Archive for Friday, December 2, 2005

Intelligent design course canceled

December 2, 2005


Less than two weeks since Kansas University religious studies professor Paul Mirecki first publicly voiced plans to teach intelligent design as mythology, the embattled professor has withdrawn his course.

"I thought about it long and hard this week," Mirecki said Thursday.

Mirecki's comments on a list serv for KU's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics were what ended it.

In a statement released Thursday, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said: "I want to be clear that I personally find Professor Mirecki's e-mail comments repugnant and vile. They do not represent my views nor the views of this university."

The elective course had 25 students enrolled when it was canceled. And KU's Provost David Shulenburger said Thursday the course may be offered in the future, though not by Mirecki.

"The university is still committed to the course," Shulenburger said. "At such time as we have appropriate faculty to teach it, it will be taught."

In a written statement, Mirecki said the continuing controversy over his e-mails, posted on the list serv since 2003, pressed him to withdraw the course.

"My concern is that students with a serious interest in this important subject matter would not be well served by the learning environment my e-mails and the public distribution of them have created," he said in the statement. "It would not be fair to the students. It was not my intent when I wrote the e-mails, but I understand now that these words have offended many on this campus and beyond, and for that I take full responsibility. I made a mistake in not leading by example, in this student organization e-mail forum, the importance of discussing differing viewpoints in a civil and respectful manner."

Critics outraged

On the list serv, Mirecki referred to himself as "Evil Dr. P" and called fundamentalists "fundies."

In discussing his plans for a class on intelligent design, Mirecki said: "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.'"

His words outraged conservatives and others. The sentence traveled worldwide. It is a featured quote in the latest issue of TIME magazine.

Meanwhile, critics questioned the use of tax dollars on the course. State Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, called for Mirecki and Hemenway to appear before state lawmakers to answer questions about the course.

Sen. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, last week responded to the e-mail: "He wants me to say 'thank you' by giving more money. Who is the ignoramus here?"

KU changed the name of the course, dropping reference to mythology from the title, and issued a formal apology from Mirecki - a move that only slightly quelled concerns.

John Altevogt, a conservative columnist and activist in Kansas City, visited the student group's list serv and compiled a series of Mirecki's comments made in recent years.

Altevogt sent the compilation to the media, politicians, university officials and others.

The following day, Thursday, the university announced the course's closure.

Altevogt said cutting the course was the wrong outcome.

"This is again a meaningless gesture," he said.

Altevogt said he was concerned about the focus of the religious studies department and he wants to see Mirecki and another faculty member moved to another department. He said he also wanted the religious studies department cleaned up and perhaps transferred to a religious organization that can monitor it; the chancellor fired, and the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics student group kicked off campus.

Phil McKnight, a KU professor and member of the Friends of the Department of Religious Studies, said he did not believe the controversy would hurt fundraising efforts.

"I think people can see beyond any specific event ... and realize the department has done a great deal for students over its existence," he said.

Sen. Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe, who voiced concerns about the course, said Thursday she was pleased by the decision to withdraw the course and by the chancellor's comments.

But Sen. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, said the course's demise was only one step.

"I think I see crow feathers," O'Connor said. "There's some folks eating crow ... I'm concerned about the taxpayer-funded hatred that he has apparently been promoting. It's an issue that's not totally resolved."

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka called Mirecki's e-mails "disturbing and inexcusable" and said the professor has damaged civil discourse in Kansas.

"Mirecki has disgraced a department and university which is otherwise a beacon of tolerance and acceptance. I believe it was the correct decision that Mirecki not teach this course," Hensley said.

Kline to the defense

But Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, a conservative Republican, said he was surprised KU pulled the class and defended Mirecki's right to free speech.

"I believe people ought to be engaged in free discussion," he said. "I didn't have any problem with the teaching of the class, I don't have a problem with all the discussion surrounding it. I think it's healthy."

Asked if Mirecki should be heading the religious studies department, Kline didn't answer directly, but said, "You know, I don't go to universities to worship."

Rev. Terry Fox of Wichita who led the effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, said Mirecki's comments were unfortunate.

"There is no such thing as a private e-mail," Fox said. "I'm surprised that to be so educated, he is so dumb."

Hume Feldman, associate professor of physics and astronomy, had planned to be a guest lecturer in Mirecki's course. But having seen his e-mails, Feldman said he understood why Mirecki withdrew.

"The topic was not the course anymore," Feldman said. "The topic was Paul and his dreadful e-mails. That's not really what we want to talk about."

Feldman says he remains committed to science, and helping to better explain to people what science is.

"I will find it very difficult to believe that people here will just give up and say: 'We lost this battle and let's just move on,'" he said.

Steve Case, a KU scientist who served as co-chairman of the state Board of Education's science standards curriculum revision committee, said it was unfortunate Mirecki's e-mail comments ended what would have been a valuable course. He said the events also may have a chilling effect.

"This kind of political insertion into academic offerings is chilling," Case said.

- Journal-World Reporter Scott Rothschild contributed to this report.

Text of KU professor's e-mail

This is the e-mail by Paul Mirecki, a religious studies professor at Kansas University, that has sparked a controversy. Mirecki posted the message on a Yahoo! listserv of KU's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, a group for which Mirecki is the faculty adviser. To my fellow damned, Its true, the fundies have been wanting to get I.D. and creationism into the Kansas public schools, so I thought "why don't I do it?" I will teach the class, with several other lefty KU professors in the sciences and humanities. Class is: REL 602 Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies. Tuesdays 7:00-9:30pm. Smith Hall room 100. Open to undergrads and grads. Enrollment limited to about 120. 3 credit hours. 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." I expect it will draw much media attention. The university public relations office will have a press release on it in a few weeks, I also have contacts at several regional newspapers. 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, indicating that these ideas have no place in a public school science class, but can certainly be analyzed in humanities classes for their function in society. Basic approach is my usual: anthropology with a focus on religious thought and behavior. Any ideas for textbooks, guest lecturers and panels would be appreciated. So far, six faculty have eagerly signed up to lecture. I can probably pull Chancellor Hemenway into this also, especially in the light of his public comments supporting evolution. Doing my part to piss of (sic) the religious right, Evil Dr. P.


LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

The exposure of Mirecki's message posted on a publicly accessible Internet forum was no big invasion of privacy. The information was not obtained by wiretapping his phone lines or bugging his office or home. In contrast, in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover intelligent-design case in Pennsylvania, testifiers were grilled under oath about private conversations in an effort to determine whether or not individual pro-ID school board members had been motivated by religion.

An earlier Lawrence Journal-World news article said -- "I would predict that (Mirecki's) effort will go down in history as one of the laughingstocks of the century," said John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of the Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County.

Well, folks, it was not a long wait for the prediction to be fulfilled. Here is the quote in the online edition of Time magazine --

Bob Reinsch 11 years, 10 months ago

It doesn't matter which side of the argument one is on, if one promotes and extremist agenda, one looks like an idiot.

Altevogt is a Talibaptist, quite obviously. If you disagree with his perspective, you've got no place in higher education, and removal of student group because they would promote an atheist or agnostic perspective must be a violation of consitutional law - methinks home skillet ought to reread the constitution. We are allowed free thought in this country, and a university, public, private or otherwise has a duty to promote creative thinking and reduce the prejudicial agenda being pushed by the Talibaptists. Let a religious group monitor what is taught in any state university? Fantastic - let's make sure that every religion is represented - everything from Christian to Buddhist to Wiccan to Islam to Zoroastrianism to Hindu to ... heck, it would be entertaining just to watch the meetings... and make sure that all of the respective creation myths are represented.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

Evolutionists and creation/ID folks should take this latest episode as strong evidence that this whole argument isn't about science.

No, this is an argument about the primacy of ideas. My idea of evolution is "science", your idea of ID isn't. And visa versa.

The error in judgement by P. Mirecki is just a glimpse of the true nature of this issue. Neither side supports really good science. Neither science is of any real substance. Neither science is fecund. Thus, the argument continues without resolution because none of us need to believe in either solution.

Don't you folks of such high intellect see the nature of the argument yet? Can't you see what you're doing to science? This is a philosophical argument about two philosophies, each with its own mythology. Great fun for the theologian, philosopher. Worthless to society.

Give us a break J-W, Dr. K., Prof. M, this whole thing is degenerating into a mess. There will be no resolution. In 20 or 30 years, you guys are going to be embarrassed by the obsessive, vehement support you show today for something that will be no longer important to you. YOu will think then, "wow, maybe I shoulda cut back on the coffee a little sooner".

blessed3x 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow! I had no idea his email was so full of hate! I don't think any rational person could read this and still find no fault with this proffessor or still agree that he should be in charge of a similar class.


LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

ID-bashers are fond of claiming that ID is making the USA a laughingstock of the world and that teaching ID in our public-school science classes will make the USA technologically uncompetitive. But now there is evidence that ID is spreading worldwide ---

--- from

"But the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Ronald Numbers viewed the phenomenon as a growing global issue, saying intelligent design had made significant inroads in Australia, throughout Latin America, in Korea and most surprisingly, Russian and even China, which remains a communist state."

" 'And it's not just a Christian phenomenon,' he added, citing a Turkish education minister who pushed for intelligent design in schools, as well as inroads made within both Judaism and Islam."

jayhawktownie 11 years, 10 months ago

i am amazed that none of these adults seem to understand what the religious studies department is for. They don't seem to fathom that religion could be an area of academic study rather than an evangelical crusade. A religious organization monitor the department? Sure, please let the fundies teach me my eastern religion class. That would help a lot.

craigers 11 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, I guess the word would be dislike not hate. You can see his dislike for IDers/Christians. Don't be blind to it. However, I really don't see the difference in Mirecki's comments and Sen O'Conner's. "I think I see crow feathers." That comment is showing her dislike of the professor and rubbing it in his face that the class had to be cancelled. What's the difference in that and Mirecki's comments trying to rub the fact that ID was going to be taught in a mythology class. These two individuals are showing how truly adult they are. One is a doctor and the other an elected official. Go figure.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


" Don't you folks of such high intellect see the nature of the argument yet? Can't you see what you're doing to science? This is a philosophical argument about two philosophies, each with its own mythology. Great fun for the theologian, philosopher. Worthless to society. "

Worthless? As in relevance or consequence to society?

How long were you planning to stay above the fray, devobrun? After it invades the geology class? Physics?Mathematics?

=== devobrun:

"In 20 or 30 years, you guys are going to be embarrassed by the obsessive, vehement support you show today for something that will be no longer important to you."

Galileo was probably as obsessive and vehement, but since he was dead less than 20 years after he was tried, we'll have to guess on the embarrassment, but odds are it still would have been important to him.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

From post by Wendt, 12/02/05 at 7:56 AM --

LarryFarma: Yeah, Intelligent Design is spreading so fast that it got voted out a couple of years ago HERE IN KANSAS, and got resoundingly voted out in Dover PA, despite the intervention of Dr. Micheal Behe.<<


        It was creationism and not ID that was voted out a couple of years ago in Kansas.    And the vote in Dover PA was not "resounding,"  but was fairly close.     Furthermore,  it was reported that some of the Dover voters might have resented the school board because of a belief that the board was spending a lot of taxpayer money on defense against the lawsuit (actually,   I think that the Thomas More Law Center and maybe also the Discovery Institute were probably picking up the tab).

blessed3x 11 years, 10 months ago


Yasser Arafat won a nobel prize. How many innocent women and children do I need to blow up in order to win one.

tir 11 years, 10 months ago

Here's one paragraph in this article that I think everyone needs to read and pay attention to.

"Altevogt said he was concerned about the focus of the religious studies department and he wants to see Mirecki and another faculty member moved to another department. He said he also wanted the religious studies department cleaned up and perhaps transferred to a religious organization that can monitor it; the chancellor fired, and the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics student group kicked off campus."

Listen up, folks. This is the real face of John Altevogt and others like him. I think this statement clearly reveals his agenda. Altevogt wants to be your friendly Thought Policeman. It's not really about religion with him, it's about power--the power to "monitor" and "clean up" and "kick off" people who oppose his ways of thinking. I find that repugnant and also very troubling.

I also must congratulate Phil Kline for speaking out in defense of the Religious Studies class and of freedom of expression. I have not always agreed with Kline's positions in the past, but this time he surprised me. On this day and on this issue, we are on the same side.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Regardless of how the vote went in the Dover trial, Behe was forced, under oath, to admit that in order to include Intelligent Design as a science, you'd have to redefine science in a way that would also include astrology.

Think about that.

What exactly has Mirecki said that was wrong? What?! Is it not allowed for a person to make a comment sneering about fundamentalists to their friends? We all do it with Fred Phelps all the time.

The difference here is we're just standing by and letting the fundies pretend that an attack against annoying fundamentalists is an attack against Christianity in general. I do not concede that what the fundies are saying here is even true, nor am I going to stand by while they frame the debate in terms of "why he is hateful." Is he even doing anything wrong?

Here are the "bad things" he supposedly said that are being used to make him "hateful":

  1. Mirecki made comments about how he choked during communion because he was grossed out by the idea of eating literal human flesh, something the Catholics teach their communion is. This makes him a normal, rational thinker.

  2. Mirecki suggested that many Catholics disobey the church, by doing things the church says not to do, like wearing condoms or beating their wives/husbands. Do you think this does not happen exactly as he said?

  3. Mirecki laughed, in the local SOMA board's standard back-and-forth language, that his new course was sure to piss off the religious right by throwing their "it's not a religion it's a science" concept right back in their faces. We're all sick of the blatant hypocrisy of this position, and were all glad to see it thrown in their big fat faces. As has been pointed out, the reaction of fundies prior to the revelation of the bulletin board posting proves that it did fly in their faces, and they reacted exactly as he predicted (though he thought the email was a secure communication, didn't realize they'd focus on that instead).

So perhaps I need it spelled out for me like a child would. What exactly did Mirecki do that was so bad?

Are you seriously going to look at me with a straight face and tell me we're not allowed to criticize fundamentalist Christianity? Are you seriously going to try to tell me that fundamentalists (fundies) like Fred Phelps and Jerry Falwell and Kay "I don't think women should vote" O'Connor represent Christianity to the point that picking on them equals "hating Christianity?"

If I were a Christian, I would be furious with people like O'Connor, Altevogt, or posters like "Triple Blessed" above who suggest that they represent Christianity for me. Furious.

Jamesaust 11 years, 10 months ago

"I'm concerned about the taxpayer-funded hatred..." says O'Connor.

I too, starting with Sen. O'Connor.

The road to hell is laid out and surveyed when radical, hate-filled ideologies are equated with Christianity.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma: But now there is evidence that ID is spreading worldwide ---

" 'And it's not just a Christian phenomenon,' he added, citing a Turkish education minister who pushed for intelligent design in schools, as well as inroads made within both Judaism and Islam."


re: ID inroads in Turkey

BAV (Science Research Foundation) and its Activities BAV is a radical fundamentalist foundation established in 1991 by Sheikh Adnan Oktar. It is an integral part of the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Turkey. BAV is not an independent organization and the source(s) of its funding remain very obscure.

The Islamic version of "scientific creationism", as promoted by BAV, sprang up and gained power under these circumstances in the early 1990s, with the support of the Islamic fundamentalists and radical Islamic sects (tariqas).

BAV's activities are integrally connected to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey, where secularism and science have become rooted to some extent and more strongly established than in many other Islamic countries (Sayin 1998a, 1998b; OECD Report 1996).

