Late last year, following the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to treat evolution as a disputed theory in elementary and middle school classrooms, Paul Mirecki, a professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas, announced plans to teach a counter-course: "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and other Religious Mythologies." Soon after that, the trouble started.

After comments Mirecki made about the course on a private listserv were made public in late November, the university reevaluated the class. "The fundies," Mirecki wrote of religious conservatives on Nov. 19, 2005, to a university group he advises, the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, "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 [of] mythology."

Mirecki apologized for the comments and withdrew the course on Dec. 1,...

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