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Archive for Tuesday, December 13, 2005

KU statement RE: Professor Mirecki

December 13, 2005

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"Paul Mirecki remains a tenured professor at the University of Kansas. The university stands unequivocally in support of his First Amendment rights and his rights to academic freedom.

"We deplore violence against Professor Mirecki or any other member of the university community. The university offered assistance to Professor Mirecki as soon as he informed the university he had reported to the county sheriff's office the off-campus battery incident.

"To reiterate the basic facts:

* Professor Mirecki resigned as chair at the recommendation of his own peers -- his departmental faculty.

* Professor Mirecki's course on intelligent design was canceled at his own request.

* While the university strongly supported both of these actions, the university continues to believe the course has merit and should be taught in the future."

Comments

Terry Jacobsen 9 years ago

Support him all you want, but the fact still remains that if he had said the things he said about Jewish People or any race except caucasians, he would have been soundly and appropriately labeled an anti-semite or a bigot. But since he hates Christian Fundamentals, it's ok. It's still bigotry no matter who it is against.

LarryFarma 9 years ago

The AAUP's 1940 "Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure" says,

--- from http://www.aaup.org/statements/Redbook/1940stat.htm

Though the above guidelines specifically apply to professors' off-the-job activities, I see no reason why these guidelines should not also apply to professors' on-the-job activities.

Mirecki did not "show respect for the opinions of others" in -- (1) -- his choice of a course title that labeled ID and creationism as "mythologies" (2) -- his email -- posted on a publicly accessible Internet forum -- which said that the course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies"

The title of the course was not the place for Mirecki to express his personal opinions about ID and creationism.

Also, Mirecki was making no effort to indicate that he "was not speaking for the institution" when he said that he was offering the course because "the KU faculty has had enough."

Mirecki is a prima donna who has not shown any appreciation for the great privileges he enjoys as a tenured university professor -- (1) a secure job that pays him well to do the work he likes, and (2) the authority to create college courses of his own choosing. He has made a mockery of the university's role as a place of objective, open-minded inquiry. He does not deserve any sympathy except for the beating he allegedly received.

LarryFarma 9 years ago

Posted by TJ_in_Lawrence , on December 13, 2005 at 10:20 p.m. *Support him all you want, but the fact still remains that if he had said the things he said about Jewish People or any race except caucasians, he would have been soundly and appropriately labeled an anti-semite or a bigot. But since he hates Christian Fundamentals, it's ok. It's still bigotry no matter who it is against.*

In an earlier KU news release, on December 1, Chancellor Hemenway essentially labeled Mirecki a bigot. 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. People of all faiths are valued at KU, and campus ministries are an important part of life at the university.

" Dr. Mirecki has made the right decision by his withdrawal from the course. He has a right to free speech but he has to realize the revelation of his past e-mails has tainted the environment for his course. He insulted both our students and the university's public, and he misrepresented beliefs of KU's faculty and staff." ----

--- from http://www.news.ku.edu/2005/December/Dec1/statement.shtml

Even bigots are entitled to academic freedom -- up to a point.

JustinBeck 9 years ago

Hi all,

I'm looking for some help on a short documentary I'm producing about the debate over intelligent design. It will be aired on a nationally-syndicated, weekly radio newsmagazine called "Making Contact". (More about the show here: www.radioproject.org)

For my story I'd like to open up our toll-free phone line and allow you all to add your two cents. Your comments, if I choose to include them, will be heard on more than 190 public/community/college radio stations in the U.S. and Canada (for a full list, please visit the web link above). The tentative air date for this piece is early January.

Here's how you can participate:

Our toll-free number is 1-800-529-5736. The deadline is Friday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. PST to call and give your answers to the following prompts. (This is NOT a live call-in radio show.)

