Tuesday, November 24, 2009
You may remember the Undiscovery Institute's attempt to trade on the name of the Smithsonian Institute (once again) by screening its propaganda piece, Darwin's Dilemma, at the California Science Center, which has the nifty sounding position as a "Smithsonian Institution Affiliated Science Center" that is, in fact, less exalted than it sounds. Then the Science Center canceled. Now the group that sponsored the DI's dogma and pony show, the American Freedom Alliance, has announced (in no coincidence at all, at the Christian News Wire) that it is suing.
The lawsuit is believed to be the first since the 2005 case of Kitzmiller v. Dover to consider the public's right to learn about Intelligent Design. While that case focused on whether a public school violated the First Amendment "No Establishment Clause" by instructing students about the theory, 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.According to the AFA's announcement:
"The Center is a public institution and our event was planned as a debate with both sides of the controversy represented," said Avi Davis, AFA's president. "It is Orwellian when a public institution tries to suppress particular ideas it deems unsavory. It can be likened to a public library removing certain books from its shelves because the librarian disagrees with the viewpoints expressed in them."
The museum was selected for the event because one of the two films scheduled to be shown required a 3D IMAX projection system. The pro-evolution film, "We Are Born of the Stars," was meant to provide balance to a discussion about life's origin.Strangely, there was no mention of this other film in the original PR release by the DI. Does anyone else smell a rat?
All I can find out about We Are Born of the Stars is that it is a 1985 Japanese animated film that is all of 11 minutes long. Darwin's Dilemma, on the other hand, is 71 minutes long. In addition, according to the Dishonesty Institute's press release, there was also to be a "post-film discussion featuring Darwin skeptic Dr. David Berlinski, author of The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, and leading intelligent design scientist Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of Icons of Evolution." The only other "balance" mentioned is that real scientists, Simon Conway Morris and James Valentine, appear in Darwin's Dilemma but, unsurprisingly, under the same sort of cloud of suspicion that always accompanies appearances by scientists in creationist endeavors.
So there was to be hours of creationist bafflegab, including live presentations, with the other side of the "controversy" represented solely by an 11 minute, 20+ year old, animated film. That's what passes for a balanced "debate" in the opinion of creationists.
But to see how this lawsuit is going to go, there is this:
"Certain museum officials and their cronies in academia and throughout the scientific community are part of a subtle but effective movement to marginalize a scientific theory that challenges their world view," said AFA's attorney, William J. Becker, Jr. ...Whew! That's a beauty! An accusation of "cronyism" and the elevation of ID to the status of a scientific theory, while simultaneously ID opponents are reduced to "world view" peddlers, all in one sentence!
It's utter bollocks ... but as a fellow lawyer, I have to admire the technique displayed.
Labels: California Science Center
I'd have paid to see that in IMAX!
I strongly doubt it. Their claim will be that it is viewpoint discrimination whether or not it is science and, therefore, improper, since the CSC had opened it facilities generally to the public.
Of course, if they win on that point (which they may well, depending on the unnamed "issues related to the contract" cited by the CSC in canceling), the DI will, no doubt, claim it as evidence that Judge Jones was wrong.
No, I was quoting the AFA as to what its stated intent (in official court documents) was for showing We Are Born of the Stars (that we now know was a falsehood). They are free to promote their unbalanced view of evolution but when they lie, I have the right to deem everything they say in that light.
... innumerable Darwin apologist organizations, whose aim is to muzzle ID and keep it from getting to the people, as if it held secrets too dangerous to contemplate.
Who is stopping them from promoting their theology in every church in the land (of which, there are many more than universities and science centers), private schools and on every streetcorner? What they can't do is use the government to teach it in public schools. And science organizations have the right to protect their reputations and integrity (though there are correct and incorrect ways for them to go about it) from being hijacked by people pushing pseudoscience.
That is a philosophy Hitler, bin Laden and, well, every tyrant who ever lived can support. ... Only popular speech endorsed by select people should be granted the right to be heard.
So, do we have to allow Holocaust denial to be taught in public schools and force the Holocaust Museum to host those who want to push it in order to avoid being labeled as Hitlers and bin Ladens?
I'm just guessing, but I'll bet the latter film contains much more substance than the former, with much less bullshit.
But hey, couldn't the DI find a church where they could show the film?