell Segraves, a religious activist motivated by the 1963 Supreme Court ruling in Abington School District v. Schempp which both outlawed officially sanctioned public school prayers and prohibited public schools from either affirming or interfering with religious views. Segraves joined with friend Jean Sumrall in 1966 to petition changes to the way evolution was taught in public schools, and later established Creation Science, Inc. to develop creationist textbooks in anticipation of the successful outcome allowing creationism into the school curriculum.
Creation Science, Inc., merged with the newly planned center for creation studies at Christian Heritage College in San Diego in 1970, forming the CSRC. Segraves and Sumrall were joined by scientist Henry Morris, who had taken a position as vice president of the Christian Heritage College planning to organize the new creation center there. Differences over the political role the center would take led to an organizational split in 1972, and Morris founded ICR that same year. Researcher Dorothy Nelkin suggests disagreements over copyright questions were involved in the split.
Morris intended the ICR to be led by scientists engaged in research and education, but viewed the work of the institute as Christian ministry. These early efforts were channeled in three different areas: research, speaking, and writing. Biochemist Duane T. Gish, who joined the ICR before the division in CSRC, focused on researching the scientific literature for findings supportive of creation science, as well as speaking engagements and public debates with evolutionists. Geologist Stephen A. Austin, working as a visiting scientist until taking a full staff position in 1979, conducted most of its archaeological and geological research, though ICR concentrated most of its resources in the first ten years into writing and speaking out about creation science theory.
Ken Ham, a charismatic speaker and sometime biology teacher, worked for the ICR and enjoyed spectacular success with his "Back to Genesis Seminars". In 1994 he left to found what would become Answers in Genesis (AiG). Currently, at least one ICR staff member is also on staff at AiG.
In 1987, the ICR's statement of belief was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Edwards v. Aguillard. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. wrote that "If no valid secular purpose can be identified, then the statute violates the Establishment Clause." He continued noting information on ICR and Creation Research Society including "a review of their goals and activities sheds light on the nature of creation science." He then explained, "the intent of the Louisiana Legislature was to promote a particular religious belief" and the court ruled that teaching creationism was unconstitutional.
In 2007, the institute relocated from Santee, California, to Dallas, Texas . Morris said the move was intended to give the ICR a central national location, Dallas' proximity to a major airport, and a larger population for their ministry. For FYE 2007, the Institute had net assets of $7,613,461.
Research and publications
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ICR was established as an organization devoted to research, publication, and the teaching of creation science. For the first nine years the organization remained a research division within the Christian Heritage College, but became separate and autonomous in 1981.
The work of ICR creation science researchers is not published in any mainstream scientific journals, and there is no collaboration in research between these groups. ICR claims to use the same scientific principles and review the same evidence as the wider scientific community. However the wider, mainstream, scientific community generally takes a sharply different view, emphasizing that in true science all hypotheses are tentative and testable, and contrasting this to ICR's research, in which all scientific questions must accept at the outset a given established conclusion and the supernatural processes invoked cannot be tested by empirical evidence and reasoning within the scientific framework of methodological naturalism. As a result, the scientific community says such work conducted at the ICR cannot be called science.
The work of the ICR is primarily distributed through religious settings as well as before public audiences in live debates with scientists and other supporters of biological evolution. A listing of their travels, debates, and symposia can be found within the monthly Acts and Facts pamphlet.
Master Books is a division within Creation-Life Publishers, another enterprise Henry M. Morris helped to found. It serves as the publishing arm of the Institute for Creation Research, and specializes in theology and creation science works. Master Books' anti-evolution books are in wide distribution, promoted by most of the large creationist organizations as well as the ICR.
School and accreditation
In June 1981, the ICR received formal state approval in California to offer degree programs, and its first graduate level courses were taught in the summer of that year.
