This is a disturbing story about what we’ve been calling the Darwin’s Dilemma Exhibition Case. The actual case name is American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center, California Science Center Foundation, Jeffrey Rudolph, et al. It’s sometimes abbreviated AFA v. CSC.
Our last post on this case was “Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: It’s Settled!
This is — or was — a lawsuit filed by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), claiming that the California Science Center (CSC or “Science Center”) 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 (the “Discoveroids”), claiming that the Cambrian “explosion” is evidence of intelligent design.
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has many of the court pleadings available online. See: American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.
We were pleased to learn of the settlement, but we were left with an uneasy feeling about the situation. In the three weeks since then, there have been no news stories, no press releases by the Science Center, and nothing from the creationists either. That suggested to us that the settlement involved some kind of confidentiality agreement.
We were also concerned that Court was going to “retain jurisdiction over enforcement of the settlement agreement.” The usual settlement involves the payment of money and the exchange of releases. When that’s done the settlement agreement is filed with the court and there’s nothing left to supervise or enforce. We even speculated that the Science Center might have to exhibit the creationist film as part of the settlement. But we didn’t know, and the situation was creepy.
It appears that our concerns were justified — according to 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).
The Discoveroids’ newest article is California Science Center Pays $110,000 to Settle Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The state-run California Science Center (CSC) has paid $110,000 to settle a lawsuit by American Freedom Alliance (AFA) against CSC for violating AFA’s First Amendment free speech rights to advocate intelligent design (ID). As part of the settlement, the CSC also has invited AFA to present the ID event it previously cancelled.
M’god! That’s our worst-case scenario! Let’s read on:
“This is an historic victory for the ID movement,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and policy analyst with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “The First Amendment forbids government preference for one viewpoint over another, yet evidence disclosed in this case shows the CSC, Smithsonian Institution, and LA County Museum of Natural History attempted to stifle dissent from Darwinism. The result was illegal state-sponsored suppression of protected speech.”
There’s more to the Discoveroid article — click over there and read it if you like. Here’s one last excerpt in which the Discoveroids quote one of their people who, exhibiting the elegance and grace we’ve come to expect from creationists, says:
This case warns bullies in the Darwin Lobby there will be consequences for trying to suppress free speech on evolution.
That’s all we’ve got to say on this for the moment.
Addendum: Now they’re cranking out the press releases: California Science Center Pays $110,000 to Settle Intelligent Design Discrimination Lawsuit.
2nd Addendum: Now Chappy chimes in and characterizes the out-of-court settlement as a First Amendment Victory in California. He says: “The position of the Left is that conservative positions — especially on cultural issues — do not deserve to be heard on their own terms.” So now creationism vs. science is a left-wing v. right wing issue. This is tragic.
3d Addendum: News stories are starting to appear. ABC News, in CA Science Center Pays $110,000 Over Canceled Film says:
Under terms of the settlement, reached last month, neither side admitted wrongdoing and the alliance agreed to decline the center’s invitation to screen the film.
“Even though the AFA has no interest in returning to the IMAX theater, they at least feel by being invited back they have been vindicated. The invitation represents a form of apology,” said attorney William J. Becker Jr., who represented the alliance.
Update and retraction: See “Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: The Full Story.
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