“Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: The Empire Strikes Back

Last night we posted The Full Story about the settlement of 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.

As you might have expected, this morning there is a new barrage of posts (well, two posts) from 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’ll deal here with both of them. Our excerpts will omit their links and add bold font for emphasis. The first is AP’s Coverage of California Science Center’s $110K Payout for Censorship Predictably Misses the Mark by 150 Years. Here we go:

Big surprise. The MSM [mainstream media, we assume] missed the real news. The news here is that a state-run museum censorsed a film because they had contempt for the film’s pro-ID viewpoint.

Uh, not quite. That was the creationists’ position in their complaint, but the settlement clearly stated that neither party admitted any liability, and there was no court decision on the creationists’ allegation of “viewpoint discrimination” — or VD. Then the Discoveroids say:

The cost of such censorship reaches six figures — $110,000 to be exact. That’s a legitimate news story.

The “cost of censorship”? Actually, it’s more like the cost of litigation. As described by the CSC, “the settlement is a means to avoid the costs of further proceedings.” Let’s read on:

The AP story claims that the California Science Center is claiming that Discovery Institute issued “false and misleading press releases” in “an effort to drum up controversy.”

Yes, and the court record indicates that such was indeed the case. We continue:

Maybe the scientists and scholars at the Science Center haven’t noticed, but evolution is an inherently controversial subject. Ask any presidential candidate.

Yeah, and while you’re at it, ask the candidates the shape of the earth — most of them think it’s flat. Okay, now here’s the second Discoveroid blog posting: Series of Costly Case Settlements Warns Darwin’s Bullies: Stop Censoring Intellectual Freedom. Let’s get into it:

“Three case settlements this year show that it is a costly mistake for intolerant academic elites to suppress the viewpoints of Darwin-critics,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and policy analyst with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “The growing trend is that those who discriminate against intelligent design face stiff penalties.”

Casey Luskin? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Casey mentioned “three case settlements this year.” The CSC case is one. What are the other two? The Discoveroids tell us:

In January, the University of Kentucky paid over $100,000 to settle astronomer Martin Gaskell’s claim that he was wrongfully denied employment for doubting Darwinism.

We posted a few times about the Gaskell case, and we remember it well. He had no contact with the Discoveroids, yet the Discoveroids claimed the Gaskell settlement was a “Victory for Academic Freedom.” Our last post was Discovery Institute Claims Victory in Gaskell Case, in which we said:

The Discoveroids are claiming victory in a race they never ran. Verily, they are the top contenders for this year’s Rosie Ruiz award — an award that only your Curmudgeon bestows.


You can read [the settlement agreement] for yourself: Release and Settlement Agreement. It’s a 6-page pdf file. The university pays $125K, everyone releases everyone else, and no one admits doing anything wrong.

After gloating about “their” victory in Gaskell, the Discoveroids tell us:

Soon thereafter, Applied Mathematics Letters paid thousands of dollars and publicly apologized to avoid litigation after it wrongfully withdrew mathematician Granville Sewell’s peer-reviewed paper critiquing neo-Darwinism.

We didn’t write much about the Sewell situation, but we mentioned it here: Discovery Institute’s Long March to Respectability. Sewell’s article, allegedly with a creationist slant, had been accepted for publication but was then retracted. He threatened to sue, and the journal paid $10K to buy him off.

We’d all like to see such things fought to the bitter end, take no prisoners, scorched earth, all that good stuff — like Kitzmiller — but that depends on available resources and the willingness of insurance companies to go along. Sometimes an inexpensive settlement is the prudent way to go. If such incidents are then ballyhooed by the Discoveroids as “their” litigation “victories,” well, as long as their financial patrons are happy they’ll keep their jobs. But filing suits over grandiose principles like “viewpoint discrimination” and then settling for legal fees doesn’t amount to a legal groundswell. Some might think it amounts to a shake-down.

Those are Casey’s “three case settlements this year” — the CSC case, the Gaskell employment case, and the Sewell situation. Now we’re all supposed to tremble when a creationist pounds on the door and demands a seat at the table. Right. We’re trembling.