In 1988 the ICR sought reapproval, resulting in a visit by a five-man committee that found that its graduate school faculty comprised only five full-time staff, made partial reliance on videotaped courses for instruction, had inadequate laboratory instruction and facilities and that the school's doctrinal tenets limited academic freedom. In spite of this, the committee initially voted 3-2 in favour of reapproval, only to reverse itself when a member changed his vote. This resulted in California's Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction barring the institute from granting master's degrees in science, threatening their existing graduate degree programs in the teaching of biology, geology, astrogeophysics and science. ICR filed a lawsuit against California's state superintendent, Bill Honig, and was awarded a settlement of $225,000 and given permission to continue its program until 1995 so long as it continued to teach evolution alongside creationism. The original agreement expired in 1995, and California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education granted the ICR religious exemption from postsecondary school requirements in California.
In 1982 the ICR received accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). According to Henry Morris, TRACS and ICR founder, TRACS is a "product of the ICR Graduate School" and was created "Because of the prejudice against creation-science, outspoken creationist schools such as ICRGS used to stand little or no chance of getting recognition through accreditation." TRACS was officially recognized as an accreditor by the US Department of Education in 1991. Following the ICR's move to Dallas, in November 2007 the TRACS accreditation commission acceded to ICR's request to terminate its accredited status. Texas does not recognize TRACS' accreditation.
Now that the ICR has relocated to Texas, the institute must either obtain Texas state approval or become accredited by a regional accrediting agency, in this case Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The ICR has applied for a temporary state certification there which, if granted, would allow the institute to operate while it pursues accreditation through SACS. In December 2007, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board received an advisory committee recommendation to allow the ICR to start offering online master’s degrees in science education. The Board originally planned to decide on the issue at their January 2008 meeting. At the time it applied, ICR graduate school had approximately 30 to 50 students, most teachers at private Christian schools or homeschoolers, and four full-time faculty.
After seeking the advice from an independent panel, the Chairman of the Texas Board requested information about the research conducted by the faculty, how an on-line program would expose students to the experimental side of science, and asked why "[t]heir curriculum doesn't line up very well with the curriculum available in conventional master of science programs." Subsequently, the ICR asked the THECB to delay its decision until their next meeting, on April 24, 2008 to give them time to respond. Inside Higher Ed reports that "lobbying — by scientists against the institute, and by others in its favor — is going strong." The Dallas Morning News obtained some of the messages sent to the board and published a number of examples and summaries that illustrate just how intense the debate has become. Following the recent response from the ICR to the Board, Steven Schafersman, of the Texas Citizens for Science, reported that the ICR sent out "prayer requests" and is currently arguing a creationist derived distinction of science in their application for approval.
On April 23, 2008 education board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee unanimously voted against allowing the ICR to issue science degrees citing "the institute’s program is infused with creationism and runs counter to conventions of science that hold that claims of supernatural intervention are not testable and therefore lie outside the realm of science." On the following day the full Board unanimously voted against allowing the ICR to issue science degrees. The decision was "based the recommendation on two considerations: 1) that ICR failed to demonstrate that the proposed degree program meets acceptable standards of science and science education; and 2) that the proposed degree is inconsistent with Coordinating Board rules which require the accurate labeling or designation of programs ... Since the proposed degree program inadequately covers key areas of science, it cannot be properly designated either as 'science' or 'science education.'" The ICR is appealing the decision saying the Education Board is guilty of "viewpoint discrimination."
In April 2009, the ICR sued the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for imposing "an unconstitutional and prejudicial burden against ICRGS's academic freedom and religious liberties" and asked to be allowed the ability to award science degrees.
Controversy and criticism
Creationism is rejected by the vast majority of scientists, with more than 45 science organizations having criticized creationism as not science. Professor Massimo Pigliucci, a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has criticized ICR for professing to present the same science as that taught in secular universities while at the same time requiring students and faculty to sign a statement of faith to ICR's fundamentalist religious mission, most notably in affirming conformity in all its work to Biblical doctrine. Pigliucci notes that any research conducted within the ICR's policy framework is prescribed at the outset by Biblical literalism, and thus antithetical to the methods and framework used by scientists. As examples, Pigliucci cites ICR scientist Harold Slusher resorting to non-Euclidean and non-Einsteinian explanations of light travel to reconcile the vast distances light travels in space with the brief timescale given in young earth creationism, and the association adopted by the ICR between the second principle of thermodynamics and the Bible's account of the fall of Adam. Pigliucci further claimed that "some of the historical claims found in the ICR museum are also stunning and show how easily ideology gets the better of accuracy."
