Shenanigans at the California Science Center

Posted: January 6, 2010 in Science
Tags: , , , , , , ,

First the California Science Center agreed to show the pro-Intelligent Design film “Darwin’s Dilemma” last October (along with a pro-Darwin film). Then they changed their minds when pressured by associates at the Smithsonian Institution. Their excuse was that a rental agreement had been violated by the film’s sponsor, the American Freedom Alliance (AFA). The AFA has brought suit and claims the cancellation was unconstitutional (see LA Times article here). Now, recent evidence has revealed an illegal cover-up of the details behind the censorship. Here‘s the story…

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Comments
  1. Human Ape says:

    There’s no reason a science center should have to show an anti-science movie, and there’s nothing more anti-science than the childish idiotic religious belief called intelligent design, which are just code words for “The Magic Man Did It.”

    • sirrahc says:

      Thanks for your, er… passionate comments. But, I wonder if you bothered to read the linked articles.

      “As an agency of state government in California, the Science Center is required to abide by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. The Science Center didn’t have to rent its facilities to the public, but once it did so, as a government agency, it was legally obliged by the First Amendment to treat all citizens equally.”

      It doesn’t matter what the subject of the film in question was; they had a constitutional obligation to abide by their contract. (I’ll bet if they showed the pro-ID film but reneged on showing the pro-Darwin film, you’d have supported a similar suit by somebody like the Smithsonian.)

      Then, in response to “a comprehensive open records request”, “the Science Center released 44-pages of documents…. At that time, the Center assured Discovery Institute that it had turned over ‘all documents’ and that ‘no documents have been withheld,’ apart from a few e-mail addresses that were redacted. The Science Center did not tell the truth.

      Discovery Institute independently obtained incriminating emails involving Center officials that should have been turned over by the Center but weren’t…. These missing emails may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is a huge unexplained gap in the documents produced by the Center thus far, raising suspicions that the Center may have suppressed many more incriminating documents.”

      Regardless of one’s feelings about ID and Darwinism, the Science Center is clearly hiding embarrassing, if not incriminating, evidence. This is a matter of law & ethics, not philosophical assumptions behind one’s scientific methodology.

      As for your “anti-science” claims about ID Theory, that is only true if your definition of science precludes any design inferences from the get-go. I thought scientists were supposed to “follow the evidence” no matter where it leads, regardless of the philosophical or theological implications.

      I also suspect you know as well as I do that, while compatible with certain religious teachings (and not just of the Judeo-Christian type, either), Intelligent Design Theory is not the same as Biblical creationism. Whereas creationism begins with a religious text, ID Theory begins with what we know about the world and the design inferences we make all the time based on the “fingerprint” of specified complexity. Thus, ID “holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” To claim otherwise indicates either willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty.

      I notice on your own blog that you don’t want to debate creationists (or any Darwin-deniers), but you do wish to persuade them, if only they will submit to your teaching. While you have every right to say what you will on your own blog (within legal parameters, of course), might I suggest that you tone down the invective and ad hominem attacks? Most people will be more willing to hear what you have to say if you are willing to set aside your contempt and engage in civil discourse.

  2. […] This is just the latest of several such cases where public and private institutions are alleged to have unfairly discriminated against scientists and others for holding and/or promoting views contrary to the Darwinist establishment. In fact, Becker is also representing the American Freedom Alliance in their First Amendment suit against the California Science Center in Los Angeles, which I blogged about at “Shenanigans at the California Science Center“. […]

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