California Academy of Sciences Publishes Retraction
Settles Libel Claim over Article by Leading Darwin Advocate
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2005 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The California Academy of Sciences has published a retraction letter by Eugenie C. Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc. (NCSE), and a letter by California parent Larry Caldwell, in the Summer edition of its California Wild magazine.
[ http://www.calacademy.org/calwild/2005summer/stories/letters.html ]
The Academy agreed to publish the letters as part of a settlement agreement with Caldwell of a potential libel claim against the organization over its publication of a false and defamatory article authored by Scott.
In a lawsuit filed against Scott and the NCSE in April, Caldwell had claimed that Scott’s article, entitled “In My Backyard: Creationism in California,” 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 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.
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.”
Ironically, Scott credits Caldwell’s libel suit with “contributing to an absolute explosion” of evolution debates around the country; a trend Caldwell views as “encouraging.” [Science, the magazine of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Volume 309, Number 5731, Issue of 01 July 2005. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol309/issue5731/r-samples.shtml#309/5731/47b ]
Said Caldwell, “apparently the Darwinists lack of candor outside the classroom is causing more people to question the reliability of their claims for evolution in the classroom.”
Scott’s article, entitled “In My Backyard: Creationism in California,” appeared in the Spring edition of California Wild and also had been accessible on-line through the NCSE and Academy websites. As part of the settlement agreement, the Academy agreed to permanently remove all on-line access to the Scott article. NCSE also removed access to the Scott Article from its website.
Caldwell’s letter in California Wild titled “National Center for Science Fiction” corrects a number of factual misstatements in the Scott article.
In his letter, Caldwell observes that “the public policy debate over how we should teach evolution in America is too important to be based on such science fiction. At stake is whether our students will receive a quality science education, in which they learn the truth about evolution, or a science indoctrination, in which the truth is hidden from them.”
Caldwell also asks, “So why do Eugenie Scott and her National Center for Science Education feel the need to resort to such science fiction in order to prevail in this debate? Are the arguments in favor of their position really that weak?”
Scott’s letter retracts 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. 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 has also retracted her claim that the Roseville high school board had purportedly passed a resolution “recommending” that “creationist” materials be used in science classes.
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 http://www.qsea.org
Contact: Larry Caldwell