Thursday, July 10, 2008
A Letter to the President of the University of Minnesota, Morris
I write to you in support of Professor Paul Myers, a man who I have known through various forms of correspondence over many years.
I know him to be a passionate and more than capable teacher, as he has been exceedingly generous with his time and knowledge and I have learned much from him during that time. I know him to be a man of staunch moral principles and, while I have disagreed with him on some of his stands, he has never left me with the slightest doubt that the notion of harming any of his fellow human beings is utterly abhorrent to him.
It is inevitable that such men as Dr. Myers will engender enmity from those in our society who view knowledge and freedom of thought only as a danger and who think that all but their moral code must be stamped out. Such are the people who have initiated the present writing campaign against Dr. Myers. Those people are as much enemies of the university and what it stands for as they are of Dr. Myers. It would be ironic indeed if the university was chivvied by these people into aiding in its own destruction by targeting Dr. Myers.
I urge you in the strongest possible terms to ignore this ugly campaign against Dr. Myers and to continue to support him with the full weight and resources of the university he has served so well to date.
Very truly yours,
John T. Pieret, Esq.
(Address and Phone #)
In all seriousness, this is a very nice letter. Well done.
Not that my letter was going to be that kindergarten, but still. Feels that way compared to yours... beautiful, sir!
I also can't imagine anyone taking the time to write, stamp, and mail the kind of hate mail that he descrbies, so he could be referring to something from his comments section.
However, the Catholic League's letter does not call for his resignation or firing, but does point out a rule that the university has concerning faculty publications and that PZ's blog is linked from his profile on the university website. This brings us back to the old issue of the proper place of the personal views of faculty at universities. Thus, if I correctly understand the technical issues, then this could be solved, only in a technical sense I should add, by PZ removing the link to his blog from the university website. Again, I don't know the technical issues there.
I'm a senior at a New England liberal arts college with no religious affiliation, but if someone were to take a religious symbol from a ceremony and desecrate it on school grounds, it would probably count as what my school calls a "bias incident", for lack of a better term.
All that said, if I were a college applicant interested in science and biology, (I'm an IR major) I have to say in all honesty that I would probably rule out the University of Minnesota, not because he's an atheist, but because of the sheer depth and intensity of his contempt for any religious beliefs whatsoever. I know that he has said that he keeps his personal views out of the classroom, but I can't see how someone with his level of contempt for certain ideas can avoid projecting that contempt onto individuals who hold said ideas.