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KU professor Paul Mirecki was hospitalized Monday morning after two men beat him on the side of the road in rural Douglas County, he said.

Mirecki said the two men beat him for about one minute with a metal object, striking him repeatedly on the head, shoulders and back.

Mirecki, chairman of the department of religious studies, drew criticism from University officials and state legislators last week after e-mails he had sent to a list server became public.

In the messages, he made remarks about Christian fundamentalists that some considered offensive, including the message that the intelligent design class he planned to teach in the spring would serve as "a nice slap in their big fat face." He apologized and canceled the class last week.

He said the assailants made reference to the intelligent design controversy during the attack. . . .

Sen. Kay O'Connor (R-Olathe), who has strongly criticized Mirecki for his e-mails, said whoever beat him should be "prosecuted to the fullest."

"If they try to cover themselves under the mantle of being Christian or being Christian people, sorry Charlie," she said. "They're just thugs."

All my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Prof. Mirecki, and my praise to Sen. O'Connor, both for defending someone whose views she disagrees with, and for calling a thug a thug.

DelVerSiSogna (mail):
The term is perhaps especially appropriate since the term "thug" comes from the name of a violent wacky religious cult.
12.6.2005 2:34pm
tiefel & lester student (mail):
The combination of the last two posts is particularly disturbing.
12.6.2005 2:37pm
Some Guy (mail):
"Thugs" is appropriate. Then again, no matter how reprehensible beating someone up over their academics is, that guy sure sounds like a loud-mouthed jerk.

Come to think of it, no, I DON"T BUY IT. Either (1) the beating he got had nothing to do with his professional life and everything to do with him being an arrogant idiot who starts fights for no reason, or (2) he made the entire thing up to try to play the atheist "martyr."

I'd be willing to bet on the latter.
12.6.2005 2:44pm
anonymous coward:
Geez, if saying something moronic on the internet warrants physical assault, a few Volokh.com comment-thread trolls are next in line.
12.6.2005 2:56pm
b.trotter (mail) (www):
I'd highly doubt that the entire thing was made up... Hospitals don't take you in for blunt force trauma if you don't actually have blunt force trauma.

It is, of course, possible that he was beaten by strangers who had nothing to do with him or his comments (people get mugged and attacked all the time).

If, indeed, it was somebody who beat him because of his comments on ID, what a terrible way to try to spread one's message? The ID debate needs to be expressed in the public forum with evidence and rational argument, not expressed with baseball bats.
12.6.2005 2:58pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
I'm not shocked that Sen. O'Connor opposes beating people for their beliefs. It's just the sort of thing that you can expect if you permit women to vote:
12.6.2005 3:05pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Oops, the link vanished on that post: Here it is.
12.6.2005 3:07pm
Master Shake:
I don't really think the Senator deserves any particular praise here - isn't it just common sense and common decency to acknowledge that people don't deserve to be beaten for expressing unpopular opintion? In fact, could she have conceivably said anything different and still kept her job? Of course they should be prosecuted to the fullest. Of course they are thugs. Of course it doesn't work to cover yourself in the mantle of being Christian. Is any of this even a close call?
12.6.2005 3:07pm
frankcross (mail):
There's a fair amount of speculation in the area that it is faked. Though the severity of the injuries cause me to question that.
12.6.2005 3:12pm
Splunge (mail):
I would be cautious at taking thugs at their word, however. They might say they were smacking him around because of his intellectual position on "Intelligent Design" (or should that be "Intelligent" Design, ha ha), but just possibly, you know, people who are willing to assault others with sticks are not above lying about their reasons for it, and they beat him just because they enjoy it.

In other words, one should be a little cautious about ascribing political motivation to sadists for their sadism. Maybe they're just bastards, you know? And they picked this guy as victim because they think they can gain a little cover by asserting it was political.
12.6.2005 3:16pm
mikem (mail):
What an incredible and timely reversal of roles for Prof. Mirecki. From bully to victim of the very people he was accused of bullying.
Those damn Christian ID bullies!
12.6.2005 3:16pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
Do you really believe he was beaten? Here are the questions you should be asking.