In the style of the Institute for Creation Research, BAV is now trying to supply "scientific" data to the public that, it proposes, proves the religious accounts of the creation, instead of appearing to appeal strictly to dogmas or sacred books.

With its considerable political support, it seems that BAV could achieve its goal of replacing evolution with a form of creationism. The BAV aims to convince the majority of the politicians in the parliament that evolution is not a fact, but a hoax. In February 1999 a representative from the fundamentalist Virtue Party proposed a Bill of Anti-Evolution to ban teaching of evolution in the schools and to collect and destroy all the books about evolution in the official libraries, on the grounds that evolution is against Islam (Hurriyet, March 9, 1999).

faraway 11 years, 10 months ago

It is very sad that this professor was so unprofessional about his motives for the course. Using a course as retaliation for the sad state of Kansas education is not right either. But still, it is true that Kansas is digging itself into a deep grave of fundamentalist bull. Organized religion is the food for the uneducated and paranoid. Letting religious issues change the face of education is no better than the wars and genocide that erupt in other parts of the world in the name of religion. At least this professor is willing to take a stand. It is too bad the state board of education doesn't see its mistakes. Maybe a mass exodus of educated people from the state will make them wake up. Sad... so very very sad. A church on every other block is reason enough to leave as far as I am concerned. How is the University going to attract intelligent academics when the state is in such sorry shape?

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

That's exactly what's going on, James. They put forth ideologies that are the most radical edge of Christian fundamentalism, and then when we attack the position we view (rightly) as borderline insanity, they scream repression of their overall religion... even when it is fellow, more moderate, members of their religion attacking them.

We see this effect in radical Islam all the time-- some radical fundy says that Israel should be pushed back into the sea, and when people attack him for it, he claims "religious persecution" to his followers, and they buy it, giving him increased support from his base. And, in the case of a modern Islamic far-edge fundamentalist, a few extra suicide bombers.

At least when Christians in America pull this crap all we get are a bunch of whiners who want to stifle anyone who isn't willing to call them mainstream Christian thinkers but instead call them out for the agenda-filled radicals they are!

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

Wendt wrote --


Wendt, Yes, but the margin of defeat for each of the ousted school board members was relatively small. It was not a "resounding" defeat like you claimed. And as I said, it was reported that some voters were resentful because of a belief that the school board was spending a lot of taxpayer money on defense against the lawsuit.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Larry - read what I posted. The margin of the vote-out is irrelevant. People saw the state board was embarassing and voted out those 8 members, and only those 8 members, despite the support they received from "mainstream" (ha!) fundamentalist voters over the issue.

The real issue was the Dover trial, where ID's main 'scientific' proponent admitted under oath that he did not really test ID scientifically, and for ID to be called a science you would have to re-define the word in a way that would include astrology. Read the transcripts.

harrierist 11 years, 10 months ago

All religion is Myth.... It is belief by faith. Science is what you see is what you get. In Science you test ansering the question - do you get the same results time after time. In the world of Pharmacology medicene is tested at the .o1 level of signifigance. Does a medication (say erithromyocin erradicate Strep throat germs in patient after patient), I don't want to take erthromyocin becasue some doctor believes it will handle the strep bacteria, I want the doctor think and know it will based on a experimented set of facts. In evolution we know that facts exist- cannine genes have been found in seas lions for example.... many thousands of years ago an evolutionary change was made, and a new branch of animal evolved. The Creator may have in deed designed the process of evolution, but their is no way to prove through the scientific method that an energy force from the life unseen part of ther universe (sub atomic particle worlds), created the process. This professor sounds like an ass just simply upon my own human judgement. His personality is that of an ass. But the course should be taught out of the Philosophy Department not a science department. What Prostestant fundamentalsits don't think about is that Scientists don't think interms of religion. Scientists think about a subject they don't believe something, at least not as a result of faith.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

Wendt wrote -- <>

Wendt, Of those 38 Nobel prize winners who signed the letter opposing the Kansas school board's new ID standards -- How many are scientists? How many are biologists? How many specialized in studying the origin of species? And how many studied the evolution vs. ID controversy? They might have just been reacting to the common misconception that ID is just religious and not at least partly scientific. All I can say about these 38 Nobelists is that they have their opinions and I have mine.

Kodiac 11 years, 10 months ago


I question why you would bring up the idea that ID is spreading worldwide. If you actually read the article, it is clear that the "world-wide spreading" is actually a PR campaign. It is a political and religious agenda being pushed by certain cultural groups. It is about power and not about science. Notice how there is virtually no scientific support behind ID/creationsim.

Also to deny that ID is really creationism, demonstrates that you have no historical perspective on the ID movement. The language and evidences promoted by the ID movement is exactly same as what was promoted by creationists. ID is creationism. In fact much of the literature in the creationist movement has simply substituted the word ID for creationism.

muffaletta 11 years, 10 months ago

I am very disappointed in Mirecki's lack of professionalism. Sure, First Amendment rights are guaranteed. Sure, we mock people with whom we disagree with our friends. Sure, he's entitled to his opinion. But he has weakened his argument and, more importantly perhaps, MY argument.

As a person who personally believes that ID is a crock and a complete waste of our collective time, especially given the many problems this country faces that actually impact our society, I am thoroughly disgusted with Mirecki's radical statements.

I'm all for sticking it to the ridiculous radical right wing, but Mirecki's poorly thought out comments put him on par with these people.

His proposed class is a good idea, but it will never happen now. Too bad, because it sure won't take a "lefty" zealot to discredit ID -- an objective classroom would have done the trick.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago


I've asked like four times and nobody has told me.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma: "They might have just been reacting to the common misconception that ID is just religious and not at least partly scientific. "


Do you think there might be a reason why they hold that "misconception" or why that line seems to be blurred?

Start with the DI's "Wedge Document". Or the minority writing committee members who want to change the definition of science.

Or the BOE itself. Is teaching science in science class the bottom line?

-- "Evolution is a great theory, but it is flawed. We can't ignore that our nation is based on Christianity - not science." said

--Kathy Martin, retired science and elementary school teacher and KS BOE member --

"No, we can't mandate intelligent design or creationism in the school standards. But as the fellow from Ohio said, we have to let students go where the evidence leads. I'll give you an example. Did you know there is evidence now that prayer is beneficial in treating cancer?"

I asked if teachers should be able to teach about that. Morris, said, "Absolutely!"

  • Connie Morris, KS BOE member


"At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe. That's the bottom line."

  • Steve Abrams, KS BOE Education Chair

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

PoeticHeteroSapien posted ( 12-02-05 at 9:10 AM )-- <>

Poetic, Are you crazy? What do you mean, "the margin of the vote-out is irrelevant"? Do you think that a 51-49 vote is the same as a 99-1 vote? By the way, it was a local board, not a state board.

       As I said,   some voters may have resented the board because of a belief that the lawsuit was costing a lot of taxpayer money.    Also,   Dover, PA is not exactly in the heart of the "Bible Belt,"   where ID probably would get more votes ( I am not saying that I consider ID to be just a religious concept).

        As for what Behe said in court,   I do not agree with everything that Behe says.    He has his opinions and I have mine.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


"slap their fat face"

A college prof stating that his class is a "slap" in ANYBODY'S "fat face" is a problem. Big problem.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

BoE - it was a private discussion board, of which I'm a member, and we've been using that expression for quite some time. Is his class NOT a slap in their big fat faces? Perhaps I'm missing something here. Is it wrong to tell the truth, now? Or should a professor have to walk on eggshells all the time just in case someone is spying on him?

As to Larry's question about the Nobel laureates, the answer is that four of them are not scientists, and won the peace prize. Here are the other signatories, from the PDF copy of their letter, provided by the LJWorld:

A. Abrikosov, Physics 2003 R. Axel, Medicine 2004 G. Blobel, Medicine 1999 L. Buck, Medicine 2004 A. Ceichanover, Chemistry 2004 R. Curl, Jr., Chemistry 1996 F. Murad, Medicine 1998 J. Fenn, Chemistry 2002 E. Neher, Medicine 1991 P. Nurse, Medicine 2001 D. Gross, Physics 2004 S. Prusiner, Medicine 1997 L. Hartwell, Medicine 2001 I. Rose, Chemistry 2004 H. Hauptman, Chemistry 1985 K. Sharpless, Chemistry 2001 D. Herschback, Chemistry 1986 H. Stormer, Physics 1998 A. Herschko, Chemistry 2004 G. Hooft, Physics 1999 R. Hoffman, Chemistry 1981 D. Tsui, Physics 1998 H. Horvitz, Medicine 2002 H. Varmus, Medicine 1989 E. Kandel, Medicine 2000 J. Walker, Chemistry 1997 W. Ketterle, Physics 2001 C. Wieman, Physics 2001 A. Klug, Chemistry 1982 H. Kroto, Chemistry 1996 F. Wilczek, Physics 2004 A. Leggett, Physics 2003 J. Lehn, Chemistry 1987

There is no nobel prize for biology, so most biological discoveries go under either chemistry or medicine, just FYI. Anyone want to suggest that the list's participants were unqualified to address the "ID is not science" issue, now? Because I see 34 people way more qualified than me to make such a statement, and I am a professional evolutionary biologist.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Am I crazy? Are YOU crazy?

The same thing happened to the Kansas Board of Education members here (in the heart of the Bible belt) in 1999, and I suspect strongly it will happen again when we next vote on the Kansas BoE, as the already-activated fundamentalist voters get outweighed by people who wake up and say "crap these fundies are dictating their craziness to me, I should get out and vote, too!"

Besides, we all learned in the last presidential election that 51 to 48 percent equals a "mandate". Wasn't that the word?

The fact is that all the fundamentalists in that area came out to support it, and they lost, bigtime. When all eight of your candiadates lose for the same reason, simultaneously, it means something, even if the margin was not overwhelming. Churches and religious leaders activate their people as voting blocs, everyone knows this and has seen it happen. When the "everyday people", with no organization, come together enough to defeat this phenomenon even by a small margin, it is the indicator that the fundies are not as mainstream as their shouting, whining, and vocal public declarations seem to suggest.

Were you joking about Behe, or do you seriously not grasp that one of only two men on the earth claiming to do active Intelligent Design "research" (he even wrote a book about it) admitted UNDER OATH that he did not in fact do anything that amounted to real research, and that using his definition of science as applied to include ID would also include astrology? Do you really not grasp that significance, or are you playing with me? Devil's advocate, perhaps? I'm curious. Perhaps I'm giving you too much or too little credit.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

KU has failed.

It is shameful that KU has bowed to the pressure of intemperate idealogues.

This hurts the University of Kansas more than it hurts the state or science education.

The failure of KU to support the basic academic freedom of expression of one its most valued professors is shameful and sends a powerful message to other KU faculty:

Bow the the political pressure of intemperate christian idealogues or risk being pilloried by not only them but by the KU administration.

"Watch what you say" is almost the worst thing that can be said to an academician, and KU has failed to defend itself against insults to academic freedom.

helix 11 years, 10 months ago

Let's put "conservative columnist and activist" John Altevogt's email research to work against himself:

Seems he's been a fan of calling people Nazis on an alternative radio listserv while working for the KU Sociology department in 1996:

"Yes, unlike responsible media outlets, NPR and PBS embrace their little crypto nazi bigots." -Altevogt said in 1996

That doesn't seem to be the kind of material I would expect coming from a university employee either. Maybe the LJ World should write an article about this.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 10 months ago

I don't see anything objectionable about Mirecki's e-mail -- unless you are a fundamentalist.

It is long past time for mainstream Christians to stand up on their hind legs and dispute the fundamentalist insistence on defining what Christianity is.

Their insistence on Biblical inerrancy is just silly.

The Bible is a collection of works of dozens, perhaps hundreds of authors and editors over a period of centuries.

Authors who were mostly concerned with telling stories about God and his relation to mankind.

Not history, not fact. The point of the stories is the relationship with God: The truth is metaphorical, not literal.

The presence of some verifiable facts does not turn the document into history. Neither do inconsistencies between authors render it a lie. It transcends mere fact to convey capital T Truth.

Fundamentalists want to bring it down to mere Fact and Law.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


" Is his class NOT a slap in their big fat faces? Perhaps I'm missing something here. Is it wrong to tell the truth, now? "



It was obviously a "slap in their big fat faces."

That's the problem.

I'm guessing his comment was directed toward to "fundie" driven political movement to change the definition of science and include ID into KS science standards, right?

No doubt he more than understands the politics involved, but as a Prof at a university....well, just consider for a moment, all the true statements you could make that would be offensive and inappropriate...that people have been fired for.

It isn't the truth of the statement that's in question, or his right to say it.

The PERCEPTION that the class was created solely as "a slap to their fat face" is the PROBLEM.

For people on both sides of the issue.

Mr_Christopher 11 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see some of the email that john whats his name from the intelligent design network has sent some of his pals in the past. In fact I'd like to see some of the email from all the people throwing stones in this email drama.

This email drama is almost as dumb as intelligent design itself. Almost I said :-)

ID is about as dumb as it gets and obviously has nothing to do with science and everything to do wth pushing a cultural/religious agenda. Evangelicals fall fo0r it because they are the least educated of any religious group, but everyone else sees it for what it is - recycled creationism dipped in perfume to hide/mask the creationist stench.

Have any of you ID cultists even read the Pandas and People textbook? More importantly have you read the criticisms? Google "Pandas and People", peeps.

Anyhow Kansas isn't the only (or first) state that has a class that exposes ID for what it truly is...Look for every major univerity to offer similar classes in the very near future. Meanwhile you will never see ID being taught as science in any univerity other than Bob Jones University or some other evangelical/creationist institute.

Read 'em and weep, peeps!

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

BOE- "partly scientific"?????? Either the approach posits claims that are falsifiable or they do not. ID is NOT scientific. ID is creationist myth using abstraction.

hobb2264 11 years, 10 months ago

Fundies....Lefties....can't we all just get along? Why is there so much hatin' "peeps"?

By the way...nice posts're about the only one (that has posted) who seems to have a grasp on this issure.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

"..crypto nazi bigots." -Altevogt said in 1996


Is that anything like real Nazi's?


"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press-in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years."

  • Adolph Hitler

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

Kodiac wrote -- <>

Kodiac, Why shouldn't I bring it up? It is spreading worldwide nonetheless, regardless of the reasons. And nowhere in the article is there an opinion that this worldwide spreading is mainly the result of a PR campaign. The only opinion in the article that says anything about a PR campaign is the following --

"One of the most successful PR campaigns we've seen in recent years," he added, "is intelligent design."

You are reading into the article something that is simply not there.

Also, I made quite clear my specific reasons for bringing up this worldwide spreading --

" ID-bashers are fond of claiming that ID is making the USA a laughingstock of the world and that teaching ID in our public-school science classes will make the USA technologically uncompetitive. But now there is evidence that ID is spreading worldwide."

The article is on --

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

"KU changed the name of the course, dropping reference to mythology from the title"

Why? That is exactly what it is. MYTH. Learn the definition of MYTH and you will see that it fits perfectly. ID wasn't even the only MYTH being discussed according to descriptions of the course. The rest were MYTH as well.

Mirecki's email, while using some terms that could have certainly been phrased better, was right on. There is no constitutionally protected right to NOT be offended. However, there IS a constitutionally protected right of free speech.

Shulenberger, aren't you gone YET? Can this search for a replacement be facilitated? And Hemenway, "repugnant and vile?" Pandering to the right.

