Kansas prof beaten
December 6, 2005 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Don't mess with Kansas. Professor at the University of Kansas decides to offer this course, is beaten by unknown assailants, withdraws the course. Add "no sense of humor" to what's the matter with Kansas? [more inside]
posted by Dormant Gorilla (118 comments total)

 
While there certainly was an element of ridicule in the Professor's proposal, it was also a genuine attempt to put this "debate" back where it belonged: a Religion class. We've discussed the ID topic ad nauseum, but to my knowledge this is the first occurence of actual violence associated with it.
PS: my first FPP. Be gentle.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:14 AM on December 6, 2005


Oh, son of a......didn't see the story linked right down in that long paragraph by empath. Please disregard this.
I'll just go sit in the corner.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:16 AM on December 6, 2005


That's alright. Empath's post wasn't exactly clear - although it was quite...clever.
posted by grateful at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2005


I hadn't seen the previous link either so thank you for highlighting it Dormant Gorilla!
posted by ceri richard at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2005


The desperation finally shows. Creationists are losing the argument so badly that they must resort to physical violence as an answer. The nation will wonder just how strong their ideas really are...

While unpleasant for the professor, those assailants did more to damage the idea of the so-called "intelligent design" theory than clear and logical reasoning ever could have.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 8:22 AM on December 6, 2005


I posted in the other thread that I doubt the veracity of the professor's claims.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:28 AM on December 6, 2005


I prefer your posting style over empath's.
posted by terrapin at 8:28 AM on December 6, 2005


Are these the "religious extremists" I keep hearing about?

I posted in the other thread that I doubt the veracity of the professor's claims.

Could you fake a beating well enough to last a few hours in the hospital? I could, but I'd have to have an *extremely* good reason. Unless he's absolutely insane (which is possible), there's no motivation to faking the assault. I don't think it helps his career at all.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:35 AM on December 6, 2005


PS: my first FPP. Be gentle.

You made a monkey's uncle out of yourself, that's for sure.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:36 AM on December 6, 2005


What do you get when you post opaquely constructed stories? Double links.

But the other one "looks better", so...
posted by lodurr at 8:36 AM on December 6, 2005


Creationists are losing the argument so badly that they must resort to physical violence as an answer.

last week at various locations, atheists robbed a bank, abducted a child, raped and strangled an old woman, and one shot himself during a standoff with police. clearly, atheists are losing the argument so badly that they must resort to physical violence as an answer.
posted by quonsar at 8:36 AM on December 6, 2005


Creationists are losing the argument so badly...

They are? What's to win or lose?
posted by Witty at 8:37 AM on December 6, 2005


A tad specious, quonsar, since those atheists were not acting in retaliation against christians for talking about god.
posted by lodurr at 8:38 AM on December 6, 2005


I prefer your posting style over empath's.

actually, i like nicwolff's post best. but i'm boring.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:38 AM on December 6, 2005


Who even cares about Kansas? It's like some mythological "America" that doest and never existed, the "heartland" BS. Is it any wonder it has become a fundamentalist ideological battleground since we have propped it up as some kind of romantic nationalism poster child.
posted by stbalbach at 8:39 AM on December 6, 2005


hey, witty -- my imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend!
posted by lodurr at 8:39 AM on December 6, 2005


What's to win or lose?

Eternal salvation? World peace? Oil? Land? The future (education of children)? Public policy for the next 1,000 years?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2005


Over 80% of the country self-identifies as believers in religion.

How exactly are the atheists "winning the argument?" Are you referring to the narrow argument about what should be taught in schools? Or are you referring to the broad philosophical question of which system of beliefs is correct?
posted by dios at 8:41 AM on December 6, 2005


dios: none of the above. he's making himself feel superior by smirking at a segment he disdains. nothing to see here, folks.
posted by quonsar at 8:44 AM on December 6, 2005


You made a monkey's uncle out of yourself, that's for sure.

But at least I didn't descend from one, like you damn dirty Northern elitist hippies.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2005


Over 80% of the country self-identifies as believers in religion. Higher than that, actually. The approximate breakdown is

Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10%.

