Archive for Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Religion professor issues apology about e-mail

November 29, 2005


Paul Mirecki, an associate professor of religious studies who will teach "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design and Creationism," issued an apology Monday for an e-mail he wrote as he was formulating plans for the course:

"I accept full responsibility for an ill-advised e-mail I sent to a small group of students and friends that has unintentionally impugned the integrity and good name of both the university and my faculty colleagues. My words were offensive, and I apologize to all for that.

"I especially regret that the e-mail betrays what I have consistently practiced in the classroom during my sixteen-year teaching career at KU: I believe that civil discourse is vital to a democratic society, and we must, especially in a university environment, be able to discuss differing points of view in a open, fair and civil fashion. I have always practiced my belief that there is no place for impertinence and name-calling in a serious academic class. My words in the e-mail do not represent my teaching philosophy or the style I use in class.

"I have assured the provost of the university that I will teach the course according to the standards this university rightfully expects - as a serious academic subject and in a manner that respects all points of view."


devobrun 12 years, 7 months ago

In order that creation/ID be called mythology and not science, Dr. Mirecki must have a criterion for defining science. All sciences has some mythology to them. Some history, some politics, some art, etc. However, there must be some part of the endeavor that causes us to invoke the term science. I'd like to know what Dr. Mirecki's reasons are for calling creation/ID not science while suggesting that evolution is science.

Is it possible for Dr. M to include evolution in the class to compare the mythologies of evo and crea/ID? Might the religious aspects of the evolutionists also be of interest? How do the evolutionists demonstrate their faith when defending big statements like "where did we come from"?

I wonder if Dr. M's class will be history, philosophy, epistemology, teleology?

As some of you know, I find this argument between evo and crea/ID to be an argument over ideas. Philosophy masquerading as science. Erudite but fruitless. Perfect for the religion department at a university.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 7 months ago

evolutionists/scientists depend on verifiable testing to support their conclusions. ID cultists depend on blind faith ("how'd it get here? Dunno, that proves it was god, I mean an intelligent creator, oops, I mean an intelligent designer").

Your implying evolution requires faith demonstrates your limited understanding of evolution and the scientific method in general.

To begin to understand fundamental evolution you might begin here

Greg Yother 12 years, 7 months ago

Remember this debate; commit it to long term memory. After our society has itself evolved and matured for another 50 years, let's see how this subject is viewed then. I wonder if it will be similar to what we now think of people who perceived rock & roll as devil music. Just tryin' to have a little foresight.

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 6 months ago

50 years from now they will be teaching MY scientific theory in science classes accross our fine country. You see, Behe and Demski et al are missing the boat when it comes to Intelligent Design and I khow who that Intelligent Designer is - Mango The Intelligent Interior Designer aka the Magic Sky Pixie Diva!

Look around you right now. See all the natural beauty? Who chose that shade of blue for the oceans? That lovely contrasting shade of green for our forests? You mean to tell me that stuff just sprung up ("evolved) outa nowwheres? Ha ha ha you are soooo unscientific! That stuff was designed by Mango the Intelligent Interior Designer.

And I'm brave enough to tread where Behe and Demski fear to go - I define Mango and his attributes!

He sports a purple Stetson hat, pink vinyl hot pants and fire engine red cowboots. He is a Magic Sky Pixie Diva and he created all.

Yeah ID will be history soon enough so will Darwin. Soon we'll be talking and teaching IID - Intelligent Interior Design.

Read 'em and weep peeps, you cannot keep a good scientific theory down for long! Mine will prevail where others only leave unasnwered questions!

ps. I know some of you doubting thomases will question the scientific validity of my scientific theory. Bah humbug! Here is how I can prove his existance

1) My theory has lot sof Irreducatble whatnots 2) I have conversations with Mango in my head. 3) The oceans and forestry are lovely to behold. Obviously who ever created them had a knack for mix matching color schemes.

That proves he exists!

My next step is getting Steve Abrams and the Kansas board of education on board, based on what I see them doing that should be pretty easy.


fairae 12 years, 6 months ago

I wish he would have never appologized. That makes me feel like he is bowing to someone who believes that they are a god hiding behind some religion. Yes, I am catholic, and whoever is mad is bigoted and a jerk. Deal with the world, there are others out there ya know...

devobrun 12 years, 6 months ago

Mr_Christopher So, when I read a definition of evolution and couple it with my understanding of science (25 years as a NASA contractor), I get mythology. Here's why:

Statements are made or implied by evolutionists that promote the idea that we all got here by a process of natural selection. Support comes in the form of records of fossils, and DNA linkages. Furthermore, actual observation of modifications to life have been observed that support evolution (e.g. moth wing colors in britain in the 1800's).

