Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The continuing assault on academic freedom

After Paul Mirecki offered a course which lumped intelligent design in with other religious mythologies, he was beaten by two strangers who felt he was hostile to Christianity. Since then, he has had to step down as chair of his department. The police, alegedly investigating the crime against Mirecki, have confiscated his car and his computer. The Chancellor of his university called some of the statements he made about his course "vile." The right half of the internet is convinced that he beat himself up, their only evidence being that in the past in an unrelated case another academic vandalized her own car and blamed fundamentalists.

What has Mirecki done to earn all this abuse? His statements about intelligent design are simply fact: It is a mythology and not science. His ire toward fundamentalist Christianity is widely shared amongst academics, and indeed almost everyone who is not a fundamentalist themselves.

At this point I feel simply obligated to repeat the things that Mirecki has said, as a gesture of solidarity and because I think they are true:

Fundamentalist Christianity is irrational, bordering on being a form of group insanity. It promotes violence and intolerance. In this respect, it is no different than fundamentalist Islam. While I may have to tolerate the expression of intolerant views, I do not have to pretend I believe they are benign or a purely private matter.

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