More on University of Kansas Religious Studies Department Head Paul Mirecki's Intelligent Design course: as of yesterday, it has been withdrawn.
Well, now we know why K.U.'s mascot is a chicken!
(Just kidding! It's a joke, relax!)
Professor Mirecki himself requested that the course be pulled. In the K.C. Star, he is quoted as saying, "Students with a serious interest in this important subject matter would not be well served by the learning environment my e-mails and the public distribution of them have created. ... It was not my intent when I wrote the e-mails, but I understand now that these words have offended many on this campus and beyond, and for that I take full responsibility." So he is pulling the class, which already had 25 students enrolled, by the way.
Is he chickening out? (shrug) Maybe. But the chairman of the faculty senate was quick to say that while controversial issues are not avoided at K.U., they should be addressed in an "appropriate, respectful manner ... Making fun of individuals is not part of the way we as a faculty want to conduct ourselves." So it is not WHAT Mirecki was saying, but HOW he was saying it that led to the current bru-ha-ha. And that's what Tim Sisk was saying in his comment on my last post. (Nice call, Tim!)
So many issues to dwell upon ... so many questions I could focus on here ... let's see ... Oh! I've got one!
In the mix of all this crud, Wichita Representative Brenda Landwehr said this: "It's hard to teach religion if you don't believe it." Go ahead and read that statement again, because it is an important topic. Can you teach religion at a public university without "believing in" the religion you are teaching? Could I as a Christian teach a class about Islam, Buddhism, Judiasm, etc.? Could a Muslim teach about Christianity? Could an agnostic teach religion? Could an athiest?
Ironically, Rep. Landwehr was trying to ensure that professors at K.U. are not guilty of religious intolerance when she offered this quote. She wants professorial bias eliminated on the one hand, but on the other seems to want only believers teaching about the religions they believe. See the disconnect? If she really wants unbiased, seems to me that an agnostic would be the perfect person to teach about religions at a public university, so long as they were equally skeptical of every faith!
We also need to carefully distinguish between teaching about religion and teaching religion. I teach Christianity in confirmation class. A college prof teaches about Christianity in a university class. The distinction is that teaching Christianity attempts to instill belief whereas teaching about Christianity attempts to impart knowledge. One is for churches, one is for schools. Let's keep it that way, okay?
And in another story in today's paper, it seems that "'Intelligent design' advocates plan to introduce proposals in Missouri next legislative session." CRAP! Now we won't be able to make this thing all about "as big as you think" Kansas! Get ready Missouri, the anti-intellectual kettle of ultra-conservate Kansas is leaking, and it is heading our way!