"Altevogt said he was concerned about the focus of the religious studies department and he wants to see Mirecki and another faculty member moved to another department. He said he also wanted the religious studies department cleaned up and perhaps transferred to a religious organization that can monitor it; the chancellor fired, and the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics student group kicked off campus."

And Mirecki is intolerant?????

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

From the Cap-Journal:

About the late pope, Mirecki wrote, "I refer to him as J2P2 (John Paul II), like the Star Wars robot R2D2."

About Catholics, he wrote, "I don't think most Catholics really know what they are supposed to believe, they just go home and use condoms, and some of them beat their wives and husbands."

From the Star:

In the latest e-mails, Mirecki repeatedly criticized fundamentalist Christians and Jews and mocked Catholicism. He urged students to aggressively take on proselytizers. He also made references to attending students' parties and often referred to himself as "Evil Dr. P."

KU can teach 20 courses on ID anytime they want, anywhere they want. The issue here is that Mirecki is a bigot and KUSOMA is a hate-group. Do they have the right to hate Jews, Catholics, "fundies" and people of color? Absolutely, the constitution cannot force you to make intelligent decisions or statements in your life. However, bigots should not be placed in positions off authority over others, and hate-groups should not have the official acceptance of the university community.

Those are the issues. Look above at the posts. There are two types, the bigots who are simply trashing people based on their religious affiliation and the academics who want to teach their courses.

The decision on Mirecki's course will have no affect on the real academicians. Theyll teach this course until students fall asleep in the class, as they always do.

However, what Hemenway has said is that the university community will not embrace the racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Christian bigotry of Mirecki and his little hate-group.

And to Wendt, check my posts out all you want. I have been critical of individuals, but I have never trashed anyone based on their race or religion and that distinction seems to have escaped your attention.

I certainly have no problem with a forceful argument, but I have no use for bigots of any stripe whether it be the Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, KUSOMA or any other racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic hate group.

Mr_Christopher 11 years, 10 months ago

A little more on the beliefs of Steve Abrams, Kansas State School Board Chairman

"I am a young-Earth creationist"

That is creationist-speak for "I believe the world is less than 10,000 years old and I believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible"

This guy is the Kansas State School Board Chairman? I wonder if he also believes the sun revolves around the Earth? And he is the head of public education?

For someone to claim the world is less than 10,000 years old is as dumb (and dissprovable) as saying the world is flat. I mean how dumb and ignorant/uneducated can you get? Seriously.


Someone who is that scientifically ignorant has NO business messing with ANY science standards. Talk about denial of reality and being ignorant to boot.

Freedom of speech is fine but I'd like to think the Kansas School Board Chairman does not have the freedom of complete ignorance.

No wonder he rewrote the science standards. He rewrote them to match his personal faith.

Which one of you ID cultists voted for Abrams?? Admit to that crime please!

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

From liberal columnist Randy Scofield in Wichita:

Again for the anger-challenged. This is about bigotry, not ID or evolution, unless you want to make the argument that all evolutionists are bigots, racsist, antiSemites and anti-Catholics who go about acosting people and harrassing them for their faith.

If you embrace bigotry, Mirecki's your guy, defend him to the death if you want, but otherwise, this decision shouldn't concern you in the least.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


" I don't believe I.D. is science. It doesn't have to be for it to be true though.

If something has to adhere and be valid through the scientific method to be 'true' then we are all in big trouble.

Do you love anyone? wife, husband, children, mom, dad.?????

Prove it. "


Like ID, it sounds like a good subject for a Philosophy class.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

PoeticHeteroSapien wrote ( 12-02-05 at 10:00 AM) -- <

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow, you christians really are persecuted, aren't you?

Why, it is difficult to see any evidence of chrisitianity anywhere anymore.

There is only one church every block instead of two.

How do you poor little delicates cope with having control over everything and yet still being persecuted?

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

by jayhawks71 (anonymous) on December 2, 2005 at 10:50 a.m.

BOE- "partly scientific"?????? Either the approach posits claims that are falsifiable or they do not. ID is NOT scientific. ID is creationist myth using abstraction.


I don't think that was my post.

ralphsantos 11 years, 10 months ago


Not to put too fine a point on it. An idea being popular does not make it right. A few hundred years ago, mariners attempting to sail around the world were called crazy because "everyone knew" that the earth was flat and the sailors would fall off the edge.

Not even scientists are immune to these sorts of things. There was a time when the majority of scientists thought DNA had nothing to do with genes, and that genes were made from proteins. Oswald Avery with several colleagues conducted some experiments in 1943 to demonstrate that DNA was the genetic material, but other scientists weren't convinced, and thought some protein had gotten through the process. It wasn't until 1952 when Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase performed experiments using DNA with radioactive phosphorus and proteins with radioactive sulphur that convinced the broader scientific community. The experimental results left no room for doubt in the matter, and settled the issue.

The spread of intelligent design I suppose would be comforting, in a perverse way, since it would imply that Americans aren't uniquely vulnerable to this sort of problem.

In fact, maybe we all owe ID proponents a debt of gratitude! Maybe they're really working to hobble science education around the world so that the US can secure their status as a scientific leader! Wow! I never really understood until now!


hobb2264 11 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Christopher,

Dr. Steve Abrams has a degree in veterinary medicine and has a veterinary practice in Ark City. Don't you think he probably has a pretty strong background in biology?

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Hobb, we really are. If you bothered to get to know any of us rather than simply writing us off by a title, you'd know that most of us are actually agnostics or weak atheists, meaning almost nobody in our group claims they're sure there's no god, only that we're convinced of it. I'm also convinced that constitutional republican-democracy is the best form of government, but I'm perfectly willing, as an open-minded individual, to consider other possibilities.

When anyone tries to use the term "open-minded" to suggest we should accept the outright lies and exaggerations foisted upon us by fundamentalist Christians (and, occasionally, fundamentalist Muslims), you're not only going to be laughed at by us, but you're in my opinion dangerously delusional. To use an expression common in our group: we're proud to be open minded, but not so open-minded our brains fall out.

WE refer to Dr. Mirecki as "the evil Dr P". What part of that is hard to grasp? He's just calling himself by the nickname we gave him, because it's funny. Cripes!

Mirecki is a Catholic. He talks like almost every Catholic I've known in my life, routinely questioning the church, making fun of elements of its doctrine and practice, and even making jokes about the Pope, etc. I'm Cajun-- my whole people are Catholic, and in fact are part of the largest single Catholic parish in the United States (in the English-speaking world, I believe). They all talk about Catholicism in much harsher tones than Mirecki employed. So get over yourself. Seriously.

How DARE you insinuate that we're racist, or hateful of people because they're religious, simply because we are happy (and even eager!) to attack fundamentalist Christianity. The fact that you are unable or unwilling to separate fundamentalist from simple belief shows that we're doing the right thing in attacking it.

We constantly work with religious organizations to promote understanding and peace between (reasonable) believers and nonbelievers. Every public event SOMA has ever hosted has either been for charity or for that purpose. Under what guise would you call us a hate group, then?

In other words, when was the last time you saw the Klan or the Arayan Nations sponsor a "racial tolerance" panel in which they got members of several races and ethnic groups to sit down together and answer questions before an audience about how to better live in harmony? That's the kind of thing we do for religion, every semester.

NOT ONE member of SOMA has said anything, even in private jest, that is more hateful than an average Sunday sermon about the evils of secularism and atheism, which I've sat through many times (I have a hobby of going to fundamentalist churches to see how bad it is). Yet nobody calls those churches "hate groups!" Why is it okay for them to talk about me like that, but not in reverse?

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

"What exactly has Mirecki said that was wrong? What?! Is it not allowed for a person to make a comment sneering about fundamentalists to their friends?"

He wrote the emails to students in his capacity as faculty advisor. They may have been his friends, but they were, first and foremost, his students. He set the tone that made uncivil discourse in an academic setting the accepted norm. It appears that he allowed a student organization that was ostensibly about being in favor of not believing in God to become one that is about being against people who are religious. Maybe that was inevitable.

Are there other organizations on campus that exist just to be against something?

Kodiac 11 years, 10 months ago


How do you think this so called "worldwide spreading" is occuring Larry? Besides Larry you need to reread the article. There is more than one opinion stating the idea that ID is a PR campaign. I'm sure you are smart enough to figure it out without having me to spell it out for you.

You also note that the "world-wide spreading" is also an opinion which is never fully quantified. How is it spreading and who is pushing it? For example refer to the post by BOE concerning the group in Turkey. The whole point here is that science does not support ID.

I also think the article that you are quoting does not apply to the statement of "ID-bashers are fond of claiming that ID is making the USA a laughingstock of the world and that teaching ID in our public-school science classes will make the USA technologically uncompetitive". It only applies to the idea that ID is not being supported scientifically and is being pushed into the arena by political and religious groups. This concept is something that you have not commented on which is why I am questioning your reasons for interjecting this article here.

freethinkinghawk 11 years, 10 months ago

After reading many of the posts on the various columns on this subject, I feel like I finally need to comment. As an atheist, I'm used to being called all sorts of names, told I have no morals, blamed for the downfall of society, and the like.

As a member of SOMA, I have now been called racist, anti-Judeo-Christian in general, and hateful. None of those terms describe me, and they don't describe most of us in the group. It's impossible to characterize an entire group of people, but most of us are completely accepting of one's right to practice religion as he/she sees fit. And as much as we may dislike a religion, we certainly don't hate those who follow it. As many Christians say "hate the sin, not the sinner", we may criticize others' opinions without being hateful.

And most of us atheists are open-minded--we just have a sense of humor about things. After being insulted pretty much non-stop from the religious right, we are willing to take terms like "heathen" and embrace them humorously. We are able to laugh at ourselves, but also to make jokes about religion. I think being able to take things a little less seriously helps everyone step back and put things in perspective.

Finally, much of this is really irrelevant in this context. We are open-minded, not hateful, but we are granted the right to say whatever we want, and mock whatever we want, by the First Amendment. Likewise, I will always defend the right of others to express their views, no matter how vile I may think they are. But I will always fight back with my own.

-an open-minded atheist

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Godot - willful blindness will not help you.

Mirecki used language we commonly use against fundamentalists. You keep conflating fundamentalist with Christian. They are not the same thing. We know it. Why does it take being an atheist to see something that should be obvious to everyone?

We are not "his" students. He is our faculty sponsor, something KU requires for every student group to exist. From time to time he joins in our discussions and uses the same language we do in jest. I think that's quite polite of him. If you don't like it, DON'T COME ON OUR FREAKING PRIVATE DISCUSSION BOARD AND LISTEN.

For crying out loud. I'm just writing off the next person who declares that SOMA is against people for being religious as a willfully ignorant moron, and ignoring them. There is no excuse for being so willfully intellectually dishonest.

cowgomoo 11 years, 10 months ago

Hemenway gets it, Democratic Minority leader Anthony Hensley gets it and Columnist Randy Scofield in Wichita gets it. Great Article. Thanks for posting the link.

I totally agree with Scofield, and that's coming from an overeducated (3 colleges degrees, one from KU) evangelical, fundamentalist Christian.

freethinkinghawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Also, I'd like to second everything PoeticHeteroSapien has said. I wrote my last comment before his last couple of posts, and they spoke wonderfully for me as well.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm delighted to see so many of the KUSOMA members once again posting in such a private forum.

The bigotry that spews forth from evey sentence is yet another indicator of the manner in which this hate-group has soiled Lawrence and KU and now made them both a laughingstock amongst civilized people who will now associate evolution's supporters with their hatred and bigotry.

Keep adding to the public record guys. Maybe TIME will do a sampling of posts from here.

The real question is how long the real scientists on here, the real people who are concerned with scietific critiques of intelligent design will embrace the "vile and repugnant" intolerance of your posts and allow you to tar them with your bigotry.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Cowgo - no, actually Scofield didn't "get it" to a large degree. For instance, he repeats the lie that Mirecki suggested Catholics are wife-beaters. He said no such thing-- basic reading comprehension should show that. He said that many Catholics don't act like Catholics when they go out into the real world and use condoms OR beat their wives. That's not the same as saying that Catholics = wife beaters, only saying that some Catholics don't do what the church says to do. GASP!

It takes willful dishonesty to distort that into anti-catholic. And since when is it wrong to make fun of the Pope? Late night talk show hosts have been doing it since the 1950s!

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

To Poetic Hetero Sapien. Please accept my apology. I didn't see your post about what the SOMA club is about until after I had made mine. I'm glad to learn what your club is for, rather than against.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


Are you actually trying to compare the climate of the U.S. today with that of 1930's Germany?

Climate? Jeez, just like your "Love? Prove it." post, you have officially jumped the shark again.

Sure he was a political genius. Look at the quote to see what he used to pull in the big crowds. Jews weren't the only ones sent to the camps.

"FEW VERY OBVIOUS FLAWS"? Criminy, is this one of those "At least the Fascists made the trains run on time!" arguements?


PorkRibs: " if the left wasn't kept in check....our country would be a free-for-all with absolutely no measurable standards. To deny that would be silly. The left pushes the envelope with absolutely no moral compass. "

What, like legitimize torture for the entire planet?

A Congress that refuses to do any oversight?

Do you have the honesty to claim the same thing about the right?

I think both extremes need checked.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

John - can you cite an example of this "bigotry" you are talking about?

I loathe bigotry and challenge it every day, in fact I'd say it's one of my chief reasons to exist. To say that I am a bigot therefore is deeply insulting to me.

If you're saying I'm a bigot just because I think your religion is incorrect and say so, then you're going to have to do better than that, because you say the same about every other religion except your own. It's just how it works.

So I'd like clarification, please. You claim "every sentence" is bigoted. Yet my best friend (I actually call him my brother) is a minister with a master's in divinity. My family are all religious Catholics. In other words, to use the common expression, "I'm not sure where you get off saying that."

hobb2264 11 years, 10 months ago


Wow....mine was a simple question. I was just making the point that by definition, atheists are not open-minded (because they do not believe in the possibility of a god or gods). I was not making any implication about you or the SOMA organization. I'm a little surprised that on open-minded, free thinking person like you would automatically assume that I was "writing you off by a title". I was just needing clarification on how someone who calls themself an atheist could be considered open-minded on the topic of religion. You partially answerd my question. Plus, I would be willing to sit down and have an open-minded conversation with anyone at anytime.....

Also, what churches have you all been going to? In the 7+ years that I've been going to church, I don't think I've ever heard a sermon about the "evils of secularism and atheism". Do you really think that we are just plotting our political agendas on Sunday mornings? If so, I suggest you go to a real church of God (I suggest the one at 1000 Kentucky) and find out what we're really learning about.

wonderhorse 11 years, 10 months ago


I don't see where they have written anything bigoted. Please cite.

ralphsantos 11 years, 10 months ago


For my part, you get no argument from me on your point. My belief in the unscientific nature of Intelligent Design notwithstanding, Mirecki's comments, even if they were in lighthearted jest, were out of line for someone in his position. It's clear that ID is such a politically charged issue that such a comment would undermine his credibility, regardless of how it made it into the open.

It's understood that proper academic discourse implies a measure of decorum and mutual respect to maintain proper, open debate, and the thoughtlessness of his comments threw enough of a cloud over his teaching of the class it was untenable.

I'm a little annoyed that the furor distracts from what I regard as the real issue, which is a political attempt to force a fundamentally unscientific proposition as genuine science, but the emotions stirred by this debate only reinforces the need to avoid useless mudslinging so that focus can be kept on what really matters.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Godot - hey no worries, man, that's the nature of these public forums! Glad to see some people are willing to actually listen to us rather than writing us off with preconceptions.

