We made a big mistake in our earlier post about the settlement of this case. It was titled Nightmare Settlement!
Our mistake was that we relied on an early-morning post by 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).
Late in the evening of the same day the other side became known, and we want to retract our earlier post from this morning and admit our error — which was accepting information provided by creationists. We should have known better, and we sincerely apologize for posting incorrect information.
The other side of the story comes from the California Science Center Foundation’s Statement Regarding Resolution of Legal Dispute with AFA. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The California Science Center Foundation has settled a long-running legal dispute with the American Freedom Alliance (“AFA”). The settlement agreement explicitly states that no party admits fault or liability, and the settlement is a means to avoid the costs of further proceedings. As part of the settlement, the Foundation and AFA agreed to a joint statement that the Foundation would invite the AFA back to hold its private event, and the AFA would decline that invitation. The Foundation is satisfied with the terms of the settlement, which includes a cost of defense payment from the Foundation’s insurer, to avoid the expense of further litigation.
You will recall from our post this morning that the Discoveroids claimed a great First Amendment victory against what they call “viewpoint discrimination,” which we call VD. They were ecstatic that the Science Center had agreed to exhibit the creationist film. Now it appears that the “invitation” was part of a carefully choreographed script. The “invitation” was a sham, because it was agreed in advance that the creationists wouldn’t exhibit their film at the Science Center. Let’s read on:
[A]lthough the AFA asserted that the offending press releases were issued by an entirely independent third party (the Discovery Institute), it was uncovered that the AFA and the Discovery Institute actually had been secretly coordinating the publicity efforts and were intentionally trying to make the publicity that led to the cancellation as provocative and controversial as possible. One email among Discovery Institute individuals talked about “letting the jinnie out of the bottle” when “all hell will break lose.” The Foundation was certainly entitled to cancel the AFA’s private event.
That’s what we had thought, until we saw the Discoveroids’ version of the settlement. We continue:
Unfortunately, it appears that neither the AFA nor the Discovery Institute have learned from their mistakes and false and misleading press releases continue to be issued. For instance, although the Discovery Institute’s August 29, 2011 press release states that the “state-run Science Center” paid a settlement amount, the reality is that the Science Center did not pay a dime. Likewise, although the Discovery Institute contends that it was “dragged into the case,” the fact of the matter is that the Discovery Institute knowingly and inappropriately issued offending and false press releases leading to the lawsuit. The court in Seattle agreed with the Foundation’s discovery position, and forced the Discovery Institute to turn over its embarrassing emails. And although the Discovery Institute touts the fact that the joint statement includes the Foundation’s inviting AFA back to hold its event, they ignore the fact that AFA declined such invitation.
Our embarrassment is profound. Our earlier post should never have relied upon the Discoveroids’ version of the settlement. Here’s the end of the Science Center’s statement:
The cancellation was never about the content of the program, as indicated by the fact that the Foundation was willing to have the event in the first place. It was about the false and misleading press releases that the Discovery Institute and AFA issued. Unfortunately, it appears that neither the Discovery Institute nor AFA have learned their lesson.
So there you are, dear reader. The creationists collected some money from the Science Center’s insurance carrier and dropped the silly case. There was no court decision, no First Amendment victory for creationism, no legal precedent, and the Science Center won’t be exhibiting the creationist film.
We’ll repeat something we said in a comment to our earlier post. 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.
So even the creationist side of the settlement agrees that the sham “invitation” to exhibit the film was a substitute for an apology, which the Science Center apparently wouldn’t make.
Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.