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Parent Sues Eugenie Scott and the NCSE for Libel

John G. West

After asking Eugenie Scott to stop spreading falsehoods about him but getting no response, parent Larry Caldwell has filed a libel lawsuit against both Scott and her group, the National Center for Science Education. Below is the text of a press release issued today by Caldwell about the suit:

Parent Files Lawsuit for Libel in Evolution Debate

California Parent says ‘chief evolution spokeswoman’ trying to discredit education improvement efforts

ROSEVILLE, CA — California parent Larry Caldwell has filed a lawsuit against the National Center for Science Education, Inc. and its executive director, Eugenie C. Scott for libel.

The lawsuit is based upon defamatory statements Scott allegedly made about Caldwell in an article she authored in the current edition of the California Academy of Science’s magazine, California Wild, in what Caldwell says was an effort to discredit his efforts to improve how evolution is taught in biology classes.

Caldwell proposed in 2003 that school officials in the Roseville Joint Union High School District adopt his Quality Science Education (QSE) Policy and related instructional materials aimed at changing how the theory of evolution is taught in biology classes by including presentations of scientific weaknesses of evolution in biology classes along with the scientific strengths of evolution.

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?” which Scott described as “probably the most widely-circulated creation science book in the country.”

“I never submitted such books to the school district,” Caldwell said. “In fact I had never even heard of either of these books until I read Scott’s article.”

According to Caldwell, Scott’s article also contained a number of other factual misstatements about him and his proposals to improve science education.

“I wrote a letter to Ms. Scott and the NCSE demanding a retraction,” Caldwell said. “But they totally ignored it.”

“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.”

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.”

“I wonder if Ms. 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,” said Caldwell.

According to Caldwell, Scott’s article 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 people as ‘religious nut cases’ who are trying to inject Genesis into science classes, or trying to ban evolution from science classes. Neither of which is true.”

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

Caldwell says matters are made worse when the legacy 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,” Caldwell said. “The misstatements in this article prove that the legacy media’s primary source is peddling science fiction.”

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.