I'd invite you to attend one of our meetings (we're having one next Thursday in the Kansas Union). They're free and open to the public. We invite any and all legitimate criticism and differing opinion, and if you have constructive criticism to offer our group on how we can better our goal of getting everyone to live together in harmony (other than the common suggestion that we all shut up and sit down, of course), I'm sure I can speak for the group in saying we'd more than welcome it.

Thanks again!

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

Poetic wrote -- <>

         You have shown absolutely nothing to support your claim that there was a greater turnout of fundies than non-fundies in that election.


     Wrong.    Here are the election results --

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

I haven't been to churches in Lawrence, much, which I understand are pretty liberal and tolerant of folks like me. I did go to the Unity church on Vermont, and found them to be quite pleasant people.

I mainly visit fundamentalist churches in places like Overland Park, Wichita, and other small cities in south-central Kansas, where my wife's family lives. I also grew up in the deep south (Georgia and later Louisiana) where such churches are found on almost literally every street corner.

While I know that most churches don't sound like that, in fact that's kind of my point, I am also aware that many of them DO sound like that. If you want to know what I'm talking about, I'm sure a ten minute google search on "Pat Robertson + atheists" or something like that would reveal a treasure trove. That we're willing to ignore the insults constantly hurled at atheists while getting angry about what atheists say in return speaks volumes, in my opinion.

har_de_har_har 11 years, 10 months ago

Centuries from now, the more highly-evolved beings that inherit this planet will wonder why the set of jumped-up superstitions known as religion continued to fascinate humans for so long.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

To frethinkingjayhawk:

I'm glad you spoke up. There's nothing wrong with exploring any belief system, accepting it as your own and promoting its beliefs. There is certainly room for an agnostic and athiest group on campus, but liberals and conservatives alike have joined together to speak out against the bigotry and racism that apparently pored through the KUSOMA website.

As I look above at the people claiming to be members, or those who are still under the sheets, but supporting what Chancellor Hemenway, the faculty senate and many other have denounced as vile and repugnant, I can see what they mean.

Perhaps you should be the one to start a group that is willing to self-police its own membership by giving the boot to the bigots and the hate-mongers while retaining those who actually are open-minded and intellectually motivated.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Larry - yes, I see several of those candidates won by only 20 or so votes. I don't see how the point is relevant. You really don't consider EIGHT OUT OF EIGHT losses, by whatever margin, to be a major setback?

If a football team went 0 for 8, but scored 28 points versus the other team's 31 each game, they still lost... that tiny field goal each game counts for a LOT.

Would I not be justified in calling our imaginary football team "big time losers" for that season? Come on man, stop trying to muddy the waters of each argument by demanding ever-more data on the subject, and just deal. Just like happened here in KS in 1999, the pro-ID school board people got ousted once people locally woke up to what they were doing. Whatever support they got from fundamentalists and other supporters of ID was not enough. Simple as that.

wonderhorse 11 years, 10 months ago


You throw around terms like "bigot" and "hateful". I have still yet to see anything to justify them. Please provide quotes.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Whoa whoa whoa... RACISM? You had damned well better substantiate that RIGHT NOW.

I'll kick any racist member of the group out, myself. We don't put up with that, and neither will I put up with someone making unsubstantiated claims about us, either.

John, I'm calling you out. I think you're John Altevogt, just looking to say whatever you can to make us look bad. But lies do not become you. I know the members of this group, and we are the precise OPPOSITE of racist. That you would even make such a claim strikes me as something only Altevogt would say.

Are you him? If not, where do you get off calling us the things you are calling us?

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

Posted by wonderhorse (anonymous) on December 2, 2005 at 11:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I don't see where they have written anything bigoted. Please cite.

Try any major newspaper. Star, Cap-Journal, Journal-World, Wichita Eagle, Time magazine, not to mention the national articles that are coming out right and left. Either you can't read, or you're so far off the dial that their hate-mongering seems normal to you.

Well, it doesn't to a growing number of Democrat and Republican legislators, the Chancellor, the Provost, the faculty senate, several liberal columnists and a whole lot of taxpayers who are sick of funding institutions that slap them in their big fat faces.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Pilgrim - I think you're old, and confusing us with the old-school leftists of the 1960s and 70s. I'm famously non-PC, as anyone who has read my posts on this thread to date can tell you.

Fundy is short for fundamentalist. Two syllables is less than five, and it even sounds cuter. What's so insulting about that, unless you're just itching to be insulted so you can play victim?

Stop telling me what the "PC police" did, as though leftists are a monolithic group. I know I for one would just as happily give the finger to someone who insisted I use "undocumented worker" over "illegal alien." I also would flip off anyone who used "illegal alien" as a pejorative, racist comment, as I often hear it used. The context is what's important, and the context is what nobody seems to be considering with Mirecki's comments, or anyone else's who isn't a fundy. Er, fundamentalist. They just get a pass to call us "hateful" without real substantiation.

wonderhorse 11 years, 10 months ago

I do read the above. I still don't see anything bigoted. They disagree with your flim-flam beliefs, and say so. That doesn't make them bigoted. And, by the way, neither does the phrase "slap them in their big fat faces."

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm telling you, John 1945 has to be Altevogt.

For those of you who don't know, this is the man who only a few months ago said, on record:

"Ann Coulter is logical, rational and an independent thinker, in essence, everything the left hates in their womenfolk."

Yeah. He said "womenfolk." And he was confused enough (senile?) to think that the reason we "left" types dislike Coulter because she is a smart woman. Heh. I'm starting to smell similar thinking here.

Calliope877 11 years, 10 months ago


John1945 has been throwing around terms like "bigots", "hate group" and "racists" to describe SOMA for a long time. I'm not really sure what he's referring to either, but I think he jumped to those conclusions by reading Mirecki's email if that tells you anything.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

Standards puuhhhleeeeze.

-- ''We have to set a standard that it's not culturally acceptable to mock Christianity in America,'' says

  • Kansas State Sen. Karin Brownlee, a Republican from Olathe

Since Christian mocking and bashing has gotten to be a lot like the Abbott and Costello skit "Who's on First?", where'd you want to start?

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."

--Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991


"Pope Paul VI, archpriest of Satan, a deceiver and an anti-Christ, has, like Judas, gone to his own place."

--Bob Jones, Chancellor of Bob Jones U, upon the death of Pope Paul VI


Or the Dover case.......

Ex-Dover board member says belief in God was questioned Daily Record/Sunday News Thursday, September 29, 2005

After Casey Brown quit the school board Oct. 18, she testified today, two board members questioned her belief in God.

Brown was the morning's sole witness in the fourth day of the Dover school district trial over intelligent design, in federal court in Harrisburg. She said Bill Buckingham, after she handed in her resignation, called her an atheist and accused her and her husband Jeff Brown, also a former school board member, of destroying the school board.

The Browns announced they were resigning from the board immediately after it voted to include intelligent design in biology class.

Months later, board member Alan Bonsell also questioned her faith, Casey Brown testified. "He told me I would be going to hell," Brown said.

Bryan Rehm, a high school physics teacher and one of the parents suing the school district, says living in Dover has gotten harder.

They sometimes call him an atheist now. And worse.

"They don't know me," he says. "They don't know that I'm the co-director of the children's choir at church ... or that, you know, my wife and I run Vacation Bible School. Yet they have no problem going around calling me an atheist because my particular religious viewpoint doesn't agree with that of the School Board."

Mr_Christopher 11 years, 10 months ago

Can we review a few facts concerning intelligent design, the unscientific crationist theory that started this whole mess?


1) Intelligent design will NEVER be taught as science in any non-evangelical college or university.

2) Intelligent design will NEVER be taught in any public school.

3) Behe's theory of Irreducibly complex systems has been shot down time and time again by legitimate scientists, proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that his theory is baseless and wrong. Behe continues to ignore this fact. Google Behe and dig 15 minutes to confirm this yourself.

4) Demski's "theories" have been shot down by legitimate scientists as many times and he continues to ignore that fact as well.

5) The Panas and People intelligent design textbook is nothing but falsehoods and misrepresentations. Google that one too.


1) The Dover School district will lose the lawsuit brought against them. The district will be stuck with the plaintiff's legal fees to boot!

2) Intelligent design will fade in the sunset in the next couple of years. Only the Pat Robertson's of the world will be singing ID's praise in the near future.

3) Science will once again win in the battle for truth and understanding of the natural world arounds us. This is because it takes more than faith to overturn what we know about the natural worls. It takes a testable, legitimate scitntific theory to overtake an existing legitimate scientific theory.

So you guys can whine about all this nonsense all you want, but as a "scientific theory" ID is going down in flames whether you like it or not.

Try praying to the so called "intelligent designer" if you don't like it. It stands to reason if the intelligent designer (E.T.) doesn't like his existance being joked about he'd do something about it, no?

Afterall, ff someone doubted my existance I'd certainly speak up, wouldn't you?

No, Virginia, E.T. will NOT be phoning home. Not now, not ever.

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

PHS, this is serious request. Who are the fundamentalists, in your view?

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Okay, sure. I can answer that one easy, Godot:

fundamentalism Audio pronunciation of "fundamentalist" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fnd-mntl-zm)


  1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

  2. Often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.

ralphsantos 11 years, 10 months ago


Although I think we come down on the same sides of most issues, I have to say that there are certain points regarding your defense of Mirecki's comments with which I don't agree. I agree that some go over the line by taking tongue-in-cheek humorous comments and calling them hateful and racist, but as you yourself say, there is a matter of context to consider.

You might make fun of the opposition, and I might make fun of them, but neither of us are in a position to teach a university class on the subject. Mirecki was. I don't like the excesses of Political Correctness any more than you do, but it is my belief that given the political and emotional charge surrounding this issue, the only arguments that are going to make real headway in this morass of a debate are those which rise above mudslinging and namecalling and attack the issue without trivializing the opponents.

Also, I think that if the opposition doesn't play fair, it's all the more reason to take the high road. I think it's important to treat the opposition with some decorum and respect even if you don't get the same in return to help highlight the flaws and dirty tricks of the opposition. While I don't think every comment has to be so uptight, I think the arguments that maintain a high standard are the ones that will carry the debate.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Ralph - your words have wisdom, but I think much of that wisdom is gained in 20/20 hindsight. We thought our board was secure, and have since taken extra pains to ensure that it is going to be secure against spies like Altevogt in the future. Had Mirecki made the comments in public or in class, I'd be joining the call for his head.

I think Mirecki did take the high road by withdrawing the class and apologizing for his comments.

Now we need to take the high road by ensuring the class to examine how America's very distinct flavor of Christianity has made Creationism and Intelligent Design big issues here, when Christians the rest of the world over generally laugh at such ideas. (They must be hateful.)

The question that must be asked, is do people like O'Connor and Altevogt even care about the high road, or do they only care about advancing their personal, fundamentalist-style faith in the public sphere at every given opportunity?

They think that everyone SHOULD be Christian to be a good, everyday American. If I met a person who thought everyone should be an atheist to be a good, everyday American, I'd fight them just as vehemently. You have my sworn word on that, and I know most members of SOMA have agreed with this same sentiment, verbatim, to my face.

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago


Somebody wants to get upset because people who snuck into this country in the dark of night are called illegal aliens instead of "undocumented workers." Well, the truth is they ARE illegal aliens. But can we call them that without pissing off some people? NOOOOOO!


LOL, "illegal aliens"? When the heck did that PC crap replace a perfectly good non-PC term like"wetbacks"?

Boy, I'll bet your face is red.

freethinkinghawk 11 years, 10 months ago


"Open-minded and intellectually motivated" is exactly what SOMA is. We are an open organization, welcoming of anyone who would like to participate. There have, at times, been extreme posts on the message board (clearly due to frustration), but never bigoted or really mean-spirited. Generally they are just responses to difficulties we have experienced. This diversity of though is there because we do not censor people. It is a free exchange of thoughts.

I still can't figure out what "racism" you're talking about, and you don't seem to understand the difference between not liking certain religious tenets and joking about things in general, but this is not bigotry. This group is, no question, one of the most tolerant and accepting of any I've encountered in my 22 years. As PHS has said, anyone willing to engage in some open-minded conversation is more than welcome to come to a meeting and see what we're really about before you condemn us.

Todd Colstrom 11 years, 10 months ago

I think the biggest problem with Professor Mirecki teaching the course is that his objective for the course was not to discuss Creationism/ID in society and how it has influenced the human experience in recent years (which would fulfill the purpose of the Religious Studies Dept.). Rather, his objective for the course was to show how Creationism/ID are false. I think further evidence that this class would be pretty one sided is that he had several other 'lefty professors' lined up to speak at the class.

Some interesting quotes from

[excerpt from Mission Statement]Values. The university is committed to excellence. It fosters a multicultural environment in which the dignity and rights of the individual are respected. Intellectual diversity, integrity and disciplined inquiry in the search for knowledge are of paramount importance.

  • I don't think this class was set up to promote intellectual diversity and the search for knowledge. Rather, it was set up to promote a particular viewpoint about ID and Creationism.

[From]The value the University places on high-quality teaching creates a culture that cultivates and encourages positive interaction between students and faculty.

  • I can't imagine, after reading Prof. Mirecki's email, that a student who believes in Creationism or ID would feel very comfortable and be able to have positive intereactions in this class.

[From the CLAS mission statement]We believe diversity in our student body, faculty, and staff is essential to our educational mission... We educate all students to think critically, to communicate with precision, and to develop sensitivity to different cultures.

  • It doesn't sound like Prof. Mirecki is interested in developing critical, independent thinkers or cares about diversity. It seems more like he is interested in promoting his particular point of view.

One last comment - I wouldn't have a problem with a Rel. Studies class that studies the impact of Creationism and ID on society, government, and education, but didn't ever discuss the validity of Creationism/ID as a science. Or even that did discuss its validity, but just put forth the pro and con views and let each student decide in the end what they believe to be correct. What I have a problem with is a professor (let alone the head of a dept.) who uses a class to advance his personal views/agenda.


yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

Funny that the idea of education is to "put forth the pro and con views and let each student decide in the end what they believe to be correct."

This is a rather simple-minded view of what learning is.

First of all, scientific facts do not come with a point of view. This is why facts are rarely discussed by IDiots.

Second, education and learning involve the teacher placing facts into an intellectual framework. Facts can be used to derive distinct frameworks, but the facts remain the same.

ID proponents play lose with facts when they use them at all. They ignore certain facts, promote falsities, or try to undermine established fact-finding tools (such as radiocarbondating).

Yet another reason why ID is not science.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago


Of course John1945 is John Altevogt. I thought that was a given. Since you outed him nearly two hours ago, he hasn't posted again.

grimpeur 11 years, 10 months ago


I wonder if you'd care to comment on the gap between the claims of religious neutrality by ID supporters and their previous statements to the contrary? Will you speak out against them if those statements prove false their more recent claims made in response to charges of promulgating a religious agenda?

Also, do you think it's just a coincidence that ID's supporters--including but not limited to those who provided the standards to Abrams in 1999--are overwhelmingly religiously-based, if not outright creationist organizations?

grimpeur 11 years, 10 months ago

FolcoTook wrote: "What I have a problem with is a professor (let alone the head of a dept.) who uses a class to advance his personal views/agenda."

You'll be speaking out against the KSBE members who wish to advance their personal religious beliefs/ID/creationism in the public school curriculum, then?

