Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Paul Mirecki Beating: Hoax or Reality

I'm intrigued by the Paul Mirecki beating case. Mirecki claims he was beaten by two men on a rural road early on Dec. 12. He claims the men made references to a class he planned to teach at the University of Kansas regarding Intelligent Design, which he believes is hogwash.

The intriguing aspects is that while Mirecki unquestionably sports bruises, he does not seem to be able to recall where the attack took place. This article in the Lawrence Journal-World on Dec. 7 states:
Key facts about the reported attack remained unclear Tuesday, including exactly where it happened. A report released by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the location was "unknown" and listed it as south of 31st Street on either East 1400 Road or East 1500 Road.
Lawrence, Kansas is a fairly small community of about 80,000. According to Yahoo Maps, Dr. Mirecki lives less than 3 miles for his office at the University of Kansas. The roads mentioned are not on the direct route from Dr. Mirecki's home to his office. For Dr. Mirecki not to be able to identify the road on which the attack took place seems illogical.

On Dec. 10, the LJW printed a story in which Mirecki threatens to sue the University of Kansas for not supporting his free speech rights and, so he claims, forcing him to resign as head of the religious studies department. (He continues to be a tenured professor.) He also expresses his displeasure with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
"The University penalized me and denied me my Constitutionally protected right to speak and express my mind," he wrote in a statement prepared for the newspaper. "I've become radioactive and the University's administrators won't support me."
He appears to be speaking his mind quite freely. I don't see how the university's administration has a responsibility to support him. The Constitution protects us from the government infringing on our free speech rights. It doesn't say it has to agree with us. Common sense tells us that if we say a few choice words at our place of employment we will be job hunting the next day, whether our employer is governmental or not.

This more recent article has a Mirecki of Mirecki with his two black eyes and a bruise on his arm. When playing basketball in high school, I collected two black eyes for each of the four years I played. Fighting for rebounds can be rough. I had a friend in college black both of his eyes by landing in the water wrong from the five meter diving platform. While Mirecki's wounds are painful, they don't look that bad.

The earlier article explains that Mirecki planned his college course to discredit Intelligent Design.
Mirecki, the chairman of the religious studies department, caused an uproar recently with his remarks on the Internet about an upcoming course in which he planned to teach intelligent design as mythology. He said the class would be a "slap" in the "big fat face" of religious fundamentalists.

In the later article, Mirecki also paints this as a battle against the right:
"The University has a duty, as a protector of intellectual honesty and debate, to support its teaching staff when controversial issues are raised," Mirecki said. "Now those on the right are emboldened and feel they can take this a step higher.
He hardly sounded like someone interested in "intellectual honesty" in his earlier comments.

The pieces of this puzzle don't fit together. A simple Google search produces results of numerous hoaxes, some true, some not. People create hoaxes and lie for God knows what reason. What really happened in Lawrence, Kansas on the morning of December 6 still remains to be seen, but I'm very curious.

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