A 2004 episode of Penn and Teller's television program Bullshit! broadcast video taken of the ICR spokesperson, Duane Gish, stating "neither creation nor evolution are scientific theories. Evolution is no more scientific than creation", and that the Grand Canyon was created in as little as a few days due to the Biblical flood in Genesis. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education responded, "the Grand Canyon consists of granite and shale and really hard stuff - about 5,000 feet of it. You're not going to cut this very hard rock with just a bunch of water flowing through it at one time."
On January 7, 2007 the National Center for Science Education reported that Grand Canyon: A Different View, edited by Tom Vail and published by Master Books, the publishing arm of the Institute for Creation Research, and described as promoting "a young-earth creationist view of the geology of the Grand Canyon," was facing new scrutiny by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in December 2006. The Chief of the Park Service's Geologic Resources Division recommended its removal on grounds that it "does not use accurate, professional and scholarly knowledge; is not based on science but a specific religious doctrine; does not further the public's understanding of the Grand Canyon's existence; [and] does not further the mission of the National Park Service". A report by the National Center for Science Education, written by Chemist Karen Bartelt was critical of the ICR representatives and displays in the "museum."
Criticism from creationists
Some creationists are opposed to the ICR. Gary North "opposes the ICR on the grounds that they" acknowledge the second principle of thermodynamics, and John W. Robbins considers the ICR's activities a "fraud." The old-Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation criticizes the ICR, including a critical review by Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D of the ICR's dating claims (see: RATE). Henke concluded that the ICR's "research" was improperly conducted and "was unsuccessful in adequately separating the volcanic glass from the much older minerals.". Another creationist opponent of ICR and its doctrine is Hugh Ross, who supports an ancient age of the Earth similar to mainstream scientists, and is critical of ICR's cosmological models, and their attempts to solve the starlight problem.
Criticism over awarding degrees
The ICR has attracted much opposition as it seeks approval to operate a master's degree program in the field of science education in Texas. An April 2008 survey by Texas Freedom Network showed the majority of science faculties in Texas are opposed to ICR's request to issue science degrees with 185 (95% of respondents) opposed to certifying the program and 6 (3%) in favor. Officials of the institute state their goal is to integrate Biblical creationism with science. Since their program is intended to prepare students who are or will become teachers, the developing program is controversial. In public statements ICR officials say that scientific literacy will be emphasized, but science advocates critical of the ICR say the institute's true goal is to restore religious creationism to science classes in the public schools. It is unlawful to incorporate creationism in any form into the science curriculum in any public school anywhere in the United States due to the religious nature of the subject.
- ^ a b c Hacker, Holly (2007-12-15). "Creation college seeks state's OK to train teachers". Dallas Morning News. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/121507dnmetcreation.2b0d011.html. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- ^ a b Eileen E. Flynn, Scott (December 15, 2007). "Creationist institute seeks certificate to operate master's program in Texas". Austin American-Statesman. http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/12/15/1215creationism.html. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- ^ FAQ at the Internet Archive
- ^ a b Numbers(2006) p318
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- ^ Larson, Edward J. (2006), [Expression error: Missing operand for > Evolution], Modern Library, pp. 368, ISBN 978-0812968491, OCLC 70826907
- ^ Numbers(2006) pp 316-317
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- ^ Numbers(2006) pp 270-272
- ^ Nelkin, Dorothy (1982,2000). The Creation Controversy. Lincoln, Nebraska: toExcel. p. 80. ISBN 0-595-00197-7.
