Thursday, December 01, 2005


Second KU Class to Take Up ID and Creationism

Lost in the furor over the class religious studies professor Paul Mirecki will teach next semester, "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design and Creationism," is the fact that John Hoopes, an associate professor of Anthropology at KU, will tackle both intelligent design and creationism in a class to be taught next fall called, "Archaeological Myths and Realities."

Hoopes, a Harvard PhD., has included creation science as part of the Myths and Realities course, a principal course in the area of Historical Studies, in the past. In the fall 2006, he will also address intelligent design for the first time.

Myths and Realities, says Hoopes, is an outgrowth of a course he helped to develop at Harvard called, "Fantastic Archeology."

"The principal objective," Hoopes told RSR via e-mail, "is to assist students in developing skills at critical thinking using case studies concerning the ancient past." To do this, Hoopes and the class will examine issues about the past that can be investigated through the methods and theories of archaeology and anthropology.

Critical thinking skills developed in the class will help students discern, when a new theory is introduced, whether it represents a revolutionary new idea or a pseudoscience that appeals primarily to the gullible and uninformed?

The course, says Hoopes, will deal with many different manifestations of pseudoscience, such as the rhetoric of Christian fundamentalists, The Raelian Movement, whose model of intelligent design is based upon direct conversations with extraterrestrials, and the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, whose "science" derives from J.Z. Knight's channelling of the spirit of a 35,000-year-old warrior from the lost continent of Lemuria, among others.

One issue that particularly concerns Hoopes is the issue of religious tolerance.

"The reality is that a society tolerant of fundamental Christianity," says Hoopes, "must also be tolerant of relatively new religious movements, such as Mormonism and The Raelian Movement. Many evangelical Christians," adds Hoopes, "don't even acknowledge the Mormons as Christians."

"The practice of science will be seriously weakened if the skills of critical thinking are lost," believes Hoopes.


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