A Texas-based institute that advocates creationism as part of science curriculums is seeking state approval to grant an online master’s degree in science education, sparking renewed controversy over the place of religion in science classrooms, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
The Institute for Creation Research, which is based out of Dallas, says it teaches its graduate students “more typical secular perspectives” alongside creationism.
According to the school's mission statement, the proposed program would prepare teachers to "understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism," the Chronicle reports.
"It's just the latest trick," said James Bower, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a critic of creationism in the Chronicle report. "They have no interest in teaching science. They are hostile to science and fundamentally have a religious objective."
According to the Institute’s Web site, students and faculty must profess faith in a literal translation of the Bible, including the belief that God created the world in six days and made life in their current forms, that the Earth is only a couple thousand years old and the fossil record is the result of the great flood as described in the Bible.
Most of the Institute’s 54 students are teachers at private Christian schools or homeschoolers, according to the Chronicle report, but a few of the students are public school teachers looking to advance their careers or pass the Texas science teacher licensing exam.