With regards to the last one, I've seen breakdowns of the "none" category, and most are agnostic, vaguely spirituals or don't cares. The actual Athiest percentage is about 2-3%.
posted by unreason at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2005


Dormant Gorilla: good post, but it bears mentioning that the timing did not really proceed as in your post. He decided to offer the course, some idiotic comments of his were made public, he withdrew the course, and just today came the report of the beating. (I live in Lawrence. It's been all over the news here.) Sorry to be pedantic, but the wording of the post makes it appear that he withdrew the course after (and as a result of) the beating.
posted by cog_nate at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2005


They beat the shit out of him, class was cancelled. They win!
posted by Dean Keaton at 8:54 AM on December 6, 2005


I live in Lawrence, KS as well. Here is a link to the story in the local paper. There hasn't been that much information released about the alleged attack, but that hasn't seemed to stop either side from jumping all over it. It looks like the circus is coming to town.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 8:54 AM on December 6, 2005


ouch I spoke a little too soon then, cog_nate.
posted by Dean Keaton at 8:55 AM on December 6, 2005


Sorry, here are links that accurately give the timing of the events: Course made public, comments made public, withdrawal of course, beating.
posted by cog_nate at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2005


How exactly are the atheists "winning the argument?" Are you referring to the narrow argument about what should be taught in schools?
posted by dios at 8:41 AM PST on December 6 [!]


What exactly is "narrow" about teaching science in a science classroom? I'm curious what you are trying to imply with this strange, apparently anti-intellectual rhetoric of yours.
posted by Rothko at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2005


Thank you- I had honestly thought, from reading that article, that he withdrew the course because of the beating.
So in fact he was beaten solely for the snide comments? How very Christian of them.

Granted, if he'd not been quite so rude about them, he might've accomplished some good with that course, but I can't really blame him for the snark- the temptation is just so great.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:01 AM on December 6, 2005


Rothko - Zip it!
posted by Witty at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2005


last week at various locations, atheists robbed a bank, abducted a child, raped and strangled an old woman, and one shot himself during a standoff with police.

As long as the victims were Christian, then your analogy is perfect!
posted by iamck at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2005


Witty, people need to be called on what they say, when they use certain phrasing to be obtuse. Call it fairness.
posted by Rothko at 9:07 AM on December 6, 2005


The concesus in the other thread seems to be that Mirecki is faking it. Though I still can't figure out why people have that gut reaction.

And Witty: Zip it?! Pot...meet kettle.... and when Rothko was behaving himself, too. Seemed like a perfectly fair question to me.
posted by lodurr at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2005


WWJD? hmmm beat the @$*^ out of a college professor because he disagreed? Sounds like terrorists to me. Next thing you know, Kansas will have a Spanish Inquisition.
posted by j-urb at 9:11 AM on December 6, 2005


"...strange, apparently anti-intellectual rhetoric of yours" wasn't necessary to make the same, or ask the same question.
posted by Witty at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2005


What is hard to understand about the difference between a broad issue and a narrow issue? Are you even bothering to try understand what I right? Or do you prefer to just try to nitpick every. fucking. thing. I. write.
posted by dios at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2005


...make the same point.
posted by Witty at 9:14 AM on December 6, 2005


(Sorry about the homonym. Write on!)
posted by dios at 9:14 AM on December 6, 2005


Yeah, Mirecki's comments were pretty asshole-ish and inexcusable. That doesn't mean, though, that the class shouldn't have been taught, and it certainly doesn't excuse a beating.

Anyway, it should also be noted that a different class, which treats ID as pseudoscience, is being offered through a different department. (To me, ID should be treated more in this way, not as mythology.) AND, Kansas State and other universities are developing/offering similar courses of their own.
posted by cog_nate at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2005


okay, it's pile on empath day.

Cut me a break, please, I just joined three weeks ago.
posted by empath at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2005


As a Lawrence townie, I think it's important to point out that Lawrence is probably one of the most liberal (in the political context) cities in the midwest, and definitely Kansas (in 2004 we were one of only two counties to go Kerry in Kansas, in 2000 several regions of town went to Nader). As can be expected, since 1-2 people chose to beat Mirecki up, many people are generalizing the city, the state (why not generalize the country and planet while you're at it?- oh, I guess that would include you, eh?) to be backwater.

