Friday, December 02, 2005

What the Fuck Is the Matter with Kansas?

The one hopeful sign out of Kansas lately -- a college course that would have taught so-called "intelligent design" as what it is, a politically-charged creation myth -- has been canceled before it even hit the classroom.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting (article is available here for five days after this posting) that University of Kansas Religious Studies Chairman Paul Mirecki, who would have taught the class, decided this week to pull it from next semester's schedule. Why?

Mirecki, it turns out, is partially responsible. He did something dumb by telling an e-mail group that his course, "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Other Religious Mythologies," was "a nice slap in their big fat face." It was, reportedly, in reference to the Christian right.

Mirecki tells the Chronicle he got 1,200 e-mails in response. Most of them were positive, but enough were hostile or threatening, that he felt "the learning environment was going to be ruined." Rather than salvage it, he totalled it.

The class came under such fire for committing the gravest of sins against Christian fundamentalism: It denied its claims for exceptionalism by lumping it in with other mythologies and refusing to pretend that it has any greater claim to truth than they do.

It remains unclear exactly what the focus of the course would have been. But it's truly a shame that Kansas, the state that apparently needs it most, missed an opportunity to consider just how "intelligent design" fits into the overall pattern of religious creationism.

1 comment:

Betsy G said...

JL-as usual you are so right
the freaks there need to be hit over the head w/ a stone cast by me

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