Cold Case Kansas

| 33 Comments

The Douglas County Sheriff is closing the case of Mirecki’s beating because they can’t find any leads.

The trail has gone cold in the investigation of a roadside beating reported late last year by a Kansas University professor.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lt. Kari Wempe said Thursday that detectives had finished their paperwork related to religious studies professor Paul Mirecki’s report that he was beaten by two unknown men on Dec. 5, 2005, on a roadside south of Lawrence.

The office has not identified any suspects and, unless any new leads come in, the investigation is finished.

At the time, Mirecki was under fire for comments he had posted online critical of organized religion.

Now back when Mirecki was assaulted some pundits claimed that he had staged the beating. Given that the case has closed without any charges filed, it would appear that those pundits owe Mirecki an apology.

Hopefully, Pianka and the Texas Academy of Science are still watching their backs.

33 Comments

Given that the case has closed without any charges filed, it would appear that those pundits owe Mirecki an apology.

I’m not holding my breath.

Wait, what? I don’t follow your line of reasoning: How does not having any suspects negate critics’ claims that there were really no suspects?

Reed,

I share Sounder’s reaction. I was uncertain about this case, and certainly considered the possibility that Mirecki staged it.

The cops found no suspects. PZMyers and others claimed that redneck Christians did it. Does Myers owe ‘redneck Christians’ an apology?

In sum, the cops didn’t find enough evidence to pursue the case, and everyone is free to speculate and blame whomever they like. Unsatisfying, but certainly no cause for apologies.

Sounder: When attacks or kidnappings or the like are staged, it’s usually pretty easy for the authorities to figure it out. I recall a couple of college or high school girls recently faking kidnappings. Anyway, the critics claimed he staged it, but if he did, the cops probably would have filed charges against him by now, for making false claims (I don’t know the correct term).

MP: “Usually”? How do you know that? Fraudulent claims go by almost daily that are never proven by the cops. Ask my dad, who works in insurance.

Bottom line, we don’t know anything about whether this story is true or false.

Presumably, if the cops suspected that the beating was staged, the Professor would have been questioned along these lines, to say the least. In fact, he probably would have been pressured quite forcefully to confess. If the beating was staged, either it was done with such skill that the cops (who quite likely know exactly what a real beating should look like) never so suspected, or the Professor was so questioned and pressured and has not revealed such, and there was no leak of these suspicions of fraud from officials. I find these to be highly unlikely scenarios.

“Filing a false report” is the correct lingo, I believe.

Reed A. Cartwright Wrote:

Given that the case has closed without any charges filed, it would appear that those pundits owe Mirecki an apology.

I fail to see why anyone is owed an apology here. The fact that no criminal charges have been filed simply means that there is insufficient evidence of any crime having been committed by anyone.

Could an assault have occurred? Sure - but apparently there isn’t enough credible evidence for it. Could the report have been willfully fabricated? Sure - but apparently there isn’t enough credible evidence for that either.

Unless new evidence surfaces, neither possibility has been eliminated. Our legal system is far from perfect. And given the nature of the situation, I suspect this is the end of it.

At the time, police seized Mirecki’s computer. Does anyone know if they have returned it, and offered any explanation or apology for the seizure?

Could an assault have occurred? Sure - but apparently there isn’t enough credible evidence for it.

Correction. There hasn’t been enough credible evidence to identify and/or indict the perpetrators. There’s been no credible evidence - that I’m aware of - to support the ID punditocracy’s accusation that Mirecki staged or faked the assault. Reed’s post makes that scenario seem even less likely than it did before.

But that’s OK. The gentlemen who made the accusations about Mirecki faking, or staging, or lying about the assault in the first place are not going to be convinced by anything short of the signed confessions, accompanied by the notarized IDEA club membership cards, of the perpetrators. Fortunately, the opinions of said gentlemen are not taken seriously by anyone worth worrying about.

Posted by Esq2eB (anonymous) on April 24, 2006 at 12:17p.m. to the Lawrence Journal-World (Suggest removal)

It’s a hoax. Just like evolution.

But based on special inside information, PT reserves judgment.

Considering the type of abuse Eric Pianka has been subject to, including death threats, I have to say I am now significantly less skeptical of the Mirecki beating incident than I used to be.

At the time, it was to my knowledge the only instance in which anti-evolution activism was alleged to be linked to violence, and I thought it was appropriate to reserve judgement.

However, seeing the extremes some cowards reached - in plain sight - with Pianka, and even some of his innocent students, makes Mirecki’s story seem rather plausible.