The arguments against the class that I heard, broke down into two separate schools (pardon any pun) of thought (voiced, predictably, by two different groups opposing the class) - on the one hand, people were outraged that a professor (the chairman of the religions dept) would take an unprofessional stance of publicly making antagonistic comments as to the purpose of his class. At the same time, this class was offered through "mythology", while stating an open-minded view on intellectual design. I'm not pro-ID, and definitely anti-ID=science, but when the class description refers to an open discussion on ID, but refers to it as mythology (when ID people take the stance of it as fact), I question the sincerity to open-minded discussion.
posted by tallpole at 9:22 AM on December 6, 2005


What is hard to understand about the difference between a broad issue and a narrow issue? Are you even bothering to try understand what I right?
posted by dios at 9:13 AM PST on December 6 [!]


Can you bother to answer the question? The way you phrase your previous comment about education ("Over 80% of the country are religious, etc.") makes your answer above a disingenuous non-answer. If you're going to write something contentious, then expect people to call you on it.
posted by Rothko at 9:26 AM on December 6, 2005


It wasn't a contention word you jackass.

You clearly jumped to quick to try to nitpick my comment. Read it again.

Are you referring to the narrow argument about what should be taught in schools? Or are you referring to the broad philosophical question of which system of beliefs is correct?

The use of "narrow" is not contentious. I was suggesting that there is a broad question (e.g., "what is ultimately right, atheism or religion") and a narrow quesiton (e.g., "what should be taught in schools"). You so goddamn eager to try to take shots at me that you are suggesting there is something contentious about the use of the word narrow. I hope everyone is able to see through your comment and recognize that to you, trying to take a shot at me is more important than even making sense.

Of course, the process of discussing this with you is pointless because you are the most hard-headed dolt on this website.
posted by dios at 9:31 AM on December 6, 2005


...while stating an open-minded view on intellectual design.

I'm not sure that's the case. I think that it was pretty openly stated that it would focus on ID through the lens of mythology. Hell, the title of the course was "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies". I can't find the course description, but here's a quote from Mirecki from this article:
"Mythologies are important," he said. "but they do not address scientific solutions, but rather impressionistic solutions to help people address their place in the universe."
posted by cog_nate at 9:31 AM on December 6, 2005


"Yeah, Mirecki's comments were pretty asshole-ish and inexcusable. That doesn't mean, though, that the class shouldn't have been taught, and it certainly doesn't excuse a beating."

It most certainly excuses a beating here on MeFi.
posted by MikeMc at 9:33 AM on December 6, 2005


Dios - Is mean ol' Rothko teasing you again?
posted by bshort at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2005


Here's an honest question:

Would it be possible to offer a class on the mythology of intelligent design without getting attacked mercilessly by christian fundamentalists?

Because if we're honest, we know damn well that it would be possible -- even feasible -- to offer a class on the mythology of science.

If he has to withdraw the class, then it seems to me that we're left with the conclusion that it's not feasible, at UK Lawrence, to academically address the mythology of intelligent design.
posted by lodurr at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2005


Witty: "...strange, apparently anti-intellectual rhetoric of yours" wasn't necessary to make the same, or ask the same question.
Ah, I see: So we have to be nicer to dios than we are to anybody else? OK, now we know.
posted by lodurr at 9:40 AM on December 6, 2005


Hell yeah! It's beatin' time!

This hayaker is from jah, natch!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:41 AM on December 6, 2005


lodurr: We'll never know because Mireki had to go shoot his mouth off. What we do know is that it is not possible to teach a class on the mythology of ID when you talk about it as a slap in the "big fat face" of "fundies."
posted by sp dinsmoor at 9:43 AM on December 6, 2005


Religious violence is truly the most satisfying. It is usually morally reprehensible, but if you detach the morality from the horizontal plane of human to human, and attach your supposed morality to some vertical myth, you can commit the most heinous acts, while remaining righteous.

Yet another example of the insidiousness of religion.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:44 AM on December 6, 2005


So lodurr, you are defending his attack as if it was a reasonable question to be asking? There goes the last shred of respect I could muster for you.
posted by dios at 9:45 AM on December 6, 2005


The use of "narrow" is not contentious. I was suggesting that there is a broad question (e.g., "what is ultimately right, atheism or religion") and a narrow quesiton (e.g., "what should be taught in schools").

