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Archive for Friday, December 9, 2005

KU provost says ID course needed

December 9, 2005

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Kansas University's No. 2 official told an online audience Thursday he "continues to support the need" for KU to teach a course on intelligent design.

"The decision to withdraw the course was made by Professor (Paul) Mirecki, not by the university," KU Provost David Shulenburger said during a chat on the Journal-World's Web site.

Shulenburger, who will step down as provost to return to teaching in June, responded to several questions about Mirecki's intelligent design course.

Advocates of intelligent design see it as an alternative scientific theory to evolution, but the course would have been taught as a religious studies course, rather than as science.

Mirecki decided to cancel the class after he came under fire for derisive remarks he made on an online discussion board.

"Courses are not scheduled by the university but by faculty through departments. When departments wish to offer such courses they will," Shulenburger wrote during the online chat.

Mirecki, a tenured professor, announced Wednesday he would step down as chairman of the religious studies department after reporting a roadside beating Monday morning.

"Professor Mirecki's letter of resignation indicated that the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies preferred that (he) step down as chair of the department," Shulenburger wrote.

Shulenburger also wrote that he supported "our faculty teaching courses on difficult or controversial topics."

However, Shulenburger wrote, "as e-mails of Professor Mirecki that came out later indicated that his ability to teach the course in an unbiased fashion came to light, I continued to support the need for the course to be taught but agreed with Professor Mirecki's conclusion that he should not teach the course."

KU's provost also touched on several other topics, including KU's decision to hold classes Thursday despite the snow and on efforts KU is making for more students to graduate within four years.

The full transcript is available at www2.ljworld.com/news/chats/newsmakers/.

Comments

LarryFarma 8 years, 4 months ago

From post of TheSychophant, December 9, 2005 at 1:04 a.m.

We are the laughing stock of the nation. And we can't just peel it off and stick it on the school board, no, not when the states flagship university sits on its thumbs and looks out the window while a small band of zealots determine state educational standards based on rigid fundamentalist religious dogma. As the leading educators in our state, are you not ashamed to sit on the sidelines silently while our state is bullied by a Kansas Taliban, who have the termerity to walk into your central offices like a gestapo agent and demand that something they disagree with be stricken. By engaging them in discussion you legitimate their action.

Exactly what do you expect KU to do? You should be specific. KU is not sitting on its "thumbs" or on the "sidelines." KU chancellor Hemenway recently released a very strong statement in support of evolution theory and against intelligent design -- see http://www.chancellor.ku.edu/messages/2005/september2605.shtml?M KU is hosting an "Explore Evolution" exhibit (discussed in Hemenway's preceding statement). And KU administrators are publicly in favor of offering a course on ID and creationism -- they just don't think that Mirecki is the appropriate person to organize it. KU faculty members and administrators are generally free to express their opinions about the state's new standards for science education. Mirecki just happened to make remarks that showed unacceptable bias on the part of someone who had the responsibility of organizing a course on ID and creationism.

I think that the course should officially be offered as an interdisciplinary course involving departments of science, philosophy, religious studies, and any other appropriate disciplines. I think that the course should include an examination of the scientific merits of intelligent design and creation science. And I think that the course should also place evolution theory under the microscope.

Some people may laugh at Kansas, but many -- including myself -- hold Kansas in the highest regard.

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observer 8 years, 4 months ago

sorry, but the gutless reaction and lack of support from both provost and president leads me to believe both need to be replaced. If they can't stand up to "ID iots" then they need to get out of higher education.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

bigjism

I will assume from your lack of response that you are away from the computer right now.

I'll check back later.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

bigj-man:

You said "...why are evolutionists so worried about discussing the problems with evolution?"

Well, here I am, and Evil-lutionist. Let's talk, buddy.

We don't need a list of all the myriad problems with evolution. One will do for starters. Lay it on me. I'm waiting with bated breath...

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

bigjim: still waiting for you to regale with problems of evolution.

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rnp001 8 years, 4 months ago

dear bigjim -

And regarding public high schools, why are evolutionists so worried about discussing the problems with evolution? Aren't they after the truth or do they just want to keep their heads buried in the sand?<<

The teacher in high school science cllasses are not afraid of other theories about how life began. The problem is when a teacher is NOT CRETIFIED / qualified to teach out of the science field and have to answer questions which might lead the discussion into the field of RELIGION.

rnp001, you didn't get the point. If we have to pay for your education, we should be able to demand that the subjects are at least taught in a fair, professional and unbiased manner, unlike Mirecki's method<<

True and fair enough, but what happens if the local school board or even the State school board changes the coriculum and "demands" that ID be taught in science classes, and DROP the other theory of DARWIN. Thus the school board is not being "FAIR, PROFESSIONAL, and UNBIASED" but imposing an aganda of trying to put religion in any form or under any title back into the publc school system. What happens to all those students/parents who believe in another religious dity. And remember that public school like religion should be NEUTRAL and not imposing one's belief on another person.

Mr. Wreacki is like everybody - opinionated to some degree - thus you have a healthy debate on topics that push the "hot button". I had History prof who believed that the South did not LOSE, and another prof who believed the North did not win. One was a graduate from VMI, and the other was from North Carolina - question who was RIGHT - and when they talked they "slanted the views" towards their thinking - I played them against each other and used their info on each other to push the debate - they thought I was "bright' but wrong.

