Darwinism

Discovery Institute suing California Science Center over alleged undisclosed documents

Spread the love

The skinny: 

Discovery Institute filed the public documents request on October 9, 2009, following the Center’s October 6, 2009 cancellation of a contract with the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) to screen a pro-intelligent design video, Darwin’s Dilemma, at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theatre on October 25, 2009.

Podcast here, media release below:

Discovery Institute Sues California Science Center for Suppressing Public Documents Showing Viewpoint Discrimination Against Intelligent Design

Go here to listen.

This episode of ID the Future features a special news alert by Casey Luskin. Discovery Institute has filed a lawsuit against the California Science Center for unlawfully refusing to disclose public documents requested by Discovery Institute under the California Public Records Act.

Now the media release.

For more information and continuing updates as the story develops, tune into Evolution News & Views.

Her’s an excerpt:

Discovery Institute Sues California Science Center for Suppressing Public Documents Showing Viewpoint Discrimination Against Intelligent Design
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 — Discovery Institute has filed a lawsuit against the California Science Center (the “Center”) for unlawfully refusing to disclose public documents requested by Discovery Institute under the California Public Records Act.

Discovery Institute filed the public documents request on October 9, 2009, following the Center’s October 6, 2009 cancellation of a contract with the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) to screen a pro-intelligent design video, Darwin’s Dilemma, at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theatre on October 25, 2009.

On November 2, 2009, the Center released 44 pages of documents claiming to have disclosed “all documents” and that “no documents have been withheld,” apart from a few e-mail addresses that were redacted.

“California Science Center’s claims are not true, and we know for a fact that e-mail communications exist, including communications with the Smithsonian Institution, that should have been disclosed in response to our public documents request but weren’t, showing clear violation of California’s Public Records Act,” said Casey Luskin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Discovery Institute.

Whatta shock! I don’t know that this competes with Climategate, but if the allegations are proved, it signals a similar mentality – the absence of any sense that receiving public funds entails transparency. And that is a very bad policy.

Privately owned corporations need not usually make their business public because they receive their funds from their investors and customers. True, they must provide annual reports, but lots goes on in strategy rooms that they can keep secret. For example, if a hockey franchise is planning to trade a few players and replace Coach Losing Streak, they needn’t disclose anything until they feel like it, as long as they are not accused of a crime or contract violation, or cited for some other violation.

And if the fans don’t like the team, they don’t buy so many season’s tickets. Then investors want out. So the system practically runs itself most of the time.

It’s different with public funds. The taxpayers who fund the enterprise – an arts or science centre, for example – are required by law to do so, even though they may never get to visit, or be uninterested in or even hostile to the project for a variety of reasons. That’s what makes transparency so important for public projects. Something I hope the California Science Center people learn.

9 Replies to “Discovery Institute suing California Science Center over alleged undisclosed documents

  1. 1
    CannuckianYankee says:

    I have just two questions:

    What are the documents that the DI wants disclosed that they know have not been. How do they know they exist?

  2. 2
    PaulBurnett says:

    Are you really sure this lawsuit is a good idea? What if they get Dembski or Meyers or even Luskin on the stand under oath?

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    1. Emails to/from the Smithsonian.

    2. They’ve seen one or more of them or seen references to them.

  4. 4
    osteonectin says:

    I thought the whole issue was about a screeing not organized by the Discovery Institute.

  5. 5
    Heinrich says:

    Couldn’t these emails be the ones that they said were redacted?

  6. 6
    CannuckianYankee says:

    PaulBurnett,

    I think it’s unlikely that Dr.s Dembski or Meyer will be called to the stand, but Casey Luskin may be.

    I’m still curious about how the DI became aware of the documents (emails), but I think it’s a pretty sound lawsuit if they became aware of the emails through legitimate means. It’s sound because for similar reasons to the Climategate fiasco, there’s a freedom of information act in this country. The Science Center receives public funding, and therefore, is obligated to allow the presentation of issues from a number of perspectives, not simply from the scientific consensus. It is quite clear that there is some shenanigans going on there. If they had allowed the showing of the film in the first place, everyone would be happy.

  7. 7
    CannuckianYankee says:

    I should also point out that the freedom of information act requires the disclosure of all the information the DI requrested. This is the real point of the lawsuit – not merely the dropping of the film – although, it probably plays into the whole issue of why the DI requested the information in the first place. Transparency is the law of the land for publicly funded institutions. Emails are not private in that respect.

  8. 8
    CannuckianYankee says:

    osteonectin,

    “I thought the whole issue was about a screeing not organized by the Discovery Institute.”

    I think you are correct that the screening was not organized by the DI. However, the DI is a thinktank, which supports the positive presentation of ID to the public. The film is an ID positive film. Therefore, the DI has a vested interest in why the film was dropped, and this is why they requrested the information, so they can conduct their own investigation, as is the right of any individual or organization under the freedom of information act.

  9. 9
    osteonectin says:

    CannuckianYankee, thanks for your reply.

    Therefore, the DI has a vested interest in why the film was dropped, and this is why they requrested the information, so they can conduct their own investigation, as is the right of any individual or organization under the freedom of information act.

    Doesn’t a trial bear the risk for the DI of having to disclose their communication with the American Freedom Alliance?

Leave a Reply