I think most people would take issue with the meaning (apparently) of your comment. If teachers are getting beaten for teaching material that religious people don't like then we are moving well past the "narrow" application of science in the classroom and into neo-brownshirt territory, which has more "broad" application to culture and the country as a whole. Don't answer the question if you don't want to, but if you're going to say something evidently wrong, expect to get called on it, like everyone does here. /shrug
posted by Rothko at 9:46 AM on December 6, 2005


You are a full of shit, and you damn well know it.
posted by dios at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2005


It was a reasonable question, dios. You'd have thought it was reasonable if you asked it. You just have a block against understanding anything that some people say, that bears a strong resemblance to the block you claim they have against understanding anything you say. I'd say it's political, but you seem to have made that accusation your own personal province.

And frankly, that you would have or lose respect for me doesn't really have much of an impact.
posted by lodurr at 9:49 AM on December 6, 2005


How in the hell do you take the juxtaposition of a "narrow" issue to a "broad" issue to be a comment on the lack of importance of an issue?

I can guarentee one thing: had anyone else made the comment I made, it would have gone un-noticed. But one asshole had to jump the gun, and you should be ashamed of yourself for defending it lodurr.
posted by dios at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2005


Lighten up, Francis.
posted by klangklangston at 10:02 AM on December 6, 2005


You are a full of shit, and you damn well know it.
posted by dios at 9:47 AM PST on December 6


This thread makes me hate every motherfucking one you.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:01 AM PST on November 28

posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2005


Sweet. Bitch-fight!
posted by JeffK at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2005


How in the hell do you take the juxtaposition of a "narrow" issue to a "broad" issue to be a comment on the lack of importance of an issue?

How "the hell" do you not, dios? "Narrow" and "broad" each have many colloquial meanings, and in juxtaposition, they often mean exactly that: One has limited scope (and is therefore unimportant), the other had broad scope (and is therefore important).

Given your record of not caring about things liek abuses of power until they happen, I think it's a pretty acceptable read. And the question was asked in a relatively mild tone, with what seem to me to be the proper qualifiers. (Though "apparently anti-intellectual rhetoric" is apparently objectionable usage to you and witty -- I apparently don't think I ought to be held responsible for that.)

Honestly, you're being willfully obtuse. Again. (Maybe they teach you that in trial class.) And you're being blind, again, to the fact that you (and witty) expect better of other people than you're willing to deliver, yourself.

....you should be ashamed of yourself for defending it lodurr.

Oh, please, that's just embarrassing. Give up while you're just behind. (And no, that's not a threat -- it's advice.)
posted by lodurr at 10:32 AM on December 6, 2005


Fight! Fight! (So I get more comments).

Disclaimer: Yeah, a deep and thoughtful exchange of ideas would be better. But this is a dupe anyway, so, fight! Fight!
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:36 AM on December 6, 2005


[sarcasm visibility="humor-impaired"]
Dormant Gorilla, it's totally inappropriate to try to pump up the thread length to enhance your own comment-count. This is not Plastic! You should be ashamed of yourself. I'm rapidly losing what little respect I ever had for you.
[/sarcasm]
posted by lodurr at 10:41 AM on December 6, 2005


This all reminds me of that verse in the New Testament that says "For therefore wheneverest ye shalt come upon those that disagree with thine interpretation of my Holy Scripture, thou shalt beat the everloving shit out of them. Yea verily, that shalt show those motherfuckers. For behold, our battle is against flesh and blood, so maketh them bleed."
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:42 AM on December 6, 2005


I think you're looking for this thread?
posted by Witty at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2005


Haha... nevermind.
posted by Witty at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2005


Isn't that the thread we're in?
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2005


Christ, once again we have the Rothko-and-Dios show.

I wish you two would stop competing. Do what I encourage my kids to do: IGNORE ONE ANOTHER.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 AM on December 6, 2005


we're not on Kansas anymore, or - what's wrong with the Kansas thread?

dios - I understood your use of the word "narrow", but do you have to talk about "broads" that way?
posted by hellbient at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2005


I'm rapidly losing what little respect I ever had for you.

Someone actually had respect for me to begin with!? Oh heavens, I'm shvitzing.

