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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Publisher compelled to turn over manuscript of ID-friendly textbook

When analyzing the conflict between two groups of ID advocates in the Dover school board case, which involves the ID-friendly textbook, Of Pandas and People. I noted that ID theorist Bill Dembski, who was fired as an expert witness because he insisted on bringing his own lawyer, was probably trying to protect the successor to Pandas from hostile publicity about an early stage of the manuscript. Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the Pandas publisher, has written a letter to its supporters that supports my interpretation:

On its face, the suit seeks a change in school policy and the removal of the library copies of Pandas. But more important than the censorship of Pandas to the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, is the plan to abort the book that will succeed Pandas, The Design of Life. Now think of it: The Design of Life isn’t even published yet, and they have seized it! FTE, its Academic Editor, Dr. William Dembski, and the book’s authors have been working on The Design of Life for several years. Our plans were for a 2005 or 2006 copyright date. So, we were forced to hire an attorney of our own.

(Note: If this is not the story you were looking for, see the Blog service note below or the stories listed in the sidebar. )

In a move that I have certainly never heard of before, editor Dembski was apparently forced to turn over his manuscript to the ACLU:

The ground is shifting beneath us. In spite of a Motion for Protective Order filed for us by Jeff Mateer of Mateer & Shaffer, the Court upheld the ACLU’s subpoena of this work-in-progress. To comply with the protective order, FTE had to turn over the manuscript of this forthcoming textbook to the ACLU, which, in turn, gave it to FTE’s other adversaries, including the National Center for Science Education. The NCSE has kept a file on FTE for decades. It is this vigilante-style advocacy group out of Berkeley, CA that instigated the attempt to censor these books, and militantly opposes even the most basic freedoms for proponents of intelligent design.

They are, of course, too smart to try to censor The Design of Life outright. But having copies of the manuscript will give the ACLU and its allies a huge advantage as they work to intimidate science teachers who otherwise would consider using the book once it’s published. Yet FTE has invested much time and drained significant resources to develop the book, and could, itself, be destroyed, if its market is carpet-bombed by hostile media across the country upon its release.

Somehow, I don’t think carpet-bombing will work. I predict a showdown instead, between the ID theorists and groups that have clearly begun to act as enemies of the open society.

The ACLU and their allies have more than a dozen lawyers on this case. Thankfully, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has approved a grant for $100,000 to help finance an expanded legal team on our side through The Liberty Legal Institute in Plano, Texas. (None of these funds will come to FTE). Both sides in the lawsuit predict the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I sense the frustration the publisher feels. The Supreme Court could go either way on the open society. Many judges are elitists. But a court cannot stop people from knowing that there are serious problems with Darwinism and with the religion of naturalism that it upholds. Meanwhile, a publisher naturally worries most about the fate of his own books.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Blog service note: Did you come here looking for any of the following stories?

- The op-ed by Catholic Cardinal Schonborn in the New York Times? Note also the Times's story on the subject, some interesting quotes from major Darwinists to compare with the Catholic Church's view, as expressed by the Cardinal, and an example of the kind of problem with Darwinian philosophy that the Cardinal is talking about.

- the Privileged Planet film shown at the Smithsonian, go here for an extended review. Please do not raise cain about an "anti-evolution" film without seeing it. If your doctor forbids you to see the film, in case you get too excited, at least read my detailed log of the actual subjects of the film. If you were one of the people who raised cain, ask yourself why you should continue to believe the people who so misled you about the film's actual content ...

- the showing of Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian, go here and here to start, and then this one and this one will bring you up to date.

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