The “theory” of intelligent design can accommodate the possibility that the unnamed, unembodied designer beat him up. So if schools ever legitimized ID by teaching it, there would be no reason to expend any effort to match the “pathetic level of detail” in modern crimefighting.

The “theory” of intelligent design can accommodate the possibility that the unnamed, unembodied designer beat him up. So if schools ever legitimized ID by teaching it, there would be no reason to expend any effort to match the “pathetic level of detail” in modern crimefighting.

Hehhehheh. And still Dembski loves to compare his Explanitory Filter with forensic science.

For being a liberal bastion in the midwest and all that, Douglas County law enforcement is as good ol’ boy dominated as any bible belt police force you’d care to name.

I’d be really surprised to find out that any substantial resources were expended in this investigation.

Then again, the most dedicated police force in the world would have a pretty hard time conclusively identifying someone based on the criterion “a redneck driving a pickup in Kansas.” There are more than a few.

I’m curious as to how many death threats have been made in the name of evolution…

I’m guessing the number causes problems when you attempt to divide by it, myself.

A rather stark contrast between the methods deemed acceptable by the two movements. Though, to be fair, the fact that I’ve even typed the words “death threats” means Dembski will probably report me to the feds now.

Mirecki’s story was very fishy — he said that he stopped on a lonely stretch of road very early in the morning to confront people who had been tailgating him. It seems that a normal person would not take that kind of risk. So I think that the fishiness of the story led to speculation — sometimes frivolous — that the beating was staged. However, though Mirecki is a nutcase ( this is the guy who posted on a semi-public Internet forum that his new course on ID and creationism would be a “nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies” ), I don’t think he would go that far. I think that kind of stuff is just in the movies — like where a crook paid to be beaten up so that he could charge Dirty Harry with police brutality ( Dirty Harry saw pictures of the guy’s injuries and denied the charge by saying, “I would have done a better job”)

I don’t know HOW you could determine Mirecki’s story was fishy given that you’re not particularly accurate on either the motivation of normal people or the facts concerning Mirecki.

GIGO.

E. Bergen Wrote:

Mirecki’s story was very fishy — he said that he stopped on a lonely stretch of road very early in the morning to confront people who had been tailgating him. It seems that a normal person would not take that kind of risk.

I would. Some of us are very unaccustomed to worrying about the threat of physical violence. That’s what happens when you spend all your time hanging with pansy liberal atheists, I guess.

It does seem quite clear that he was genuinely attacked, between his bruises and the failure of the police to charge him with filing a false report. I also would like to know why they confiscated his computer. I wonder if any reporters have asked?

However, though Mirecki is a nutcase ( this is the guy who posted on a semi-public Internet forum that his new course on ID and creationism would be a “nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies” )

The truth is always slap in the face of fundies. Dispensing truth for the purposes of slapping down a growing problem of religious fundamentalism is a noble goal. Perhaps he showed poor judgement by allowing his comments into the public record, by I don’t think that qualifies Mirecki as a “nutcase.”

I don’t intend to speak for Reed, but I think that an apology owed may be for blowing the entire situation out of context. The comment made was one sentence out of a six paragraph Email. It was this overzealous witch hunt that led directly to the beating.

Sounder Said:

“Usually”? How do you know that? Fraudulent claims go by almost daily that are never proven by the cops. Ask my dad, who works in insurance.

Bottom line, we don’t know anything about whether this story is true or false.

I said:

When attacks or kidnappings or the like are staged, it’s usually pretty easy for the authorities to figure it out.…

In case I wasn’t clear enough, was only refering to fraudulent claims of physical attacks, or kidnappings, not things like theft, property damage, or worker’s comp, which I’m sure are prevalent, and much easier to get away with. Maybe Mirecki just wanted to go on disability. –(ok, just joking there)

Perhaps your dad can point me in the direction of statistics on how often people file police reports of physical attacks (without theft or property damage) or kidnapping, how often they go unsolved, how often they’re proven false, and what insurance usually pays out. Sounds fascinating.

W. Kevin Vickland: Thanks for filling me in.

“Unsatisfying, but certainly no cause for apologies.”

A typical conservative. Sure there must be apologies for unsubstantiated innuendo about Mirecki “staging” the incident. And of course there won’t be any.

So they’re confident that it happened, they just can’t indentify suspects? Okay, thanks for clarifying that.

And MP, I’ll see what I can get from him.

You know, they couldn’t ever find the Klansmen either… Amazing how things don’t change…

Russell Wrote:

Correction. There hasn’t been enough credible evidence to identify and/or indict the perpetrators.

