CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES SETTLES LIBEL CLAIM OVER EVOLUTION ARTICLE
Parent’s Claim Sparked by False Article by Leading Darwin Advocate
ROSEVILLE, CA — The California Academy of Sciences has settled with a California parent, Larry Caldwell, who raised a potential libel claim against the organization over its publication of a false and defamatory article authored by Eugenie C. Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc. (NCSE) Scott’s article, entitled “In My Backyard: Creationists in California,” appeared in the Spring print and online editions of the Academy’s California Wild magazine. The article had also been accessible through a link on the NCSE’s website.
In a lawsuit filed against Scott and the NCSE in April, Caldwell claimed that the Scott article contained numerous factual misstatements and libeled him in an effort by Scott and the NCSE to discredit his efforts to promote his “Quality Science Education” policy, which is designed to include some of the scientific weaknesses of the Darwin’s theory of evolution in biology classes. Caldwell’s lawsuit did not formally name the California Academy of Sciences as a defendant, although, as the publisher of the Scott article, it was a potential defendant in the suit.
In a settlement agreement finalized recently, the California Academy of Sciences has agreed to permanently remove all on-line access to the Scott article. The Academy has also agreed to publish a lengthy letter by Caldwell and a retraction letter by Scott in the upcoming Summer 2005 Edition of Calfornia Wild, which will be available in print and on the internet in early July.
Caldwell’s letter will correct a number of factual misstatements in the Scott article.
Scott’s letter will retract several false allegations about Caldwell and his-year long effort to improve science education in the Roseville high school district. For example, Scott had falsely accused Caldwell of purportedly proposing two young earth creation science books to the Roseville Joint Union High School District for potential adoption and use in biology classes–one of which is authored and published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In her letter to be published in California Wild, Scott now concedes that Caldwell did not submit these books to the school district.
Contrary to her article, Scott also now admits that school officials in the Roseville high school district never actually considered those books for adoption anyway.
Scott also concedes that her allegation that a science expert had purportedly expressed his opinion that Caldwell had a “gross misunderstanding of science” was false; and Scott will also retract her claim that the Roseville high school board had purportedly passed a resolution “recommending” that “creationist” materials be used in science classes.
Said Caldwell, “I am pleased that the California Academy of Sciences and California Wild have shown the professional integrity to remove this libelous article from internet access, and to give me an opportunity to set the record straight on my Quality Science Education Policy”
Caldwell added, “It’s a shame it took a lawsuit to get Scott, the author of the article, to retract some of the more outrageous factual misstatements in her article.
“Unfortunately, Scott and the NCSE have a long history of libeling people in the debate over how evolution should be taught in our public schools; my case is only the most recent example. Hopefully, it won’t take any more libel lawsuits to teach them how to stick to the truth.”
“Other critics of Darwin’s theory have been personally attacked on the basis of misrepresentations in similar cases where the Darwinists claim that the critics’ professional statements or qualifications are false,” said Caldwell. “The difference between them and me is that I decided to take legal action. Darwinists need to get the message: engage in civil discourse without defamation or prepare to answer in court.”
According to Caldwell, there’s also an important lesson for journalists and publishers: Claims by Darwinists should by carefully investigated before being reported as facts.
Meanwhile, Caldwell’s libel lawsuit against Scott and the National Center for Science Education, Inc. continues.
Caldwell is the founder of Quality Science Education for All, a non-profit organization dedicated to securing and defending the right of all students to receive a quality science education that exposes them to the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolution. Quality Science Education for All is on the web at www.qsea.org.
Contact: Larry Caldwell
June 20, 2005