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

Pilgrim: " Said that out loud back in the kitchen of just about any restaurant lately without getting the next pot of hot coffee spilled in your lap? "


Now that you mention it, no, but then you were all like, " That's all PC is, all it ever has been.", and then I was like " yeah, but look at your own damn PC self." and then your all like....."try that out on the kitchen help" and then......

Wait a minute.

The Rio Grande dried up, didn't it?

Never mind.

Kodiac 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey Porkrinds,

Your statement of "There is a perfectly logical reason why people feel guilt. Good and Evil are alive and well in everyone wether they like it or not. Fed by the choices we make. If you could actually measure guilt levels in humans you would be able to quantify which of the two is having the most influence on an individuals life based on the choices they have made. Think about is true."

has to qualify as the dumbest quote/post of the day. We feel guilt because of Good and Evil huh? So humans and society on the whole has nothing to do with telling us what is good and what is evil and the "guilt" we feel is not from humans/society but from some ultimate Good or Evil (or God)? Think about it Porkrinds. There is no God in organized religion. The idea that I am going to be punished or rewarded because of something I do is idiotic and strictly a human concept. There is no such thing as good or evil.

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow, Altevogt just stepped on his own landmine. This was recently released/leaked to us from a conservative listserv, John Altevogt talking about SOMA, verbatim:


"Dear friends thank you for helping get word out on the latest Mirecki information. Ironically, this will not be as well received in the media and I suspect there will be much gnashing of teeth and attempts to suppress this story until they can figure some means of giving a positive spin for their side.

They don't mind making it appear that we want to destroy academic freedom, the first amendment and real science, but this is about none of that.

This story is about a bigot and the crypto-Nazi hate group he advises. It is a story about a bigot who is not being adequately disciplined because the man who heads KU is as bigoted and hateful as his employee.

This is about doing what liberals do very well, attaching themselves to a host organization, hijacking its goals and mission and then using it for their own selfish gain. That 2.4 million dollar gift had to look awfully good to these left-wing pirates.

These are subjects that the press is not going to want to talk about until they can figure out a way to twist the story.

I was contacted yesterday on the story where they tried to compare this to the sex course controversy. It was clear from the questions that the quotable answer was yes, it is and the other issue was how hard it is for these poor perverts to be caught in the public spotlight, I turned it around and asked how they thought our SBOE members felt being savaged and lied about in the media day after day. I wasn't quoted.

This is about bigotry, this is about an incompetent, bigoted chancellor (who incidentally buddies up with Bond and his pals, providing that cushy job for Adkins at the Med center) and this is about hijacking an institution so that they can silence Christians and live like kings on the proceeds. Those are the issues.


Ezekiel 3:12 (New American Standard Bible) 12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me, "Blessed be the glory of the LORD in His place."

(end quotation)

Wow. As Ace Ventura once said, "AGENDA OF RAGE?" Criminey, that's scary stuff. This is what we're dealing with-- this is the person referring to Mirecki's "big fat face" comment as hateful. He gets to call us Nazis, a hate group, and so on with impunity, in writing, and still go on to be billed as "a conservative columnist."

So that's what's been keeping me from my journalism career all this time-- I'm not quite hateful enough!

PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Though I admit, I don't mind being called a left-wing pirate.


PoeticHeteroSapien 11 years, 10 months ago

Pork's got a good point. You can't demonstrate anything about God by the actions of those who claim to follow God, and who do bad things in Her name. It's not fair and a little bit dishonest to do so, in an argument of this nature. Sorry but that's just how it is.

Now in terms of "what can be proven scientificially," yes some people have that as their standard of proof. It's why I don't believe in ghosts, UFO visits, or gods. All of the evidences for them fall short, in my opinion (the only one that matters on this question, 'what should I believe'). But there is no conclusive evidence either way, as you point out. This is why I am agnostic with regard to the question "Is there a God", because I do not think it is possible for us to know, scientifically, that there is a supernatural being. It's an un-answerable question by nature.

But I find your Bible and the apologetics for it as a holy revealed bit of knowledge to be lacking, and so I am an atheist with respect to your God. I am also, just as you are, an atheist with respect to all other gods and goddesses out there that I have heard about. I just choose to go that one step more and reject the last one.

When you really understand why you have rejected all those other possible gods out there, you will understand why I have chosen to reject yours.

avhjmlk 11 years, 10 months ago

He's a realtor for Reece and Nichols, and writes a regular column for the KC Star.

Here is a recent "objective" postings by Mr. Altevogt (regarding a different topic):

(from a Johnson County Sun reader reaction to an article about the Blue Valley school district's reading list)

"John Altevogt Feb, 26 2004 Let's see, you could let your kid sit around the house and read a copy of Hustler magazine, or send him to a Blue Valley school. Easy choice, since the educational content's the same, at least if you keep him at home you know he's safe from the kind of perverts who are obviously in charge at Blue Valley. "

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

by PorkRibs

"BOE, You should focus less on the failures (sins) of individual people to form your opinion and more on the philosophy as a whole. "


Your projection and assumption notwithstanding, I do and that's why the defense of Hitler and his FEW VERY OBVIOUS FLAWS left me puzzled as to its relevance to a philosophy of Good and Evil.

What did the underpinnings of that "genius" (superiority/empire through occupation) gain for the German people, ultimately?

The idea that war economies are generally good is an idea that preceded Hitler.

Sure, the political genius of demonizing liberals worked like a charm and got rid of that problem(but cost him the bomb), and sure the economic genius (I'll assume you're talking about a dictatorship/socialist/fascist mix here) created a red hot chilli pepper of an economy while it lasted, but what of the future or rather, the aftermath?

As far as "focus less on the failures (sins) of individual people", I can't help but think of a period of American history from 1993-2001~ad nauseum. ;)

The fact is, you'd do well to focus on the successes(sins)of individual people while you're at it.

I mean, how has the philosophy of good and evil been related to most of us while growing up, but through parables of other's sins and their consequence?

It may be that for SOME, it was taught as groups of people, but I like Solzhenitsyn's take.

"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line dividing good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either- but right through every human heart."


cowgomoo 11 years, 10 months ago

Even as a conservative evangelical fundamentalist Christian, I wasn't happy with the actions of the state BOE advancing ID, their intemperate remarks and certainly not with their selection of the new commissioner.

I didn't have a problem with the proposed class; I even accepted the use of the scholarly definition of myth. But as a KU alum, the exposed hidden agenda leaves me embarrassed for my alma mater.

That the comments were made on a moderated message board and whether that constitutes a private or public statement is really a distinction without a difference at this point. It's public now.

I wouldn't want to take an anthropology course from a professor who mocks indigenous cultures, or a psychology professor who derides the mentally ill, and I wouldn't want to take this class if taught by Professor Mirecki

Kodiac 11 years, 10 months ago

Hey Porkrinds,

You need to reread my post. I said nothing about what I believe about God or science. I reject organized religion and their belief systems. I do not feel like I need to outline my whole ideology to you to make a point or to express an opinion. To label me as a close-minded extremist when you have no idea who I am or what my beliefs are makes you a very ignorant person Porky. As far as being hostile or angry, well all I can say is lighten up Porky.

grimpeur 11 years, 10 months ago

PoeticHeteroSapiens spake thusly:

"When you really understand why you have rejected all those other possible gods out there, you will understand why I have chosen to reject yours."


As Nick said, "Sometimes you just have to let art flow over you."

After all, it's important to realize that the gods are our creations, and not the other way around.

tir 11 years, 10 months ago

PSH, thanks for posting Altevogt's listserve rant--not that I'm surprised at all by the content. I hope copies of it are also being sent to the media. He clearly deserves a little time in the pillory.

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

From today's Kansas City Star:

"Thursday's decision to pull the class came after more e-mails surfaced this week. In the latest e-mails, Mirecki repeatedly criticized fundamentalist Christians and Jews and mocked Catholicism. He urged students to aggressively take on proselytizers."

And from the Capital Journal

"Lynn Bretz, director of KU university relations, said Mirecki was "pretty sobered" when the additional e-mails were made public.

"He didn't remember some of them, but he didn't deny them," she said.

Bretz described Hemenway's response as "very angry, very disappointed, very upset."

"That's just not the kind of place we have here," she said."

And from the KC Star again:

"Steve Case is a KU science education professor who worked on the state science standards and stood up for evolution when they were changed by the board. He said Mirecki's comments, while protected by free speech, didn't do any favors to those opposed to the acceptance of intelligent design as a scientific theory.

Case, who said he engaged in "a lot of tongue-biting" during the board debate, said Mirecki's comments were not all that different from some made by the other side.

"That was his (Mirecki's) big mistake," Case said. "He dropped to their level. We moved out of education and into politics some time ago.""

BOE 11 years, 10 months ago

Wow, Altevogt kinda lifted that crypto-Nazi thang from Gore Vidal.

Wonder if he's paying royalties?

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

The University of Kansas has been made the biggest fool in this whole affair.

If a faculty members' musings were offensive, the university's response was simply spineless.

All KU faculty now live under a real threat, where off-hand, private, or out-of-context comments can render one unqualified to teach a particular subject and in fact might result in a good whipping by the administration.

Careful what you say in your classes or include in your materials. The walls have eyes. The easily-offended are everywhere.

Disgraceful. Shame on you KU.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

BOE and Wendt, If yer still here, thanks for replying to my message this morning. Is this the best you can do?

Let's see: BOE, relevance in the sense that macroevolution and the idea that you defend so strongly doesn't do anything for anybody. It doesn't provide any psychological or spiritual support for people. To the contrary, folks might just take your idea as a reason to say "to hell with it, if I'm just a bunch of chemicals that exist as a result of a bunch of other chemicals, then I'm through with the concept of morals or meaning in life". This may be true, but it really doesn't help anybody get up in the morning, now does it? Relevance in the sense that no material use has yet been found for a theory that requires 4 billion years to test.
It's an idea without purpose. It is a myth that helps you remember all the latin words that you have to know to get through the "stamp collecting" aspect of biology. It is mainly a "big question" answer that justifies your use of natural resources burned up in transporting your sorry butts to a Costa Rican holiday every year. Fact is fellas, I can sit here and do what I always do without being the least bit hypocritical while not believing the myths of either evo or crea. Noething in my life requires me to believe either

Galileo and 38 Nobel scientists is a very odd argument coming from a scientist. The veracity of a scientific argument is not supported by the eminence of the utterer. You'd flat lose an argument in debate class.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm on the same listserv as that Altevogt character. Here, let me leak the latest stuff this scoundrel wrote. It's going to take two posts.

I just received a call from a reporter asking about comments I made while a student at KU denouncing Andrei Codrescu for his Hitlerian comments that suggested that if several million fundamentalists were gassed the world would be a better place to live. They point out that in an e-mail I referred to Codrescu as a "Crypto-Nazi bigot' and while I haven't seen that comment, I certainly have no problem with that statement, then or now. To say that the world would be better off if several million people were eliminated on the basis of any group affiliation, or no group affiliation, is monstrous. That Codrescu continues to pollute the air waves after making such a horrendous statement speaks poorly of the institution that employs him, just as it is inappropriate for Paul Mirecki to hold a position of power and authority at the University of Kansas.

The suggestion is made that this is the same conduct that Mirecki engaged in and that hence, my criticism of him therefore is somehow hypocritical. Let me address that.

First, my reference to Codescru was made to an individual as an individual based on his. Mirecki's comments were based on denouncing people for their group affiliation, and he acted out against people based solely on the basis of their group affiliation. My comments were targeted at an individual based on past, documented behavior. Mirecki engaged in what the scientific community refers to as prejudice. A vast difference between our motivation and the target of our anger.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago


But they apparently argue, how dare I refer disrespectfully to Nazis? Aren't they a group? And the answer is yes, a political group dedicated to the extermination of an entire population of people based on something as ludicrous as their, or their parent's religious affiliation.

Well folks, if you don't know the difference between the Pope and Hitler, if you don't know the difference between being a Nazi and a Jew, or a Catholic, then I guess you'll have to just denounce me as being hypocritical.

Let me confess right here. I detest Nazism. Much of my academic career was focused on the question of how the Holocaust occurred and how ordinary German citizens became what Goldhagen has referred to as "Hitler's Willing Executioners." I have studied how otherwise intelligent people such as doctors and academics could come to embrace the "Racial Hygiene" documented in Proctor's book of that title. I did so not out of some sterile desire to have some touchy-fuzzy understanding of Nazism, I did so so that I could oppose seeing the same thing happen ever again, at any time, in any culture.

I denounced Mirecki and Codescru and hate groups like KUSOMA and the formerly named MAINstream Coalition because I see in them the same kind of behavior that I saw in my studies of the behavior that poisoned German society to the extent that they went forth and slaughtered millions of innocent men women and children of all faiths, creeds and colors. I have indeed referred to those who behave in a hateful manner to people based on their racial composition or their religious affiliation as "crypto-Nazi" and will continue to do so.

Let me also confess that in my younger years as a student at an inner city high school (back during the "dark ages") that I and black friends often engaged in violent acts against racists who accosted us and hurled racial epithets at us.

This week I read in the comments of Mirecki and his acolytes the same bigotry and hate-mongering that I saw as a youth confronting those racists, and if the reporter will search their notes, I referred to them as "crypto-Nazi bigots" and do so freely again now. If opposing bigotry, intolerance and Nazism is a crime, I'm indeed guilty. And if our culture and those in our media can no longer differentiate between the Pope and Adolph Hitler, if it no longer knows the difference between a Nazi and a Jew or a Catholic, it is far sicker even I had anticipated.

John Altevogt

Imagine that picking on Nazis!!!! Oh the humanity.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

Scientists entering this political fray is just what the ID crowd wants. They think that by engaging scientists that ID will be justified as a science.

This is why scientists should stay as far away from this debate as possible. ID is not science, and scientists must stay away.

It is fine for scientists to educate in non-politicized situations about science and evolutionary theory, but debating IDiots is the last thing a scientist should do.

Supporters of ID are masterful politicians and masters of rhetoric. An attempt to engage them in a sceintific debate is not a fair fight, because they are politicians. ID is a religious-political issue, not a scientific one.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

This is also why Pedro Irigonegaray did such a great job. He engaged them at their own level.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

OK, ID-bashers, let's put the shoe on the other foot. How would you like it if some fundy professor offered a for-credit course titled, "Evolution Theory and Other Mythologies," and wrote that such a course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of evolutionist scientists" ?

AbsolutLaney 11 years, 10 months ago

You know what Larry? It'd be absolutely fine. You know why? Academic freedom. Profressors can teach whatever classes they want. As I've said previously, you can't push an agenda when no one will sign up for the class.

Furthermore, scientists get slapped in the face by other scientists every day. It's what science IS. Slapping each other down, showing what is better hypothesized and seeing what stands up in the light of harsh criticism. Evolution can do it. I.D. most certainly cannot. The shoe has been on the other foot for some time. IDers can't seem to understand what the shoe is, let alone how it feels on the other foot.

AbsolutLaney 11 years, 10 months ago

PS: John1945, not sure why you don't just post as John Altevogt here (or jda, or whatever else you might like to use). We all know who you are. And your lanaguage absolutely SMACKS of Phelpsian propaganda. (Do you know how much that guy says "hate-mongering"?) I do so hope you enjoy being in that category.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

"OK, ID-bashers, let's put the shoe on the other foot. How would you like it if some fundy professor offered a for-credit course titled, "Evolution Theory and Other Mythologies," and wrote that such a course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of evolutionist scientists" ?"

