The Goal of the “Darwin’s Dilemma” Lawsuit

WHEN we wrote about the “Darwin’s Dilemma” Lawsuit, we assumed that it was a relatively minor contract dispute case. But the public relations offensive surrounding this litigation is causing us to re-think the situation. We now suspect that it represents a major piece of strategy for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).

If you’re already familiar with the facts you can skip over the next two indented paragraphs:

BACKGROUND: A lawsuit filed by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) charges that the California Science Center (CSC) violated both the First Amendment and a contract to rent its theater when it canceled a screening of Darwin’s Dilemma. The AFA is an outfit promoting the controversy about evolution — in the interest of what they call “academic freedom.” The film they wanted to show is being heavily hyped by the Discoveroids. The theater owner getting sued is the California Science Center, which cancelled a contract for showing the film, alleging that a Discoveroid press release violated a contract clause requiring their prior approval of all promotional materials.

The AFA alleges that the contract violation was a “false pretext” for cancellation of the screening contract. It’s really discrimination and a violation of the First Amendment, thus a violation of the AFA’s constitutional rights. The National Center for Science Education has all the court pleadings available online. See: American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.

What’s this case really all about? Why is the AFA making such a big fuss about not showing a film at one location, when they turned around and showed it at another? What does this do for the cause of the creationists?

Here’s how we see it. First, the Discoveroids know that they have no science. Second, since the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, they realize they can no longer maintain the pretense that Intelligent Design is anything other then raw creationism. Yet they persevere. Why? Well, their benefactors keep funding them, so it’s a comfortable living. But they also have an additional trick or two left to play.

Recall that the Discoveroids’ founding mastermind is Philip E. Johnson: Godfather of Intelligent Design. Recall further that their goal, as revealed in Johnson’s Wedge Document, is social revolution. See: Intelligent Design: It’s Not About Science.

So what’s going on here? We suspect that the Discoveroids’ game has morphed again. Now the plan is to use the Bill of Rights — as leftists have done for the last couple of generations with spectacular success — to wedge their way into the media, academia, and ultimately into the law of the land. To do that they need court precedents establishing the “right” to promote their nonsense in all public facilities. The California Science Center happens to be a convenient target.

With that purpose in mind, consider the latest Discoveroid blog article: California Senate Minority Leader Launches Probe into California Science Center’s Alleged Violations of First Amendment Rights. It’s by John West, who says, with bold added by us:

California Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth has sent a letter to the California Science Center (CSC) requesting documents related to the Center’s cancellation of a screening last October of the pro-intelligent design documentary “Darwin’s Dilemma.” The screening was sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), a private group that had rented the Center’s IMAX theater.

Isn’t that nice? The Discoveroids have a creationist dupe in the California legislature to do their bidding. Let’s read on:

“The constitutional implications of [the California Science Center’s] actions are concerning” wrote Senator Hollingsworth in the letter, citing various court decisions protecting private parties against viewpoint discrimination. “It is fundamental that when a governmental entity or sub-unit (such as CSC) opens its facilities as a public forum, it is not constitutionally permissible to censor speech based on viewpoint or content.”

See how the game is being played? The claim is that creationists — and presumably astrologers, flat-earthers, moon-landing deniers, etc. — have a constitutional right to spew their nonsense at all governmental facilities. In due course that “right” will be pushed in the schools.

Does the Constitution give them that right? Maybe it does. The answer, of course, is to have no such governmental facilities, but very few people think like that any more (which is why we’re such a Curmudgeon).

Anyway, we continue with West’s blog article:

“The California Science Center’s assault on free speech should alarm everyone,” said Casey Luskin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs for the Discovery Institute. “If the government can ban a private group from renting a public auditorium to show a film favoring intelligent design, it can ban private groups from showing films in support of Darwin’s theory. Where does it stop?

Most impressive! West is quoting Casey Luskin.

But wait — it get’s better! The Discoveroids have managed to coordinate their publicity with another creationist organ. In WorldNetDaily — the rag of all rags — in a section they call “EVOLUTION WATCH,” we read Lawmaker demands answers over museum censorship. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

[AFA] officials said they believe their lawsuit is the first since 2005 to focus specifically on the public’s right to learn about intelligent design.

“AFA’s lawsuit alleges that the museum violated its First Amendment rights by caving in to demands within the scientific and academic communities to deny Intelligent Design a public forum for discussion,” the organization’s announcement said.

Here’s one more excerpt from WorldNetDaily:

His [Hollingsworth’s] letter requests copies of “all documents” that address the dispute, including papers or e-mails that reference intelligent design, the Discovery Institute, the American Freedom Alliance and other topics.

