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Kansas University Evolution Battle Flares Up Again

This past week there has been national attention focused on a Kansas university professor who decided to offer a class on intelligent design as "mythology" (see our report here). And rightly so. Professor Paul Mirecki's outrageous statements about evolution, intelligent design and religion shine a light on why he wants to teach this class right now. It isn't just his comments on intelligent design that have got him in hot water, but his calous and nasty comments over the years about religon in general, such as referring to the Pope as "a corpse in a funny hat wearing a dress."

Such comments, along with his foolish remarks about slamming intelligent design in his curriculum have resulted in his class being cancelled, and Kansas University investigating his anti-religious and bigoted comments. Not to mention stirring to outrage many of Kansas' citizens.

Professor Mirecki sent an e-mail that included such comments as :

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. ...

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. ...

Doing my part to piss of (sic) the religious right,
Evil Dr. P.

Much as Mirecki predicted, the media lapped it up with articles popping up all over the country when the class was announced. Not surprisingly, there were media reports that sought to make poor Mirecki out to be a victim, not the victimizer. They reported his complaint that this was a private e-mail, it wasn't meant for public consumption.

"Mirecki didn't deny writing the message but suggested it wasn't meant to be seen by the general public. He said Wednesday that a "mole" who had been monitoring the student organization's list-serve sent the message to a fundamentalist organization.

"It's their version of ethics -- one citizen spying on another and reporting to authorities," he said."

Mirecki apologized for that e-mail, sort of. Kansans however may not even know it. An internet search turned up articles in the Chicago Sun Times, the Myrtle Beach Sun Times (SC), the Columbia Daily Tribune (MO), and theKarala News Times (India). We have seen how many in the media have developed a trope on this story that pits unreasonable Christians who are described as creationists in disguise opposing reasonable scientists who worry about Kansas' image. The story of a malicious atheist who is bigoted against people of faith doesn't fit the current stereotype, so it was ignored....At first, anyhow.

Parts of Mirecki's apology have been reported:

"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, ..."
Reportedly he assured the university provost that he would teach the course
"as a serious academic subject and in a manner that respects all points of view."
Does anybody really believe that?

But now more e-mails are surfacing. And they paint a picture of someone who would certainly be hard pressed to "respect all points of view." The Capital Journal reports:

"Messages posted on a student list-serve during the past three years by Paul Mirecki, chairman of KU's Religious Studies Department, were circulated Wednesday among activists and university faculty. They depicted a man highly critical of Christians, especially Catholics.

In one message, Mirecki agreed to a description of Pope John Paul II as "a corpse in a funny hat wearing a dress."

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

And what else does this responsible and fair professor of religious studies have to say?
"In one, Mirecki described his first experience in a Catholic Mass: 'I had my first Catholic 'holy communion' when I was a kid in Chicago, and 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."
Now it comes out that Mirecki is viciously anti-Catholic, among other things. A lot has been written about the so-called religious motives of those who attack Darwin's theory. It would be interesting if reporters would cover the anti-religious views of the most vocal critics of ID, like this guy, Barbara Forrest, Victor Stenger, Eugenie Scott or Hector Avalos, the atheist professor turned inquisitor at Iowa State University who is trying to marginalize astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez.

Imagine if during last Spring's debate over Kansas' science standards a similarly hostile e-mail had been uncovered to have come from an intelligent design supporter. There would have been outrage by Kansas Citizens for Science and other knee-jerk Darwinists. Yet, such an e-mail did surface but went completely unreported by the mainstream media.

Last May www.kansasscience2005.com disclosed an incredible internet post from Liz Craig, an official with Kansas Citizens for Science, the group that tried to prevent the inclusion of scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory in the Kansas Science Standards. On Febrruary 10, Craig outlined her group's disinformation plan to use the newsmedia to smear and demonize anyone who opposed to her agenda:

"My strategy at this point is the same as it was in 1999: notify the national and local media about what's going on and portray them [the critics of evolution] in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies, etc.
There may no way to head off another science standards debacle, but we can sure make them look like asses... "

What is it about Kansas Darwinists and e-mails?