That seems to be the whole point of the IDer/Creationist campaign. They are doing it through the recent BOE (and Dover, PA) actions, and comments from many fundy politicians over this class indicate they would love to do the same at KU.

Apparently, now that the "slapping" is on your collective cheek, you have no intention of turning the other collective cheek.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma: These courses exist. Some biology course descriptions from Bob Jones University:

Bio 100 - General Biology I An introduction to the fundamental concepts of biology on the cellular level. Topics include the basic chemistry of cells; experimental design and scientific method; a proper Christian philosophy of science; eukaryotic cell structure; cellular transport mechanisms; cell division; basic transmission genetics; the encoding and expression of information in cells. Lecture and lab. Both semesters, four hours.

Bio 101 - General Biology II A continuation of General Biology I dealing in greater detail with meiosis, sexual life cycles and transmission genetics; pathways of respiration and photosynthesis; and a biblical response to the theory of evolution. Topics introduced in this course include taxonomy, developmental biology and ecology. Lecture and lab. Second semester, four hours. Prerequisite: Bio 100.

Bio 102 - Principles of Biology The central principles of biology on the cellular level. Topics include elementary biochemistry, basic transport processes, eukaryotic cell structure, mitosis and meiosis, transmission genetics, the essentials of the central dogma of molecular biology, and a biblical response to the theory of evolution. Lecture and lab. Not applicable toward a Premed major, Biology major or minor, or Science Education major. Both semesters, four hours.

Some theology course description from BJU: Th 612 - Christian Apologetics The development of a biblical philosophy concerning the rational and evidential defense of the Christian Faith. Proofs relating to the existence of God, the historicity of Jesus Christ, and the truthfulness of biblical miracles will be presented. Includes discussion of manuscript, archaeological, and scientific evidence supporting the Bible. Offers a critical examination and refutation of worldviews based on evolution, relativism, and anti-biblical theism. Three hours.

And philosophy from BJU: Ph 504 - History & Philosophy of Science The history and philosophy of science with an emphasis on a Christian world view, the limitations of science, the impact of evolutionary theory, and the rise of the modern creationist movement. Identical to SSS 503. First semester, three hours.

ralphsantos 11 years, 10 months ago


"The question that must be asked, is do people like O'Connor and Altevogt even care about the high road, or do they only care about advancing their personal, fundamentalist-style faith in the public sphere at every given opportunity?"

This is a good question. As far as I can tell, the really hard-liners in this debate don't seem to give a rip about the high road, and I suppose I regard them as beyond persuasion. For me, the value of the high road is for everyone else in the debate, so that the ones with even a bit of open-mindedness might eventually see the contradictions in the arguments of the hard-line ID proponents.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

For those not willing to read the entire post.

At BJU, you can receive credit for:

"a proper Christian philosophy of science"

"a biblical response to the theory of evolution"

"a critical examination and refutation of worldviews based on evolution, relativism, and anti-biblical theism"

"a Christian world view, the limitations of science, the impact of evolutionary theory, and the rise of the modern creationist movement"

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

Nightmare said: "Scientists entering this political fray is just what the ID crowd wants." No, ID entering the fray is just what the macroevolutionists want. If they defend thir lousy science against even lousier science, then they look good.

If there was no ID, then evolutionists would have to defend themselves against the charge that they can't test their 4 billion year old mythology.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

Hi Devo.

"4 billion-year-old mythology"?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but mythologies are products of the human mind.

Human minds are thought to have arisen no earlier than say 1-2 million years ago (Homo Erectus).

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 11 years, 10 months ago

Mirecki looks just as foolish as the fundie whackos he hates. Too funny. I hope he learned a lesson.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the other night there were real scientist on her defending evolution and doing a pretty good job of it. Today they don't seem to be here.

Do you suppose they're distancing themselves from Mirecki and his merry band of bigots?

Oh science people, where are you? Hmmmm, it would appear that science and bigotry don't mesh very well. Trashing people on the basis of their faith, or lack thereof, isn't terribly rational, now is it?

It was actually interesting here the other night. Those folks actually knew something about evolution.

John1945 11 years, 10 months ago

Posted by observer (anonymous) on December 2, 2005 at 6:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Larry, John, Kevin, are you you examples of intelligent design?

Ah, ever the wit. Great point. Well said, well spoken. I get it it, that's funny. Oh boy. You guys are just too smart for me.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

No way, Altevogt. Scientists are all afraid of you.

They can't possibly match up.

AbsolutLaney 11 years, 10 months ago

John1945 - Here's the deal. Those who base their thought on reason and logic tire of dealing with those who do not. You clearly do not.

No one was trashed on their faith. If you'd like to argue semantics, feel free, but you're wasting your time. The reasonable people on this forum have already decided that this has been blown out of proportion and spun by the Right to the fullest and grossest extent. If you'd like to pound that point, do it somewhere else.

If you'd like to continue to surround yourself with people who know something about evolution, don't spew the inflammatory things you do. Then maybe you'll get somewhere with people who know something.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

John, I find it amazing that you're still using the silly KUSOMA = hate group rhetoric. To back up your antics, you had to dig through nearly a full year of back mail in SOMA's list serve. Yet you could only find less than 5 emails that you could find that could be considered hate monegering in any way. Given that HUNDREDS of emails have gone through that listserve and you could only find a small handful, your argument is shown for what it is: A gross distortion based on your own biases.

Additionally, you don't even have the investagive sense to actually stop by our meetings to see how we really are. Instead, you go quote mining. Shameful. Perhaps you'll stop by next week. Or do you just prefer to live in your delusional, hate filled world?

And you should be sensible enough to realize that you don't hold any moral high ground. Fundamentalists are just as (and generally far more) slanderous and offensive as anything that anyone in SOMA has ever uttered. Try checking out Fred Phelp's website ( Or perhaps you should be recalling Bush Sr.'s comments about how atheists don't deserve to be citizens. Or maybe we can look at the comments from anonomyous posters on Christian forums saying things like:

"I since have run into trouble with the dorm manager for spraying "queer" on the homesexual's doors.

I told my dad back at home about this and he told me I shouldn't tolerate this and that I should bring the floods to these people, as god did when Noa built his ark. Obviously I can't really flood the place, but there are other ways of dealing with them."

Please explaing to me me how such things are not "hate mongering". You profess to hate intolerance of all kinds. Yet I have yet to see you rant against any of the intolerance preached weekly in churches across the nation and such things as I have just mentioned.

What's with your double standard?

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but the other night there were real scientist on her defending evolution and doing a pretty good job of it. Today they don't seem to be here."

PoeticHeteroSapien was here earlier. Didn't he mention he was a geneticist or something to that effect?

I'm working on a dual major in Physics/Astronomy so I'm a scientist.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

Nightmare: Science is also a product of the human mind and neither science nor mythology have much to offer about things that take 4 billion years to happen. It's a paradox, nightmare. If it takes 4 billion years to make humanity, but the delta T is greater than can be sensed by humans, how do we know that it took 4 billion years?

Answer: we don't.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma wrote -

"OK, ID-bashers, let's put the shoe on the other foot. How would you like it if some fundy professor offered a for-credit course titled, "Evolution Theory and Other Mythologies," and wrote that such a course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of evolutionist scientists" ?"<<

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus answered on on December 2, 2005 at 6:12 p.m

That seems to be the whole point of the IDer/Creationist campaign. They are doing it through the recent BOE (and Dover, PA) actions, and comments from many fundy politicians over this class indicate they would love to do the same at KU.<<

LarryFarma replies,

        At least the school boards have not publicly ridiculed the evolutionists.    If they had,  I am sure that we would have heard about it.

       And fundy  politicians,   unlike lefty college professors,  are not protected by tenure.

       Also,   Mirecki not only insulted "fundies,"  but he stereotyped ID proponents as fundies.    That is like stereotyping evolutionists as godless.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"how do we know that it took 4 billion years" Radioactive dating of the oldest rocks found on earth give a lower limit of a little under 3 billion. Radioactive dating of rocks brought back from the moon during the Apollo mission push that limit back to about 4.3 billion.

This fits well with stellar evolution models which pin the age of the sun at about 5 billion years.

I'm not sure what the change in temperature (delta T) has to do with anything. Perhaps you meant delta t and were referring to time. That might make sense, but again, we can detect things over such expanses of time, so your littler claim falls apart.

raine 11 years, 10 months ago

what is so incredible is the hypocrisy here by probably both sides.. if mirecki's post had been aimed at muslims or even Jews, perhaps hindus or buddhists.. then those supporting him now would most likely be up in arms, but because its a Christian issue, then up goes the support.. what i see as the biggest problem is his hypocrisy being the dept head of religious studies(is that right?) and having such extreme biases.. How can he effectively lead an entire dept comprising of people of many religions but have such extreme hate/derision(call it what you will). Someone with a modicum of intelligence is usually able to not group an entire religion by the action of a few. so i guess my thinking that an intelligent person is open to differing ideas is pretty faulty.. peace~

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"At least the school boards have not publicly ridiculed the evolutionists. If they had, I am sure that we would have heard about it."

Perhaps you really need to go back and see the Dover school boards comments about evolutionists. I'd suggest reading the court transcripts, but they're over 500 pages and I doubt you really care enough to do all that research.

Additionaly, Mirecki did not "publicly ridicule" anyone. Again, his comments were in a private forum. Calling it private is like saying that comments made on private property that are heard through an open window are being declared publicly. That's a silly argument.

"And fundy politicians, unlike lefty college professors, are not protected by tenure."

And very good too! Can you imagine being unable to remove someone from power that gets to make laws? That would be terrible. But by comparison, a single college professor that only has a minimum amount of sway that has no power of law behind it, and is limited to only a small number of students at a time, is harmless.

You're also still going to have to prove that even though Mirecki has had these opinions for a long time, that he would actually allow them to influence his teaching. But that's going to be difficult given that he's been teaching at KU since 1989 and have never had previous objections. History shows, Mirecki knows how to behave in the class room.

"Also, Mirecki not only insulted "fundies," but he stereotyped ID proponents as fundies. That is like stereotyping evolutionists as godless." This is painting with a broad brush on Mirecki's part, but it's for the most part correct. I've only met a few moderates that would support ID and their reasoning is generally along the lines of "I don't know much about it, but I think it's good to 'teach the contraversy'". In other words, they don't really support it, they're just going along with it.

AbsolutLaney 11 years, 10 months ago

Aw, Larry, I'm disappointed in you. You totally ignored me and went for the easy one.

raine - there is no hypocrisy here but that which is plaguing the IDers. Anyone on either side should be able to see that, but of course that's asking a lot.

Mirecki's posts, once again (my word, I get tired of repeating myself) were not aimed at Christians. They were aimed at a very specific subset of fundamentalists. Anyone who is a moderate Christian would do well to also point that out.

Someone who has a complete lack of favortism for any religion is perfectly suited to head such a department. He has no hatred toward anyone. You people can take a joke and play it that way all you'd like, but that is not the case. You can continue to plug your ears to the real argument all you like. Dr. Mirecki being hateful didn't even happen. Welcome to being victimized by a lack of critical thinking.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"How can he effectively lead an entire dept comprising of people of many religions but have such extreme hate/derision(call it what you will)." Pretty simply apparently. He's done it for 16 years with no problem. He's just smart enough to check his opinions at the door when he walks into the classroom.

Terry Bush 11 years, 10 months ago

I have a good friend who got his Ph.D (that is doctorate in philosophy) from KU. He almost decided to quit (despite years of working towards that goal) because -he said that the teachers at KU were mainly anti-religion and doing all they could to promote their personal agenda's/values in class. That was sorely testing his very Christian (Catholic actually) good will towards all. He said he got very tired of hearing the positions of every and any philophers twisted and taught in a way that supported the personal anti-God theories of the professors hired by KU. I advised my friend to stick it out and keep his mouth shut. It might not be fair, but the only way he was getting his doctorate was to play along till he got the sheepskin. So, he managed to rein in his tongue long enough to get a degree. Then he finally landed a proffessorship. Now he too is teaching at a public institution of higher learning. And he's probably teaching his own brand of personal beliefs right along with the text.

And that is my point.

It is impossible for any human being to be completely un-biased about a given topic. Especially a topic that relates to religious beliefs (or lack thereof). It is unfair and not realistic to think that any teacher is going to leave their personal value systems at the door of their classroom.

What is the thing that amazes me the most about the current KU broo-ha-ha is the sheer hypocrisy of some. If the shoe were on the other foot (if the professor in question had been caught secretly saying he couldn't wait to slip his PRO-Christian message into the sylabus of the class), would there be the same people screaming bloody murder and wanting the professor's head on a pike.? And would his now supporters be the ones doing the screaming?

Maybe it is only an assault on academic freedom if you agree with the messages being taught.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"If the shoe were on the other foot (if the professor in question had been caught secretly saying he couldn't wait to slip his PRO-Christian message into the sylabus of the class), would there be the same people screaming bloody murder and wanting the professor's head on a pike.?"

Your conjecture on this is silly given that there's already been several people here that have said they really couldn't care less. I'm a far left atheist and I don't mind what the professor does or does not bring to class. So long as my grade isn't based on whether or not I agree with the professor, I don't see a problem with it.

You seem to forget that the university has approved the course, finding the content suitable. The ability that Johnny has to overlook such things is astounding.

Miyagi_Rules 11 years, 10 months ago

Anybody who has the idea that science is somehow "objective" needs to brush up on their philosophy of science. Read Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and adjust your "paradigm."

I don't say this to be rude, but seriously some comments about how Mirecki or other professors are objective is very outdated thinking. We all have are presuppositions that color our thoughts, the types of questions we look at, and even the results. We're human and that's what humans do- even scientists. Evolution is not a fact, remember everyone used to think it was a fact that the world was flat or that the sun revolved around the earth. These things seem silly now because our tools are better, but what's to say that in 100 years evolution won't seem silly? I'm not saying that ID will replace evolution as the next theory- not at all- it's faith and it's not testable, but something very well may (probably the flying spaghetti monster!).

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

VoijaRisa Radioactive carbon dating and stellar models are abstractions of time. They aren't time. Humans can do nothing with time. We can go back and forth in most dimensions of material existance, but we can do nothing with time except watch it procede forward. Until the concept of time is cracked, grand speculations about what happened billions of years ago (or billions of years from now) will remain conjecture without the chance of proper refutation. As a physicist, I deal with time as an occupational hazard. It parameterizes everything, yet almost seems nonexistent. Energy is much more safe. Physical laws that achieve a high level of respect do so in part because they "are timeless". One of my main beefs with biologists is the difficult time I have getting them to nail down definitions of evolution, macrooevolution, etc. Such is the case with time as well. Ok, Mr Scientist, define time for me? Huh?

james bush 11 years, 10 months ago

We need scientists not religion experts! Close the religion department and enlarge the schools of medicine, engineering and other useful professions.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"Radioactive carbon dating and stellar models are abstractions of time." Of course they are. However, your claim seems to be that just because we can't walk back and forth through time, we have no idea what's happened in the past, thus, it's all "speculation".

But as a scientist, you should realize that "speculation" is an inappropriate term becaues it wrongly implies that there's a lack of evidence. While we may not be able to manipulate time, that's not to say that we can't learn things about the past. Given that I'm not watching you write your message, I can't be sure that it's actually being written and not just popping into existance. Since the fact is now past, by your argument, it must be "speculation".

But I'm sure you'll agree that that's pretty faulty logic. Prior experience tells me that when I see a post on a website someone like myself has written it. Even though I can't hop back a few minutes, run over to your place and check to make sure you really did, I can still call my hypothesis pretty safe.