Then the Discoveroid article dips into history and mentions some ancient controversies — the Richard von Sternberg mess (see Sternberg peer review controversy), the Guillermo Gonzalez tenure dispute (that’s Expelled! star Guillermo Gonzalez, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” who failed to get tenure at Iowa State University and who now teaches at some bible college), and the creationist “research lab at Baylor University” which was shut down. Regarding Baylor, we think they’re referring to the remnants of Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment.

Impressive, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not; but the Discoveroids imagine themselves to be like Wyatt Erp. You wouldn’t want to provoke a shoot-out with him, would you? No, of course not. But with Casey? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Anyway, here’s the end of the Discoveroid article:

“The CSC settlement puts another high price tag on Darwinian censorship of the ID viewpoint,” said Joshua Youngkin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs. “The going penalty for viewpoint discrimination against ID is about $100,000, though successfully defending freedom of ID expression is priceless.”

It’s quite a bit less than $100K if you average in Sewell’s payoff of $10K, but we’re not grading the Discoveroids on math. Even if we did, it wouldn’t lower their average from where it already is.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to ““Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: The Empire Strikes Back

  1. Counting the Kitzmiller case, they’re still about $1.5M in the hole.

  2. They need to ask themselves; Is scientific credibility won by research or by litigation? The more they tout their legal victories, the more they move away from any pretense that what they are doing is legitimate science.

  3. But that’s just it, Ed. The DI has a very warped sense of what constitutes “science” in the first place. Their views of science frequently invokes courtroom scenarios, suggesting that their view of scientific credibility requires litigation.

  4. Ha, the Baylor “lab” shut down. Gives you images of locked doors, Keep Out signs, lights being turned off, graduate students turned away.

    Actually, if you recall, the “lab” was a website hosted on one of Baylor’s school of engineering computers. The department head of Baylor, Robert Marks boss, an engineer, not a Darwinist told him to move the unapproved project somewhere else which he did. The “lab” is happily rusting away at evoinfo.org, updated every few years or so.

  5. Casey has two more posts at the Discoveroid blog. I’m not going to bother with them. He’s doing what he does best — arguing the case after it’s over, when no one cares any more.

  6. They lost a case- Kitzmiller- where the merits of their “science” was directly addressed; yet, here, in a case where that issue wasn’t even looked at, much less conceded, they claim a victory, by implication, for those merits and their “science”? Only a lawyer could think like that (my apologies in advance to any lawyers here- maybe I should say “a Discoveroid lawyer”).

  7. What is it with the DI and their abbie-normal fixation with the Smithsonian? Could it be because they were smacked on their little doggie nose by the Smithsonian after they misrepresented the screening of Privileged Planet? Seems like a theme with them!

    The pathetic DI wrote:

    In 2004, biologist Richard Sternberg was ousted from a research position at the Smithsonian Institution after he allowed a pro-ID paper to be published in a Smithsonian biology journal.

    I tell you the Sternberg Legend is growing! Soon he will be like Joan d’Arc!

    Sternberg was not ousted from a research position at the Smithsonian. He didn’t work for the Smithsonian. He was a guest, a Research Associate. His status changed to Research Contributor after his sponsor, a requirement for a RA position, died! I suppose that was a conspiracy, too. In short, no pay, no position, no ousting. A complete LIE from the DI. How surprising.

    Second, the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington is not affiliated with the Smithsonian, so the second half of the DI’s single sentence on the subject is a LIE, too.

    Third, Sternberg didn’t simply “allow” a pro-ID paper to be published, he colluded with Stephen Meyer and sneaked the paper into publication, although the paper was retracted by the Society on the day of publication when Sternberg’s unethical activity was revealed.

    I find it amusing that the DI is becoming more brazen with their LIES about Sternberg as time goes on. Sternberg’s academic, professional and intellectual dishonesty has ruined his career in what I would call Polite Society, although those attributes seem to be the minimum qualifications to work for the DI where Sternberg is currently employed.

    Sad and pathetic.

  8. Richard Sternberg used to be Richard von Sternberg, and his full name still appears in old articles about Expelled.