Err, on topic...regardless of the proper deno- and conno-tations of "narrow" and "broad", wouldn't it be safe to say that, even if something is currently a narrow issue, it might be only the thin edge of the wedge? We're pretty keen on precedents, and I'd just as soon get angry about something while it's still a relatively isolated occurence, and try to influence it then. Wait till it becomes a "broad" issue and it'll be a whole lot harder to combat.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:57 AM on December 6, 2005


Because if we're honest, we know damn well that it would be possible -- even feasible -- to offer a class on the mythology of science.

You are aware that there are entire departments that study the history of science (University of Oklahoma has one of the best), right? They spend most of their time attacking the supposed objectivity of science.
posted by stet at 10:57 AM on December 6, 2005


We are God's bad idea.
posted by basilwhite at 10:58 AM on December 6, 2005


stet: Yep. Didn't know OU was such a hotbed, though.
posted by lodurr at 11:05 AM on December 6, 2005


It should be clear to everyone that 1) religion and religious authorities have less legal and social power than ever before in history; and 2) Science and methodical thinking have far more power and yield far more result than ever before in history; 3) religious fascists are just as dangerous as they ever were;

See? We can all get along. It's all about the love, people. It's all about the peace. It's all about the massive flight of the educated class from the red states. It's all good.
posted by ewkpates at 11:07 AM on December 6, 2005


I recently moved to Lawrence from an even more Christian Kansas town and the ID debate scares me because the Christian side is so uninformed. In my capacity as a radio news journalist I had a member of the Kansas State Board of Education tell me "We don't want to inject religion into the classroom. All we want is to teach evolution as a theory, not a fact." To understand what is wrong with this logic, you can read the book "The Republican War on Science" by Chris Mooney.
posted by tublecain at 11:16 AM on December 6, 2005


On Wikinews too.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:31 AM on December 6, 2005


How exactly are the atheists "winning the argument?"

Who said "the atheists" were winning anything? I don't see that anywhere in this thread.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:43 AM on December 6, 2005


Atheists are winning the argument.

Fundies never predicted anything that formed a basis of industry. (notable exception: that other fundies will keep giving them money to talk $h!t on tv)
posted by ewkpates at 11:54 AM on December 6, 2005


Good Christians don't justify bad science.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:58 AM on December 6, 2005


I was wondering why this thread and the other one were both still up. But reading the comments, I see that the other thread is about a professor in Kansas who may have been beaten, while this thread is about Rothko and Dios.
posted by LarryC at 12:02 PM on December 6, 2005


Crazy. I actually took a class with Prof. Mirecki and spoke with him on many occasions during office hours. He is extremely knowledgeable about Biblical studies, and can read Koine Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc. He also discovered (in a library) and translated previously unknown fragments of a new Gospel (I mean writing about Jesus) if I remember right. I'm not suprised that he wrote that stuff, since his office door was covered with Weekly World news headlines and insane Christian fundamentalist stuff about Christianity, and he approaches religion from a historical/archaeological/literary angle, so it must drive him nuts to have to deal with that stuff. Still the "fundies" comment was just a bad idea, even though I completely agree with him. It's a real shame that class won't be taught though.

And I second the observation that Lawrence is generally a very progressive, liberal town, but there's all manner of conservative country folk surrounding it.
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:05 PM on December 6, 2005


Sorry, here are the "Lost Gospel" links.

And here's his resume.

Damn smart, nice guy I always thought...
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:08 PM on December 6, 2005


I'm not so sure that I believe this story...
posted by Heminator at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2005


Could you fake a beating well enough to last a few hours in the hospital? I could, but I'd have to have an *extremely* good reason. Unless he's absolutely insane (which is possible), there's no motivation to faking the assault. I don't think it helps his career at all.

You know, it's odd, but this has happened twice in my city. Once by a black campus cop who said he was beaten by racists, and once a white girl claimed to have been raped by four black men. Both cases turned out to be false. Those two cases are the only instances of violence in my city that I can remember, with the exception of some out of towners who killed another out of towner during VESHA.

I also remember a similar incident happening in Iowa City, also involving race. So the fact that this happened on a collage campus really makes me wonder.