1. What was he doing on a rural road?
2. If you are a ultra-liberal professor, why would you stop in the middle of nowhere for 2 white males in a pickup truck in the dark at 6:40 am?
3. And after you stopped, why would you get our of your vehicle? Picture this, an ultra-liberal professor stopping on a deserted country road for 2 "potential" rednecks in a pickup truck?
4. Why didn't he call the police immediately? Surely he has a cell phone. Why wait till you get to the hospital? A 911 call to the police immediately after the attack would have been much more effective at catching the attackers.
5. What type of pick up was it? Ford, Chevy?? It isn't that hard to tell, even for a liberal professor.
6. What color was the pickup?
7. If the course had already been cancelled, why would someone want to hurt you?

Read More
12.6.2005 3:20pm
SimonD (www):
Uh...Question:
Sen. Kay O'Connor (R-Olathe), who has strongly criticized Mirecki for his e-mails, said whoever beat him should be "prosecuted to the fullest." "If they try to cover themselves under the mantle of being Christian or being Christian people, sorry Charlie," she said. "They're just thugs."
Surely there is a non sequitur here (or at least, missing information). We know this fellow scheduled an ID class. We know he cancelled it. We know his assailants made reference to ID. Why are we assuming that the people who beat him up are (purported) Christians assailing him for scheduling the class, rather than atheists beating him up for pulling it?
12.6.2005 3:37pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"Why are we assuming that the people who beat him up are (purported) Christians assailing him for scheduling the class, rather than atheists beating him up for pulling it?"

You hit the nail on the head. It is called religious profiling.
12.6.2005 3:41pm
David Matthews (mail):
The details of Mirecki's account are bizarre. Apparently he is so well known that when he's out in the middle of nowhere, where no one could possibly expect him to be, someone recognizes his vehicle and chases him down. The other option is that the assailants were staking him out at his house and followed him, hoping that he'd wander out into the middle of nowhere so they could accost him, and he just coincidentally obliged them. After the tailgating and the confrontation, which, in total, must have taken several minutes, he can only identify the vehicle as a "large pickup" (no color, no partial plates, no other details.) I'm not suspicious that he was attacked; that seems pretty obvious from the injuries. I am suspicious that he's not telling the whole story. The scenario seems far more typical of road rage incidents. Perhaps he flipped them off, or cut them off or otherwise pissed them off with his driving and in the ensuing confrontation they recognized him (or never recognized him at all.) This in no way would excuse the behavior of the assailants, but it seems unlikely that two people followed him, chased him down, and beat him up, purely for his views on I.D., or his comments about "fundies." If his story is, in fact, the whole story, it implies some sort of a conspiracy that would be genuinely scary, but there seems to be some selective amnesia going on here.
12.6.2005 3:49pm
JohnAnnArbor:
I still find it odd that he stopped. If there was a collision, I can see stopping, but stopping for a tailgater is generally a bad move.
12.6.2005 3:51pm
Cornellian (mail):
"Why are we assuming that the people who beat him up are (purported) Christians assailing him for scheduling the class, rather than atheists beating him up for pulling it?"

You hit the nail on the head. It is called religious profiling.


I'd say it's because his email made it clear where he stands, and that stand is more likely to be viewed favorably by an athiest than by an intelligent design advocate. It's not unreasonable in the circumstances to think the latter group would be more likely to have attacked him.

However, the categories don't match up here. An athiest is not required to believe that teaching the course is a good thing or a bad thing, and neither is a Christian or adherent of any other religion. Nor is there any requirement that a Christian accept Intelligent Design, or even consider it anything more than a fraud (to use Krauthammer's term).

I think one highly plausible scenario is that he was attacked by two guys for reasons completely unconnected to his views on intelligent design. People who post on blogs sometimes overestimate the degree to which these stories penetrate the public consciousness. The other plausible scenario is that he was attacked by a couple of thugs who thought it was justified because of his views. Virtually everyone in Kansas is a Christian, so his attackers likely are, but that's not a relevant consideration unless and until there's some indication that they considered their Christian beliefs (such as they are) to provide some basis for attacking the guy.
12.6.2005 3:57pm
Cornellian (mail):
I still find it odd that he stopped. If there was a collision, I can see stopping, but stopping for a tailgater is generally a bad move.