Mr. Wreacki just wanted to start the debate at the college level where as the Kansas state school board wanted to IMPOSE this thinking of ID on high schoolers.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

bigjim,

Specifically, which problems with evolution would you like to discuss?

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Bubarubu 8 years, 4 months ago

Parkay--

Fighting words have to be delivered with specific intent to a specific target. Dr. Mirecki posting to a message board composed of individuals who agree with him is so far from that definition that your argument for criminal prosecution is laughable. Quoting from the very page you linked, ""fighting" words - those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." "The Court noted that the state high court had limited the construction of the city law to apply only to those "face-to-face words..." See the Terminello case where public attacks on religious beliefs incited dispute, but could not be called fighting words. See the Cohen case where the Court held that only "direct personal insults" could be fighting words.

Dr. Mirecki's words were injudicious and inflammatory. Since they were posted to a group of people amenable to his comments, they could not possibly be direct insults. They were also not directed at any one individual, so they could not be personal. Moreover, their effect on the peace was nowhere near immediate. Finally, the fact that his words were posted online and not uttered face-to-face would be a prima facie reason to ignore any criminal complaint. Next time you want to post something to a public forum, make sure you have read it first.

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Ray Parker 8 years, 4 months ago

Sychophant, it is highly doubtful that our Constitution protects derisive verbal and written attacks on one's religion or religious beliefs, and university harassment policy certainly would not protect such hateful bigotry. Our courts have ruled, because of just this sort of incident, that "fighting words" such as verbal assaults and insults upon one's religion or religious teachings, are not protected by the First Amendment, and therefore may be criminally prosecuted, so that people targeted by such "fighting words" need not resort to violent retaliation. In the absence of the criminal prosecution of Mr. Mirecki, such violent retaliation as physical slaps upon his fat face are understandable, though lamentable and ineffective. See First Amendment page http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Speech/arts/topic.aspx?topic=fighting_words

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wonderhorse 8 years, 4 months ago

It gets pretty small when all we can do is insult the spelling of a poster on this board. There are bunches of posts that contain misspellings that don't get commented on. Frankly, I find it amusing that posters will attack the spelling of posters who hold a different point of view, but not a poster from their own camp.

By the way, bigjim, if students can't spell when they get to KU or any other university, they probably shouldn't be there. Very little of the KU funding comes from your tax dollars, and it would be even less if the legislature would let them keep their tuition money. I am a Republican (think Barry Goldwater) and think that KU delivers a pretty darn good education, thanks to professors who THINK (like Mirecki) instead of go with the loudly yelling voices. I am willing to bet that you have never taken a class from Mirecki, and thus don't know what or how he teaches.

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bigjim 8 years, 4 months ago

rnp001, you didn't get the point. If we have to pay for your education, we should be able to demand that the subjects are at least taught in a fair, professional and unbiased manner, unlike Mirecki's method. And regarding public high schools, why are evolutionists so worried about discussing the problems with evolution? Aren't they after the truth or do they just want to keep their heads buried in the sand?

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rnp001 8 years, 4 months ago

I guess if one sends their kids to private schools one exspects a good education but a NARROW minded one. Where as a public education at least one gets to see what the world is without rose colored glasses. As for misspelling - look at our leader (prez. Bush the Younger) and how he murders the English language when he publicly speaks - and he went to a PRIVATE school.

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bigjim 8 years, 4 months ago

mom_of_three, good post. His post is nothing more than misspelled drivel. But, that's what you can expect from a public university. Smart tax payers send their kids to private colleges so they aren't taught crap from the likes of Mirecki. But, we're still forced to send our tax dollars to KU to help the poor unfortunates learn the liberal's propaganda and then believe they're educated. What an injustice.

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mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, before you post your rant, you might want to make sure you spell words correctly. It is kind of embarrassing to other alumni that you can't even spell.

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Bob Forer 8 years, 4 months ago

Obviously, the professor's comments were not worthy of a college professor. But I am profoundly puzzled that the adminstration would make public statements condemning speech which is constiututionally
protected. but remain silent when religious zealots remove from state educational standards firmly rooted and universally accepted scientific principles.

We are the laughing stock of the nation. And we can't just peel it off and stick it on the school board, no, not when the states flagship university sits on its thjumbs and looks out the window while a small band of zealots determime state educational tandards based on rigid fundamentalist religious dogma. As the leading educators in our state, are you not ashamed to sit on the sidelines silently while our state is bullied by a Kansas Taliban, who have the termerity to walk into your central olfficeds like a gestapo agent and demand that something they disagree with be stricken. By engaging them in discussion you legitimate their action. why do you think the KC columnist felt he could then issue a public threat to the newspaper to cut funding if you failed to comply with his request. I find it unbelievably outrageus that educated persons with a resposibilty to our great school and to basic Democratic principles would sit and take it while it is disseminated in the press with absoloutely no response. A vulgar intolerant individual with extreme views bullies and threatens us and we have no response???? . Isnt there one one person among you who can defend our honor. shame on all of you. I am embarrassed to call KU my alma mater

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