Monday, January 4, 2010

Smoking Gun? No, Just The Discovery Institute Instigating Persecution.

Oh the Discovery Institute is so invested in disseminating pseudoscience - in this case intelligent design - that it's making a giant hyperbolic issue out of the California Science Institutes refusal, unfortunately at the last minute, to show Darwin's Dilemma, a film that dresses up unprovable mythology in scientific language. My guess is that the scheduler heard the title and thought they were in for an excavation of Darwin, his methods, his studies, something fact based. Then when they found out that Darwin's Dilemma was really a religiously motivated attack on science they decided to pull the plug. Then got afraid that exactly what is happening now would happen.

Poor management, yes. "Tip of the proverbial iceberg?" Two forked assault on the first amendment? "Smoking gun?" Persecution of intelligent designers? They're kidding, right?

But the Discovery Institute, that well-funded, bully purveyor of religious ideology wrapped in science-ese, has a reason to make such a giant issue out of this whole situation. First, they get to claim the wronged position - My God! Violation of the Establishment clause! - and they posit themselves as great upholders of the law. Self-righteousness is what they do best and they are all a-glory with accusing the Science Center of denying "the people" access to information, even if it is at the core religious missionizing disguised as a National Geographic special.

It's a real shame that organizations like Discovery aren't run out of existence for duping the gullible public into snuggling down in their own ignorance. Denying science isn't a very strong position to fight from unless you're doing so from a stage spied by the uneducated.

From the Discovery Institute's site:

There are two big stories arising from the California Science Center’s censorship last October of the pro-intelligent design film Darwin’s Dilemma. The first big story, which was the primary focus of a Los Angeles Times article last week, is the act of censorship itself. 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.

But there is another big story tied to the Science Center that hasn’t received sufficient attention yet: The Center’s illegal cover-up.

The California Science Center has flagrantly violated California’s open records law in an apparent effort to hide the real story behind its censorship of Darwin’s Dilemma. The Center’s evasion of the law is the reason for the open records lawsuit recently brought by Discovery Institute against the Center. In October, the Institute filed a comprehensive open records request demanding that the Science Center turn over all documents relating to its abrupt decision to cancel the privately-sponsored screening of Darwin’s Dilemma. In early November, the Science Center released 44-pages of documents in response to the records request. 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.

Most importantly, the Institute obtained a smoking-gun e-mail confirming that the censorship ofDarwin’s Dilemma was connected to the Science Center’s relationship with the Smithsonian Institution. In an Oct. 6 email to the American Freedom Alliance, Science Center Vice President Christine Sion specifically cited alleged damage to the Center’s “relationship with the Smithsonian” as the reason for canceling the Darwin’s Dilemma screening. In its open records request, Discovery Institute had asked for all documents relating to the screening cancellation that referenced the Smithsonian. The Christine Sion e-mail was clearly covered by that request and therefore should have been produced. It wasn’t. Another email from a Smithsonian official to the Science Center complaining about the screening was likewise suppressed.

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