The same principle works for evolution. We can't go back and watch it happen, but given things that we can watch, we can assume that laws of nature spontaneously change. After all, in the few hundred years we've been watching them, they haven't, so why should they have in the past?

I'm also not sure what you mean when you say

Do you mean that these laws have stood up over many years without any flaws being discovered? Or do you mean that these laws do not include time as a parameter?

If it's the first, then I would agree with you. But let's remember that evolution has withstood nearly 200 years of tests and come out stronger than ever. If it's the latter you're trying to claim, I would have to disagree. Many important laws in physics include time a parameter. Check that second law of thermodynamics (the single misunderstood law by fundamentalists).

As far as defining time, that's a tricky business. However, it's also completely irrelevant to this discussion. We may not be able to control time, but that doesn't mean we can't look through it and feel its effects.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 10 months ago

Jeez Devobrun, you're on about time again?

We really need you on the side of reason and science. It makes me sad that you are not.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

"Mirecki and SOMA let their emotions of anger and contempt carry them away"

Why do people keep harping on this? Firstly, Mirecki's email was harsh, but hardly the frothing mouth rage that it's made out to be.

Secondly, saying SOMA has let its emotions get the better of them is a gross mischaracterization as well that is being ferverously perpetuated by such people as John A. However, if you have the academic honesty and want to really learn things for yourself instead of only listening to what the media is telling you, I'd recommend actually looking at the number of "hateful" Emails. Really, feel free to join the SOMA list. Hundreds of completely moderate emails have gone through, but John likes to repeat his lie that we're somehow a "hate-group" and everything we say and do is a direct attack on religion.

But again, feel free to look. You'll see that there are really very few "venomous" emails out there. The few that do exist are admittedly regretful, but not unexpected given the constant harassment and slandering we recieve at the hands of people like John.

You'll also notice that aside from the ones John is quoting from Dr. Mirecki (of which several have been taken out of context), the rest of the mean spirited ones are from a single member. But, not surprisingly, John doesn't like to mention this given that he's trying to paint us all with a broad brush. SOMA has considered asking that member to stop attending, but he has tempered himself more recently and we've decided to not write him off quite yet. That's a little thing we like to call tolerance. ;)

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"Carbon dating isn't an abstraction. If you were a physicist, you would know that but you don't. Interesting."--- He also fails to make the distinction between carbon dating and other forms of radioactive dating. Carbon dating isn't used for the determination of geological ages. It only works for organic compounds and the % undertanties (ie, the errors) become extremely large if you try to go back more than a ~500,000,000 years. Thus, it's necessary to use elements that have known distributions and a longer half life. I'd expect a real scientist should know this.

---"Humans can do plenty with time. As a physicist, you should know that we can control time by how fast we move and how far away from masses we are."--- Actually, it just has to do with the velocity, and we can't really alter the flow of time more than a tiny fraction of a percent. ;)

---"As a physicist, you're supposed to more correctly say "space-time" but you aren't doing that."--- Actually, we don't go around saying "space time" all the time. We don't like wasing our breath (look at all the shorthand if you don't believe me), so unless we're specifically talking about the relation ship between space and time, or an instance in which the distincting needs to be made, we will just say one or the other.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"Furthermore, taxpayers are entitled to an academic atmosphere for their state's students that is civil and respectful, not poisoned by hateful bigotry."---

Again, please prove that Mirecki has allowed his "bigotry" to interfere with his teaching during the past 16 years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago


Devo's main argument seems to be that we can't really know anything, so we shouldn't believe anything our eyes and other senses detect. Although he may be right, he seems to be proposing it so that he can more easily ignore the elephant dung (and its source) that is collecting around him.

Sadly, he's so stuck on his position that your posts probably won't even inspire him to at least invest in some hip waders.

Some of us really like your posts, though, so keep them coming.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago


Devo's main argument seems to be that we can't really know anything, so we shouldn't believe anything our eyes and other senses detect. "--- First off, thanks to everyone that's spelled my username right. It's the default one I use on every message board and a million other places, it's it rare that people bother to spell it right. It's usuaully a good sign when people do take the courtesy to do so.

Anyway, I've frequently heard that argument. But you've missed the grand finale! It ends, "since we can't know anything, my argument is right". The logical fallacies abound...

---"Some of us really like your posts, though, so keep them coming."--- Aw shucks... I didn't intend to quit posting. I can only take so much of these research papers I've been reading and am happy for the distraction. :)

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---" I got asked yesterday "Is there anyone you love?"."--- As an atheist, it's amazing how many people think I somehow "hate God". How can I hate something I don't even believe in?

I've also been accused of eating babies. I'm not sure where that one comes from.

Atheists are also routenly accused of being devoid of morals. That's another lie that fundamentalists love to perpetuate in order to claim the moral high ground. But it's pretty empty. Atheists do have morals. We just don't believe they're divinely inspired. Instead, we follow morals that I like to call "common sense". In other words, if we didn't follow these guidelines, society wouldn't function. If society didn't function, it'd be back to nomadic tribes and I wouldn't get to sit on my butt all the time. :P

---"We could get into the whole Einstein-Poldosky-Rosen effect in a discussion of time and simultaneity or get into event horizons, but that would be beyond the scope of our discussion here.

Plus it's getting late."--- Oh, but I do love such discussions. However, I agree. It's getting late for you normal people. Being an astronomy guy, I'm up all night anyway.

Plus, it's Friday. And I'm a college student. So by all rights, I should be piss drunk. ;)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

The whole notion that "civilization comes from religion" is pretty silly. Civilization happens because murder and mayhem are maladaptive-- either get organized and "civil" or die!

In general, I think your average atheist (or agnostic) gets that simple lesson better than religious folk do, and getting that lesson is central to being able to practice a just morality.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

VoijaRisa, By timeless I mean that if a scientific law is true today, it will be true over all time. Some scientists seek to show that if their statements can be proven to be valid today, and if they can be shown valid earlier or later in time, then this lends support to their thesis.
I find this to be erroneous as a scientific principle because I reject the idea that science is about respect or attempts to positively prove a statement.

Speculation is synonymous with conjecture. As Popper presented his philosophy of science, evidence is squarely in the conjecture phase of science. It is pre-science. Conjecture involves gathering evidence and using deductive and inductive thinking to formulate a hypothesis.

The conjecture phase of the philosophy is shared with other areas of knowledge. Law, literature, history, and many others use the same method of evidence and logic to show a point. All worthy endeavors, but not science.

So what makes science different? Testing with the intent to disprove the hypothesis. Refutation.

Not proof, not positive assertions that cannot be tested.

My argument against macro-evolution is mostly that evo-bios make statements that overstep the bounds of science. They allow popular books to speculate and conjecture all over the place without providing any hope of valid testing. My daughter came home thanksgiving and gave me a book that she had been assigned to read for a nursing class she took in college. Now I realize that popular books are dangerous in any field, but this book was a joke. "Genome" by Matt Ridley. If I was an ev-bio scientist, I would demand that a retraction be given by the author. It is a mythology, a story, a yarn. It illustrates a science that has taken happy pills. Fallen in love with itself. And now it wants to eliminate any questioning of its authority. What's worse is that the profs that are so defensive of evo are the very same people that questioned authority all over the place 35 years ago. So it was OK to q the old set-in-their-ways anuses in 1970, but they can't handle questions now that they are "the man".

GoodwinTW 11 years, 10 months ago

Why can't we have another discourse on creationism? These conservatives said there should be another point of view on evolution. How hypocritical can you get? Now they are raising cain because others would like to see another point of view on creationism. Please read "Our Edangered Values" by Jimmie Carter for another point of view.

DuQuesne 11 years, 10 months ago

I know that you all know (how can you not?) I'm not geographically local, so I hope you'll excuse me for sometimes taking a while to catch on to some of what you call your subtle nuances in ongoing discussions. That being said - - This Altevogt guy has seemed familiar to me from the beginning and I think I remember now where I've seen him before: I believe he may have an undisclosed theatrical background I think maybe he was the Aunt in "Pollyana." -Schuyler DuQuesne

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago


how "their" money is being used? Hmmm, let's lift that tax exempt status from religious organizations. Why do they get off scot-free? Collecting those tithes amounts to revenue and income, time to pay up just like every other income generating entity!

Calliope877 11 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps I'm going off topic of previous posts, but I just have to say that I think it's a shame that the class was cancelled. I hope the class is offered at some point in the future. It's a class with merit despite the controversy surrounding it.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"I reject the idea that science is about respect or attempts to positively prove a statement."--- So what do you posit that science is all about? Wallowing around in the dark and not trying to support anything?

---"So what makes science different? Testing with the intent to disprove the hypothesis. Refutation."--- So your argument that science doesn't work in any way by supporting something, but only by being able to find things that one cannot refute.

I'd agree with this. Support something all you want, but that doesn't mean anything unless it still stands in a strong wind.

You furthermore assert that macroevolution does not merit the status of science. Presumably because it has somehow not been tested with the intention of disproving it. I think that's a bit of a ridiculous statement. Constant testing is being done that would presumably falsify macroevolution should it be an errant theory. When DNA sequencing was first possible, macroevolution would have been disproven quite handily had it shown that we did not indeed, share a remarkable relationship on the genetic level to primates.

Additionally macroevolution could easily be discredited if good Dr. Behe could actually demonstrate, instead of making claims without testing, that an organism is irreducibly complex. Instead, his hypothesis of irredcuible complexity has been tested with the intent of disproving it, and found to fail.

I could go on, but the point is, macroevolution HAS undergone testing which could readily disprove it. But shhh... Don't tell the fundamentalists. They don't like hearing that.

I would also agree with you that there are branches of science that do overstep the definition and bounds of what qualifies a science. I'm not familiar with "Genome", and I don't profess to be capable of giving an informed opinion even if I were to read it. I do find it curious that you fail to hold enough knowledge regarding the testing of macroevolution, yet you seem to think yourself enough of an expert to know that "Genome" is a "mythology". A bit boisterous I would say. But as I've stated, I've not read the book.

However, I will note that if it's not a textbook, I don't expect it to contain good science, even if it's written by a PhD, nobel prize lauriate. Indeed, Dr. Behe's book is written by a scientist, but he fails to use any real science in it. Thus, we can make a distinction. To posit that scientists speaking in a non-scientific text and going beyond the bounds somehow discredits science as a whole more than a bit far fetched.

Lastly, as a supposed physicist, I am curious as to your take on the Superstring theory. Is this true science? Or is this merely "science that has taken happy pills" and has "fallen in love with itself"?

jayhawks71 11 years, 10 months ago

"I was just making the point that by definition, atheists are not open-minded (because they do not believe in the possibility of a god or gods)."

So one must be open minded to every unfounded and speculative possibility ever raised to be labeled open minded by you? Glad to know that one does not need YOUR approval.

Bring on the Flying Spaghetti remember to keep an open mind or you too will fall victim to the fallacy of bifurcation. It isn't "accept everything" or else you are closed minded.

Damn fools. How closed minded of me.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"how "their" money is being used? Hmmm, let's lift that tax exempt status from religious organizations. Why do they get off scot-free? Collecting those tithes amounts to revenue and income, time to pay up just like every other income generating entity!"--- AMEN! (pun intended)

Oh wait. Was that a religious attack? I'm sorry. Please don't threaten to take away my school's money because I have a sense of humor!

---"I hope the class is offered at some point in the future. It's a class with merit despite the controversy surrounding it."--- I'm under the distinct impression that Rep. Brownlee, O'Connor, and their merry band of hate-mongering opportunists are out to destory the credibility of the entire department and that after this, no professor, unless a born again Christian will be allowed to teach the course.

Ember 11 years, 10 months ago

How about we all just call a tree a tree and tell the universe what evolution truly is.

It is nothing more than the conglomeration of eons of adaptation and natural selection. No one seems to argue that these physical actions are not scientifically sound. It is basically universally accepted that adaptation and natural selection are basic laws of nature.

Intelligent Design, from what little of it I could digest without irritating my ulcers, is nothing more than a somewhat wordy way of saying we don;t know why things are the way they are, so obviously someone smarter than us created it all.

It is absolution for and acceptance of your limited intelligence, and derides the natural human desire to learn.

3000 years ago, the general populace believed that the world was forged on Haephestus' anvil, the sparks that flew from those hammer blows were the stars, and the sun was actually his forge.

Today, we view this as mythology.

Perhaps, and hopefully, in another 3000 years, we will discard the current dogma of religion and enter into a future without the overbearing presence of a supernatural being that is devoid of any interaction in our existance other than that which is bellowed from the mouths of those who wish to rule the hearts.

Evolution exists. The key ingredients are adaptation and natural selection. Intelligent design, unless strictly taught in terms of an alien lifeform being involved, is based on our own fears, suppositions, and craving to for there to be a simple answer to the things that we do not yet understand.

For me, God, any and every God/Goddess, is dead. I have no use for imaginary friends. I do not seek approval or absolution from someone else's flights of fancy. Morally, I answer solely to myself, as should we all. Legally, well... That's something totally different, and best left for a different discussion.

I am what I make of myself, not what some other being that I will never know exists or not dictates what I should be. I fail on my own and I succeed on my own.

Religion is a disease, and one that should be eradicated as soon as mentally possible.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"Religion is a disease, and one that should be eradicated as soon as mentally possible."--- Now now Ember, that's not fair. Evolution has many benefits. The peace it can bring to not have to worry about an after life is what some desire. That same relaxed state is also known to help sick heal quicker.

So there are benefits. But there are also consequences. However, I don't think its your place, nor anyone else's to say which outweighs the other. Which is why I'm thankful that we have the wonderful first ammendment in this country which both protects us from religion, and vice versa.

Now John, after this, I would like you to again repeat your comment on how everyone in SOMA is a hate-monger. You'll look silly. And let me tell you from personal experience since you're too intellectually lazy and cowardly to do real investigation: this is how SOMA and Dr. Mirecki act 99% of the time. Can you honestly say you're perfect? And remember, lying is a sin John.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---" Evolution has many benefits."--- That should have read "Religion".

That's what I get for switching between debates at 1:30 in the morning...

ctomarctus 11 years, 10 months ago

By using the word "mythology" to describe his course, Mirecki believes he is happily hurting the Christians he hates. This is actually toothless. Mirecki doesn't understand the actual definition of the word "mythology". A myth is not, technically, a falsehood. A myth is any held belief, told in story form. Also, he seems to believe that he is only hurting Christians. In fact, every faith has a creation myth incorporating an ID of some sort. Mirecki must be prepared to face the disappointed anger of those of the other faiths as well. Paul is not only more narrow-minded than the people of faith that he hates, but he fails to couch his attacks in truly accurate language terms.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

VoijaRis, That's right, science doesn't work in the positive support of a thesis. That's what a lawyer does when he presents a case to the jury. It's what an historian does when he rights a book gathering evidence from disparate sources to tell a story as faithfully as he can to give people an understanding many years later.
And it is what christians do when they refer to the word of god in the bible. The bible is a collection of stories. It is history, literature, ethics, etc. Christians will tell you it is the word of god. But even if you aren't a christian, there is much to study, and quite possibly, believe in the story of Jesus. These are examples of human knowledge gained thru means that are valid, but not science. Because they don't test their statements.

There exists knowledge in this world that is gained by means other than science. My problem is that evo-bios claim knowledge on the basis of science and then make statements that simply cannot be tested. They lie to themselves when they claim science.

