Austin federal judge Sam Sparks dismissed a suit by the Dallas-based Institute of Creation Research, which seeks the right to grant a master’s degree in science from a biblical perspective. And by “dismissed,” we mean the judge tore it apart.
But first, a summary of the suit, as reported today by the San Antonio Express-News. The Institute seeks to offer a masters degree that critiques evolution and champions a literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation. Texas’s higher education board nixed the group’s application, because of the proposed program’s creationist slant. This, the Institute contended, was a violation of its First Amendment Rights.
That claim was dismissed by Sparks in an opinion that criticized the Institute’s arguments as incoherent. At one point he writes that he will address the group’s concerns “to the extent [he] is able to understand them.” At another, he describes the group’s filings as “overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information.” Click here for the judge’s opinion.
So I clicked there for the judge’s opinion and read all 39 pages. And lemme tell you, I would say that Sparks’ ruling in this case will stand with the ruling in Dover v. Kitzmiller, except that there was even less substance in the creationists’ arguments in this case than there were in Dover. Which is saying something, I’ll grant, but good night, the Institute of Creation Research’s suit was a dog’s breakfast of FAIL:
- A review panel “reasoned 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.”
- “First, although it is difficult to follow ICRGS’s complaint, it appears …”
- [Sparks, quoting a state reviewer]: “The proposed program of study in no way would adequately prepare students in the field of science education, at any level, and certainly not at the graduate level.”
- “It is unclear whether ICRGS intends to assert a procedural or substantive due process claim in its complaint …”
- “Because ICRGS alternates between arguing it is merely teaching science and arguing its program is compelled by its religious beliefs, the Court is at a loss to determine what portion of ICRGS’s behavior should be considered motivated by its religious beliefs.”
- “And although its pleadings and various documents in the record (such as the report of the review panel) contain third-person references to ICRGS’s religious beliefs, the Court has no actual evidence (such as an affidavit) of what those beliefs are and to what extent they motivate ICRGS in offering the degree in question.”
- “… because ICRGS has not raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Board imposed a substantial burden on its religious exercise, the presence or absence of a compelling governmental interest is immaterial.”
- “ICRGS claims Standard 12 “criminalizes free speech.” (see Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. at ¶ 5.) The statement is misleading. The governing regulations do in fact have a criminal component: Rule 7.5(a)(1) provides, in relevant part, that no person or institution may offer a degree on behalf of a nonexempt institution unless the institution has a certificate of authority to offer the degree. 19 TEX. ADMIN. CODE § 7.5(a)(1). Rule 7.5(c) warns a violation of the rule may constitute a violation of Texas Penal Code § 32.52 or Texas Education Code §§ 61.312 and 61.313, and an offense under subsection (a)(1) may be a Class A misdemeanor.”
- “In this case, ICRGS has offered no actual evidence Standard 12 is unconstitutionally vague (though it pontificates extensively on the subject) …”
And last but not least:
In conclusion, the Court finds ICRGS has not put forth evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any claim it brings.
Memo to creationists: You can call it creationism or you can call it intelligent design or you can call it a dog’s breakfast, but whatever you want to call it, in front of any half-bright judge, your sins Stoopid will find you out and leave you, as the Institute of Creation Research Graduate School is left tonight, in a well-deserved world of butthurt.
Unfortunately, the only negative consequence to this attempt to securitize Teh Stoopid is that they get told no. I think these people ought to face criminal fraud charges for making the state waste so many bureaucrats’ time, and the lawyers who represented this asshattery should lose their licenses. That would put a stop to this foolishness right quick.
But this is Texas we’re talking about.