  1. Briefly introduce yourself. If you wish, use only your first name. Tell us where you live and what you do for a living. Briefly explain your own relationship to this story, if any.
  2. Give a definition of intelligent design ("Intelligent design is:"). Explain why you support or reject the idea itself. Then, say why you support or oppose the teaching of intelligent design in Kansas schools.
  3. Give a definition of evolution. Explain why you support or reject the idea. Say why you support or oppose the teaching of evolution in Kansas schools.
  4. What is your take on the Mirecki story? What was your reaction to his proposed course? Do you feel he stepped over a line by making comments about "fundies" and how his course would be a "nice slap in their big fat faces," and why? What was your reaction to learning that Prof. Mirecki was beaten? How do you feel about his decision to resign as chair of the department?
  5. What, if anything, do you think the Mirecki story says about your community and about the larger, national debate over intelligent design? Do you see the beating as an isolated incident, or as part of an overall culture war? Or something else?
  6. Imagine a fictional United States of America 40 years from now, after all states' boards of education have adopted pro-intelligent design curricula, and an entire generation has been raised on such teachings. What kind of country would it be?

Please try to answer each question in 30 seconds or less. At the end of your message, please say your full name and leave a phone number or e-mail address, so that I can reach you if needed. Your contact information will NOT be made public.

Again, the deadline for your answers is this Friday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. PST. The number to call is 1-800-529-5736. Early submissions will be greatly appreciated!

If you have any questions or concerns before participating in this project, call me at my office at 510-251-1332 ext. 103, on my cell at 510-332-3719 or write to justin at radioproject dot org.

Many thanks to everyone! Let the fun begin!

Justin Beck Associate Producer, "Making Contact"

Biodude 9 years ago

Hey Justin,

Mirecki didn't think his information would be made public! Unfortunately, some of the public kicked his...ideology. Right, the only place for this debate anymore is in the supreme court...and that will happen...if it doesn't, we might as well go back to 1859 and the real "controversy!"

Evolution by Natural Selection is a scientific fact. Intelligent Design is a pseudophilosophical error of judgment. Any "intelligent" human can see this without much discussion. Unfortunately, there is a strong political force behind it and if history has taught us anything it is that there need not be any logic behind a political force in order for it to proliferate and systematically lobotimize the general public.

The real question is why are humans so vulnerable to this kind of political force. What is it in human nature that allows some folks to abandon all reason and adhere to complet bullsh_t? That's the real question...that's why Mirecki was so bold as to be animated about the subject.

Some people that care about their fellow humans get a little pissed when these Aholes are able to do their dastardly deeds...over and over and over again...why as a society are we so vulnerable?

This is Mirecki's field...he should be excused for trying to make a difference...altruistic academic...that's his sin!

You want to "Make Contact" why don't you try to get the Discovery Institute to explain why they think ID is science...no, they would rather prey on the Kansas Bored of Education and their cronies in the Kansas Legislature. Sure, you can get some salesman from Ark City to "understand" your bullsh_t, but so what? Does that constitute a license to suppress scientific truth in one of the United States? I think not...but, it worked! Why did it work? What went wrong? Who dropped the ball for Kansas children? Get answers to these questions and you have a story. Getting a bunch of Kansas people that are pissed or blissed with the issue to vent-off is just contribution to the erroneous hype of the situation and will not provide any real analysis.

Go ahead...you're a journalist...why not do some!

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Biodude, In other words, self-proclaimed elitists like yourself should govern us, for those of us not as smart as you should not be trusted with such responsibility.

Hmmm, self-proclaimed elitists who are anti-religioous and dedicated to Darwin's theories of emergence.....why does that sound familar??? Oh, I know why, because it was the philosophical underpinnings of the Third Reich!

BOE 9 years ago

MA: "...why does that sound familar??? "

===

Projectionist crap, is what sounds familiar.

===

Posted by MadAnthony on December 15, 2005 at 8:39 p.m.

