What I am thinking of is the continuing, Shakespearian saga of Professor Mirecki. He is world famous now. I was one of many who wrote about him, in my case here.
As you probably know, professor Mirecki has been assaulted. The original story is here, and the latest that I am aware of is here. To summarize, Mirecki claims to have been beaten in the frigid early morning (6:20 am, about 12° F) by two good ole’ boys in a pickup. When he pulled over to protest their tailgating, they got out and gave him a (mild) whoopin’, while making references to the anti-ID class he had intended to teach at KU--that is before getting caught with his foot in his mouth. Note that this implies premeditation, stalking in fact, unless you believe Gomer and Bubba just “got lucky” and another of their random poundings of elitists took on greater significance only after they recognized their victim.
Now, an interesting theological question is: do you owe someone an apology if you don’t believe them and their story turns out to be true? I suppose so—although I can’t really do anything about the fact that I do not believe the totality of Mirecki’s account. I mean, I can say to myself, David, you must believe what you don’t believe. But that kind of self-sermonizing is just not efficacious. Arminian soteriology faces the same problem. How can you believe in Jesus if you don’t believe in Jesus?
Well, I don’t believe Mirecki’s (complete) story. I am willing to believe he was beaten up, but not that it was by two “fat faced fundies” who made references to ID. (In any case, I feel compelled to state the obvious: I hope whoever beat him up, even if they turn out to be hardcore Calvinist Post-Millennial Partial-Preterists from the local PCA church, are prosecuted.)
The reason I don’t believe Mirecki’s full account is that it sets off my “too good to be true” detector. If you are interested in what I mean, read this. In addition, his credibility is not exactly beyond reproach.
So there you have it. If Mirecki’s complete story, as he told it, turns out to be true, then shame on me.
Now, back to my favorite evolutionist and anti-Christian bigot, Dr. P.Z. Myers.
PZ blogged about this incident here.
He reported on the story, and opined: “Fundamentalists: ignorant thugs with a bible,” without directly affirming Mirecki’s account. Then he gave a potentially face-saving “let’s wait for confirmation” alibi. Then, like Sheriff Stuckey, he wisely turned the dirty work over to his goons, also known as his commenters. I thought you might be amused by a sampling of the comments to his post:
WARNING: R-rated language
- I guess it is the doom of all great thinkers to be beaten by ignorant, foolish thugs.
- The godly work of right-good Christians of Kansas, I see. I'm sure those Bubbas are proud. And their wives and kids are "seen and not heard" and their animals are scared.
- And I didn't think there were such things as "Christian fundamentalists" any more. I thought they were all "born again Christians." It's all so confusing. Let's just call them "devoutly ignorant and bigoted asswipes" from now on.
- the thing to keep in mind is that a lot of far-right evangelical and fundamentalist rhetoric is literally militant: armies, soldiers, and the like, not to mention their obsession with the actual military. Beating a university professor -- and keep in mind that they were following his truck, which implies surveillance and premeditation -- is the logical outcome of their rhetoric.
- It just never ceases to amaze me that these morons defend their ideology with violence, (in violation of their ideology). They're Christians, "for Christ's sake".
- My understanding is that it is perfectly acceptable -- indeed, it is mandated -- to assume that those who worship different deities are going to rot in hell and suffer unbearable pain for all eternity. You just aren't supposed to say it to anyone except people who don't know better. Like little kids. But it's bad manners or even unconstitutional to tell a fundamentalist liar who espouses anti-gay and anti-science bigotry that they are lying bigots. That's what Jim Dobson told me. Of course, Jim Dobson also told me to take showers with my son so we could compare penises and embolden our heterosexuality.
- is this, then, the new, social conservative, how-to-deal-with-an-abortion-doctor democratic way? the means are justified by the ends. this is, after all, a new kind of war.
- ”Some fundamentalist Christians are just old ladies baking pies.” Yeah, like the little group of pie-baking little old ladies who murdered my mom by brainwashing her that God would perform a miraculous healing of her breast cancer, so that it would be sinful to seek out medical treatment. No, these were not Jehovah's Witnesses, they were just your ordinary garden-variety Christian fundies. †
- Reminds me of anti-Semites: half of them say the holocaust never happened and the other admit it happened but say the Jews deserved it. Many of them say both things.
- These fundies are dangerous barbarian lunatics. Most of them are only fundies because having a big-bad rapture-ready God makes them feel like tough guys.
- The fundies LOVE blood and violence. I mean come on; "Passion of the Christ", "Left Behind". The fundies like two things: Pretending to feel persecuted so they can get all riled up and angry, and the idea of taking "revenge" on the people who are "persecuting" them (i.e. anyone who isn't a Christian fundie).
- Nobody even got a chance to see Dr Mirecki's syllabus, fer crissakes, so anyone claiming to know how the course was to be taught is talking through his ass. And now he gets beaten for his views, on top of it. Good night, and good luck, America.
- "I take exception to all fundamentalists being called "thugs with bibles.” What’s wrong with being honest?
- I wasn't entirely honest with the "ignorant thugs with bibles" comment. I was too charitable. Fundamentalism is a crippling brain disease.
- My grandma was also a sweet little old lady who baked cookies, and I loved her dearly, but she also told me she didn't want me to come home with any nigger girl friends from that college I was going to. Fundamentalism is brain rot. Fundamentalism is ignorance under a different name, ignorance that claims the blessing of a god. †
- How about the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson? How about their millions of supporters?
Not all Fundies are thugs but there certainly is a violent element connected to fundementalist. Look at the popularity of "The Passion of the Christ" and the "Left Behind" books - only a true thug could find anything appealing in "Left Behind".
- I'm sure you could dig up non-violent, peacable fundementalists. However I don't see how a group of people who make books like "Left Behind" super-bestsellers could possible be considered to have good intentions or be tolerant. They're intolerant and intolerance can lead to violence and lashing out at people.
So we will have to wait and see how this all plays out.
Note: There is excellent coverage of this story over at Telic Thoughts.
† Also exceed my “too good to be true” threshold, meaning I believe these to be exaggerated/apocryphal.
UPDATE: Mirecki resigns as department chair.