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Darwin-only challenger
claims libel

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 04/23/2005 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

A parent suing a school district over its teaching of evolution says he was libeled by the education establishment’s chief spokeswoman on Darwin, Eugenie Scott, in an attempt to discredit his efforts.

As WorldNetDaily reported, Larry Caldwell filed a civil-rights lawsuit in federal court against the Roseville Joint Union High School District and school officials in Sacramento, Calif., alleging his constitutional rights to free speech, equal protection and religious freedom were violated when he was prevented from introducing a curriculum that changes how the theory of evolution is taught, without introducing religious content.

His “Quality Science Education Policy” and related instructional materials include presentation of scientific weaknesses of evolution in biology classes.

Caldwell, a practicing lawyer, is seeking a retraction from Scott and the California Academy of Sciences after an Academy magazine, California Wild, published numerous claims he says are false.

Scott – executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education – wrote that Caldwell attempted to get the district to adopt materials advocating Biblical creationism, including a young-earth creationist book, “Refuting Evolution,” by Jonathan Safarti; and the Jehovah’s Witness book “Life: How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or Creation?”

But Caldwell told WorldNetDaily he has never even heard of the books she cites.

He sent a letter to Scott and to the California Academy of Sciences, outlining the alleged errors and demanding a retraction and equal space in the magazine to present his side.

Caldwell asked for a response by 5 p.m. yesterday but has heard nothing from Scott or the academy.

“It just shows that even after they’ve been told in detail the specific facts, they are not willing to rely on the truth in this debate,” Caldwell said. “It just confirms to me they have a strategy of using misinformation.”

In his letter, Caldwell takes Scott to task for saying he urged the school board to adopt curricula for use in science classes that would have placed the school district in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Caldwell says Scott claimed “that I purportedly subscribe to a number of creation science beliefs discussed in the article – none of which I in fact agree with; and that I purportedly advocate a number of creationist activities in public schools that are enumerated in the article – including the banning of evolution from science classes, and the use of the Bible in science classes.”

Caldwell wondered whether Scott “has found it so difficult to locate someone who actually fits her preconceived stereotype of a Bible-thumper trying to ban evolution that she must now resort to reinventing someone to fit her stereotype.”

Scott’s article, Caldwell says “is typical of how the Darwinists ‘debate’ this issue – they tell lies about our side and try to discredit and marginalize everyone on our side by stereotyping us as ‘religious nut cases’ who are trying to inject Genesis into science classes, or to “ban evolution” from science classes.

“What does that say about the strength of their argument on the merits of how Darwinism should be taught in our public schools?” he asked

Caldwell says matters are made worse when the mainstream media routinely publishes “what Scott and the NCSE tell them to print about the evolution debates around the country. She is the source of much of the misinformation about the evolution debate in American media. The misstements in this article prove that legacy media’s primary source of ‘facts’ is a liar.”

After proposing his curriculum in 2003, Caldwell says officials refused to follow the normal procedures of review and “did everything in their power to prevent any meaningful consideration of my proposals, systematically violating their own stated policies in the process.”

That included “publicly attacking my personal religious beliefs, and even threatening to sue me to stop me from speaking out,” he said.

“These are tactics you’d expect in a banana republic, not the state of California.”

Last June, board members voted 3-2 against the curriculum.

The lawsuit asks the court to reform the district’s practices to “ensure that citizens of all political viewpoints and religious beliefs will be able to enjoy their constitutional right to bring education policy proposals before the school board and other school officials on an equal basis, without illegal discrimination.”

Related story:

Parent sues district on Darwin-only rule


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