Friends and countrymen,

Remember the teacher in high school, and/or professor in college, who, when confronted with a question that they did (sic) know how to answer, responded by attacking the one asking the question?

snip>

Could it be he was ridiculing me simply because he had nothing else to offer. Could it be that he cannot answer the question posed, finds it quite uncomfortable, and so instead bitch slaps me to shut me up?

====

kreigel 9 years ago

And we have a winner! The first Nazi reference of the thread was made by MadAnthony at 1:32 a.m. on Friday December 16. Congratulations, and keep up the good work.

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Herr Kreigel,

If the jackboot fits then click it.

kreigel 9 years ago

Give it up, MadAnthony. The "people who disagree with me are Nazis" line of thought is pathetic, no matter who it comes from. It's such a lazy argument. People who say "Bush is a Nazi" are stupid as well. Hitler was a Nazi. Goebbels was a Nazi. Himmler was a Nazi. People who accuse anyone (except a member of the actual Nazi party) don't want to discuss anything, they just want to argue. And thanks for implying that I am a Nazi as well, with the "Herr Kreigel" comment.
As for the topic at hand, I think that Mirecki was wrong to say what he said, even though he thought he was posting on a private forum. Nothing on the internet is private. I don't think he was wrong to refer to I.D. as a "mythology", a word which I've always associated with a series of stories that intend to answer questions about the world and our place in it.
I was disappointed to see KU run away from this issue as quickly as they could, but I wasn't surprised, since administrators usually try to appease their critics instead of backing their employees. Anyway, that's my view. Now you can go back to the name calling.

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Maybe we can find common ground by agreeing that history can repeat itself, at least to the degree that ideas once discredited can again gain currency, usually in different garb. In other words, while the Nazis are not going to be repeated in the same fashion, the philosophical underpinnings of national socialism in Germany could find new currency in some social order, some day. Right?

IF so, how would you define those philosophical underpinnings, so that we will recognize then should they attempt to reincarnate in our midst?

Thanks Herr Kriegel. And remember, not all sour kraut is rotten. I was merely noting that your handle was germanic.

Want to give answering my question a shot?

kreigel 9 years ago

Sure, you should always be on the lookout for the rise of totalitarianism in our society. Nationalism, jingoism and a vaguely defined "enemy" scapegoat on which to blame all problems are three obvious things to look for. I don't see any of those elements in Biodude's post which prompted your Third Reich reference. Maybe I missed something. But that wasn't my point. My point was that people throw "Nazi", "fascist" and "Holocaust" around so much anymore and in so many unnecessary situations that it's pathetic, and it diminishes the sense of evil and horror that should always be attached to those words.

Biodude 9 years ago

This is exactly the problem. There was not any anti-religion in my post. Indeed, absolutists throughout history were linked to suppression of scientific truth to justify their injustice. The political forces pushing for ID want to smear the facts and make them about society, but the truth is that they are not any more about society/religion than is gravity, or quantum mechanics, or string theory, etc. Your complete missunderstanding of my comments is exactly why there is a problem in Kansas. Those of your cultural-bent, and I do not pretend to understand why or how it is so prevalent in our state, completely miss the basic premise of liberalism and adherence to humanism in religion. Religion should be a choice, that is made by an intelligent person, that knows what they are getting into. Personally, I am disgusted by those that have smeared not only my religion, but also my adherence to the belief that the best course for humankind is the pursuit of knowledge and religious tolerance. Those pushing for ID are directly in opposition to this view. They seek to halt the pursuit of knowledge by claiming that their religious worldview is actually science. This is a tuff- sell, even for such an organized and well-funded operation. You just can't even convince most coutry-folk (in Pennsylvania anyway) that on the one-hand life was created by an intelligent designer, and on the other-hand this intelligent designer has no inherent connection to creationism and Christian doctrine. Moreover, ID succeeds in calling Darwinian evolution something less than it is, a scientific fact. A fair comparison is if ID wanted to attack calculus, indeed natural selection is analyzed by doing calculus on the data. Could ID insert precautions about the use of calculus as just one approach, the other being the "science" that life doesn't select upon the inherent variability in organsims, but that this variability was created as we see it at any given time? Trex would be designed, right, why do we not have to worry when we use the outhouse? This is just ridiculous, and the sooner you and others persuaded by this political movement understand that your prescription drugs and modern medicine in general are a rather direct result of Uncle Charlie, the sooner you will reject this crap and move on to issues that actually have a theoretical basis. Like why you could be so ignorant to accuse somone that is trying to help you an yours of being anti-religious and an elitist. Your absolutism based upon politics is legitimate grounds for the very evil you project upon those trying to save you from it. How incedibly stupid...yet, predictable...Jesus loves you and Fred too!

