Institute for Creation Research

Institute for Creation Research
Institute for Creation Research
Established 1970
Type Young earth creationist
Chairman Henry Morris III
President John D. Morris
Academic staff 4 full time [1]
Students (online classes) either about 30 or more than 50, depending on source[1][2]
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.[3] It strongly rejects the science of evolutionary biology, which it views as a corrupting moral and social influence and threat to religious belief.[4]

The ICR was formed by Henry M. Morris in 1972 following an organizational split with the Creation Science Research Center (CSRC).[5] Its work in the field of creation science has been thoroughly rejected by essentially all 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.[6][7] The ICR also offers graduate level programs in Biblical Apologetics, including a minor in Creation Research.[8] In 1992, the ICR started the Museum of Creation and Earth History and hosted adventure tours, but it was sold to Life and Light Foundation in 2008.[9]



Institute for Creation Research in Santee, CA.

The origins of the ICR can be traced to the Creation Science Research Center set up by Henry M. Morris, along with Nell and Kelly Segraves, at the Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College) in 1970. However the Segraveses and Morris disagreed on the focus of the center, with the Segraveses favoring political and promotional activities, whilst Morris favored educational and scientific efforts. This led to the breakup of the center in 1972, with the Segreveses taking control of the center and severing ties with the university, with Morris reorganising the remaining staff into the Institute for Creation Research.[5]

The ICR defined its work in terms of three ministries: research, writing and speaking. Historian of science Ronald L. Numbers states that "[d]espite its name, the institute for years conducted little research outside the confines of its modest library" and cites (founding member) Duane Gish as "explain[ing] apologetically in 1978, [that] the staff devoted much of its research effort to scouring the scientific literature for references favorable to creationism." Numbers does however note that it engaged in a number of archaeological and geological expeditions, including two in search of Noah's Ark, with Geologist Stephen A. Austin, working as an "off and on" visiting scientist until taking a full staff position in 1979, single-handedly conducting most of its non-literary research.[10] Influential scientific creationist Walter E. Lammerts complained that "[t]he main trouble is that Henry looks at this whole thing as a sort of 'missionary' effort rather than a scientific one."[11] It maintained tax-exempt status as a religious institution carrying out "non-scientific research"[12]

In the early 1980s the ICR severed its ties with Christian Heritage College, in order to downplay its religious connections and portray itself as secular scientific institution.[12]

Ken Ham, a 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).[13][not in citation given] Currently, at least one ICR staff member is also on staff at AiG.[14]

In 1985, the ICR helped Turkey’s education minister Vehbi Dinçerler, introduce creationism in Turkish high schools.[15]

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."[16] 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."[17] 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.[17]

In 2007, the institute relocated from Santee, California, to Dallas, Texas.[18] 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.[19] For FYE 2007, the Institute had net assets of $7,613,461.[20] In 2009, the ICR had a revenue of $8,042,283 with net assets of $9,857,656.[20]

Research and publications

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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, due to strong disagreement on interpretations of the evidence[citation needed].

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.[citation needed]

ICR started the Jonathan Park radio drama series, now managed by Vision Forum Ministries.[citation needed]

Master Books

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.[21]

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.[22][non-primary source needed] Then 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.[4] 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.[23] 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.[24] The original agreement expired in 1995, and California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) granted the ICR religious exemption from postsecondary school requirements in California.[25] In 2007, the BPPVE ceased operations and California is without a governmental body to set academic standards of private institutions of higher education.[26]

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."[27] 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 TRACS terminated its accredited status after the ICR requested its termination.[28] Texas does not recognize TRACS' accreditation.[19]

The ICR's relocation to Texas required it to obtain Texas state approval or become accredited by a regional accrediting agency, in this case Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).[29] The ICR has applied for a temporary state certification there which would have allowed the institute to operate while it pursues accreditation through SACS.[30] In December 2007, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) 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.[29] 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.[1][2][31]

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."[32] Subsequently, the ICR asked the THECB to delay its decision until their next meeting, on April 24, 2008 to give them time to respond.[32] Inside Higher Ed reports that "lobbying — by scientists against the institute, and by others in its favor — is going strong."[33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

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."[36] 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.'"[37] The ICR said it would appeal the decision saying the Education Board is guilty of "viewpoint discrimination."[38]

In April 2009, the ICR sued the THECB in federal court for imposing "an unconstitutional and prejudicial burden against ICRGS's academic freedom and religious liberties" and asked for the ability to award science degrees.[39][40] In June 2010, the judge ruled in favor of the Texas Higher Education saying the ICR "is entirely unable to file a complaint which is not overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information."[41] The judge ruled, "The Court simply comes to the conclusion, which is inescapable, that the [THECB] decision was rationally related to a legitimate state interest."[42] According to the San Antonio Express-News, "ICR representatives said they were reviewing the decision and may appeal."[43] In the September 2010 ICR newsletter Henry Morris III, the ICR's chief executive officer, wrote: "ICR's legal battle is over," after the Judge granted summary judgment to the Texas Board.[44][45]


Scientific criticism

Creationism is rejected by nearly all scientists,[46][47] with more than 45 science organizations having criticized creationism as not science.[48] 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.[49] 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."[49]

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".[50] 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."[51]

Criticism from creationists

Old earth creationists are opposed to the ICR. Gary North "opposes the ICR on the grounds that they" think the second principle of thermodynamics contradicts evolution, and John W. Robbins considers the ICR's activities a "fraud."[49] The old-Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation criticizes the ICR,[52] including a critical review by Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D of the ICR's dating claims (see: RATE).[53] Henke concluded that the ICR's "research" was improperly conducted and "was unsuccessful in adequately separating the volcanic glass from the much older minerals.".[53] Another creationist opponent of ICR and its doctrine is Hugh Ross, who accepts the scientific consensus of a 4.54 billion year old Earth and is critical of ICR's cosmological models as well as their attempts to solve the starlight problem.[54][55]

Criticism over awarding degrees

The ICR attracted much opposition when it sought approval in Texas to operate a master's degree program in science education.[35] 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.[56] 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.


