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Mirecki Hates Christianity

John on November 24, 2005 at 10:42 pm

In the wake of the Dover ID case, there have been a number of publicity stunts at colleges aimed at making some public display of displeasure over intelligent design. At the University of Iowa, 150 professors signed a petition stating that ID was not science. One of the professors who sponsored the petition wrote a really atrocious paper attacking ID, which I fisked here.

Then last week a Professor Mirecki of Kansas University announced a new class entitled Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies. [HT: Telic Thoughts] The title seemed a bit suspect, but the school’s Provost assured reporters that the word “mythology” was used in a strictly academic sense and that the class would be handled in a professional way.

Up to this point, it all fit the standard story. The anti-ID crowd likes to claim that the only issue at hand is science. There’s no personal or religious motivation involved, at least not on thier side. Of course in this case, Dr. Mirecki is a Professor of ‘religious studies’ not biology. He’s also the faculty sponsor of the student atheists group at KU. And one couldn’t help but notice that the appearance of the provost to defend the class sounded a bit like “Pay no attention to that atheist behind the curtain!” But nevermind all of that. It’s about SCIENCE!

Most of the time the press is content with the standard line and those of us who suspect there may be more to the story have only suppositions without evidence. Unfortunately for Professor Mirecki, this was not one of those times. A pro-ID Kansas reporter joined a public listserv for Mirecki’s atheist group and discovered an e-mail from the professor discussing his new class as follows:

My fellow damned,

The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology’

Doing my part to (tick)* off the religious right,

Evil Dr. P.

So does it sound as if Professor Mirecki is motivated by a cool, scientific appraisal of the merits of ID? Or is it just possible that “Evil Dr. P” is a juvenille twit with an anti-Christian agenda? The anti-ID crowd — as much as they try to deny a religious motivation on their side of the argument — is going to have a hard time making a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

*The word “tick” is not in the original.

Update: (11/30) Krauze at Telic Thoughts has a post on the apology including the full original e-mail that got Mirecki in trouble. In particular I note these statements:

I will teach the class, with several other lefty KU professors in the sciences and humanities…Of course, I won’t actually be teaching I.D. and creationisms, but rather I’ll be teaching ABOUT I.D. and creationisms as modern mythologies…

As I suggested in my original post above, there is a connection between “lefty professors in the sciences and humanities” and ID bashing, one the anti-ID crowd swears does not exist. But as a former obnoxious atheist I can tell you that guys like Mirecki — in the whole scope of human behaviour — only believe in one absolutely good act, i.e. bashing Christians. Dawkins, Weinberg, Scott, etc…different names, same story.

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