God And Man In Kansas: The Price Of Indiscretion
Once again, the lesson that we learn is that it pays to careful when sending mass-emails:
A University of Kansas course devoted to debunking creationism and intelligent design has been canceled after the professor who planned to teach it caused a furor by sending an e-mail mocking Christian fundamentalists.The guy has apologized, which is all that he can do.
Twenty-five students had enrolled in the course, originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and Other Religious Mythologies," which had been scheduled for the spring.
Critics of intelligent design say it is merely creationism -- a literal reading of the Bible's story of creation -- camouflaged in scientific language.
Professor Paul Mirecki, chairman of religious studies, canceled the class Wednesday, the university said.
Mirecki recently sent an e-mail to members of a student organization in which he referred to religious conservatives as "fundies" and said a course depicting intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face."
This is the type of incident that will only serve to escalate the discussion over intelligent design into little more than an exercise in name-calling and hyperbole. What is needed is rational and well-reasoned debate over what, if any, place that such notions as intelligent design and creationism have in our public schools.
Personally, I wish that the matter would be decided one way or the other so that those of us whose job it is to implement curriculum (as directed by our political masters) in the classroom can get on with the job of teaching.
But I know that's not what we're going to get. What we are going to get will be unending litigation and continued uncertainty.