April 24, 2008, 10:09PM Creationist school's plea is denied by state board Plan to offer a science master's degree is voted down unanimously By JEANNIE KEVER Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle With virtually no discussion, the state's Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously Thursday to deny a request by a Bible-based school and research institute to offer a master's degree in science education. Leaders of the Institute for Creation Research were in the audience but were not allowed to address the board. "So be it," said the institute's CEO, Henry Morris III. Members of the board's Academic Excellence and Research Committee had voted Wednesday after a public hearing and discussion to recommend that the request by the Dallas-based group be denied. Thursday, Committee Chairwoman Lynn Phillips of Bastrop, suggested that no more public discussion be allowed. The issue was whether the institute, whose leaders believe in creationism, or that the world was literally created as recounted in the Bible, could adequately prepare its graduates to teach science in middle schools and high schools. Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes had found — and board members agreed — that it could not. Board Vice Chairman A.W. "Whit" Riter III, in the only public comment before the vote, said after looking at the background material, he simply felt "the program presented to us was inconsistent with Coordinating Board rules. "I still question that science can come to one conclusion (about the origin of life), but as a board, I think we need to be very sensitive," said Riter, a businessman from Tyler. Several board members pressed Paredes and other coordinating board staff members Wednesday on whether the institute had been treated differently because of its founding religious beliefs. They were told "no," that the objections to the program had been based upon academic quality. Thursday's decision ended the issue, but probably only temporarily. Morris said Thursday that the institute has not decided on its next step, but that it is likely to either appeal or file a new proposal. firstname.lastname@example.org ....................................................................................... I guess its okay to live ones life 3 fries short of a happy meal but to be to run schools it makes it pretty difficult to be taken seriously if you believe the world was created 6000 years ago etc. - makes one wonder what sort of reality people like this inhabit ...should be an interesting debate if they decide to appeal!