University of Kansas officials agreed last week to drop a proposal for a religious-studies course on intelligent design and other views that run contrary to the theory of evolution. In doing so, they cited public furor over e-mails written by the professor who was expected to lead that course.
University officials said in a Dec. 1 statement that the school’s leadership had agreed to Associate Professor Paul Mirecki’s request to drop the course. Mr. Mirecki, who teaches in the religious-studies department, apologized earlier for a series of e-mails that were made public. They were dismissive of the views of those who question evolution for religious reasons.
In an earlier statement, he said those e-mails, which became public, were “ill advised” and “offensive.”
The decision not to offer the course came just weeks after the Kansas board of education, in one of several evolution-related controversies in the state in recent years, voted in favor of new state K-12 academic standards that describe certain aspects of the well-established scientific theory as controversial.
The university’s proposed semester-long course, Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design and Creationism, was scheduled to be offered to undergraduates and graduates. Intelligent design is the belief that an unspecified force may have guided life’s development; most scientists say it is not valid science.