The chair of the religious studies department at the University of Kansas was all set to teach a course this spring on intelligent design–and he blew it.
The professor was Paul Mirecki, and the course would have been called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies." Sounds provocative. 25 students had signed up in the two weeks since the course had been announced.
The problem was that Mirecki had been posting messages on Internet list servs, leading up to this one:
"To my fellow damned,
"Its true, the fundies have been wanting to get I.D. and creationism into the Kansas public schools, so I thought “why don’t I do it?”
"I will teach the class, with several other lefty KU professors in the sciences and humanities. Class is:
"REL 602 Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies….
"The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category “mythology.” I expect it will draw much media attention…."
The message was signed, "Evil Dr. P."
You can guess exactly what various "fundies" had to say in response. The university was caught in the middle. So much for REL 602. The school’s Provost, David Schulenburger, was quoted in the Lawrence Journal-World as saying, "The university is still committed to the course. At such time as we have appropriate faculty to teach it, it will be taught."