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Biodude & Kris Kreigle,

If I have misunderstood the source and foundation of your (Biodude's) apparent elitist ideas then please forgive me. It is just that some who espouse "evolution" meaning by that the most reductionist views of Darwinian teaching) as, in essence, the Ground of All Being seem to me to be falling into the very patterns that put Nazi Germany and Leninist Russia on the path toward Hitler and Stalin. Once a purely natural metaphysic is the law of the land, or at least all that the respectable can teach, then we are facing a sea change in American sociology. And that sea change will bring about a naturalistic result. Make that is bringing about said result. Darwin and Germany from 1933-45 are not easy to separate. Do not take my word for it, listen to leading Jewish thinkers on the subject. The following is lifted from http://www.shoaheducation.com/darwin.html

MadAnthony 9 years ago

http://www.shoaheducation.com/darwin.htm...


"As Darwin's Theories were established, a number of European biologists and philosophers began to explore and expand the theory (as yet not proven) to applications to race, Eugenics and the social environment. Several other theorists and philosophers were promoting similar or related ideas: Nietzche gave foundation to the "Super-Man" concept, Existentialism flourished allowing a creation of a moral vacuum, and those exploring the fledgling twists on occultism almost always came back to the notion of an achieveable superior human race which would bring in a utopia. Darwin's theories gave 'scientific' rhetoric to metaphysical discussions. At the University of Jena in Germany, the chair of Zoology, Haeckel would form a synthesis which would influence Biology, Eugenics, Racial Theory and the developing mysticism by incorporating Darwinian principles into the idea of a natural selection and adaptation of the best, brightest and most vigorous individual and race taking forefront. Galton also contributed to the study of those 'genetically' predisposed to be superior in his studies optimally-functioning persons. Indeed, the intelligence-testing movement came about with the study of individual differences with the idea of a superior and inferior type.3

As Darwin became fully incorporated into the science of the day despite cries of heresy from the more orthodox corners of the Church, another application came forefront which would help to found not only the 'racial science' of the Third Reich, but the political science and Sociology of the Reich as well. It came to be known as "Social Darwinism". While Darwin winced at his theories being made a "religion", others made that into their platform. Otto Ammon, the 'Volkish' Anthropologist declared that Darwinism should be made the "religion of Germany".4 Very soon, occultic groups such the Theosophical Society were espousing the necessity of a more superior and more fit race of humans, the National Socialists and similar parties were espousing the 'natural order' be given its due with Aryans in the lead, and Reich politicians espoused a ruthless take over with themselves as head, given that they were the 'superior' race. Some argued that this racial conflict of a superior race replacing an inferior race was not only acceptable in line of the laws of nature and Darwinism, but actually necessary for the well-being of the world. Aryans were always defined as the 'master race' and in one philosopher's mind, he confined his definitions of superior to only Germans on German soil. 5 "


Emphasis by MadAnthony. All else by the shoah posters, who, like others on the web, attribute more than some of the mean spirit of Nazi society to Social Darwinism.