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on December 6, 2005


Would it be possible to offer a class on the mythology of intelligent design without getting attacked mercilessly by christian fundamentalists?

Yes, it's called Theology.

ZING!
posted by iamck at 12:38 PM on December 6, 2005


You are a full of shit, and you damn well know it.
posted by dios at 12:47 PM EST on December 6 [!]


Dios, don't complain on MetaTalk again. You've damaged any credibility you might have had with this comment of yours.
posted by Rothko at 12:39 PM on December 6, 2005


So the fact that this happened on a collage campus really makes me wonder.

I went to school in Iowa, and I don't recall my campus being a collage. Sure, it was pretty jumbled, but there was slightly less paste and cut out letters than you might expect.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:05 PM on December 6, 2005


I never read posts consisting of multiple links, with no explanation. I'm not a frikken detective, and vI alue my limited spare time far too much to wade through through someone's design exercise in order to gleam their intent.

Therefore I was glad about this double, as I would have missed the story. So thanks, Dormant.

Watching the thread degenerate into a personal spat two mentally unbalanced emotion-mongers does make me wish for an "ignore" button, however.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:28 PM on December 6, 2005


This thread makes me hate motherfucking Optimus Chyme and Rothko. But mostly Rothko. Rothko, you motherfucker, I hate you. Oh, also, you've damaged any credibility you might have had by being an incredible motherfucker.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:43 PM on December 6, 2005


This thread helps to understand how people can get beaten up for their ideas. So in that respect it is a brilliant discussion.
posted by funambulist at 2:55 PM on December 6, 2005


Why can't we all just get along?
posted by drstrangelove at 4:54 PM on December 6, 2005


How exactly are the atheists "winning the argument?"

Athiests actually won on a technicality after God dropped dead of a congenital heart defect. Strange cosmic irony, that one.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2005


But mostly Rothko. Rothko, you motherfucker, I hate you.

Keith, tell us what's really on your mind.
posted by Rothko at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2005


But mostly Rothko. Rothko, you motherfucker, I hate you.

Keith, tell us what's really on your mind.
posted by Rothko at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2005


Rothko, you tell us, one more time...
posted by funambulist at 5:31 PM on December 6, 2005


So, EB, I guess being all cozy together over there at MeCha really has helped you open up to people at the other end of the spectrum.

Credibility...what a concept... Here's another one: Hyperbole.
posted by lodurr at 5:32 PM on December 6, 2005


Rothko, you tell us, one more time...

I don't know what you mean by this, in relation to Keith M. Ellis' most recent flameout.
posted by Rothko at 5:35 PM on December 6, 2005


Rothko, errr, I was just being silly, since you'd posted that "tell us" comment twice. Can assure you nothing else was implied!
posted by funambulist at 5:50 PM on December 6, 2005


ie.:
- Keith, tell us what's really on your mind.
- Keith, tell us what's really on your mind.
- Rothko, you tell us, one more time...


I know. I'll go hide now.

posted by funambulist at 5:53 PM on December 6, 2005


funambulist, I swear, this place gets more like high school all the time. You can't get up for a beer without stepping on somebody's phantom toes. Hiding is probably the smartest thing you could do at this point.

...oh, and R: I've seen flameouts, and this is no flameout. On anyone's part. Except mine, if I keep having to read about how unfairly you, dios and e-b are being treated by one another. grow some skin, boys, or stop playing.
posted by lodurr at 5:55 PM on December 6, 2005


When do I complain?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:35 PM on December 6, 2005


This is messed up. Its basically what amounts to a hate crime. Some people who feel thoroughly backed into a corner see him as a threat for the audacity to question a ridiculous attempt of their faith to weasel into the science classroom when the only place it has in any academic environment is in a religious studies class or related philosophy class.

That he'd already withdrawn the class over other criticisms is incidental to the fact that he was attacked and beaten for trying to open a completely legitimate inquiry in a supposedly open environment. There is no defending this attack (presuming, of course, that he didn't fake it for whatever reason).