On the other hand, academics are not exactly renowned for their feet-on-the-ground common sense.
12.6.2005 3:59pm
plunge (mail):
Mirecki's comments were meanspirited and bigoted, but it's worth noting that they were part of a private email. If we had our emails leaked out, I'd bet most of us would be found to have said some pretty nasty and meanspirited things while blowing off steam.

Frankly, I think people are trying pretty hard to see the incident as bizarre at this point. I mean come on:

"What was he doing on a rural road?"

Geez, I dunno. Driving on a rural road in Kansas. That IS pretty weird!

"If you are a ultra-liberal professor, why would you stop in the middle of nowhere for 2 white males in a pickup truck in the dark at 6:40 am?"

Trying to dehumanize people with political labels doesn't much change the fact that they live normal lives where they drive to work or go out driving in general, see someone flag them down, and pull over to see what the fuss is. I mean, do you really think he drives around going "an ultra-liberal like me shouldn't ever get out of my truck!" That you can imagine this says a heck of a lot more about you than anyone else.
12.6.2005 4:03pm
frankcross (mail):
Some of you folks aren't very familiar with Lawrence, Kansas.
12.6.2005 4:15pm
Rob (www):
The professor's story is vague and it involves some pretty naive behavior on his part. He said he was driving around in the pre-dawn hours because of the controversy. You'd think he'd have a heightened sense of paranoia, not a diminished sense of self-preservation. And yet he got out of his car to confront a tailgater in the dark. On a rural road?

I don't want to jump to conclusions. But I'm not inclined to believe him.

(I think that ID is a hoax ... and that's all the more reason to be consistently skeptical.)
12.6.2005 4:16pm
Anon7:
I still find it odd that he stopped. If there was a collision, I can see stopping, but stopping for a tailgater is generally a bad move.

From the article, it seemed like he pulled onto the shoulder to let them pass, but they pulled onto the shoulder with him.

As for why he got out of his car, why shouldn't he? Maybe there was something wrong with it he couldn't see. A hanging muffler, partially open trunk, etc. Why should he immediately jump to the conclusion that the guys behind him wanted to beat him up?

Heck, I live in Texas and couldn't tell you the difference between a Ford and Chevy pickup in the dark.
12.6.2005 4:16pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"Virtually everyone in Kansas is a Christian."

Be careful. I would guess you haven't been to Kansas lately, and you haven't been to Lawrence, KS where KU is either.

The biggest problem I have with this is that atheists and other Christian bashers seem to be able to make the leap pretty easily that the two attackers are born again, God fearing Christians who just happen to like to beat the *&*^ out of someone for their views on evoulution. Add to that the fairly widely held view that people from Kansas are somehow intellectually inferior, and you have religious bigotry at its worst.
12.6.2005 4:20pm
Arthur (mail):
Originality points for the guy who pointed out that stopping when accosted by white males is a sign that the poressor was just asking for it.

Points not yet made:

(1) Traveling alone in known high crime areas like rural Kansas is just asking for trouble.

(2) The professor apparently was unarmed. So he was askign for trouble. asking for it.
12.6.2005 4:21pm
Some Guy (mail):
This sounds just like that Los Alamos "whistleblower" who went to a strip club to...ahem...met a contact, and was beat up in the parking lot afterwards. I remember him trying to play it as some sinister conspiracy, I wonder if his wife ultimately realized that the truth was out there?

I don't know the details, but I can say that I am very suspicious of anyone claiming that anyone cared enough about some dumb college professor's choice in classes to follow him and put the hurt on him. Especially if the guy sounds like the type of jerk who would pick a fight and try to play the martyr to slander those mean old conservatives. I'll bet that it becomes very clear within the next few days/weeks that this guy is a total fraud, but that the university declines to fire his sorry posterior.
12.6.2005 4:22pm
Tom Henderson (mail):
Color me unimpressed.

I'm not going to call the man a liar, because I don't have any good grounds to, but the story is pretty fishy. I suspect that for every fundamentalist who would resort to physical violence because they didn't like what someone said about evolution and creation, there are probably about 10,000 liberal professors and/or reporters who think fundamentalists would do it.

In short, I find the story just barely possible. I find the idea that the professor was mistaken far more plausible.

Honestly, if this professor actually ran into a couple of fundamentalists on a rural road who took offense to his comments, they probably would have tried to evangelize him rather than attack him.