Experiments (tests) can be performed to repeat very small parts of the "big question" of where did we come from. However, the "big question" simply cannot be tested. It takes too much time or we can't go back in time. Either way, the big question remains nonfalsifiable. This was the conclusion of Karl Popper until he ran into the massive and powerful biological community. So he hedged, waffled, acquiesced. Well, I haven't. Why?

It is my general philosophy on life: don't believe in anything unless you have to. So, will I be hyocritical if I don't believe in macro-evolution? Turns out that I never have found anything in my life that relied on it. I have to believe in Bernoulli's Law and several other conservation of energy laws if I fly on an airplane. This is because these laws are used by engineers to design, build, and operate the vehicles. If I fly then I am accepting these principles with a trust bordering on faith. I am testing these scientific theories with my life.

Is there such a need to rely on macro-evolution? Don't give me examples of evidence of things that happened (we think). This is just concocting a mythology to tell a story to satisfy a curious mind. Great, but what's the point? Don't give me genetic engineering. That's just biochemistry (a branch of physics). All of science has a problem and it effects macro-evolution the most. The problem is time!

Time is really troubling for physicists. It must be downright maddening for biologists. We have no control over time. We can't change it. Can't travel forward or backward in it. Yet it paramerterizes everything. Time is not well defined, yet it is the major variable in macro-evolution. Trouble linking newts to salamanders? Choose the appropriate time frame. Macro-evolutionists play around with time like it is the ultimate fudge factor. Multiply by zero and an appropriate correction factor. Theoretically, I'm fine with using time in what ever way seems fit. This is this the conjecture phase of science. OK, got it. But it ain't science worth a pinch of s--t unless it can be tested, all the way, soup to nuts.

Got any examples to change my mind?

LarryFarma 12 years, 6 months ago

HEY, FOLKS !! There is now a serious shortage of posted questions and comments for the Lawrence Journal-World's Wednesday chat on the controversy !! Time's a-wastin' !! To post yours, go to --

DuQuesne 12 years, 6 months ago

Here's my question: I keep hearing the words "slippery slope" in the distance. If the (of course, non-Jezzus-based) ID crap gets itself insinuated into public schools' science classes, what's next? How long before Lamark or even Lysenko are brought back because they were "right?" How long before Holocaust deniers get their "turn?" How long before wackos in turbans get to hit your sister with a stick because she dared appear in public with a male she wasn't related to? You think I 'm kidding? Fine. Think what makes you feel better. If we give ground to the creationists, what will they demand next? Dominionist literature in the poly sci classes?

devobrun 12 years, 6 months ago

DuQuesne, The solution to all your questions is for evolutionists to reverse a strategic mistake that they made 130 years ago. Drop the grand explanation of life (and how it got here) from the science. Whenever I see a biological paper explain something in terms of the fairy tale of evolution, I wonder why the myth must be attached to an otherwise worthy endeavor.
My conclusion is that, a century ago, biologists were suffering from a severe case of insecurity. Physics was advancing in leaps and bounds, threatening to overpower all other science. What biology needed was a grand theory to justify itself against physics. Something non-physical, but overarching and unassailable by physical laws. Darwin. And the argument has continued ever since.
It continues not because of the fundamentalists. It continues because the evolutionists must have their Darwin and its derivitives. The testing of grand statements from Gould and others is rather thin. The application is nonexistent. But it is science, it is science, it is science, they repeat over and over again. The fundamentalist christians with their creation/ID provide a convenient side step from the real problem in evolution. It is lousy science. Looks like a mythology compared to Newton, Maxwell, The possibility that macroevolution is lousy science doesn't justify creation/ID. It isn't necessary in the compare and contrast of living creatures. It isn't necessary for genetics, biochem, etc. All this and more is worthy investigation. Why put a nasty coat of paint on it all called Darwin. You don't need it biology. Teach your subject without the fairy tale. It solves the problem without eliminating any evidence. All your work in the field is still valid. Your work will continue,you won't loose your job. It'll be OK. Free your mind from the past, evolutionary biologists. The "fundies" will go back to religion and you can go back to Costa Rica without having to defend a mythology in the Kansas legislature.

Ember 12 years, 6 months ago

Devobrun, if I might pose of you a simple question.

By what standards should a theory based on religion, or religious beliefs, be judged to be scientific?

devobrun 12 years, 6 months ago


A theory, regardless of its basis, should be evaluated on the standards of testing, testing, testing and then some more testing. When your done testing, build something on which your life depends, using the theory, and test some more. Make mistakes, ruin some equipment, avoid death by the narrowest of margins. Eventually, through the trials and tribulations of quantities of quality tests, you publish a conclusion and call it scientific.

And people believe you. And the mythology of the science is limited to the bravery, daring, cleverness of the people who conducted the tests. The science produced in this manner is not, however, mythology.

Thus, both evolutionary biology and creation/ID are mythologies. Human endeavors rooted in hubris, arrogance promoted by pencil-necked theoreticians.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.