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Victory for Discovery Institute

As followers of this controversy will remember from previous posts, the California Science Center (CSC) denied screening of Illustra Media’s film Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record.  A lawsuit ensued, in which the California Science Center was sued to disclose documentation, of which they are legally bound under the Public Records Act to disclose, in an attempt to discover what provoked the obvious discrimination. The outcome of the suit is that the CSC has to disclose the documentation and pay the attorney’s fees of the Discovery Institute.  Here is a short podcast from the Discovery Institute on the matter:

The film was originally slated to be shown at the CSC’s IMAX Theater, whose website states:

Turn your IMAX experience into an all-day science adventure! Our seven-story IMAX screen—the largest in Los Angeles—brings to life worlds as small as an atom and as vast as the universe. Over 100 hands-on exhibits in our FREE EXHIBIT HALLS make science concepts easy to grasp and fun to explore for the whole family. Experience an IMAX movie and get the big picture!

The irony of “getting the big picture”. All the Discovery Institute was trying to do was “get the big picture” by requesting full disclosure of documentation. Apparently it took a lawsuit for the CSC to disclose “the big picture”. The CSC initially gave some documentation, but not all (as they are legally obligated to do, given that the public pays for the center, given that it is a governmental unit). When the Discovery Institute wanted full disclosure, i.e. “the big picture”, the CSC claimed that some of their employees were hired by a private company and were thus not obligated to provide documentation under the California Public Records Act. Now can you imagine if the same were true of our government at large? Our government would become a mercenary government, a government for hire, beholden not to the people, but to private interests. This tactic was an obvious “shell game” as Discovery Institute’s resident attorney Casey Luskin pointed out, and which the Honorable James C. Chalfant agreed.

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22 Responses to Victory for Discovery Institute

  1. Casey Luskin has just posted this article with more details:

    California Science Center Plays Shell Game to Avoid Disclosing Public Records
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....35701.html

    notes:

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – Sept. 2009
    Excerpt: “The truth is that (finding) “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/12471

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – The Cambrian Explosion – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4154263

    Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories By: Stephen C. Meyer; Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington
    “To say that the fauna of the Cambrian period appeared in a geologically sudden manner also implies the absence of clear transitional intermediate forms connecting Cambrian animals with simpler pre-Cambrian forms. And, indeed, in almost all cases, the Cambrian animals have no clear morphological antecedents in earlier Vendian or Precambrian fauna (Miklos 1993, Erwin et al. 1997:132, Steiner & Reitner 2001, Conway Morris 2003b:510, Valentine et al. 2003:519-520). Further, several recent discoveries and analyses suggest that these morphological gaps may not be merely an artifact of incomplete sampling of the fossil record (Foote 1997, Foote et al. 1999, Benton & Ayala 2003, Meyer et al. 2003), suggesting that the fossil record is at least approximately reliable (Conway Morris 2003b:505).”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2177

    Darwin’s Dilemma Faq Page: Questions about the Cambrian Explosion, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
    http://www.darwinsdilemma.org/pdf/faq.pdf

    Exotic Cambrian Animals and Plants – Animated videos
    http://www.lightproductionsvid.....imals.html

    “Darwin’s Dilemma examines some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made and with them, a mystery deeper than Charles Darwin ever imagined. For the fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion does not reveal the gradual development of life forms as Darwin posited in his work, but a period in which compound eyes, articulated limbs, sophisticated sensory organs and skeletal frames burst into existence seemingly out of nowhere.” – Anika Smith – Discovery Institute

    Genesis 1:20
    Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures,”,,,

    “The Cambrian Explosion was so short that it is below the resolution of the fossil record. It could have happened overnight. So we don’t know the duration of the Cambrian Explosion. We just know that it was very, very, fast.”
    Jonathan Wells – Darwin’s Dilemma Quote

  2. All the Discovery Institute was trying to do was “get the big picture” by requesting full disclosure of documentation.

    Is there anything, however, in the “big picture” documentation provided by the CSC to support the Discovery Institute’s charge of discrimination? Since “The CSC initially gave some documentation, but not all” I can only assume that there wasn’t enough evidence in that documentation to support a lawsuit.

    That’s the real question, of course. This step is really just “Show us the papers.” “No” “Judge says you have to”. “OK”.

  3. mikev6-

    Civil conduct is…what?

  4. Congratulations to the good guys.
    The real thing here is a systematic discrimination and prejudice and agenda to have and to hold a evolutionary dogma by those with any power in the modern establishment.
    This was anticipated by the founders of America and tradition of their British forbearers and so law can overcome the most powerful in a free nation.
    Now onto taking back public institutions , like schools, for full freedom to discuss the options for origins of the universe.
    Fights are good but battles better.

