“Darwin's Dilemma” Is Science Center's Problem

The Science Center is accused of stifling public debate

There are several theories as to why the California Science Center decided not to screen "Darwin's Dilemma," a documentary film that questions Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and promotes intelligent design.

The center faces a lawsuit from the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), which had planned to screen the film and another that supports Darwin's theory at the museum in October. AFA senior fellow Avi Davis described the AFA as a nonprofit, nonpartisan "think tank and activist network promoting Western values and ideals," according to the LA Times.

The Science Center said the movie was nixed because a news release had not been submitted to the museum. The Science Center requires that all promotional materials for outside users must be submitted to the museum before they can be distributed to the public.

The Center also said the AFA violated its rental agreement involving the Exposition Park museum.

Davis told the Times the group has no position on Darwinism and intelligent design. 

Supporters of intelligent design believe a "designer" is behind life on Earth. Others, including a Pennsylvania judge, call it a form of Creationism.

The AFA called the decision by the state-owned Science Center a violation of the 1st Amendment. The group's lawsuit alleges that the Science Center buckled under pressure from the Smithsonian Institution and complaints, some from USC professors.

As for the news release, the AFA calls it a "false pretext" for the cancellation.

In fact, the release wasn't issued by the AFA. An official at the Smithsonian, which loans items from its collection to the Science Center, notified the Center of a news release issued by the Discovery Institute. The intelligent design think tank's researchers are featured in "Darwin's Dilemma."

The Discovery Institute filed a separate lawsuit Dec. 1. It alleges the Science Center is keeping documents about the documentary debacle under wraps. The group filed a request under the California Public Records Act.

A pretrial hearing regarding the AFA's complaint is scheduled for Jan. 26.

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