Thursday, November 24, 2005

True Colors

It is reasonable to speculate that there are, broadly speaking, six groups involved in the ID debate:
  1. Scientists who oppose it on cold, objective, scientific grounds
  2. Secularists who view it as a religious threat
  3. Scientists who believe it has scientific merit
  4. Religious types who view it as evidence for special creation
  5. Religious types who view it negatively because they see it as challenging the supremacy of pure faith
  6. Those who are ambivalent
Of course, boundaries are crossed. I am in group three when it comes to cosmological ID. I am also in group four, and even in group six when it comes to biological ID.

Now, suppose you are a professor about to teach an anti-ID course. Suppose you are Professor and Department Chairman (in the Religious Studies Department) Paul Mirecki at the University of Kansas.

Furthermore, suppose that you want to give the illusion that you are in group one, which is clearly perceived as the academic high ground. Then you might give interviews to the national media and say things like:
"Creationism is mythology," Mirecki said. "Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."
Now the reporter might have asked, "what does a Religious Studies professor know about science?" But the reporter was, I gather, being polite. I would have asked, "what does a Religious Studies professor, especially one with a Th.D. from Harvard, know about Christianity?” But that would have been the cynic within.

Is Professor Mirecki (qualified or not) actually concerned that ID is not science? A hint that he is not very clever about hiding the fact that he is solidly in group two comes from the title of the course: Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies.

Not very nuanced, is he?

And now an even clearer picture of the character of Dr. Mirecki has emerged. Enthralled over his new found celebrity and field promotion to the rank of Vanquisher of All that Smart People Hate about Common Bumpkins, he is unable to contain himself. As reported by the Lawrence Journal, the good doctor wrote in an email:
“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,’” Mirecki wrote.

He signed the note “Doing my part (to upset) the religious right, Evil Dr. P.”
Content of his email aside, isn't it astounding that you can have a doctorate from Harvard and still write like a third grader? Big fat face? Evil Dr. P?

I certainly hope that there are scientifically literate students who take Mirecki’s class, and pounce on him anytime he mentions that ID is not science. Regardless of whether or not ID is science, probing questions should make it obvious that, when it comes to the science, he will not be capable of anything beyond parroting. It needs to be made clear that this course is not about science, but about anti-Christian bigotry masquerading as a defense of science.

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