  5. mikev6,

    Yeah the CSC wanted to hang on to documentation just because……

  6. Clive Hayden and Dr. Hunter, have you guys seen this paper:

    How Not to Attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical Misconceptions About Methodological Naturalism
    Excerpt of Abstract: Evolutionary scientists are on firmer ground if they discard supernatural explanations on purely evidential grounds, instead of ruling them out by philosophical fiat.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....420j6437l/

  7. Further note on how NOT to attack ID,,,, as far as discarding ID on purely evidential grounds:

    What One Famous Scientist Said About Evolution

    “One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this [evolution] stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me or there was something wrong with evolutionary theory. Naturally, I know there is nothing wrong with me …..”

    “[The] question is: Can you tell me anything you KNOW about Evolution? Any one thing? Any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of Evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time, and eventually one person said, “I do know one thing – it ought not to be taught in high school”.”

    Part of a keynote address given at the American Museum of Natural History by Dr Colin Patterson (Senior Palaeontologist, British Museum of Natural History, London) in 1981. Unpublished transcript.

    http://www.unmaskingevolution.com/main.htm

  8. Off topic: this may be of interest to some:

    Seth Berkley: HIV and flu — the vaccine strategy – TED talk video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nncPtxLCPrE

    description:
    Seth Berkley explains how smart advances in vaccine design, production and distribution are bringing us closer than ever to eliminating a host of global threats — from AIDS to malaria to flu pandemics.

  9. 9

    bornagain77,

    Off topic: this may be of interest to some:

    How many times do I need to tell you to stay on topic? If you posted things off-topic every once in a while I woulnd’t mind, but you flood this site with off-topic comments, so, please, keep it on topic, this isn’t your personal forum for getting whatever information you want to get across to people. Seriously, keep on topic.

  10. 10

    bornagain77,

    No I haven’t seen that paper, thanks. Everything they rule in or out will be exactly by philosophical fiat. The ‘evidence’ isn’t an explanation; it is only, and can only ever be, a description of what we call “nature”. It is a shorthand for we know not what.

  11. I’m sorry Clive; I just felt that the first topic/paper would be of interest to you personally, and maybe of interest to its own thread, and the second topic/video would be of interest to you, and others, for its depth of reach to the evolution/ID controversy, especially with its emphasis on the new technique of retro-vaccinology.

  12. Our government would become a mercenary government, a government for hire, beholden not to the people, but to private interests.

    That’s generally already the case, in fact, though not in written policy.

  13. Phaedros:

    Civil conduct is…what?

    Sorry – not getting the connection here.

  14. If you’re not going to act with civility then you might just get taken to court.

  15. mikev6-

    I take it your some kind of liberal? Are you against the freedom of information act?

  16. Clive:

    Yeah the CSC wanted to hang on to documentation just because……

    Any number of reasons. The Discovery Institute is only guessing until it actually sees the documents in question. The success of this lawsuit doesn’t say anything about whether there was discrimination or not, so I’m curious if there are now sufficient grounds to address that issue directly.

  17. Phaedros:

    I take it your some kind of liberal?

    I am indeed – thanks for asking! :-)

    Are you against the freedom of information act?

    Hmm – I would tend to see the FOIA as a ‘liberal’ prediliction, but no, I’m not against the FOIA. I think it was a bit silly of the CSC to block this request. It encourages the use of words like “Victory” about getting access to some papers that may (or may not) contain evidence about something that may (or may not) have taken place.

  18. Ha I just noticed I used “your” instead of “you’re”…wow

  19. “It encourages the use of words like “Victory” about getting access to some papers that may (or may not) contain evidence about something that may (or may not) have taken place.”

    Right, but you can’t know if there’s evidence there unless you see them.

  20. i.e. The CSC sought to obstruct justice and the Discovery Institute was able to put an end to that, thus a victory for the DI and justice.

  21. Phaedros:

    i.e. The CSC sought to obstruct justice and the Discovery Institute was able to put an end to that, thus a victory for the DI and justice.

    Well, that depends. The root issue is whether the DI was discriminated against. That hasn’t been proven, and the DI hasn’t filed a lawsuit to that effect.

    So if getting access to some papers is a “Victory for justice” – what happens next? If the hyperbole is ramped up for a relatively simple FOIA request, anything short of a successful discrimination suit to follow is going to look anemic.

  22. mikev6 — Why would you defend the CSC’s behavior? There is no legitimate reason they should have withheld the requested documents (and violate the law).

    And pretending that the employees in question were private is simple and indefensible dishonesty.

    What would be the big deal about just screening the movie after agreeing to do so?

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