  1. ^ a b c Hacker, Holly (2007-12-15). "Creation college seeks state's OK to train teachers". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  2. ^ a b Eileen E. Flynn, Scott (December 15, 2007). "Creationist institute seeks certificate to operate master's program in Texas". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  3. ^ FAQ at the Wayback Machine (archived January 26, 2008)
  4. ^ a b Numbers(2006) p318
  5. ^ a b Numbers(2006) pp 313-315
  6. ^ Larson, Edward J. (2006). Evolution. Modern Library. p. 368. ISBN 978-0812968491. OCLC 70826907 
  7. ^ Numbers(2006) pp 316-317
  8. ^ ICR concedes defeat over its graduate school, National Center for Science Education
  9. ^, Institute for Creation Research
  10. ^ Numbers(2006) p 315
  11. ^ Numbers(2006) pp 315-316
  12. ^ a b Flank, Lenny. Deception by Design: The Intelligent Design Movement in America. Red and Black Publishers. p. 70. ISBN 0-9791813-0-5. 
  13. ^ Numbers(2006) p401
  14. ^ Andrew Snelling biography, Answers in Genesis
  15. ^ Songün, Sevim (February 27, 2009). "Turkey evolves as creationist center". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  16. ^ "Edwards v. Aguillard: Justice Powell, with whom Justice O'Connor joins, concurring. I". Supreme Court of the United States. June 19, 1987. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  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. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  18. ^ "ICR seeks to grant degrees in Texas". National Center for Science Education. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  19. ^ 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. Retrieved 2008-01-09 
  20. ^ a b "Charity Navigator Rating for ICR". Charity Navigator. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  21. ^ Scott, Eugenie (2004). Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. Westport Connecticut-London: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313321221. OCLC 54752786. 
  22. ^ "Institute for Creation Research-History". Institute for Creation Research. Retrieved November 26, 2007. 
  23. ^ Sandra Blakeslee (1988-12-08). "California Bars Degrees at Creationist School". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  24. ^ Delos B. McKown (1993), The Mythmaker's Magic, Prometheus Books 
  25. ^ Guide to California Colleges and Universities-Institute For Creation Research, Retrieved on 2007-11-26 [1]
  26. ^ Private Postsecondary Overview, California Department of Consumer Affairs, accessed June 8, 2008
  27. ^ Sandra Blakeslee (2007). "The ICR Graduates". Institute for Creation Research. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  28. ^ "Accreditation Commission Meeting" (PDF). Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Retrieved 2008-01-09. [dead link]
  29. ^ a b Jaschik, Scott (2007-12-17). "Creationist College advances in Texas". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  30. ^ Ludwig, Melissa (2007-12-19). "Institute proposes online degrees in creationism". San Antonio: Express News. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  31. ^ "Texas-Based Creationism Institute Seeks to Offer Science Education Degree". Fox News. 2007-12-19.,2933,317533,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  32. ^ a b "Decision on ICR's graduate school deferred". National Center for Science Education. January 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  33. ^ Inside Higher Ed, January 25, 2008.
  34. ^ "Creationist institute's master's science degree proposal creates debate," Dallas Morning News, January 23, 2008.
  35. ^ a b Schafersman, Steven (January 15, 2008). "The Disjunctive Duality of Science Distinction". Texas Citizens for Science. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  36. ^ "Panel rejects creation institute's proposal". Austin American-Statesman. April 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  37. ^ "ICR fails to obtain certification in Texas". National Center for Science Education. April 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  38. ^ "Creationist school fights ruling". Houston Chronicle. June 2, 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  39. ^ "ICR sues THECB". National Center for Science Education. April 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  40. ^ "Institute for Creation Research Graduate School v. Paredes et al.". National Center for Science Education. April 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  41. ^ "Federal judge rules against Dallas creationist group". Dallas Morning News. June 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  42. ^ "The Institute For Creation Research Gets Slammed, Rejected By Federal Judge". Houston Press. June 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  43. ^ Ludwig, Melissa (June 22, 2010). "Court rules against creationism degree". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  44. ^ "ICR concedes defeat over its graduate school". National Center for Science Education. September 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  45. ^ Morris III, Henry (September 1, 2010). "Fighting the Dragon". Acts & Facts/Institute for Creation Research. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  46. ^ 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
  47. ^ "Creationism claims to be based on scientific rigour. In reality the methods employed by creationists are of three types: purely dogmatic assertions; distorted use of scientific quotations, sometimes illustrated with magnificent photographs; and backing from more or less well-known scientists, most of whom are not specialists in these matters"."The dangers of creationism in education". Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  48. ^ "Statements from Scientific and Scholarly Organizations". National Center for Science Education. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  49. ^ 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. 
  50. ^ "Renewed concern about creationism at Grand Canyon National Park". National Center for Science Education. January 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  51. ^ Scott, Eugenie (1998). "A Visit to the Institute for Creation Research". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  52. ^ Answers In Creation. "Creation Science Rebuttals: Institute for Creation Research". Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  53. ^ 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. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  54. ^ Hugh Ross and Russell Humphreys (August 2002). "Exchanges Between Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Russell Humphreys". Reasons to Believe. Retrieved 2008-11-06. [dead link]
  55. ^ James Stambaugh. "Hugh Ross, ICR, and Facts of Science". ICR. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  56. ^ "Survey shows overwhelming opposition to ICR certification". National Center for Science Education. April 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 


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