December 30, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

L.A. Museum Sued Over I.D.

They had a contract.  The American Freedom Alliance (AFA), which takes no official position on Darwinism vs Intelligent Design but wanted to present both sides of what they considered an important public issue, was scheduled to show two films at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theater – one which assumes evolution, and one which argues against Darwin.  A press release from the Discovery Institute (which was sending some of its representatives for a follow-up panel discussion) somehow prompted the Center to cancel the contract, leaving the AFA scrambling to find another venue.  The event was held Oct. 25 to a smaller audience at USC with poorer projection facilities.  The AFA is suing the California Science Center for breach of contract.  They issued a press release on their AFA website (PDF format).  AFA President Avi Davis explained their case: “The Center is a public institution and our event was planned as a debate with both sides of the controversy represented.  It is Orwellian when a public institution tries to suppress particular ideas it deems unsavory.  It can be likened to a public library removing certain books from its shelves because the librarian disagrees with the viewpoints expressed in them.”  The lawsuit alleges that the Center “conspired to drop the event because they did not want the museum to be viewed as legitimizing intelligent design as a scientific theory,” and claims that pressure was brought to bear on the Center from the Smithsonian and other institutions to drop the event.
    The AFA also held “The Darwin Debates,” a debate on the origin and evolution of life, at a theater in Beverly Hills on November 30, featuring Michael Shermer and Donald Prothero defending Darwin and Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg opposing.  A recording of this debate is available on the AFA website.
    Mike Boehm at the Los Angeles Times reported on the lawsuit and what occasioned it, but presented a biased definition of intelligent design that its proponents would not accept:

Intelligent design is the theory that an intelligent being, rather than impersonal forces such as Darwinian natural selection, is responsible for shaping life on Earth.  An overwhelming majority of scientists and science and natural history museums consider the theory of evolution to have been proved beyond a doubt by genetic and fossil evidence.  Critics of intelligent design have dismissed it as a superficially scientific cloak for the straightforwardly religious belief known as Creationism that’s anchored in a literal reading of the biblical Book of Genesis.

The official definition of intelligent design seen on the Discovery Institute’s IntelligentDesign.org site states simply, “The theory of intelligent design 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.”
    John West at the Discovery Institute published a rebuttal to the LA Times article at Evolution News and Views explaining the Institute’s view of what transpired and why the California Science Center’s censorship of intelligent design was a big deal.  The previous day, Robert Crowther on Evolution News and Views explained the connection with the Smithsonian.

OK, you have links to both sides of this dispute.  Are you going to trust one of the most left-wing newspapers in the country to give a fair report, when they can’t get the definition of I.D. right, and insist on misrepresenting the views of the plaintiffs?  As news develops about this lawsuit, we will report it, or you can go to the sites above for information.

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