September 2nd, 2011


Pyrrhic Stalemate

The California Science Center has settled with the American Freedom Alliance.

The AFA sued the CSC over the cancellation of a showing of anti-evolutionary films that had been scheduled as a private affair at the CSC. They claimed viewpoint discrimination.

The CSC countersued, and said the cancellation was due to the AFA (and the Discovery Institute) not submitting press materials to the CSC for approval, as required in the contract, and that some of these materials too strongly implied the support and endorsement of the CSC and the Smithsonian for this private event.

In the settlement, neither side admits fault, but the CSC forked over $110,000 and issued a fake invitation to the AFA to show the movie, which the AFA agreed to decline.

Looking at the NCSE's archive of the legal documents in the case, stretching from October 2009 to the present day, maybe the CSC got off easy throwing $110K at them, but it still stinks.

The suit was a lot of he said/she said, and so is the settlement. The AFA and DI are crowing about the "historic victory", while the CSC is a little more restrained in its declaration that 'we were right all along'.

But of course, none of this baloney has anything to do with the underlying merit of the theory of evolution. The folks at the Discovery Institute still have to work a little harder at Phase 1 of their wedge strategy: Scientific Research, Writing & Publication

Randi Challenge

The Amazing Randi made a high profile reiteration of his $1 million challenge to psychics James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois. Given the history of the challenge, they're not too likely to accept this chance to make an honest million dollars.

After all, it's clear that psychics can do pretty well for themselves.
Their nearby business, Astrology Life, advertised life coaching and $20 special readings.
People came to her distraught over sick family members and busted romances. The victims, who prosecutors identified only by their initials, turned over money and other valuables.

If they didn't, Marks and her family warned that they "would contract terrible diseases, suffer horrible financial hardships, and endure terrible catastrophes," according to a federal indictment.

Sick loved ones would not recover and victims would remain haunted by evil spirits, they allegedly said.
In all, authorities said, the family amassed a $40 million fortune from a psychic scam dating back 20 years.