Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ICR Loses Appeal

Jonathan Turley is reporting that a Texas appeals court has upheld the decision by the Texas Higher Education Commission to deny the Institute for Creation Research the right to grant graduate degrees in science. He writes:

A panel of science education experts found little evidence of science in the degree or its underlying curriculum. The panel concluded “much of the course content was outside the realm of science and lacked potential to help students understand the nature of science and the history and nature of the natural world.”

The school claimed violations of free speech, free exercise, equal protection and due process. However, under the rational basis test (which sets an extremely low standard for the government), the court granted summary judgment.
The rational basis test (if I understand it correctly) dictates whether the court believes that the government has a vested interest in the outcome of a case and whether or not it should involve itself. It saw no such interest. It is interesting that the case was based on violations of free speech and exercise and not on the basis of what the panel found—that the scientific content was non-existent.

Now playing: Genesis - Carpet Crawlers 1999
via FoxyTunes


  1. Jimpithicus, just a quick clarification. Your post is essentially correct.

    The rational basis test measures whether the government could have plausibly had any rational reason to pass the given law. All the government has to do is walk into court and claim that X is a good reason to pass the law (where X doesn't involve bribery and/or personal hatred).

    The gov't doesn't have to prove that those WERE actually the reasons; it has to prove that they were _possible_ reasons.

    Vested interest is one of the possible arguments that should not be given as a "rational basis" -- so, for example, Texas shouldn't argue that if it didn't pass that law, ICR might attract students and money from State public universities :-).

  2. Wtanksley, thanks for the clarification. I think that science educators state-wide breathed a sigh of relief, in any event.