Whatever really happened, I doubt it was this.
12.6.2005 4:22pm
Bisch:
Anon7 - Regardless of the details of this particular story, here's a safety tip from a road-weary LA driver: if someone is tailgating you, it's best to let them pass. But in doing so, that should never involve you getting out of the car. If you pull over to let someone pass and they pull over too, do not get out of the car. Do not confront the other driver. Do not approach the other driver. You just never know who/what another driver is.

Drive happy.
12.6.2005 4:24pm
Cornellian (mail):
I'd certainly never get out of my car to confront a tailgater in LA, but I don't assume that rural Kansas automatically requires the same degree of caution.

"Virtually everyone in Kansas is a Christian."

Be careful. I would guess you haven't been to Kansas lately, and you haven't been to Lawrence, KS where KU is either.


I haven't ever been Kansas but if there had been an astonishing surge in the numbers of Jews, Muslims or Hindus I'd have expected to see something in the news about it.

And I said "Christian" not "fundamentalist", "evangelical", "devout", "conservative", "liberal" or anything else. I have no doubt that there are lots of people in Kansas (as there are in every state) who rarely or never go to Church or read the Bible and yet consider themselves Christian. Nor would I leap to the conclusion that someone who rarely went to Church and rarely read the Bible was per se not a Christian.

Add to that the fairly widely held view that people from Kansas are somehow intellectually inferior, and you have religious bigotry at its worst.

I don't see the top 1/3 of the class in the top law schools clamoring for jobs in Kansas. Saying that the best and brightest in a state will find their opportunities limited if they remain in that state is hardly the same thing as saying everyone in the state is somehow inherently stupid. Bob Dole is a sharp guy, but Kansas has only two U.S. Senate seats.
12.6.2005 4:39pm
Some Guy (mail):
Good point on letting people pass.

Here's a road tip from the Commonwealth of Virginia, if you're often driving out of well-travelled areas, get your concealed carry and always keep a pistol in the car.

Just in case.
12.6.2005 4:42pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
I realize there is an impression that "rural Kansas" is a safe place and that we are somehow immune from violence. But the same rules that apply in LA apply here.

You don't stop on a lonely country road and confront someone who has been tailgating you. Period.

The professor is either completely without common sense, or there is more to the story than we are hearing.

By the way, in another AP story, the report said they called him on his cell phone for a comment and he refused. So why no call on his cell phone to the police for help? I sounds like we are missing some important facts.

I have a McDonald's happy meal that says it has something to do with a romantic affair.
12.6.2005 4:43pm
Some Guy (mail):
You are always safe betting on either sex or money as the motive for crime.

But in this case, there's always the element of road raging, general jackassery.
12.6.2005 4:46pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"Geez, I dunno. Driving on a rural road in Kansas. That IS pretty weird! "

Lawrence, Kansas is not in the middle of the Praire. I realize you "city slickers" think you know alot about everything, but your ignorance of Kansas is significant.
12.6.2005 4:47pm
plunge (mail):
"I realize you "city slickers" think you know alot about everything, but your ignorance of Kansas is significant."

Too bad for you about the interwebz:
Sat map

Hmmm: looks like quite a lot of rural roads right around Lawrence. You can take your faux-populism back where it came from now.
12.6.2005 5:00pm
plunge (mail):
To make the point more clearly: if this happened in New York City, I might be a little skeptical about what one might be doing on "rural roads." Given that this is taking place in a college town with rural roads all over the place which are often good ways to get from A to B in one of the states with more farmland and rural roads than most, it's hardly cause for surprise. And pointing that out is hardly regional elitism, unless YOU happen to rural roads are somehow something bad.
12.6.2005 5:06pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"I haven't ever been Kansas but if there had been an astonishing surge in the numbers of Jews, Muslims or Hindus I'd have expected to see something in the news about it."

Actually, the only time you see Kansas in the news is when Bubba marries his 12 year old niece or when a serial killer is caught (BTK).

Kansas has a very diverse population, actually. Asian, hispanic, etc.

Here is a little test, please name the largest city in Kansas.
12.6.2005 5:07pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"Hmmm: looks like quite a lot of rural roads right around Lawrence. You can take your faux-populism back where it came from now."