I have a PhD in electrical engineering. I did science for NASA and foreign government equivalents for about 25 years. I am now retired from that rat race and so I teach high school physics. I teach nothing for which I don't have an experiment or demonstration. When the subject of big bang, strings, Hawking, etc comes up, I laugh and tell stories of experience that I have in failed experiments. I tell them that all that stuff is still very much in the conjecture phase of physics. It may turn out to be valid in some ways, but almost certainly not correct in its entirety. Such is the status of macro-evolution as well. Neither should be taught as science in high school. Is it fun to speculate? You bet, but be careful not to call conjecture science. Your less that 1/2 done at the conjecture stage.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

That last statement should have been: You're less than 1/2 done at the conjecture stage.

Coffee hadn't started working yet.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

devo, I'd agree that such things as String theory and Hawking have a long way to go before they're real theories, but the big bang and macroevolution have both undergone massive amounts of testing that, by your definition, express them as true theories given that those tests were in the aim of disproving them.

Saying otherwise is like saying gravity is still just conjecture because it hasn't been tested enough.

LarryFarma 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma wrote --

<<"At least the school boards have not publicly ridiculed the evolutionists. If they had, I am sure that we would have heard about it.">>

VoijaRisa answered --

<<"Perhaps you really need to go back and see the Dover school boards comments about evolutionists. I'd suggest reading the court transcripts, but they're over 500 pages and I doubt you really care enough to do all that research. Additionaly, Mirecki did not 'publicly ridicule' anyone. Again, his comments were in a private forum.">>

LarryFarma replies --

Mirecki's comments were not posted on a private forum -- they were posted on a forum accessible to the public. The comments were not obtained by wiretapping his phone lines or bugging his office or home. In contrast, in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case in Pennsylvania, testifiers were grilled under oath about private conversations in an effort to determine whether or not the pro-ID school board members had been motivated by religion !! The Dover school board members had no privacy at all !!

Also, people have lost jobs, elections, etc., because of things that were said in private. Mirecki is no big victim.

Some of Mirecki's supporters have said that he is not so bad once you get to know him personally. But most of us will never get an opportunity to know him personally, and anyway he is not worth taking a chance on.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

LarryFarma, I'm not trying to say that Mirecki is a blameless victim. The only thing I'm trying to get across is that he is being unfairly held up as an extreme token of intolerance.

This is simply not true. In comparison to things routinely said about atheists, Mirecki's comments are mild. If Mirecki's email is a "slap on the face", then the assault on atheists and anyone else that opposes the religious right's agenda is a full scale gang beating. Where's your righteous indignation there?

You seem to have a double standard. But then again, so does John. Non-theists have been under fire for hundreds of years. During the Dark Ages, they were routinely tortured for their lack of belief. In America they were burned at the stake. Today the law protects such people from such extremes, but it hasn't stopped the verbal abuse.

So what is a non-theist supposed to do in the face of shuch constant verbal attacks? Perhaps we should look at John's example:

---"I and black friends often engaged in violent acts against racists who accosted us and hurled racial epithets at us."---

Apparently, when verbally attacked, the proper course of action is physical violence. Again, I ask you to analyze whether or not Dr. Mirecki's response is as you've been led to believe.

I'm sure John is a wonderful person. However, I wouldn't want to get the chance to know him personally, especially given that he thinks violence is an acceptable recourse to someone misspeaking.

So again, I ask you, why the double standard? Where is your furor when people like John promote violence. Where is your indignation when Christians bomb abortion clinics? Where is your anger when Phelps protests the funeral of a gay teenager in front of his grieving family? Where is your fury when Pat Robertson goes on national television and says we should assassinate a democratically elected leader? Where is the contempt when Bush Sr says that atheists shouldn't be considered citizens or patriots? Where is your disgust when Christians tie a gay man to a fence post, naked and leave him to die of exposure?

Seriously, where's your sense of perspective?

Terry Bush 11 years, 10 months ago

Sigh. Of course KU approved the course. It approves a lot of courses that are on their face content appropriate. But classes are taught by people with biases that come across. With or without announcing that bias to the world ahead of time. The course content may be nuetral on its face, but if the professor has a secret agenda (some may & some may not) that agenda will creep into what is being taught by them. That's human nature.

That was the point I was trying to make by asking what if "the shoe were on the other foot". What if the class/teacher were desirous of promoting (rather than debunking/attacking) a religiously based set of beliefs and that bias and intent were discovered? Would those of you who are concerned about academic freedom be coming the defense of a KU professor wanting to teach ID as something that is true or good?

Would the cries for academic freedom be as loud or as emotional if the intentions discovered were to promote a religiously based belief?

You may say "of course" but somehow I doubt it. There would most likely be a lot of people in academia (which if you are honest you must surely know is often populated with people who are not strongly affiliated with a particular faith) shouting "separation of church and state" principles. So, bottom line, it seems rather hypocritic to say that academic freedom is at stake when a professor overtly intends to attack a faith based idea, but that it is a violation of the Constitution if the same principle is being promoted. People who overtly state they are "simply teaching the subject" but who secretly are hoping to sway people to their personal brand of beliefs should not be surprised (or offended) when people who share a different view point are not amused when the secret agenda is made public.

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"So, bottom line, it seems rather hypocritic to say that academic freedom is at stake when a professor overtly intends to attack a faith based idea, but that it is a violation of the Constitution if the same principle is being promoted."--- So ID is now a "faith based idea"? I'm glad you realize this because this is the core of the issue.

As you said, ID is a religious concept. As such, it has no place in government sponsored institutions. Yet proponents of it ("fundies", given that those that support at are almost unanimously the same ones that promote a literal reading of the bible), are trying to pass it off as science.

They know they're lying, and have even been caught at it (Google the "Wedge Document" if you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about). But apparently that's just fine.

Fortunately, many people are willing to take a stand against such blatant deception. Unfortunately, such people have to coddle the venomous liars lest they cry "persecution!" Dr. Mirecki didn't do this and is paying the price.

But again, look at the real issue: Is ID really science when you yourself admit that it's a "faith based idea"? And who's worse: He that tells the lie, or he how chastizes the liar?

VoijaRisa 11 years, 10 months ago

---"or he how chastizes the liar?"--- That should be "he who chastizes the liar?"

Can't win with dyslexia.

devobrun 11 years, 10 months ago

VoijaRis, If you're still here. I've had gravity and the big bang before as theories of physics that I should address. So here goes.

The big bang has been seriously discredited over the last 5 years or so. It seems that the very measurements used to predict the expanding universe, now show that the universe is accelerating out. A single energy burst at the beginning of everything would not predict an accelerating universe. It would predict a universe that would decelerate, or slow down due to gravitational attraction between the masses. Measurements that were carefully conducted on the doppler shift over several years show an accelerating universe. So:

Either the big bang is wrong due to a false model at the outset, or there is something wrong with the model of gravity as it exists today, or there are additional properties of matter that have yet to be tested.

The current model is that there is dark matter and dark energy that would cause the increasing outward velocity of the masses in the universe. Basically the previous model is about 20% of the truth and the remaining 80% is a rather mysterious bunch of energy and mass that acts strangely. Anti-mass, repulsive gravity, energy that must exist to correct the model. I.E. the 3rd choice above.

This is laughable. It's the old joke from undergrad science class. Multiply by zero and add an appropriate correction factor. HaHa.

There are properties of mass that are just fine at levels of time, space, energy that are reasonable. Newtonian gravity is a field that works just fine. However, at masses and distances and times on the order of the universe, there seems to be problems. Gravity never has fit in very well with the other forces of nature. It is the oddball.

This does not stop Hawking from speculating about it.

So, what do we know about the origin of the universe? Not very much at all.

And what do we know about our own evolution? Not very much at all.


The reason that we don't know very much about the origin of the universe or evolution is that damn thing called time. We simply don't know enough about it to proceed into the billion year region of our existence. A billion years is infinity as far as we're concerned. We take a model that is infinitly small, like the changes that occur in living organisms, and multiply by an infinite number of changes to yield a model of evolution. Dog squeeze.

rnp001 11 years, 10 months ago

ID?Evolution = GOD?Darwin

Darwin did his studies and had FAITH in the stuides he conducted. He also felt that even his studies fell short on how LIFE was "CREATED". Thus Darwin was refering to GOD, Supreme Being, The Almighty or whatever word one wants to use to discribe the leader of FAITH - GOD or even the Super natural.

Darwin's theory of evolution has gaps and holes - but as items are found to fill those spaces his orginal theory changes - Theories are just that THEORIES and THEORIES change as evidence comes forth.

Now you take ID - proponets claim that since LIFE is so complex that a "higer being" must have ":created" it.
Now you take ID - proponets claim that since Darwin's theory has holes and gaps, that ID can "fill in these gaps and holes" with the concept of a "super natural" who "created" life which was too complex to evolve over time or on their own (natural selection).

Thus I put forth this idea. If we have FAITH, and that we look towards a dity (GOD) or any other name you can subsitute- for bllind leadership and possible answers. And since Darwin even claimed the LIFE was more complex than he can understand. And since ID puts forth the "super natural" theory to "fill in the gaps" of Darwin's theory. I put forth this answer to the problem

GOD is ID and ID is GOD therefore the teaching of the theroy of ID is based on RELIGION/RELIGIOUS teachings called FAITH/super natural.
Thus GOD is ID and ID is super natural therefore the super natural is God Therefore GOD/ID is one and the same - both based on FAITH, and FAITH is a religious term. Therefore ID is a religious theory. GOd is a religious theory - thus GOD/ID is a religious idea.

So until the United States Supreme Court changes the laws which govern the WHOLE United States and either strictly interps or implies what the words "seperation of church and state" mean (even though not written in our fonding documents - the idea that ANY religion should not be taught in PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Since this country was founded on the premis that we have the FREEDOM to worship as we wish, and we should not impose our beliefs on those who wish not to be imposed upon.

Terry Bush 11 years, 10 months ago

It was asked "And who's worse: He that tells the lie, or he how chastizes the liar?:

To which I reply "Huh?" Are you really seriously suggesting that a liar and the person calling the lie what it is are on the same footing?

And while I may recognize that ID is a concept that is believed by those of religious persuasions, it is not a point that every supporter of ID is willing to concede or admit.

I agree we should never let our government impose a religion upon us. I have no desire to see that happen.

But the KU school of religion is designed to teach about religion. All kinds of religion! That is the purpose of a school of religion, right? So should KU end its support of a religious studies department? Or is it OK to have such a department as long as the topics are taught nuetrally? Or is it OK to have such a department as long as its taught as something to be laughed at (at best) or attacked (at worst)?

It boggles the mind that the head of a religious studies department evidently has a "hidden" agenda of attacking specific religious beliefs rather than simply teaching the topic neutrally. How would Hindus react had the professor sent out an email saying "we are really going to make fun of the Hindus for believing in their silly brass multi-armed fake gods!"?

One has to wonder what kind of angst or anger led to getting a doctorate in a subject such as religion, and then deciding to teach it to others, if/when one's true agenda includes talking young people out of a believing in specific religions or their tenents....

Terry Bush 11 years, 10 months ago

In a written statement from the university, Mirecki said the continued controversy surrounding his several e-mails on the student group's discussion board pressed him to drop the course.

His postings date back to 2003. In one, Mirecki talked about his first Catholic holy communion. "When I took the bread-wafer the first time, it stuck to the roof of my mouth, and as I was secretly trying to pry it off with my tongue as I was walking back to my pew with white clothes and with my hands folded, all I could think was that it was Jesus' skin, and I started to puke, but I sucked it in and drank my own puke. That's a big part of the Catholic experience. I don't think most Catholics really know what they are supposed to believe, they just go home and use condoms and some of them beat their wives and husbands." In another, Mirecki referred to the late Pope John Paul II as "J2P2," a form of Star Wars character R2D2. And Mirecki once discussed KU's religious studies department: "Maybe there is some confusion about what we do in the Religious Studies Dept here at KU. We do not teach students the 'how to' of religion, that is, how to do religion or how to be religious, nor are we apologists for religion. The majority of my colleagues here in the dept are agnostics or atheists, or they just don't care...As I often tell my students on the first day of class 'If anyone gets converted in this class, its not my fault.'

So - it's OK for a public school to have an agenda of talking young people out of being a believer in ANY religion, but it is not OK to teach topics neutrally?

Since when does "Separation or church and state" rules get muddied down to really mean "Separation of church and state UNLESS you want to bad mouth religion using tax dollars - in which case HAVE AT IT!!"???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Mirecki's emails to the listserv do not in themselves indicate that he would not teach the class from a neutral position. As a matter of fact, those who have taken classes from him say that he does, in fact, teach the facts.

Should political science professors be required to be wholly apolitical, and to have never voted?

Terry Bush 11 years, 10 months ago

Maybe not ALL his emails indicate he would not be neutral, but some of them clearly do!! Gleefully he looked forward to having at the fundies...How nuetral is that? And of course teachers can have private beliefs; if we required all teachers to be a-political we'd have none. But what does holding a particular view point in politics have to do with teaching in the school of religion? If you re-read my comments, I have said that ALL teachers carry with them a bias (whether they know/admit it or not). All humans have biases about some things. My original point was merely to ask if the cries of anguish over the death of "Academic Freedom" would have been as loud if the particular professor's bias was FOR a certain religion rather than against it?! Would the academic world care if he was advocating FOR the ID position?? Of course they would - the class would not have even gotten approval from the University. So, is academic freedom only a problem if the personal bias expressed and being questioned is against certain religious beliefs (and he's been clear he has one)? What if the bias expressed and intended to be relayed (covertly if not overtly) was against another less main-stream religion (say Muslim, Buddism, etc)?
Would you want a teacher in any topic that can and should be taught neutrally (say in sex, math, science, arts) deliberately trying to sway the students to his/her way of thinking, if you did not agree with that position?

And before you say something like "That is fine with me" think about a totally unrelated topic. Say you are gay (imagine it) - would you want a class taught at KU where the professor spends the vast amount of class time saying (overtly or covertly) "GAYS ARE ALL EVIL" - or if you aren't gay would you think tax dollars should be spent on a class that taught the students "YOU SHOULD ALL TRY BEING HOMOSEXUAL FOR A FEW WEEKS!"? Some personal biases have no business in a class room. Especially if they are not made self-evident BEFORE people enroll.

A teacher's covert promotion of their own personal agendas or belief system is simply not something that most rational people want to see happen. Unless/until the agenda being promoted is one you agree with....

rnp001 11 years, 10 months ago

Being gay or not is not the premise of the ID topic. The ID debate is around the idea that LIFE is TOO complex to have been created by one person (that being GOD).

GOD "IS" ID until proven otherwise.

As for the gay topic. A High school newspaper had an ad from a "gay and lesian, bisexual and transgendered support group - but the school CONFISCATED the copies and 2 weeks later re-issued the paper WITHOUT that ad.

So here's the question, was the school acting to protect those students who are NOT GAY, or wanting to withhold info about a support group in the area to those who are gay. Or trying to head off a PARENTS outrage at a board meeting if that ad stayed. Or was the school just trying to keep an unwanted lifestyle from getting creditbility.

Now going back to the ID problem. and I will connect it to the "gay question"

Do we have control over how we turn out (gay/straight) or was it pre-determined by a "HIGHER BEING" or is our being gay/straight so complex that only a HIGHER BEING which the religious zealious want to call ID "created" those who are gay.

Or is the concept of ID a way of putting forth a NON-GAY religious / religion and to also exclude those who are DIFFERANT in not only race, sex, handicapped but sexual orentation.

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