For the record, dios, your initial question that started yet another slap fight was bullshit. What should be taught in the classroom is not, in any sense of the word, a narrow argument. And can you two please quit it?
posted by fenriq at 8:38 PM on December 6, 2005


I think that all of the religious practitioners should have a big rumble in a parking lot. Just get it over with. Most people prefer to beat the crap out of those who disagree with their personal beliefs rather than trying to intelligently debate them anyway. No one cares.
posted by deusdiabolus at 11:13 PM on December 6, 2005


I've been scanning news stories on the subject; overall, in the regional press, the bias seems to be toward active skepticism of the report. Consider this quote:
“The sheriff’s office takes these things very seriously, so we investigate them thoroughly,” Wempe said. “Our hope is that we end up finally at the end of a successful investigation and find the truth.”
The subtext being that the police don't assume that "the truth" is contained in the victim's statement. They're presuming that it's at least partly false before they start.

They're going to hang him out to dry. I'll be surprised at the end of all this if local prosecutors don't charge him with false report. At the very least, Mirecki should be looking for a new post at another university -- preferably outside the American bible belt.
posted by lodurr at 5:50 AM on December 7, 2005


oops, link to source....
posted by lodurr at 5:51 AM on December 7, 2005


Keith, tell us what's really on your mind.
posted by Rothko at 5:19 PM PST on December 6


I'm pretty sure he was joking; lighten up.

Also, EB, I am nominating your comment "This thread makes me hate every motherfucking one you" for the 2005 Posties, as it has made me laugh twice a day since I saw it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:03 AM on December 7, 2005


Followup: Mirecki resigning chairmanship; predictable accusations of fraud. From the Badger Herald:
Mirecki’s resignation comes as some call into question the accuracy of his police report.

According to John Altevogt, a conservative activist in Kansas, Mirecki has been unable to even identify the street on which his alleged beating occurred.

“There’s also confusion about whether or not he called from the spot or whether he called from the hospital,” Altevogt said. “If he can’t tell them where the alleged assault took place — the closest he’s come is two different streets, two rural roads — so how are they going to collect evidence? He couldn’t [even] tell them where on those rural roads it was.”

Altevogt also said Mirecki’s description of his attackers — white, 30-40 years old, wearing jeans and driving a big pickup truck — fits “half the population of Kansas.”

Also odd, Altevogt noted, is the lack of support from Mirecki’s colleagues at KU, epitomized, he said, by his fellow professors’ requests for him to resign as department chair.

“At a time when you’d think his colleagues would rally around the flag, they in fact have asked him to resign,” he said. “If this is a ‘for real’ thing, you would think they would rally around him in the face of this horrendous attack and do something.”

Lt. Kari Wempe of the Douglas County (Kan.) Sheriff’s Office would not comment on Altevogt’s speculation and added there has been nothing new to report since Mirecki first spoke of his attack.

“That is a public opinion,” Wempe said, adding she has not been told of any inconsistencies in the professor’s report. “That’s not a law-enforcement opinion.”
posted by lodurr at 5:23 AM on December 9, 2005


Another followup. Mirecki is now apparently being investigated by the Douglas County Sherrif, though the Sherrif's office won't confirm that:
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.”
His academic career is more or less officially toast (he's had to resign as chair and everyone is canceling his speaking engagements). The university is on record against him and seems determined to drive him out (the chancellor made public statements in opposition to him before the alleged attack, and he's saying that the Dean's Office literally gave him the letter of resignation and told him to sign it).
posted by lodurr at 12:45 PM on December 11, 2005


lodurr, thanks for the update.

Just went through the comments with all those people debating the veracity of the bruises in the photo...

I still don't understand the origin of this notion he faked the beating. Wasn't he in hospital? Weren't they able to determine if he had been attacked there?
posted by funambulist at 1:05 PM on December 11, 2005


If he didn't fake it, that implies there is a sizable cover-up being perpetrated by a religious coalition. How likely is that?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:11 PM on December 11, 2005


LOL! No, it doesn't imply that at all. Not in any way. Why in the world would you say that? What would be covered up? Inaction? Incompetence? The fact that nobody wants to bend over backward for some pinko outsider?

As I've noted (hmm, I think it was in the ohter thread, now that I think of it), all that's required is tacit cooperation. That's all that's ever required to fuck outsiders over. And make no mistake, he's an outsider there.

All that has to happen is that the Sherrif's department has to think the report is suspicious and/or not work very hard to find a solution. If no solution is apparent, people around those parts will assume he faked it. In the court of public opinion (which is really the only court that matters for his purpose), he's guilty of hoaxing.