"Given that this is taking place in a college town with rural roads all over the place which are often good ways to get from A to B in one of the states with more farmland and rural roads than most, it's hardly cause for surprise."

You both have obviously not been to Lawrence Kansas. No need to get on a country road to go anywhere in Lawrence, or to Kansas City or to Wichita or to Denver, (you get my meaning, right). The only reason he would have to be on a "country road" would be if he lived outside of Lawrence. Which is a possibility.

But even then, you don't normally drive on a dirt road unless you have to, or unless you are trying to hide something. Dirt roads are hard on vehicles, so you don't use them unless you have to. And most of the rural roads in Kansas or dirt, not blacktop. There is more to this story. All we have heard so far is what the MSM and the good professor have wanted us to hear.

But believe me, there is nothing on a country road that the head of the religious studies department at KU would need.

As to faux populism, nothing "faux" about my heritage or where I came from. Born and raised in Kansas, have lived in such places as Washington DC, and I can smell an elitist a mile away.
12.6.2005 5:17pm
Cornellian (mail):
Kansas has a very diverse population, actually. Asian, hispanic, etc.

I had actually assumed a fair degree of hispanic immigration, but last I heard, hispanics tended to be Christian.
12.6.2005 5:23pm
plunge (mail):
"No need to get on a country road to go anywhere in Lawrence, or to Kansas City or to Wichita or to Denver, (you get my meaning, right)."

If the professor had been commuting to work in Lawrence from Denver, THAT would definately have been a little odd. That he was driving on one of the many roads in his hometown that can be characterized as rural, is not.

"The only reason he would have to be on a "country road" would be if he lived outside of Lawrence. Which is a possibility."

Heavens to Betsy, we have a winner! Yes, he probably does not live in the attic of a McDonalds in the city. He might not live on campus.

"But even then, you don't normally drive on a dirt road unless you have to, or unless you are trying to hide something."

Yes, when we see people driving down rural roads, we should immediately assume that they are trying to "hide something." Or, we might assume that they are sometimes a good way from point A to point B, depending on where you live or where you are going.

I mean, the ridiculous hysteria that you are trying to maintain here is getting sillier by the minute. So we can now assume that the guy (who for some reason drives around not as most of us do, thinking about the weather and what he'll have for lunch, but rather constantly reminding himself that he is a detestable ultra-liberal who could very easily face a beating if he shows himself in public unprotected) for some sinister reason drove out of his way onto a rural road for no reason at all (because no one drives on THOSE roads unless they have something to hide!) so that he could be unexpectedly beat up (or perhaps it was all part of a dastardly plot!).

"As to faux populism, nothing "faux" about my heritage or where I came from."

Anyone that uses their heritage as a trivial fop to attack others carelessly at the drop of a hat obviously considers it to be of pretty low worth, yes. It's phony and its affected. You might have been raised in Florida for all you care.
12.6.2005 5:30pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
But even then, you don't normally drive on a dirt road unless you have to, or unless you are trying to hide something.
Who, other than you, said anything about a dirt road?

The only reason he would have to be on a "country road" would be if he lived outside of Lawrence. Which is a possibility.
Google says he lives in Lawrence. But the article says:

Mirecki said he was taking a long, pre-dawn drive in the country to clear his mind in wake of the recent controversy and was planning to end his drive by stopping at a restaurant for breakfast.
12.6.2005 6:09pm
Anon7:
Indeed, one of my good friends uses that exact strategy when he's upset about something: he'll hop in his car and drive for hours through the countryside using the isolation to sort things out.
12.6.2005 6:15pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"Anyone that uses their heritage as a trivial fop to attack others carelessly at the drop of a hat obviously considers it to be of pretty low worth, yes. It's phony and its affected. You might have been raised in Florida for all you care."

You are over reacting. You need to cut back on the caffeine.

By the way, we now have two stories from the good professor. First he was driving to breakfast. Then we get the added tidbit that he was taking a long, pre-dawn drive to "clear his mind".... blah, blah, etc, etc."

Sounds like the beginning of a really bad movie......

Start the "Deliverance" music, cut to the Kansas rednecks in standing in front of their 4x4 Chevy fullsize pickup with Confederate Battle Flag on the window and Christian Cross sticker on the front bumper——

"Boy you gotta pretty mouth, too bad it only wants to talk about that there evolution crap. I thinks me and my cousin here will punch you and hit you with a metal object. That'l learn you a lesson, city boy. (Thump, thump) Take that for Jesus, boy!!!"


