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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Discovery Institute suing California Science Center over alleged undisclosed documents

Podcast here, media release below:

Discovery Institute Sues California Science Center for Suppressing Public Documents Showing Viewpoint Discrimination Against Intelligent Design

Go here to listen.

This episode of ID the Future features a special news alert by Casey Luskin. Discovery Institute has filed a lawsuit against the California Science Center for unlawfully refusing to disclose public documents requested by Discovery Institute under the California Public Records Act.
Now the media release.
For more information and continuing updates as the story develops, tune into Evolution News & Views.
Her’s an excerpt:
Discovery Institute Sues California Science Center for Suppressing Public Documents Showing Viewpoint Discrimination Against Intelligent Design
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 -- Discovery Institute has filed a lawsuit against the California Science Center (the "Center") for unlawfully refusing to disclose public documents requested by Discovery Institute under the California Public Records Act.

Discovery Institute filed the public documents request on October 9, 2009, following the Center's October 6, 2009 cancellation of a contract with the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) to screen a pro-intelligent design video, Darwin's Dilemma, at the California Science Center's IMAX Theatre on October 25, 2009.

On November 2, 2009, the Center released 44 pages of documents claiming to have disclosed "all documents" and that "no documents have been withheld," apart from a few e-mail addresses that were redacted.

"California Science Center's claims are not true, and we know for a fact that e-mail communications exist, including communications with the Smithsonian Institution, that should have been disclosed in response to our public documents request but weren't, showing clear violation of California's Public Records Act," said Casey Luskin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Discovery Institute.
Whatta shock! I don’t know that this competes with Climategate, but if the allegations are proved, it signals a similar mentality - the absence of any sense that receiving public funds entails transparency. And that is a very bad policy.

Privately owned corporations need not usually make their business public because they receive their funds from their investors and customers. True, they must provide annual reports, but lots goes on in strategy rooms that they can keep secret. For example, if a hockey franchise is planning to trade a few players and replace the losing streak coach, they needn’t disclose anything until they feel like it, as long as they are not accused of a crime or contract violation, or cited for some other violation. And if the fans don’t like the team, they don’t buy so many season’s tickets. Then investors want out. So the system practically runs itself most of the time.

It’s different with public funds because the taxpayers who fund the enterprise - an arts or science centre, for example - are required by law to do so, even though they may never get to visit, or be uninterested in or even hostile to the project for a variety of reasons. That’s what makes transparency so important for public projects. Something I hope the California Science Center people learn.

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