Sorry sir, but it is you who must stand corrected. On what evidence do you conclude that there were “perpetrators” - of the type reported? In fact, on what evidence do you conclude that a crime was committed at all?

Answer - insufficient evidence. That’s why there were no criminal charges filed.

Look, you want to make this guy into some sort of martyr for your cause based on insufficient evidence - that’s your lookout.

It’s sad that folks like yourself feel such a need for corroboration that you have to create victims where there isn’t credible evidence for them. But it won’t be the first time for that sort of propaganda.

Googler Wrote:

In fact, on what evidence do you conclude that a crime was committed at all?

Answer - insufficient evidence. That’s why there were no criminal charges filed.

So you think that if there was strong evidence that a crime had been committed, but no suspects, criminal charges would still be filed?

How would that work, exactly, without someone to file them against?

And given that we and the police have seen Mirecki’s injuries, how exactly could a crime not have been committed here? Either Mirecki somehow faked them or got someone to punch him or something, and then filed a false report, or he was attacked as he said. Both are illegal.

Sure, Anton. WERE YOU THERE?

It’s sad that folks like yourself feel such a need for corroboration that you have to create victims where there isn’t credible evidence for them. But it won’t be the first time for that sort of propaganda.

Googler, let’s not be silly.

When someone shows up badly bruised and say they were beaten, people don’t automatically ask them to prove they did not stage the beating. Mirecki is entitled to the same treatment. The only possible reason to be cautious about Mirecki’s original account was that - to that point - the antievolution movement had never explicitly advocated violence (with the exception of the occasional whackjob like David Springer and the likes).

However, the Pianka affair showed not only there are a large number of anti-evolution folks out there who do not think twice about sending violent threats and abusive messages to their perceived opponents, but much more seriously that this attitude is implicitly condoned by the anti-evolution leaders who initiated and fomented the attack on Pianka, and who - quite astonishingly - have not felt it appropriate so far to publicly censor such behavior.

As I said before, in light of the viciousness of the attacks on Pianka and his students, there is little reason to doubt Mirecki’s account any more.

Sorry sir, but it is you who must stand corrected. On what evidence do you conclude that there were “perpetrators” - of the type reported? In fact, on what evidence do you conclude that a crime was committed at all? Answer - insufficient evidence. That’s why there were no criminal charges filed.

Ummm… somehow Mirecki was all battered and bruised. What am I concluding that you’re not??? You reserve the possibility that maybe he tripped, or was otherwise somehow a “crimeless victim”?

That’s just, well, not very intelligent.

Sorry sir, but it is you who must stand corrected. On what evidence do you conclude that there were “perpetrators” - of the type reported? In fact, on what evidence do you conclude that a crime was committed at all?

The same forensic evidence that underlies criminal cases everywhere. And the same that underlies science like evolution

Answer - insufficient evidence. That’s why there were no criminal charges filed.

Sorry, but that’s wrong from a legal POV. There was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against a particular individual (you did know that in order to file criminal charges, you had to specify them for an individual, right?).

Why are you so desperate to cast doubt on Mirecki?

moron Wrote:

Sorry sir, but it is you who must stand corrected. On what evidence do you conclude that there were “perpetrators” - of the type reported? In fact, on what evidence do you conclude that a crime was committed at all?

Sheesh. Trauma docs are trained in differentiating between accidental and and accidental or self-inflicted injuries. “Oh, I didn’t hit my baby, she fell and hit her head”. Or “my boyfriend didn’t hit me, I had an accident”.

Sheesh again. If the wounds had been self-inflicted, between the docs and the police he would’ve been found out.

So … he was beaten by someone. That’s a crime. QED.

Sheesh. Trauma docs are trained in differentiating between accidental and and accidental or self-inflicted injuries. “Oh, I didn’t hit my baby, she fell and hit her head”. Or “my boyfriend didn’t hit me, I had an accident”.

Perhaps not a good example. Googler and his ilk probably don’t believe in abuse; like with Mirecki, the “victim” probably just made it up in their eyes.

There is no reason to assume that a naturalistic agent was responsible for the assault. It would be rather more enlightening and logical to say that:

The assault was carried out by the mighty angels of God, oops, I meant the unknown Intelligent Designer, as an attempt to punish those who disagree with IDiocy.

The police must be lying, materialistic Darwinian atheists for not exposing this simple fact to the public. ID is being persecuted!!! We need some DONATIONS in here to support our cause!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on April 24, 2006 12:24 PM.

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