Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Idiot University of Kansas II

Paul Mirecki, the University of Kansas professor whose proposed course on intelligent design drew the wrath of religious fundamentalists, was beaten by two men yesterday morning. Mirecki was driving into work in the early morning when he noticed a truck tailgating him. When he pulled over, two men beat him on the head, shoulders and back with their fists, and possibly a metal object. Mirecki suffered cuts and bruises as well as a broken tooth. While he was being beaten, the two men assailants made reference to the intelligent design controversy.

In addition to his proposed course, Mirecki stirred up further controversy by referring to religious fundamentalists as "fundies" and that his proposed course would be “a nice slap in their big fat face.” Under pressure from the University of Kansas administration, Mirecki cancelled the class last week.

The troubling part of this story is that it appears violence -- verbal and physical -- is fast becoming a substitute for rational discourse. This should not be surprising, especially when the success of right wing talk shows on the radio and on Fox News is based not on the fact that hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly have better arguments, but are louder and more verbally aggressive than everyone else.

Milton believed in the self-righting principle of the marketplace of ideas -- that in a battle of truth versus falsehood, truth would win out. I wonder what Milton would think today.


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