The airing of opposing theories of the origin of mankind, scheduled by a think tank for the Science Center venue, was abruptly canceled by the Center; the think tank has sued the Center contending that "a broad network of Darwin advocates . . . jointly conspired."
UPDATE 9/1/11: Science Center settles suit by paying American Freedom Alliance $110,000
UPDATE 6/14/10: Discovery Institute wins settlement
-- From "California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design" by Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times 12/29/09
A lawsuit alleges that the state-owned center improperly bowed to pressure from the Smithsonian Institution, as well as e-mailed complaints from USC professors and others. It contends that the center violated both the 1st Amendment and a contract to rent the museum's Imax Theater when it canceled the screening of "Darwin's Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record."
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the American Freedom Alliance, an L.A.-based group described by senior fellow Avi Davis as a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank and activist network promoting Western values and ideals."
The AFA had planned an Oct. 25 screening of two films at the Exposition Park museum -- one a short Imax movie called "We are Born of Stars," which favors Darwin's theory; the other, "Darwin's Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record," a feature-length documentary that criticizes Darwin and promotes intelligent design.
The AFA's Davis said his group has no position on Darwinism and intelligent design but is concerned that debate is being stifled by the scientific establishment.
. . . e-mails filed as exhibits with its suit: "I'm less troubled by the freedom of speech issues than why my tax dollars which support the California 'Science' Center are being spent on hosting religious propaganda," wrote Hilary Schor, a USC professor of English, comparative literature and gender studies.
But another correspondent, Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which champions evolution in clashes over which theory should be taught in public schools, urged "NOT asking the museum to cancel the showing of the movie. Really -- the story that 'big science is trying to squelch controversy . . . ' is going to be a bigger story and draw more attention to the movie's showing than the showing itself."
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