kreigel 9 years ago

Okay, great, but you're arguing about Social Darwinism, which is not the same thing as biological evolution. In my opinion, Social Darwinism is a bastardized mutation of the theory of evolution. I seem to remember in US history back in high school, reading about how S.D. was a favored theory right up until the crash of the stock market at the beginning of the Great Depression. Suddenly, there wasn't "survival of the fittest" in our society's eyes.
And anyway, because the Nazis twisted something into their own evil world view, I'm supposed to denounce that thing? Hitler used quite a bit of Christian references and imagery (which he also twisted into something evil) in his speeches. Should we therefore denounce all of Christianity as evil, or can we agree that the Nazis did a lot of bad things, and used a lot of normally benign ideas to accomplish those bad things? And while I'm on here, Intelligent Design will not be taken seriously by scientists and/or "non-believers" until its proponents can decide if it's science, religion or both. On one hand, we're supposed to allow this hypothesis into a science classroom and give it equal weight as an established scientific theory, and we're assured that it's not at all a religious idea. But when someone disagrees with that, they're accused of religious intolerance and compared to Nazis. So, the question is: which is it? Help me out here, because I simply don't understand that train of thought.

MadAnthony 9 years ago

My friend Kreigel,

If there is a creator, then the dichotomy between science and religion is neither an impregnable nor high wall. Both find their ground of being in that creation event, in that creator. Treating the two as opposites so to block a discussion of ID is a rather disengenious trick of the left, or, hopefully, just a failure to comprehend the "therefores" that our Founders and the founders of science deemed self-evident.

I ask you this: If the evidence points toward design, must a scientist then resign and end the study simply because a scientist could never use the term "Designer?"

Example: If we were to find tonight a deep space probe from another world on our planet, would we have to only explain it in terms of natural forces, or could we examine it and determine that an intelligent being designed it and sent it our way?

And are such beings fine and natural as long as they are not the Creator? Or is the Creator fine as long as He does not tell us right from wrong? (IE Deism). Is the problem, at the end of the day, a brooding omnipresence in the sky, telling who to and who not to sleep with?

If God is there and is not silent everything is religious and nothing is religious. Religion is simply a category in the mind that is not all that helpful when discussing whether our solar system was formed by Intelligence or random chance.

The evidence is as clear as the stars at night. God is there and He is not silent. We are living on the stage He erected. I have it on good authority that we will all realize that some day in the not too distant future. I also have it on good authority that some will never appreciate this truth of Nature.

kreigel 9 years ago

"Religion is simply a category in the mind that is not all that helpful when discussing whether our solar system was formed by Intelligence or random chance."

If the above statement is true, why are you accusing people on this thread of being anti-religious and comparing them to Nazis? Does this please the Creator?

And to answer your "deep space probe" analogy, we could both explain it in terms of natural forces AND determine that an intelligent being designed and sent it our way. How is this analogous to I.D. and the existence of a Creator?

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Space probe: Because we would be looking at a system from a source we do not know or understand and determining, based upon the complexity of its design, that it had to be engineered.

Now let's talk a theory of origins on this planet that holds that life was interjected into this world on a planet. Assume that life to have been single cell.

Was that cell, given its complexity, engineered? Or did it arise from nothing, organize itself by chance, and succeed overwhelmingly without oversight?

kreigel 9 years ago

Ohhhh, here's the hook. I've been waiting. Now's when I say, "Wow, you're right. I've been wrong about I.D. all along." You're really going to use aliens to argue for a creator. Okay, sure. Now, who (or what) created the aliens who created that space probe? We can play this game forever, and since you're going pursue this instead of answering my earlier questions, I'll stop now.

MadAnthony 9 years ago

Which earlier questions? I've got game.

Biodude 9 years ago

You mean your designer has game...right?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

The judge in the Dover trial declared the actions of the BOE to require ID be taught in classes as "breathtaking inanity," and a giant waste of time and money. Maybe this will be the beginning of the end of these wackos' attempts to hijack the public schools to spread their superstitions.

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