That’s just goofy. The AFA is already in court. They have the full range of discovery procedures available to them. They don’t need the help of a creationist in the legislature to get the documents they want. But as silly as Hollingsworth’s letter may be, it’s nevertheless useful. We like knowing who’s on the side of the creationists.

So there you are. The latest phase of the Discoveroids’ long-range campaign to wedge creationism — and ultimately theocracy — into mainstream American thinking is well underway. As Philip Johnson knows, there are precedents for this kind of generations-long effort.

There was once a time when trade unions were regarded as conspiracies in restraint of trade. There was a time when leftists were regarded as a danger to the republic, like anarchists and other crazed radicals. Now unions, leftists, and assorted counter-culture movements have achieved a place in the establishment.

The Discoveroids’ goal is to follow that proven path to accomplish the same for their own purposes. So although we originally thought this litigation was no big deal, we’ve changed our mind. We now see it as the start of a new campaign for the Discoveroids. We’ll be watching this with heightened interest.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “The Goal of the “Darwin’s Dilemma” Lawsuit

  1. Its wonderful to see the strategy of The Big Lie in action. The weaker one’s case, the more BS you have to spew to support it. These guys don’t stand a chance in court, but they’ll be sure to make it a victory. One way or another.

  2. Albanaeon says: “These guys don’t stand a chance in court …”

    Don’t bet on it.

  3. In due course that “right” will be pushed in the schools.

    I don’t believe schools are considered open forums, so I wouldn’t think victory in this case advances the cause of teaching their nonsense in high school science classes.

    This is more one of those “heads I win-tails you lose” deals. If the movie went forward at the CSC, they get to bask in the reflected glow of real scientific achievement. If the showing gets cancelled, as it did, they get to scream “Expelled!!.” In either case, it adds a little wow factor to their end-of-year performance review with their funders.

  4. I am of the opinion that this is an excellent opportunity for he Discovery institute to get itself knocked on the head again – and again, as in the DOVER case, get that head-knock in federal court.

    Note the name of the challenged institution: “California SCIENCECenter” (emphasis added).

    It is neither the California PSEUDO-SCIENCE Canter, nor the California RELIGIOUS BELIEFS Center. It is a SCIENCE canter; and, as such, was founded and is operated (and funded) for the propagation of science information to the public.

    Let the Idiots bring it into court for not showing their fantasy film and they will be putting themselves in the position of having to demonstrate – in open court, to a federal judge (in time) that ID is science.

    And this is where they will be cutting their own throats. Even the most casual reading of the DOVER transcript and the subsequent ruling make it clear that this cannot be done. ID is not science, cannot be demonstrated to be science, can not be successfully argued to be science.

    The best strategy for the CSC and the defenders of science education is to not resist this case, not try and get it dismissed or somehow buried – but, rather, to go with it and work hard to see that the whole matter is played out to the end in court.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    Let it be applied as fully and frequently as possible to the open sore that is ID

  5. Whilst I enjoy your site and find its content by turns amusing, stimulating and horrifying, the constant references to “leftists” makes me choke.

    Try bearing in mind that this blog reaches a global audience, and that it is only Americans who, with their off-the-back-of-a-cerial box understanding of politics, cannot differentiate between Socialism as it is practiced across all of Europe, and the brand of Communism favoured by stalin. Just for once try to understand that McCarthy and J E Hoover were idiots and twats. Your best presidents and politicians, like Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson and FDR were all, at heart, socialists.

    So please save the swipes at “leftists”. They sound so hollow when it is your country that is mired ina theocratic war, whereas in Europe we shrugged off this insanity a long long time ago.

    Rant over…. now lets get back to kicking the ID Dimwits in the face eh?

  6. Sandman says:

    Whilst I enjoy your site and find its content by turns amusing, stimulating and horrifying, the constant references to “leftists” makes me choke.

    I’m delighted that you enjoy the site, but — perhaps like you — I’m unlikely to change my thinking about politics and economics. I hope that you’ll continue to tolerate my Curmudgeonly eccentricities.

  7. Update on this case …

    As you know, the Discovery Institute sued the California Science Center for documents in re: AFA v. CSC. Disco is convinced that CSC isn’t telling the whole story.

    In an amusing turn of events, the CSC filed a motion “to compel further production of documents” from the AFA, on May 6. I haven’t downloaded that particular series of papers, so I can’t offer any more specifics.

  8. rubble says:

    I haven’t downloaded that particular series of papers, so I can’t offer any more specifics.

    From the title, it looks like a routine discovery motion. Probably not a big deal.