- ^ Numbers(2006) pp313-315
- ^ Numbers(2006) p401
- ^ Andrew Snelling biography, Answers in Genesis
- ^ Songün, Sevim (Feb 27, 2009). "Turkey evolves as creationist center". Hurriyet Daily News. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11102743.asp?gid=244. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- ^ "Edwards v. Aguillard: Justice Powell, with whom Justice O'Connor joins, concurring. I". Supreme Court of the United States. June 19, 1987. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/edwards-v-aguillard.html#POWELLI. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- ^ a b "Edwards v. Aguillard: Justice Powell, with whom Justice O'Connor joins, concurring. Part B". Supreme Court of the United States. June 19, 1987. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/edwards-v-aguillard.html#POWELLIB. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- ^ "ICR seeks to grant degrees in Texas". National Center for Science Education. 2007-12-21. http://ncse.com/news/2007/12/icr-seeks-to-grant-degrees-texas-001147. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- ^ a b Schafersman, Steven (2008-01-06), The Institute for Creation Research and Its Quest for Official Texas Certification to Award Masters Degrees in Science Education, A Report by Texas Citizens for Science, http://www.texscience.org/reviews/icr-thecb-certification.htm, retrieved 2008-01-09
- ^ "Charity Navigator Rating for ICR". Charity Navigator. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7485. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- ^ Numbers(2006) p315
- ^ Scott, Eugenie (2004). Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. Westport Connecticut-London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313321221. OCLC 54752786.
- ^ Sandra Blakeslee (1988-12-08). "California Bars Degrees at Creationist School". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6DB1638F93BA35751C1A96E948260. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
- ^ Delos B. McKown (1993), [Expression error: Missing operand for > The Mythmaker's Magic], Prometheus Books
- ^ Guide to California Colleges and Universities-Institute For Creation Research, Retrieved on 2007-11-26 
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- ^ "Texas-Based Creationism Institute Seeks to Offer Science Education Degree". Fox News. 2007-12-19. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317533,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- ^ a b "Decision on ICR's graduate school deferred". National Center for Science Education. January 17, 2008. http://ncse.com/news/2008/01/decision-icrs-graduate-school-deferred-001690. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- ^ Inside Higher Ed, January 25, 2008.
- ^ "Creationist institute's master's science degree proposal creates debate," Dallas Morning News, January 23, 2008.
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- ^ "ICR fails to obtain certification in Texas". National Center for Science Education. April 24, 2008. http://ncse.com/news/2008/04/icr-fails-to-obtain-certification-texas-001688. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
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- ^ As reported by Newsweek: "By one count there are some 700 scientists (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared 'abruptly'," in "Keeping God out of the Classroom (Washington and bureau reports)",Larry Martz & Ann McDaniel, Newsweek CIX(26): 23-24, June 29, 1987, ISSN 0028-9604
- ^ "Creationism in any of its forms, such as 'intelligent design', is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes"."The dangers of creationism in education". Council of Europe. http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/EDOC11297.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
- ^ "Statements from Scientific and Scholarly Organizations". National Center for Science Education. 2008. http://ncse.com/media/voices/science. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
- ^ a b c Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying Evolution: Creationism, Scientism, and the Nature of Science. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer. p. 46. ISBN 0-87893-659-9.
- ^ "Creationism". Bullshit!. 2004. http://www.sho.com/site/ptbs/previous_episodes.do?episodeid=s1/c. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
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- ^ Answers In Creation. "Creation Science Rebuttals: Institute for Creation Research". http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/icr/institute_for_creation_research.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
- ^ a b Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D. "Young-Earth Creationist 'Dating' of a Mt. St. Helens Dacite: The Failure of Austin and Swenson to Recognize Obviously Ancient Minerals". Answers In Creation. http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/icr/institute_for_creation_research.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
- ^ Hugh Ross and Russell Humphreys (August 2002). "Exchanges Between Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Russell Humphreys". Reasons to Believe. http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/humphreys_debate_statement.shtml. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ James Stambaugh. "Hugh Ross, ICR, and Facts of Science". ICR. http://www.icr.org/article/345/. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ "Survey shows overwhelming opposition to ICR certification". National Center for Science Education. April 24, 2008. http://ncse.com/news/2008/04/survey-shows-overwhelming-opposition-to-icr-certification-001687. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Numbers, Ronald (November 30, 2006). The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition. Harvard University Press. p. 624 pages. ISBN 0674023390.
- Institute for Creation Research – Official website
- Museum of Creation and Earth History – ICR museum (in California)
- Answers In Creation – Old earth creationist critical of the ICR
- The Creation/Evolution Continuum from the National Center for Science Education
- Young Earth Evidence and Rebuttals
- Talk Origins This site examines many of ICR's claims in detail