By the way, wonder when the movie rights will be sold. You heard it here first!!!
12.6.2005 6:23pm
Colin:
"By the way, we now have two stories from the good professor. First he was driving to breakfast. Then we get the added tidbit that he was taking a long, pre-dawn drive to "clear his mind".... blah, blah, etc, etc."

How is that two different stories? I like to have meals at a dingy diner about twenty minutes away on foot. I enjoy the walk, and don't think about anything in particular. I think I could honestly describe that as both walking to dinner and clearing my head. But I can't imagine why I would feel compelled to characterize it as one, the other, or both, to anyone person who inquired why I was walking down that street at that time.

I'm honestly baffled by the strident insistence that a man hospitalized for blunt force trauma must have faked his attack for sympathy. It seems that some commenters are very eager to believe the worst about "ultra-liberals."
12.6.2005 6:40pm
Seamus (mail):

Start the "Deliverance" music, cut to the Kansas rednecks in standing in front of their 4x4 Chevy fullsize pickup with Confederate Battle Flag on the window and Christian Cross sticker on the front bumper



The Confederate Battle Flag? In Lawrence, Kansas? I don't think so. Doesn't anyone here remember why the University of Kansas team is known as the Jayhawks? These folks sound more like the spiritual descendents of old "Osawatomie" Brown.

That's assuming, of course, that they really exist. I'm afraid that so many apparent hate crimes have turned out to be hoaxes (some of which are noted by Clayton Cramer here -- to which I might add the cases of Tawana Brawley, Kerri Dunn (the professor at Claremont McKenna who claimed her car had been vandalized), and the French Jewish woman who claimed to have been attacked on the subway a couple of years back) that every time I hear of a new case, my first reaction is that of the villagers who heard the boy cry wolf one too many times. (Sure, Prof. Mirecki wasn't the one telling those earlier lies, but his story falls into an all-too-familiar pattern. If he's telling the truth, the liars who came before him have unfairly cause his story to be viewed with suspicion.)
12.6.2005 6:48pm
frankcross (mail):
saintknowitall, I grew up in Lawrence, KS
And the folks I grew up with are a lot more trusting than you. I used to drive the roads outside town a lot, and if somebody asked for help, I'd get out of the car and help them.

But you're right that Lawrence is a pretty diverse town, because of the university. And the conservative Christians in the state aren't so much rural rednecks as they are semi-affluent suburbanites.
12.6.2005 6:55pm
Fishbane:
Good lord. Mention an attack on someone people don't like and watch the quality of the discourse drop.

It appears that I really should stay in my commie loving, terrorist defending Brooklyn loft, if attorneys from other areas immediately start attempting to smear people who dare open their mouths.

Blog comment sections: the new libel sheets.

What Collin said: I'm honestly baffled by the strident insistence that a man hospitalized for blunt force trauma must have faked his attack for sympathy.
12.6.2005 7:00pm
gr (www):
"Then again, no matter how reprehensible beating someone up over their academics is, that guy sure sounds like a loud-mouthed jerk."

He sent an email....
12.6.2005 7:19pm
Hoya:
People get beat up, and I'm happy to believe the good professor so far as that goes. But that this prof happened to go on a long drive to clear his head, and then was recognized and set upon by thugs who mentioned the intelligent design controversy? Come on. Does anyone have a plausible hypothesis about how this could have developed in the way that the professor described it?
12.6.2005 9:04pm
tired of blogs:
Plausible hypothesis: he was followed from home.

But whatever. The truth is: unless there's a confession, we're never going to know what happened, and we're never going to have an account of what happened except from Mirecki. So there's no point in wondering, we've got all the evidence we'll ever have, and everybody's minds are already made up.
12.6.2005 9:42pm
Josh Jasper (mail):
"If they try to cover themselves under the mantle of being Christian or being Christian people, sorry Charlie," she said. "They're just thugs."


*cough*Galileo*cough*
12.6.2005 9:51pm
David Ross (mail) (www):
I've written on Mirecki's work before.

