Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mirecki Blasts KU and Sheriff

This article at

Kansas University professor Paul Mirecki said he’s hired an attorney and is ready to go to the mat with KU and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

“If I have to sue, I will,” he said.

. . .

He said he was not pleased with the sheriff’s investigation because he had been “treated more like a criminal than a victim.”

He said he was interviewed by officers several times, “once for five hours straight. They keep asking me the same things over and over. They seized my car; they entered my office and seized my computer. They said they need them for their investigation but it didn’t make any sense to me.”

. . .

“Professor Mirecki still has a job at the University of Kansas,” [KU Chancellor Robert] Hemenway said. “That would appear to be support for his rights to his tenured position and his rights to free speech ... The university deplores the fact that he was apparently attacked. We’ve said so.”

"Deplores the fact that he was apparently attacked"? That's an interesting way to put it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Assassinating Opinions and Reputations

Local Lawrence, Kansas religious leaders issued a statement condemning the attack on Prof. Mirecki. But they also denounced what came before the attacks:
We recognize violence comes not only in “sticks and stones,” that hurt physically, but also in words of disrespect and innuendo often used to assassinate the opinions and reputations of others. We find ourselves saddened to see our deeply held values of tolerance and civil discourse give way to extremist behaviors that threaten another’s highest good.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Mirecki Attack

I have hesitated to post on the attack on Paul Mirecki, which has been in the news and discussed in blogs since Monday. Let me just say at the outset: any physical attack on an individual because you disagree with what he has said, or believe what has said is offensive, is completely wrong. Regardless of the details, I wish Prof. Mirecki a speedy recovery. If a crime was committed, I hope whoever did it is caught and brought to justice.

However, I would like to go one step further: I denounce such violence, but I also denounce the use of the language of violence in what should be a civil debate.

I await more details on the attack from Prof. Mirecki, which I assume he will provide in the near future.

* * *

The Washington Post reports now that he has resigned as chairman of the religion department at KU.

Telic Thoughts has been all over this story, and has several posts and many links.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Comic Predictability

The New York Times has become comically predictable in its reporting on intelligent design and people who question Darwinian orthodoxy. In her article yesterday, Laurie Goodstein notes at the outset:
To read the headlines, intelligent design as a challenge to evolution seems to be building momentum.

She then goes on to demonstrate, through selective anecdotes, how intelligent design is, in fact, dying.

Ironically, it is a little like the attack on intelligent design by some scientists. The logic goes like this:
We know that many aspects of biology appear designed. But we can explain those appearances away, with a theory that seems plausible to us. Therefore, there is no evidence of design, and anyone who says otherwise is dishonest and evil.

She notes the intolerance of Darwinian fundamentalists on college campuses, and cites it as positive evidence of the impending death of ID:
On college campuses, the movement's theorists are academic pariahs, publicly denounced by their own colleagues.

So this is how you kill a movement? You do not address the movement's claims on the merits, you denounce its proponents and render them pariahs, with the blessing of the New York Times? Some would say that is how you fuel the fire and kindle more interest, and I think that is what is happening in reality.

Of course, we know that there is a growing list of scientists who have publicly expressed doubts about Darwinian theory. A few years ago it was 100. In a short amount of time it has grown to 400 (despite the risk of being denounced and treated as a pariah for merely doubting a theory). How many of those scientists did she interview? None, apparently.

For some good fact-checking on the article, which Goodstein and the Times editors apparently failed to do, the Evolution News blog has several posts.