Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Culture wars heating up?

OK, it's probably just a case of a couple of rednecks doing the sort of thing rednecks do (attack people with whom they disagree). But it's difficult to deny that the rhetoric used these days by the "traditional values" pundits (including those who swirl around the manufactured creationism/"intelligent design" "controversy", for example) is often an incitement to violence. In this case, a Religious Studies professor at the University of Kansas, Paul Mirecki, sent out a private email mocking the creationist crowd and describing his plans for a religious studies special topics course that would "...be a nice slap in their [fundamentalists'] big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology’". Because of the email, he was forced to apologize and cancel his class. Because it's important for an instructor's mind to be a blank slate before teaching a class, I suppose. I guess I'd better think twice about emailing out information on my upcoming algorithms class; wouldn't want the wrong people getting the idea I have already formed an opinion on red/black trees.

P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula says that he may have some additional details to post about this soon.


  1. Do we even know that he was actully beaten? Could be a hoax.

  2. The police seem to think he was beaten, and it's reported that his face was injured and he broke a tooth. It seems unlikely that someone would fake a beating that way.

  3. This clown could have slipped and fell, and then decided to blame his few minor injuries on an assault by Christians. Honestly, the guy sounds like an idiot.

  4. Usually, people don't slip and fall on their faces. And I don't see an anonymous commentator as being qualified to assess the Chair of a major university department as an "idiot", just because he has formed an opinion contrary to your beliefs.

  5. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

    mirecki appears to be seriously delusional. His injuries are more consistent with tripping and falling on one's face than with being beaten. How did it happen? I don't know. Maybe he was drunk or high. Maybe he got into a fight with his wife/girlfriend who pushed him, causing him to fall forward. The possibilities are endless.

    The story just doesn't add up, and his refusal to further elaborate calls his account into serious doubt.

    I venture that mirecki is a mentally disturbed individual who is breaking down under the pressure of recent events. He should probably be committed before he harms himself further.

  6. Who is Kenneth? Mirecki's first name is Paul.

    As posted in Thoughts from Kansas, "The notion that Mirecki made this up is bizarre." The fact that you think you can "diagnose" Mirecki's injuries and state of mind from your keyboard reinforces this idea. Especially considering the veiled threats made by the lunatic fringe who lack the ability to distinguish between science and religion (or government and church). To again quote Thoughts from Kansas, "This sort of political terrorism is a common part of fascism."