I find Mirecki's work to be biased but ethical. There were no hoaxes in the book I read, despite that I don't always agree with it. He might not be a gentleman (neither am I, confronted with that abuse of science known as I.D.) but he IS a scholar.

Besides, Mirecki has too much to lose for too trivial a cause. He is currently one of the most respected voices in the field of late Christian apocrypha. Someone like Morton Smith might do it for a theory on Christianity. But to do it for something that's not even in his field, like biology?

I'm with Fishbane. I'm seeing a lot of denial among the commenters here. It reminds me a lot of Muslim opinion post 9/11. Oh they deserved it. But it couldn't have been Muslims. The neocons rigged it...
12.6.2005 10:05pm
mikem (mail):
"What Collin said: 'I'm honestly baffled by the strident insistence that a man hospitalized for blunt force trauma must have faked his attack for sympathy.'"

Except he was not hospitalized. He had a 4 hour visit at the E-room. Pretty quick by my E-room experiences.
"Mirecki said he spent between three and four hours at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he received X-Rays and a CT scan."
12.6.2005 10:28pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Josh -

First, best wishes for your bronchitis.

Second, I don't think the person you quoted was saying Christians can't be thugs. I think she was saying that claiming Christianity doesn't excuse thuggish behavior.

On a related note, I'm pretty sure I've read from a number of reputable sources that the popularly accepted version of the Gallileo story bears little resemblance to what actually happened. Does anyone have a link that delves into this?

- AJ
12.6.2005 10:50pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
Colin, you wrote:


I'm honestly baffled by the strident insistence that a man hospitalized for blunt force trauma must have faked his attack for sympathy.


I think it's a matter of perception. I don't really see anyone (hardly anyone, anyway) "strident[ly] insisting" anything. I do see some people noting that some aspects of the good professor's story seem unlikely. Unlikely stories naturally give rise to speculation.

SaintKnowItAll, for example, bet a happy meal, not his life savings. That seems reasonable. I too believe that, while the professor was undoubtedly beaten up, to say it was related to his stand on ID, of all things, strikes me as unlikely.

- AJ
12.6.2005 10:59pm
Colin:
Fair enough, AJ.
12.6.2005 11:50pm
gwangung (mail):
I too believe that, while the professor was undoubtedly beaten up, to say it was related to his stand on ID, of all things, strikes me as unlikely.

On the other hand, it would have struck me as unlikely for elected members of a school board to deny something they said at a school board meeting that was heard by the audience and verified by two reporters at that meeting, or to perjure themselves about it in court.

Just goes to show you that all sorts of unlikely things can happen these days...
12.7.2005 12:37am
Josh Jasper (mail):

I think she was saying that claiming Christianity doesn't excuse thuggish behavior.


Christianity (the religion) excuses thuggish behavior all the time. Pat Robertson regularly gets on TV praying for god to kill entire regions of the US. You may not think being Christian excuses thuggush behavior, but a large number of Christians seem to disagree with you.

So, who gets to be right here? You, or the thugs? And by what standard are you being judged? God's? Who speaks for God? You or them?
12.7.2005 2:37am
Visitor Again:
How come no one duubted Eugene Volokh's tale of a phone call saying he was a Zionist pig for comparing Castro and Hitler. Everyone knows Eugene loves being the center of attention. It will be difficult to disprove his story, of course, but that just shows his clevernes, on which he prides himself.

Just kidding, Eugene.
12.7.2005 3:55am
Ofc. Krupke (mail) (www):

Christianity (the religion) excuses thuggish behavior all the time. Pat Robertson regularly gets on TV praying for god to kill entire regions of the US.

I wasn't aware that the whole doctrine of Christianity (the religion) is the sole and exclusive domain of Pat Robertson. Learn something new on the internets all the time.

Anyway, I wouldn't read too much into the inability of the prof to remember the model or color of the pickup truck. People's memory and perception during traumatic events can be tricky things. I get complainants all the time who can't even give a basic clothing description of the person who attacked them. Doesn't mean they weren't attacked.

