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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

King Banaian Falls For IDists Spin on Paul Mirecki

Over on SCSU Scholars, King Banaian parrots John Algevogt's spin on the Paul Mirecki case as "reported" in Worldnet Daily pieces here and here.

PZ Myers responded.

Mirecki is an outspoken critic of fundamentalist idiocy masquerading as science; somehow this makes him unqualified to teach a course that analyzes the bad philosophy of the IDists? That's the line we're hearing over and over. The equivalent action would be if we were to ban Christians from teaching science classes -- how the Right would howl over that. Yet somehow Mirecki has been hounded out of teaching a critical course, and no one sees that as an infringement of academic freedom. Religion goes unchallenged, again. We have a de facto religious dominion in our culture and our schools right now, and you don't even notice.
PZ Myers

King responded:

PZ, your gift for conflation and hyperbole continues unabated. At what point have I argued for "religious dominion over schools" -- I've in fact argued for the opposite. I'm not proposing to slap atheists in their big fat faces. I'm not supporting ID. I'm objecting to using a classroom as a means to a political end, which was Mirecki's purpose.

Professor Mirecki apologised for that statement (which was NOT made publicly), but rather was made on the KUSOMA yahoogroup. Now I'm wondering if King has every made a comment on a blog, or on a conservative mailing list that he wouldn't want to be held against him with a different audience.

A Kusoma member comments on the Lawrence Journal site:

Posted by VoijaRisa (anonymous) on December 5, 2005 at 9:33 p.m.

---"Why is it okay for Mireki to be intolerant, rude, and insulting?"---
I don't think anyone has claimed this is a good thing. However, free speech is a constitutional right.

However, there's no laws that you're allowed to engage in physical violence against people that hurt your feeligns. In fact, there's laws against it. But I'm sure John Altevogt is having a party right now. After all, he's admitted to commiting such acts in his past.

Additionally, I have read every Email that has been published. In fact, I recieved them all long before they were publicized. However, I invite you to join the Yahoo! listserve and read the hundreds of moderate Emails there. Every once in awhile, someone blows off steam. Sure, but SOMA is not the religious hate group Altevogt tries to paint us as.

---Atheists are intolerant of believers, believers are intolerant of atheists. This is ridiculous. Enough with the conspiracy theories. Who ever these two men are, they don't reflect the attitudes or beliefs of fellow whatever they ares."---

Agreed. The zealots that would engage in such a beating do not characterize Christians anywhere. However, to brush it off as an isolated incident is foolhardy. To anyone that would like to believe such things never happen, perhaps you should all look up the story of Joann Bell, whose CHILDREN were attacked, and her house burned to the ground while the local fire department refused to help. This is not an isolated incident.

The Kusoma website has an archive of John Altevogt's emails. Comments posted to the Lawrence Journal World by Altevogt are available here.

There's more background at Seeing the Forest.

The Lawrence Journal-World has a report on the Mirecki beating.

One of Mirecki’s most vocal critics, conservative activist John Altevogt, said he couldn't imagine anyone he knows doing such a thing.

"This should be investigated thoroughly, and whoever did this should be punished to the full extent of the law. You don’t beat people for either their faith or their lack thereof," he said.

But Altevogt said he was skeptical about whether Mirecki’s report was legitimate.

"He (Mirecki) has very little credibility left," Altevogt said. "The one thing that could save his bacon is to become a martyr of sorts, or to elicit sympathy from being the victim rather than the persecutor."

When told that some people were questioning the truth of his report, Mirecki fired back.

"The right wing wants blood, period. They're not going to stop until they see blood. They're not into anything else," he said. "Whatever I do, whatever I say, they don’t believe anything because that's the way they are... I know what happened. I got the hell beat out of me. They can say what they want."

KU religious studies professor Tim Miller said he saw Mirecki on Monday and that he looked "scraped up."

The University of Kansas Chancellor has had no comment.


King said...

I did not link to WND pieces, as I tend not to agree with them. I had no idea who Altevogt was until you dragged him into this discussion. I still do not see the relevance of this person.

People can read my post and decide for themselves. My argument with Mirecki's behavior was over using a course at a public university for private political purposes. His views on ID and evolution are irrelevant to that point. Your post fails to make that distinction; neither does Myers, to his discredit.

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