[Updated links 30nov05:
[From a colleague:] The University of Kansas is flexing its anti-religion muscle again, this time by announcing the introduction of a new course in the Religion department: “Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies.”
To be taught by a professor of religion, no scientists allowed. God forbid that the students would hear both sides of a controversy presented in their strongest terms by experts.
When protestations arise from those who sense a somewhat disengenuous linking of ID (or creationism) with Mythology, the Provost self-righteously says, “The course title is not meant to offend any religion or belief, KU Provost David Shulenburger said Tuesday. He explained in a written statement that Ã¢â‚¬Å“mythÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“mythologyÃ¢â‚¬Â are common in the academic study of religion.”
Right. They know well how to manipulate with slippery terms… they’ve had plenty of practice with “evolution.”
It’s this kind of activity that should stir some legislators to question the extent to which Kansas taxpayers should be funding State-spoonsored faith-bashing.
I have a solution: Let them change the name to “Creationism, Evolutionism and Other Relligious Mythologies.” Now THAT’S a little more balanced.
PS. A very telling comment from Boo Tyson of the Mainstream Coalition (a political action group in Kansas City set up to ‘out’ political candidates with hidden, right-wing agendas): “I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a sign of weak faith to try to prove your faith.Ã¢â‚¬Â So any faith based in fact is a weak faith; the more the objective evidence supports your belief system, the more illigical it is to embrace it. Facts are the enemy of faith. Now that’s a sign of the times.
Use of Ã¢â‚¬ËœmythologiesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ questioned
Intelligent design backers criticize KU course title
By LAURA BAUER
The Kansas City Star
November 23, 2005
Months before a University of Kansas religion course is even taught, its title has riled some who say the school is acting the spoil sport in the evolution debate.
The course, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies,Ã¢â‚¬Â will be offered next semester. The goal, university officials say, is to open students up to the many cross-cultural stories of how the world was created.
Those in the intelligent design camp believe it is just KUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s way of degrading the concept. Intelligent design is the belief that some aspects of nature show evidence of being designed by a creator.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All of a sudden, just from the title, intelligent design is being put in there with mythology,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Bruce Simat, an associate biology professor at MinnesotaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Northwestern College, who testified on behalf of intelligent design at Kansas hearings in May.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reactionary. I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defensive. I think they are unwilling to study intelligent design head-on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
For months, Kansas has been embroiled in controversy over what the state should teach its children in the science classroom. Earlier this month, the state board of education adopted new standards that allow for nonnatural explanations and cast doubt on Charles DarwinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s theory of evolution.
The course title is not meant to offend any religion or belief, KU Provost David Shulenburger said Tuesday. He explained in a written statement that Ã¢â‚¬Å“mythÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“mythologyÃ¢â‚¬Â are common in the academic study of religion.
The course will accommodate as many as 120 students. They will be introduced to many different creation stories and be able to make up their own minds on what they believe, university officials say.
What worries John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of Johnson CountyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Intelligent Design Network, is whether the course instructor will be educated in the science behind intelligent design.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ People will be misled and buy the lie,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calvert said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But the public is going to see whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not all fools. Misinformation has a finite life.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But some, in addition to faculty members at KU, think the class is a good thing.
Boo Tyson of the Mainstream Coalition said she likes that the topic is being taught in a religion curriculum.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It may be right way to go about this. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s have this discussion in religion classes,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tyson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think creationism or intelligent design belongs in a science classroom. I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a sign of weak faith to try to prove your faith.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tyson said that after the course, students should be able to decide for themselves where they fall in the debate.
The nonpartisan coalition, based in Johnson County, works to maintain the separation of church and state.
Shulenburger said the course allows the university to fulfill its obligation to the community and students.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My concern is that our faculty feels free to go to their disciplines and teach from them on any subject,Ã¢â‚¬Â Shulenburger said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Regardless of the controversy associated with it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
To reach Laura Bauer, call (816) 234-7743 or send e-mail to email@example.com.