Not to mention the fact that we're talking about a low-light situation here, and telling the color or type of vehicles isn't always accurate at night. We had a grocery store manager who gave us the plate from a guy who was stalking one of the store employees, and insisted the vehicle was a Honda. Dead certain, in fact. When we caught the guy later that night, the plate was exactly as he had said, but the car was a Toyota. Go figure.
12.7.2005 12:16pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
"You may not think being Christian excuses thuggush behavior, but a large number of Christians seem to disagree with you. "

Don't you think that is a little over the top? Why, I haven't beaten up an atheist at the direction of Pat Robertson in 3, maybe 4 months now. LOL
12.7.2005 2:34pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
" I'm seeing a lot of denial among the commenters here. It reminds me a lot of Muslim opinion post 9/11. Oh they deserved it. But it couldn't have been Muslims. The neocons rigged it..."

No denial on my part. If he was beaten, the perps need to be caught and punished. And I will bet a dozen donuts that they will be widely condemned by true Christians. NOTHING in the teaching of Jesus supports what they did. Period. (Take note of that Josh, although I would guess you were beaten with a Bible as a youngster given your dislike of all things Christian.)

Now, that is not to say that Jesus didn't wup a little you know what now and again (reference the money changers in the temple). It is very easy to claim that ones actions are due to the voice of G-d. But we all know that there is a very thin line between hearing the voice of G-d and hearing voices.
12.7.2005 2:43pm
Justin (mail):
Nobody has pointed out the fact that he wasn't robbed. In that context, it seems much more likely that he was beat up by "thugs" (remember, they're thugs just because they beat him up, its not like these people have been identified as a group of people who like to beat up everyone at random and put "thug" on their resume) because of the ID thing than because these "thugs" were bored.

I also note to write that my use of "thugs" was just to help those understand why the attack (given that it occured) is more plausible as a response to ID. I still think the attackers' actions are reprehensible.
12.7.2005 4:24pm
saintknowitall (mail) (www):
The latest from Lawrence:
"Mirecki lives in a subdivision about two miles south of the Lawrence campus. Given the time of day, around 6 a.m., and the place of Mirecki's residence, skeptics are hoping that the Douglas County Sheriffs ask Mirecki to which breakfast establishment he was driving. Most places open at that time of day and would be in Lawrence proper. Mirecki's trip to town is all along well-lit streets. "

Article
12.8.2005 12:28pm
Completely Random (mail):
Oops, guess no one's buying the good professor's story. His colleagues asked him to step down from his department's chair.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com /national/1110AP_Creationism_Professor.html

Actually, I didn't catch the part about him sending out nasty emails to people before claiming to get beat up. Before, I wasn't quite sure why someone would do something so stupid, but now, it looks to me like he had ample motive to try to make it appear as if any attempt to fire him for being a jackass was actually academic cowardice in the face of the Christian fascist juggernaut. If I'm thinking this, and his own colleagues share my theory, I guarantee the detective looking into his claims is taking a mighty close look at the good perfesser's story, and he's toast.
12.8.2005 1:46pm
plunge (mail):
"Oops, guess no one's buying the good professor's story. His colleagues asked him to step down from his department's chair."

Well you might have wanted to mention that the good Senator threatened to cut the department's funding unless he stepped down.

Now that's some pretty thuggish behavior on her part. Mirecki's email wasn't wise or with much tact, but it wasn't a publically broadcast opinion either: a conservative quietly waiting on the list decided he had hit paydirt as a way to drum up an attack. And, as it turns out, Mirecki's a Christian himself. Just not a creationist or fundamentalist.
12.8.2005 2:41pm
Completely Random (mail):
Oh no! I'm a Christian, too!

I must be in on it, I should have known better than to trust me...
12.8.2005 5:25pm
Small Town Dude:
Now why does this story of the psycho white male Christians remind me of the claims of that loony California prof a couple years ago who alleged her white Christian male students trashed her car ... and then witnesses tell police that she trashed her own car ... after (of course) their weekend-long white Christian heterosexual male bashing vigil and cosnciousness raising.

I do wonder why this web site is in such a hurry to imagine pickup-truck driving Christian killer thug stalkers (and to comment hte professor for blaming them) when the alleged victim, with his loopy "slap in the face" stuff is clearly a bit unhinged AND publicity-hungry. We small town gentiles are not frothing at the mouth, Doc. But we do make an easy target for cosmopolitans, intelligentsia andd professors. Sort of a traditional blood libel ... only in reverse.
12.9.2005 1:34am