No conspiracy required. He's just fucked, without anybody having to do any work at all. (And in fact, because some people didn't do any work, but that's almost beside the point.)
posted by lodurr at 6:59 PM on December 11, 2005


That's some cynical view of the law enforcement's honesty and competence.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 PM on December 11, 2005


Not really. It's a realistic view: Law enforcement officials are citizens and members of a community, like anyone else. It's the community that would be closing ranks against Mirecki, not law enforcement per se. So if I'm being cynical (and FWIW I think I'm being realistic, not cynical), it's about people, not "law enforcement."

In any case, if I were expressing simple cynicism about law enforcement officials, do you think it wouldn't be warranted? I think it would be, based on my experience. Law enforcement, and Sherrif's departments in particular, are magnets for people who love ORDER above all other things, and "order" and "community" tend to get conflated with "God" in the Bible Belt. And in any case, do I need to sit here and cite token after token after token after token of cops screwing citizens because they get off on the power? Or just because they don't like the way that people live?

Really, "...cynical view of the law enforcement's honesty and competence"? Good grief. You sound like some kind of reactionary jingo. Order is not freedom, war is not peace, hate is not love, and advocating due process is not the same as rooting for the terrorists. And an intuition that an outsider is getting fucked for dating to express ideas his neighbors find offensive is not tantamount to impugning "law enforcement's honesty and competence."
posted by lodurr at 5:24 AM on December 12, 2005


You know, lodurr, you read WAY too much into things. How the hell do you get a three-paragraph rant out of my single sentence? Good thing I didn't say anything of substance.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 AM on December 12, 2005


That's because I'm not really ranting at you. I'm ranting about what I'm watching -- what I'm reading into is events, not your answer. It's very frustrating for me to watch this. I've seen too many cases where marginal actors get fucked (sorry, but that word just fits this so well) because people don't like them. If it's not some unpopular college prof, it's an unpleasant street person or an irritating civil rights activist or "pasty white welfare mother" or whatever.
posted by lodurr at 12:02 PM on December 12, 2005


Ah. Wholly understood.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:52 PM on December 12, 2005


Update: Comments from the Panda's Thumb by Gary Hurd, a doctor with experience as a private investigator. He concludes, based on his experience as a PI, that Mirecki was probably tailed and lightly roughed-up by "law enforcement professionals." (He also points out that it's not unusual for a man who wears glasses to have a probelm getting a license plate number or identifying his assailants, once his glasses have been knocked off...) His medical opinion is that Mirecki's observable injuries are entirely consistent with being beaten by someone else. (Though not as badly as Mirecki thinks he was. In his words, "Mirecki is a wimp, IMNSHO.")

He's not suggesting a conspiracy; merely a couple of local cops getting a little satisfaction. The frameup as a hoax is just gravy.

Not surprisingly, the editor at Panda's Thumb has felt it necessary to insert a long disclaimer to Hurd's piece to make it clear that they don't endorse any version of the story that insinuates anything bad about cops.
posted by lodurr at 4:36 AM on December 22, 2005


Just as interesting are the linkbacks, which appear to show identical blog entries using the phrase "hissy fit." If there's one thing the extreme right has figured out, it's talking-points solidarity.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 AM on December 22, 2005


Maybe I misread it, but they looked like mostly Panda's Thumb folks in the link-backs. I followed a couple of them; only one that I checked talked about the politics behind Hurd's statement and the editor's addendum. What was interesting was that this seems to me to be playing out (at least on PT) as a conservative-liberal clash, not a believer-unbeliever clash. I'm thinking the conservatives at PT side with the Malkin krew because the cultural conservatism is more important to them than fighting the insertion of creationism.

Another example of strange bedfellows on the right, where pro-Israel Jewish neo-cons share common cause with pre-millenial dispensationalist protestants. Being an evolutionary biologist in that crowd must sometimes seem a bit like being a Log Cabin Republican.
posted by lodurr at 9:32 AM on December 22, 2005


This thread alone proves that human beings are not intelligent and therefore not intelligently designed.
posted by muppetboy at 10:23 AM on December 22, 2005


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