Yes, dear reader, the scourge of VD — that’s our abbreviation for “viewpoint discrimination” — is everywhere. Fortunately, there are those who struggle to cleanse this blight from our fair land.
Leading in this holy crusade against VD is none other than Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. He has written a fine essay which appears at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Casey’s Should it Matter that the California Science Center was “Unaware of the Nature of the Groups Involved”? Casey says, with bold font added by us:
In a prior post, I noted that California Science Center (CSC) vice president Christina Sion wrote regarding the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) that “the main problem is that it is an anti-Darwin/creationist group.” This is clear evidence of viewpoint discrimination by the CSC in its decision to cancel the AFA’s screening of Darwin’s Dilemma.
Okay, before we get to Casey’s latest evidence of VD, we want to be sure we’re all together here in order to appreciate what Casey’s talking about — it’s what we’ve been calling the “Darwin’s Dilemma Exhibition Case.” Our last post on this topic was Blood in the Water? In addition to that movie trailer linked at the top of this post, the next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:
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 includes appearances by Richard von Sternberg, Jonathan Wells, and Stephen Meyer, all “senior fellows” with the Discovery Institute, discussing that the Cambrian “explosion” is evidence of intelligent design.
The theater owner getting sued is the California Science Center, which canceled a contract for showing the film, alleging that a Discoveroid press release (which the Science Center hadn’t approved) violated a contract clause requiring their prior approval of all promotional materials. Technically, although two Discoveroid “senior fellows” were scheduled to conduct a discussion session after the showing of the film, the Discovery Institute wasn’t a party to the exhibition agreement.
Thus there’s an issue as to whether the unauthorized publicity sent out by the Discovery Institute gave the Science Center grounds to cancel the contract. It’s also an issue whether the Discovery Institute was working so closely with the AFA (the plaintiff) that their unauthorized publicity notices were issued with the AFA’s knowledge and tacit consent, breaching the contract.
The AFA alleges that the contract violation was a “false pretext” for cancellation of the exhibition contract. It’s really discrimination and a violation of the First Amendment, thus a violation of the AFA’s constitutional rights. The Science Center thinks this is a contract case; the AFA is treating it as a civil rights case.
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has all the court pleadings available online. See: American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.
We’ve written before about some of Casey’s shocking findings of VD in this case. See Discovery Institute Finds “Viewpoint Discrimination”. Let’s continue with Casey’s latest blog article:
More evidence [of VD] comes in an e-mail from Joe DeAmicis, CSC’s [that’s the California Science Center] vice president of marketing, to CSC curator Ken Phillips. DeAmicis implies that had the museum known of “the nature of the groups,” they might have acted differently:
Oooooooh! What did Casey find? Warning: What comes next is a Discoveroid quote. We always advise that all creationist quotes should be carefully checked, both for accuracy and for context. We haven’t done that here, so we’re giving you Casey’s “quote” in the raw:
[Casey’s quote:] This screening event was booked through the Events Dept., and they were unaware of the nature of the groups involved. It has come to Jeff’s attention and he is “working on it.” That’s about all I know.
Powerful stuff, huh? It looks like a very advanced case of VD. Here’s what Casey says about it:
Why should it matter to CSC staff that CSC’s events department was “unaware of the nature of the groups involved”? It matters because no one there likes intelligent design (ID) and no one wants to be caught appearing sympathetic to ID; if they weren’t aware of the pro-ID nature of the groups involved, then they can plead ignorance to their friends who were angry about the event. In this culture of intolerance, the rule is this: don’t get caught anywhere near ID.
Wowie! We’re impressed! Let’s read on:
This is a textbook example of viewpoint discrimination. In the primary case where the U.S. Supreme Court explained the jurisprudence of viewpoint discrimination, Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches School District, a public school district in New York refused repeated requests from a religious group that sought to rent district facilities for after-hours use.
That’s an interesting case. You can read about it here: in this Wikipedia write-up. They provide a link to the actual decision, if you want to read it.
Of course, even if Casey has found evidence of the Science Center’s negative attitude about creationism, it’s irrelevant. The key issue in this case is whether the exhibition contract was breached by unauthorized publicity. As we’ve said before (see our 03 Sep ’10 Update), if the Science Center was justified in considering the contract breached, it wouldn’t matter if they were happy to cancel the show, nor would it matter why they were happy. If you want still more of our thinking on VD in general, see The Rational Necessity of Viewpoint Discrimination.
So the Darwin’s Dilemma Exhibition Case continues. Our last information was that there’s a post-mediation conference set for 29 October 2010. Our guess is that mediation will fail to resolve this litigation. That’s because one side (the Science Center) sees it as a simple breach of contract case and the other side is presenting itself as a civil rights victim of VD. The trial is set for 13 June 2011.
Update: See Discovery Institute: Could They Win in Court?
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